BSF Study Questions John Lesson 7, Day 3: John 5:16-23

Summary of passage:  The Jewish leaders were unhappy with Jesus doing work on the Sabbath and calling himself the Son of God so they persecuted him.  Jesus explained how he does everything through God and will do great things and bestow ever lasting life.  God has granted Jesus the role of judger of mankind and whoever does not honor him, does not honor the Father.


6)  The Jewish leaders were unhappy with Jesus doing work on the Sabbath and calling himself the Son of God.  “My Father is always at his work to this very day” and therefore he too works.  Because Jesus was breaking the Sabbath and calling God his Father, making himself equal with God.

7)  “Whatever the Father does the Son also does.”  God “will show him [Jesus] even greater things.”

8 )  Part-personal Question.  My answer:

1)  God has given Jesus the power of resurrection over the dead and eternal life and who to grant this to.

2)  God has given Jesus the role of judger of all mankind.

3)  God has given Jesus the same status to be honored by mankind the same.

It doesn’t.  I’ve always believed God, the Son, and the Holy Ghost are one.  My attitude is the same.

Conclusions:  The personal question of 8 is lackluster.  Still would have liked to have delved deeper into the breaking of the Sabbath.  It’s important to understand that Jesus was not breaking any laws.  That these supposed laws are interpretations of God’s laws by mankind which are twisted and untrue.  These questions are too superficial.

End Notes:  No one cared that the man was healed.  All they cared about was their precious laws being broken–laws not in the Bible.

Jesus did not delve into the definition of what work is on the Sabbath.  Instead, he states simply:  God works on the Sabbath and so do I (since I am God).  This is important for us.  God never stops working.  He never stops listening to us or caring for our problems or working in our lives.  He is there always.

In Ancient Times, slaves did all the work.  It was considered beneath the nobles to lift a finger and the Greek and Roman gods never worked so the very idea of a working god was alien to most people.

God rests.  He never stops ruling.  God rests for our benefit–showing us how to live.  Not for Him.

“Breaking” and “calling” are continuous action.  Jesus was always breaking the laws and calling himself God’s son.

Jesus submits by choice to God’s will.  God shows Jesus what to do.

God the Son in becoming man separated himself and ceased not to be God, and became the separate personality of Jesus as the personality of God the Son.

“Loves” is continuous as well.  The Father always loves the Son.

Jesus refers to the power of eternal life–the ultimate power.  Jesus says he is the judger–again a separate but distinct part of God the Father.  Jesus was love and judge–full of grace and mercy.  Imagine looking upon Jesus and seeing both and feeling both–shame at your sin yet amazing love and forgiveness.

God’s people believed God did raise the dead.  Here, Jesus says he has that same authority–again, establishing the idea that he  is equal to God.  The same with being the judge.  The Jews believed God to be the final judge.  Here, Jesus says now I am.  These ideas were blasphemous, radical, revolutionary, and heretical.  It threw the Sadducees in turmoil, abutting long-held beliefs.  It’s hard for mankind to accept change especially quickly.  Jesus was on earth for so short of a time.  Think of all who missed him because they were stuck in their ways.  A lesson for us as well.

It’s hard for us to grasp this since we are thousands of years down the road and just know who Jesus is and what he does and how to honor him.  Try to think as these people did when studying John.

Being the judge requires honor equal to God.  One cannot honor just one.

God sent but Jesus came.  Both are equally important.

BSF Study Questions John Lesson 7, Day 2: John 5:1-15

Summary of passage:  Jesus was in Galilee in Chapter 4, healing the official’s son and now we’re back to Jerusalem where Jesus heals a man at a pool at Bethesda on the Sabbath.  He tells the man to get up, pick up his mat, and walk and the man does.  This is in Jerusalem at the feast of the Jews.  The Jews told the man he can’t do work on the Sabbath i.e. carry his mat.  The man says Jesus told him to.


3)  38 years.  He can’t walk so he lies around.  He’s angry or full of self-pity when he says he has no one to help him to the poor and people are always jumping in front of him.  But the man has great faith in Jesus’ words because he does as told:  gets up, picks up his mat, and walks.

4a)  “Get up!”

b)  Personal Question.  My answer:  To always turn to him for the answers first.  To trust in events and circumstances that God is in control.

5)  Part personal Question.  My answer:  “See, you are well again.  Stop sinning or something worse may happen to you.”  We must obey Jesus all the time because we are in danger of turning from him, following the wrong path, and ending up worse than we are now.  Sin leads us down the wrong path.  Jesus wants us on his path.

Conclusions:  I’m disappointed there were no questions on the “Jews” (most likely the Pharisees) who were angry that Jesus healed on the Sabbath.  There’s no in-depth questions on the feast of the Jews or the Sabbath either.  There’s so much to this passage and we took a very superficial approach here.  See End Notes for much more.

End Notes:  Scholars are unsure which feast this is but it was probably one of the major three feasts in which attendance was required:  either Passover, Pentecost, or Purim/Tabernacles.  If it was a Passover, then there were four Passovers in Jesus’ ministry, making it last 3½ years.  John explicitly mentions 3 Passovers (2:13, 23; 6:4; 11:55, 12:1), which would make Jesus’ ministry only 2 1/2 years).

The pool in Bethesda has been excavated and does indeed have 5 porches as John describes.  Although he speaks in the present tense, this doesn’t necessarily mean the temple is still standing.

The belief was that an angel of the Lord would come down and stir up the waters of this pool.  The first one into the pool after each such disturbance would be cured of whatever disease he had.  Hence, the congregation of the blind, lame and paralyzed.  The belief was this only happened at certain times such as at Passover or at feasts.

If this were true, it would be unusual in the Bible (outside of Jesus’ miracles).  Other examples of healings;  2 Kings 4:38-41; 2 Kings 5:10-14; 2 Kings 13:20-21; Acts 5:14-16; Acts 19:11-12

There were a multitude of people sick at this pool and Jesus selected this man to meet his need.  None of these people looked to Jesus.  Instead, they all stared into a pool–waiting.  So many of us do this:  wait on circumstances and events in our lives that will never be perfect.  Look to Jesus and pray instead!

Jesus asks the man first if he wants to get well.  Some people don’t.  Some are so defeated by their condition they lose heart.  Jesus needed to make sure the man still had heart.  People who have lived that long with a disease know no other life and the thought of losing that comfort zone scares them.

Here, the man is hopeful (he comes to the pool) but unhopeful (he won’t ever get in the waters).

In faith, the man obeyed Jesus.  And look what happened!  Normally, Jesus healed only if one had faith in him but this man did not know him but he still had faith.

Healing in the Bible:  anointing, praying, faith, and medical treatment:  James 5:14-16; Mark 16:17-18; 1 Corinthians 12:9; Matthew 9:22; Mark 2:4-5; Matthew 8:13; 1 Timothy 5:23; James 5:14 with Luke 10:34.

When John says “the Jews”, he refers to the Jewish leaders.

Carrying the bed was work, which according the rabbis, was forbidden on the Sabbath.  This is man’s interpretation of God’s laws, not God’s laws.  The penalty for doing work on the Sabbath could be severe–even being stoned.

Jesus ignored all custom and said  it is good to do good on the Sabbath (John 5:17, John 7:23; Luke 6:9; 13:15; 14:5).

Still to this day, orthodox Jews do no work on the Sabbath.

Note the Rabbis don’t care that the man was healed.  All they care about is him carrying a mat on the Sabbath.

Jesus disappears as he didn’t want a riot to break out amongst the other disabled.

Jesus finds the man again to warn him his spiritual health is in danger.  He needs to now focus on doing good with his new-found life.

Note the first betrayal here of Jesus:  the man found the Jewish leaders and told them it was indeed Jesus Christ.  The man could have been afraid of the Jewish leaders as well but could have held his tongue and definitely not sought them out.  Isn’t it amazing how Jesus knows he will be betrayed but he does it anyways because it’s the right thing to do.  I wish to have such an attitude and such heart.

Pool of Bethesda in Art HERE

Map of Bethesda and Jerusalem HERE

Prayer Requests for Weeks of October 23rd & October 30th, 2016

Hey all!

I will be on vacation next week so you will see multiple lessons posted at the end of this week.  Also, please use this post for 2 weeks of prayer requests.

If you have a prayer request, please post a comment below or email them to me at and I’ll get to them ASAP.

My request: For my husband: guidance in his job and his new responsibilities.

God bless and have a wonderful week!

BSF Study Questions John Lesson 6, Day 5: John 4:43-54

Summary of passage:  Jesus departs Samaria after 2 days and heads for Galilee.  He was welcomed as the Galileans approved of what he did at Passover (turn over the money lenders’ tables) in Jerusalem.  He visited Cana again where he had turned the water into wine at the wedding feast.  He was approached by a royal official whose son lay sick at Capernaum and was begged to heal him.

Jesus said unless the people see miraculous signs, they won’t believe.  Jesus healed the man’s son from a distance.  This was the second miraculous sign (the first being the water into wine at the wedding).


10)  Jesus said unless he performs this miracle, the official will not believe.  He performed the miracle.  But the nobleman had to believe in Jesus’ words alone since the miracle was performed from afar.  True faith is taking Jesus at his word.

11)  Personal Question.  My answer:  Jesus answers prayer even if your faith is not perfect.  Pray always and ask him.  He is waiting to answer and to strength our faith in him.

12)  Personal Question.  My answer:  First, the man asked.  You can’t receive if you don’t ask (Matthew 7:7-8).  The official had faith enough to come to Jesus or was desperate enough.  Many a believer comes to Jesus desperate for him.  The man believed in Jesus’ ability to do it.  Jesus can do anything.  The miracle turned the man and his household into believers.  Miracles change lives.  Believe Jesus can handle anything you are facing.  Give it to him.  Let him do the rest.

Conclusions:  Great lesson on faith.  Great lesson on miracles happening.  Great lesson on Jesus caring for the people no matter who they are and deepening their faith no matter where they are on their walk with Him.

End Notes:  This is the 2nd sign of 7 we will study (remember from our study of Revelation that 7 is the number of completion).  The first is the water turning to wine at the wedding in chapter 2.

Because the people knew him and Galilee is where Jesus grew up, they did not honor him.  However, we can be in danger of not honoring Jesus as well, a false sense of familiarity.  They were interested only in his miracles.  In essence, they were rejecting Jesus the Savior here instead of welcoming him.

Scholars debate if “his own country” means Judea or Galilee.  A case can be made for both.  Other Gospels relate to Galilee (Matthew 13:57 and Mark 6:4).

All Jews traveled to Jerusalem for the Passover Feast (Exodus 23:14-17) as dictated by Jewish law.

Jesus had made His home in Capernaum (Matthew 4:13 and John 2:12). Though Jesus was at Cana (John 4:46a), the nobleman travelled the 20 or so miles (32 kilometers) from Capernaum to Cana.  He was probably an officer of Herod Antipas (Jesus’ eventual killer).

Jesus rebuked those who depended on signs and wonders before they would believe.  The you is plural so in general all Galileans.  Signs and wonders can be a good thing, but they should not prove God to us.  They do not change the heart.  Just ask the Israelites who were wandering the desert before coming the Promised Land.  So many miracles God did daily (like manna) and still they worshipped a golden calf.

The nobleman’s plea was based on need–not status.  This is what Jesus wants-to fulfill our needs not our wants.

Had Jesus gone with the man, the man’s unbelief would still exist.  This miracle is just as much about strengthening the father’s faith as it is about healing the child.  God is amazing!

Fun Fact:  Of Jesus’ recorded miracles, only 2 were done over a distance. The other is fulfilling the Roman centurion’s request (Matthew 8:5-13; Luke 7:2-10).  Note both are Gentiles and upper class.

Note there is no dramatic effects.  Jesus says simply, “Your son will live.”  No show or pomp.  That’s Jesus.

The nobleman believed before the evidence rolled in.  Exactly what we must do.

In faith, the nobleman walked home.  He did not run.  The nobleman’s faith was deepened by God’s power and personal experience of it.

In John the signs are given to lead the reader to faith (John 20:29-31). The relation between belief and signs is clear in John chapter 2 and chapter 4.

· The first sign persuaded His disciples

· The second sign persuaded a Jewish nobleman and his household

· The Samaritans believed without a sign

These first two signs take place at Cana of Galilee.  The first was a happy occasion–a wedding.  The second a horrible and tragic event–a dying child.  Jesus is there in both the ups and down of our lives.  Always and forever.

Map of Cana and Capernaum:

BSF Study Questions John Lesson 6, Day 4: John 4:39-42

Summary of passage:  Many Samaritans were converted due to the woman’s testimony at first and then because of Jesus himself.


7)  Part personal Question.  My answer:  1) Because of the woman’s testimony.  2)  They came with an open heart and mind and listened.  3)  Because of Jesus’ words many more became believers.  Family and friends.

8 )  Part personal Question.  My answer:  John the Baptist testified to what he saw.  He told Andrew and John the Apostle to come and see and hear for themselves.  They did.  They believed.  Just like the Samaritans.  Come with an open heart and mind and God can do anything.

9a) Very similar.  Philip went to Samaria, proclaimed Christ, performed miraculous signs which got the people’s attention, believed and were baptized.  Same thing in this passage.

b)  Personal Question.  My answer:  As the days pass and trials and joys come and go, I think our faith grows as well.  My family’s has grown significantly.

Conclusions: Amazing how belief is entered into!  It’s a very simple process and has been since Abraham.  Someone testifies or encounters Jesus, they come with open hearts and minds, they listen and see miracles, and then they believe and commit their lives to Christ.  We must remember this as we’re inviting others to church and to events that have Jesus as the center.  It’s easy on our part.  God does the rest.

End Notes:  It’s important to note that Jesus loved the Samaritan woman despite everything she did.  He chose her to reveal the secret to eternal life!  Can you imagine?

It’s remarkable at this time in history that Jesus stayed two days with the Samaritans.  Samaria remember was a place to avoid by Jews at all cost and to enter and exit as quickly as possible.  That the people wanted a Jew to stay and that Jesus agreed broke all social bounds!  This shows just what an impression Jesus made on people.  Oh, to have been there!

Listening to Jesus deepened their faith.  We can do the same thing through reading the Word, praying, and listening for God to speak to us.

Note John records Jesus as the Savior of the world.  Jews, Samaritans, Gentiles, everyone!

BSF Study Questions John Lesson 6, Day 3: John 4:35-38

Summary of passage:  Jesus tells a parable to explain what he means by his food is doing the will of God and finishing his work.  Jesus’ disciples will reap the reward of his work:  eternal life.  The reaper works now for a harvest later when in truth his harvest is now since the work is the reward.


5)  The harvest is all of the people the disciples are trying to reach to come to Jesus.  The reapers are the workers (disciples) for the harvest (people).  The harvest is now, not in 4 months.  Wages is the reward (eternal life).  Receptive hearts of the Samaritans are the fields and the crop.  The sower is Jesus in this case, spreading the gospel to the Samaritan woman who spread it further.

6)  Personal Question.  My answer:  God’s Kingdom is immediate.  We can have it now and not spend our entire lives waiting to get to heaven.  There is a heaven here on earth:  it’s with Jesus as the Holy Spirit inside of us.  If we listen close enough, the rewards are endless.

Conclusions:  A difficult proverb for us westerners today since most of us have never worked in a field before.  This ties in nicely with Lesson 1.  It is God’s work and grace, not ours, that we are saved.  We do none of the work.  It is all God.

End Notes:  The common amount of time from sowing the seeds until harvest is about 4 months.  The seed has already sprung up in the hearts of the people.  Traditionally, “ripe” is translated as “white”.  Grain seeds, when ripe, turn from green to a yellow to a white color, which indicates it’s time to harvest.

Scholars use this time frame to date this to the beginning of December since Christ has just come from Passover and flipping over the money lender’s tables.

1 Corinthians 3:6-9 uses a similar field analogy with the emphasis on God making things grow.

Growing together urges unity.  All share in the joy of the crop.

BSF Study Questions John Lesson 6, Day 2: John 4:31-34

Summary of passage:  The disciples, concerned about Jesus, asked him to eat something.  He replied how he has food to eat they know nothing about.  Mystified, they still insisted he eat.  Jesus explained he sustains himself by doing God’s work and finishing it.


3a)  “Doing the will of God and finishing God’s work” i.e. dying for our sins and saving the world by faith and grace.

b)  Personal Question.  My answer:  I find great satisfaction in knowing I’m doing God’s work on this planet.  Raising my kids, being a dutiful wife, writing for Him, working for Him, etc.  It’s what sustains me when the times are hard and motivates me when I have no will.

c)  Come into a personal relationship with Jesus Christ and accept him as your Savior.

4a)  Personal Question.  My answer:  It’s easy in this world dominated by instant satisfaction to get lost in tasks that waste your time.  I have to stay focused and ask myself every day:  Is this for God or is it for me?  How does what I’m doing propel Him forward?  Is this meeting His goals?

b)  Love God.  Love others.  Spread the Good News and teach them to obey God.  Pray.  Give to the needy.  Do not worry.  Seek Him always.  Store treasures in heaven, not here.  Testify for Jesus.  Finish God’s work for my life.

Conclusions:  This passage is one where you want to hit the disciples over the head and say, “Don’t you get it?!  It’s Jesus, the Son of God, sent to die for our sins!”  We know that of course, but they didn’t.  This explains just how radical the idea is to the people of that time:  God sent his Son to die for us?  But why?  And that, my friend, is what the whole Bible tries to explain.

End Notes:  The disciples were rightly concerned about Jesus’ health.  He just finished a long walk from Judea.  His body needed sustenance.  Jesus’ point was there’s more to life than physical needs:  spiritual needs that bread alone won’t satisfy.  Jesus is saying, “My strength and nourishment is God.”

Jesus points out what’s most important here:  God’s will, not the fine details of serving others, etc.  Only doing God’s will will satisfy the human soul.  Period.  It refreshes weary souls like Jesus’.  Man’s own desires are lackluster in comparison.

John frequently records how Jesus depends on the Father and is doing His will (3:34; 5:30; 6:38; 8:26; 9:4; 10:37-8; 12:50; 14:31; 15:10; 17:4)

Notice the AND.  Doing the will of God and finishing it.  Remember Jesus’ last words?  “It is finished.” (John 19:30)  Once we can utter these words as well, heaven will come.  Great stuff!