BSF Study Questions John Lesson 15, Day 3: John 11:17-44

Summary of passage:  Jesus arrives in Bethany four days after Lazarus had died.  Martha went out to meet Jesus and said if only he had come sooner.  Jesus asks her if she believes in him.  She says yes.  Mary then went to meet Jesus when Martha returned and said the same thing.  Mourners followed Mary to meet Jesus as well.  Jesus wept with the mourners.  He told the people to remove the stone away from his tomb.  He thanked God and told Lazarus to come out, which he did still wearing his grave clothes.

Questions:

6)  Martha knows Jesus could have healed Lazarus and now that he’s here she knows he can ask God to do something.  Jesus asks her if she believes in him even though Lazarus died.  She says yes.  She returns to get her sister.

7)  Part personal Question.  My answer:  Whoever believes in Jesus will have eternal life.  They mean I will have eternal life.

8 ) Part personal Question.  My answer:   Jesus cares deeply for his people.  He was moved by how much pain they were in because of Lazarus’ death and was sad for them.  Jesus cares about my pain and shares in it.  He wants to comfort me and alleviate my pain.  When I suffer, he suffers.

Conclusions:  The personal questions to me are becoming redundant and are too simple and broad.  Great passage.  Needed more meaty questions to digest it thoroughly.

End Notes:  Why 4 days?  The Jews believed at the time that the soul hovered near the body for 3 days, hoping to return.  Then it left.  So Jesus wanted to be sure the time frame had passed and the miracle was indeed seen as a miracle from God.

It was tradition for mourners to stay with the family for an extended period of time after a death.  All work stopped and hence Mary and Martha were at home.

Martha honestly tells Jesus she is disappointed in his arrival.  She believes in his ability to heal the sick but not in his power to raise the dead.  Yet Martha “even now” has faith.  This is what we must have.  Despite our disappointment in Jesus not doing our will but his, we still have to have faith.

Raising Lazarus from the dead did not cross Martha’s mind so she assumed he meant in the Last Days.  This reaction is true.

Jesus IS the resurrection and the life.  He didn’t say “know” or “understand” or “have.”  He IS!  This is the 5th of the “I am” Statements in John.

Jesus of course is speaking of a physical death we all must suffer due to Adam’s sin.  But Christians never suffer a spiritual death.

He asked for belief.  However, if she had said no, Lazarus still would have risen since Jesus had already said he would (John 11:4).

Other Bibles say “secretly” instead of “aside”.  Scholars think this was so Mary could speak to Jesus without mourners around.

“The Teacher”.  Not a teacher but The Teacher.  There is only one.  Also, a woman uses this term.  Rabbis did not instruct women, but Jesus does.

Mary’s response to Jesus is the same as Martha’s.  Is it out of faith or criticism?  We don’t know and aren’t told here.

Jesus was moved as God is by our tears and pain.  All the mourners would have been wailing.  It is culturally acceptable 2000 years ago to cry unlike in our era, which is taken as a sign of weakness.

Fun Fact:  The word for “wept” (the only place this form is used in the entire New Testament) that Jesus did is a quiet one.  It is not a wail.

“Moved in the spirit” is more properly translated “groaned.”  This phrase literally means in the Greek “to snort like a horse”.  It implies anger at the Devil and “was troubled” implies tenderness for the mourners.

Jesus was so moved an involuntary groan escaped his heart.  He shares in our grief and he does something about it.  Lazarus being raised from the dead is what he does for all of us.

I find it fascinating how somehow tears became a sign of weakness.  Abraham, Jacob, David, Jonathan, Hezekiah, Josiah, and Jeremiah the weeping prophet all wept in the bible along with Jesus.  It’s a very human emotion/reaction and yet we work to suppress it.  The ancient Jews wailed loudly for days when a loved one passed.  Jesus dignified tears and if we are to be more like him, why not cry?

The ancient Greeks believed in emotionless gods and the inability to feel.

“Deeply moved” is used twice in this passage.

“What ifs” cause more grief in this life cause it’s all in the mind.

They needed to believe to see the glory of God.  Otherwise, they would miss it.

Mary and Martha acted on their faith by removing the stone.  Jesus used a loud voice so all could hear him.  Lazarus listened as we all are when Jesus commands.

Lazarus would have been wrapped tightly in linen much like the ancient Egyptians wrapped their mummies.  These “grave clothes” he would need again unlike Jesus who left his behind.  Also, Jesus had man assist in the miracle by commanding them to remove the clothes.

BSF Study Questions John Lesson 12, Day 5: John 8:48-59 with Exodus 3:12-15

Summary of passages:  John 8:48-59:  The Jews wonder if Jesus is a demon-possessed Samaritan. Jesus rebukes them again, saying he is the way to eternal life. Again, the Jews do not understand his words and say Abraham died and so did the prophets so how can he live. Jesus says he was in existence before Abraham. The Jews attempted to stone him, but he slipped away.

Exodus 3:12-15:  This is the scene of God talking to Moses in the Burning Bush.  God tells Moses to worship Him on this mountain.  God says His name is “I am who I am”.  I am has sent him.  This is His name forever.

Questions:

11a)  John 8:51:  Jesus tells all the secret: Accept the Word and receive eternal life!

b)  John 8:56:  Jesus says Abraham has acknowledged that Jesus is greater than he.

12a)  Every Jew knew the name of God”  Yahweh or “I am”.  By Jesus calling himself this, he declares he is God.

b)  Personal Question.  My answer:  All.  Jesus is God and accepting him grants me access to the Father for all of eternity and guides my decisions and plans God has for my life.

Conclusions:  Just a break down of Day 4 a bit more and reading the passage where “I am” came from.

End Notes:  John 8:48-59:  Jesus asks them to name one sin of his. They cannot. Instead, they just called him names! They had nothing left to accuse him of and with each word of Jesus’ more and more believe him instead of them!

Jesus tells all the secret: Accept the Word and receive eternal life! Again, blasphemy from anyone but God’s Son. Keep here mean continue and abide in it.

“See” is an intense word in Greek meaning long, steady vision.

Once more trying to trap Jesus, they try to get him to say something offensive by asking him again who he is.

Jesus again says he knows God and claims he is greater than Abraham who also acknowledged this fact.

Fifty was the age a priest retired. The Jews are merely saying you are too young to have known/seen Abraham.

Jesus responds with the 3rd “I Am” statement (John 8:24, 8:28). The ancient Greek phrase is ego emi, which is the same term used in to describe the Voice from the burning bush.  Jesus used a clear divine title belonging to Yahweh alone (Exodus 3:13-14, Deuteronomy 32:39, Isaiah 43:10) and was interpreted as such by Jesus’ listeners (John 8:58-59). I AM was recognized by the Jews as a title of deity.

Finally, the religious leaders understood as demonstrated by the stones. They knew he was claiming to be God. They saw it as blasphemy. These stones would have been in the temple as it was still being constructed in some areas. Jesus escaped, probably mixing himself with the people in the temple but he could have vanished miraculously. We are not told.

Exodus 3:12-15:  God asserts how he will be with Moses and the sign is the burning bush and how one day all will worship Him on Mount Sinai.  Moses needed proof of his encounter with God so he asks him what he should tell the elders is his name.  God says “I am who I am.”  There is no equal. God is God.  This is the name by which God wished to be known and worshipped in Israel.  It’s the name that expresses his character as the dependable and faithful God who desires the full trust of his people.

This was not a new name for God.  The people knew it.  It’s recorded over 160 times in the book of Genesis.  It’s a call back to the patriarchs.

History of the word Jehovah:  In the English-speaking world, the pious Jews of later years did not want to pronounce the name of God out of reverence and thought it too holy to utter and feared violating Exodus 20:7 and Leviticus 24:16, so they left the vowels out of His name and simply said the word Lord (adonai) instead. If the vowels of the word adonai are put over the consonants for YHWH, you can get the name “Jehovah.” All this came about much later; in the days of the Bible, the name was pronounced Yah-weh or Yah-veh although the proper pronunciation today may be different.

Yahweh is the Hebrew name for God and is not Jehovah.  It means “He is” or “He will be” and is the third-person form of the verb translated “I will be.”  When God speaks of himself, He says “I am”.  When we speak of him, we say “He is.”

I am.  God has always existed and always been.  He simply is.  God is completely independent.  He relies on nothing for life or existence (Isaiah 40:28-29; John 5:26). This is aseity (we talked about it in Lesson 7 Day 4), meaning  God doesn’t need anybody or anything – life is in Himself.

God is eternal and unchanging.  There is no past or future tense in the Divine Vocabulary.

God is “the becoming one”; God becomes whatever is lacking in our time of need.  The name I Am invites us to fill in the blank to meet our need – when we are in darkness, Jesus says I am the light; when we are hungry, He says I am the bread of life, when we are defenseless, He says I am the Good Shepherd. God is the becoming one, becoming what we need.

God’s name is both an announcement and an introduction. It announces God’s presence, and invites any interested to know Him by experience, to taste and see that the Lord is good.

I Am: This is a divine title that Jesus took upon Himself often, clearly identifying Himself with the voice from the burning bush.

“Therefore I said to you that you will die in your sins; for if you do not believe that I Am [He], you will die in your sins.” (John 8:24)

Then Jesus said to them, “When you lift up the Son of Man, then you will know that I Am [He], and that I do nothing of Myself; but as My Father taught Me, I speak these things.” (John 8:28)

Jesus said to them, “Most assuredly, I say to you, before Abraham was, I Am.” (John 8:58)

Now I tell you before it comes, that when it does come to pass, you may believe that I Am (John 13:19)

Jesus therefore, knowing all things that would come upon Him, went forward and said to them, “Whom are you seeking?” They answered Him, “Jesus of Nazareth.” Jesus said to them, “I Am [He].” And Judas, who betrayed Him, also stood with them. Now when He said to them, “I am [He],” they drew back and fell to the ground. (John 18:4-6)

Interesting Trend in the Bible:  The first word had to come to the people of God (Exodus 3:16) and then to the world (Exodus 3:18).  Often God will not speak to the wider world until He speaks to His people and He has their attention.  First the Jews, then the Gentiles.

This is My name forever: God refers to the name mentioned in the same verse, the Lord God (Yahweh Elohim). “Forever” emphasizes the eternal faithfulness of God to His covenant.

BSF Study Questions John Lesson 12, Day 3: John 8:12-30

Summary of passage:  Jesus announces he is the light of the world and whoever follows him will have the light of life.  The Pharisees say he cannot testify for himself.  Jesus says he can (well, duh, he’s God!). Jesus judges righteously.  The Father also testifies for him.  Jesus says again he is going away and they cannot come because they do not know him and thus will die in their sins.  Jesus says when he dies, then they will understand that he is from the Father and does his will.

Questions:

6a)  Part personal Question.  My answer:  “I am the light of the world.  Whoever follows me will never walk in darkness, but will have the light of life.”  Jesus says he knows where he came from and where he’s going.  He judges justly and the Father is his witness.  Jesus is the One (along with God).  Without him/Him, I am nothing.

b)  He testifies for himself as does the Father.  Jesus needs no one to testify for him.

7a)  Jesus is sinless and will not die in sin.  He is from heaven and if no one believes in him, they will die in sin and dwell in hell forever.

b)  God never leaves Jesus and Jesus only does what pleases God.  They are the epitome of a Father/Son relationship–so close they are inseparable.  Because Jesus is God, if you know Jesus you know God.  The Father is known through the Son and to know the one is to know the other.

8 )  Dying on the cross and being resurrected.  It is what gives believers eternal life.  It’s Jesus purpose from God.  It’s all God’s plan.  It’s the ultimate fulfillment of God’s plan here on earth.  It is the supreme example of doing the will of the Father.  It is our salvation.  Period

Conclusions:  It’s plain as day:  know the Son, know the Father.  Don’t know the Son, don’t know the Father.  It’s the difference between life and death.  Permanently.  Some will see this; some won’t.  Light versus dark.  Which shall win?

End Notes:  Assuming the placement of the woman caught in adultery is correct, Jesus was interrupted teaching at the temple and now he begins again.

Light is an important symbol in the Old Testament.  God is light and we are light as followers of Jesus.  At the Feast of Tabernacles, candles were lit to remember the pillar of light that lighted the way for the Israelites during the Exodus.  Darkness is Satan and sin.

The 2nd of Jesus’ 7 “I am” statements.

Jesus makes 2 points:  1) He is qualified to bear testimony for himself; whereas the Pharisees were not.  He knew both his origin and destination; again, the Pharisees did not.  They were blinded and could not see Jesus’ light.  He judged righteously; the Pharisees did not.  Furthermore, only Jesus (and God) are truly qualified to bear witness to who he is.  He is God after all.  He is absolutely secure in who he is.  Shouldn’t we all be?

2)  His testimony is not unsupported.  The Father is with him.  So he and the Father are the two witnesses required by law.  Jesus believed he was enough.  But, catering to us stupid humans, he provided another witness:  God himself.

The Pharisees couldn’t prove one way or another if Jesus was the Messiah.  So they hoped to intimidate him and discredit him.  They bring up his birth to try to suggest it wasn’t a miracle but a scandal.  Jesus then points out how they don’t know him or God.

John makes it clear the Word (Jesus) was with God and was God and revealed God.  The Father is known through the Son and to know the one is to know the other.

Jesus is still on the temple–a very public place–declaring himself God and the Pharisees fools.

Jesus knew the Pharisees were going to hell and said so.  They tried to twist his words into making it seem as if Jesus was saying he was going to kill himself.  According to Jewish law, the depths of Hades was where those who committed suicide dwelled.

It makes sense:  If you follow Jesus here on earth, you follow him to heaven.  If you don’t follow him here on earth, you don’t follow him to heaven and you end up in hell.

Jesus tells them they have a limited time to turn.  We are all born in sin.  If you don’t deal with sin on this side of heaven, you will dwell in sin forever.

The Pharisees intent is malicious.  They kept asking Jesus who he was, hoping to get an answer to use again him.  With the right heart, Jesus will answer our questions of who he is gladly.  And the results will be amazing.

Jesus has no new answers for them.  There’s only so many human ways to say the same thing.  And they still didn’t understand and would not–for the darkness blinded them.

“Lifted up” here refers to the cross, not exalted or anything.  The Pharisees do not challenge Jesus here.  It is evident that God is with him and will not abandon him and he’s doing the Father’s will.

Many believed Jesus who heard him speak despite the opposition of the religious leaders.  I can imagine looking upon Jesus would convince most.  His heart would be transparent and it would be evident he was God.  He walked the talk unlike the Pharisees.  He had no sin.  He was perfect.  And many believed it to be so.

BSF Suggestion: Recorded Lectures Available Online

I woke up with this thought in my head:  BSF lectures should be available online for all–not just for the children’s leaders and volunteers and for one week only.  Also, I know BSF is recording the lectures and posting them somewhere for the satellite groups so they are already doing all of the work.

I thought of my church and how they post every sermon online for years back.  If you miss one, anytime, you can go and listen/watch or you can revisit it and listen/watch it again.

This year I have missed most of the lectures.  Not because I want to.  But because I have somewhere I have to be and can’t stay and listen.  I think a lot of us are like this.  It’s something I’ve accepted, but I wish I could listen to the lectures when I have the time.

I know this has been suggested before, but I thought I’d revisit it and throw out the idea and get your all opinions on the matter.

BSF Study Questions John Lesson 7, Day 5: John 5:31-47

Summary of passage:  Jesus explains how John the Baptist has testified for him.  How the work he is doing is a testimony for who Jesus is.  God has testified for him.  The Word has testified for him.  Jesus says they do not believe who he is.

Questions:

11)  Part-personal Question.  My answer:  John the Baptist verse 33.  The work God has given him and that Jesus is doing verse 36.  God verse 37.  The Scriptures verse 39.  Moses verse 46.  My response is belief.

12)  Part-personal Question.  My answer:  They refused to believe testimonies.  They do not have the love of God in their hearts.  They missed the Truth in the Word.  Pride, vanity, self-love.  They lived on each other’s praise.  Their belief in their own self-importance blinded them to the One who is truly important.  How will I pray?  Well, I’ll just pray.

13)  Part-personal Question.  My answer:  They did not believe in the Scriptures.  They misinterpreted the Scriptures, looking for a military savior.  They were looking for what they wanted to find.  They were blinded.  We must read with an open mind and not preconceived notions.   We must be open to God speaking the Truth to us.  I’d ask for eyes to see and a humble heart from God to see the Truth.

Conclusions:  All personal questions.  All modern man has are the Scriptures.  John the Baptist is dead.  Jesus is not here on earth.  Again, the pride of man is the downfall of many.  We are blinded to the truth and we must ask God to show us.  We must let Him lead.  We must submit to Him.  Or all of us will be spiritually blinded and will miss Jesus.  And our lives are too short for that.

End Notes:  Jesus’ testimony about himself is not enough because anyone can claim anything.  Debt 19:15 says one witness is not enough.  Two or three are needed.  Here, Jesus goes beyond that by citing 5 witnesses.

The religious leaders for a time believed John the Baptist.  A lamp is light, the light of God.

Jesus’ works were of compassion to others, not military might.  This Messiah is not the one expected because again man misconstrues God’s word.

Everything Jesus does is God’s testimony but in Luke 3:22 God specifically anoints Jesus at his baptism.

They studied the Scriptures but never found the Truth there.  How tragic!  What a message for us!

The religious leaders were unwilling to come to Jesus out of pride.  They did not love God.  This was a heart issue.

Jesus prophesies the Anti-Christ here and others who will claim to be the Messiah.

New Testament writers all took the stand that the Old Testament as a whole points to Jesus (Luke 24:25-27, 44-46).

These men did not believe Moses who wrote extensively of the Messiah (Deut 18:15; Num 20:8-12, 21:8-9; Lev 1-7; Exodus 21:5-6).

BSF Study Questions John Lesson 2, Day 4: John 1:35-42

Summary of passage:  John the Baptist points out Jesus as the Messiah.  Jesus gains his first 2 disciples (John and Andrew) who were followers of John the Baptist.  They spent the day with Jesus.  Then Andrew found his brother, Simon, whom Jesus called “cephas” or Peter.

Questions:

8 )  Part personal question.  My answer:  They followed Jesus.  Just listening to him as he moved us around the country and believing he had my life all worked out and I don’t have to worry at all.

9a)  Jesus invited the men to follow him and see.  They had to spend the day with him.

b)  Personal Question.  My answer:  Spending the day reading the Bible, praying, listening for answers and guidance from God.  Help others.  Walk in his ways instead of mine.

Conclusions:  The way to Jesus is simple:  He’s identified.  He invites you in.  You follow and spend time with him.  You believe.  Open hearts and open minds are all that are required.  If you follow these steps, belief and eternal life will follow.

End Notes:  Most scholars agree the 2nd disciple who is never named must be John.  John never names himself in this book and the account is so specific it must be made by an eye-witness.

“Look, the Lamb of God” is repeated from John 1:29.  Perhaps John always said this when he saw Jesus.  To him, it was the most important thing about Jesus.

John the Baptist did not care that his disciples left him for Jesus.  After all, that’s his mission in this world: to prepare the way for Jesus.

“What do you want?” or “What do you seek?” are the first words spoken by Jesus in the book of John.  And Jesus still asks us this today.

The disciples lived with Jesus and shared in his life.  Jesus did not separate himself from his followers.  The same is true today.

John remembers the time (the tenth hour) that he came to Jesus–another supporting detail that John was the 2nd disciple.

Every time we see Andrew in the book of John he is bringing people to Jesus (John 6:8 and 12:22). That is how most of us come to Jesus–through a friend or family member.  Every Peter has an Andrew.  Who was your Andrew?

“We have found the Messiah” is the simplest and greatest testimony for Jesus.

Jesus knew what kind of man Peter would become so he renames him.

By spending the day with Jesus, the disciples would have first-hand testimony of Jesus and his doings to tell others instead of just pure faith alone.

Comparison of the gospels accounts of the first calling of the disciples HERE  Interesting to see the differences.

Fun post about the order of the calling of the disciples HERE  Only 4 people total in the New Testament got renamed.  This same post goes over each in detail.  3 were disciples and Saul/Paul is considered a close second disciple.  There are also 3 sets of the brothers of the original 12 disciples. Cool!

BSF Study Questions Revelation Lesson 29, Day 3: Revelation 22:12-16

Summary of passage:  Jesus is coming to reward those according to what they’ve done.  He’s the Alpha, Omega, First and Last, Beginning, End.  Blessed are the righteous who have the tree of life.  Outside the gates of the city are the dogs who are immoral and practice falsehoods.  Jesus is the Root, Offspring of David, the Morning Star.

Questions:

6)  Part personal Question.  My answer:  He’s the Alpha, Omega, First and Last, Beginning, End, the Root, Offspring of David, the Morning Star.  The first and the last or alpha and omega because everything starts, ends, and everything in between is his.  He is the beginning, the middle, and the end for every Christian.

7a)  Blessed are those who accept Jesus as their Savior and not blessed are those who don’t.

b)  Personal Question.  My answer:  Those who accept Jesus because he lives inside of me via the Holy Spirit.

8 )  Personal Question.  My answer:  Pray to be more like Jesus.

Conclusions:  All personal.  No meat.  I love how Jesus uses all his titles here.  We see most of them in Revelation and throughout the Bible.  It’s a culmination of who he is.

End Notes:  Be ready.  This is stated 3 times in this chapter (verses 7, 12, 20).  It’s meaning is not soon but when they come it will be in rapid succession.  The church and us are meant to be ready always.

“And My reward is with Me.”  The word for “reward” means to “pay for service—good or bad” (more literally, as a “wage”).  Jesus will compensate the saints (Revelation 11:18) as well as the unrighteous (2 Peter 2:12-13).  A believer shall be given the gift of life and rewarded for good works, whereas the unbeliever shall be given the wages of death (Romans 6:23).  There is no partiality with God.  He “will render to each one according to his deeds” (Romans 2:5-16).

What you do here matters.

Jesus uses titles normally associated with God.  Alpha and Omega is in Revelation 1:8; 21:6.  The First and the Last is in Isaiah 41:4.  Jesus wants to leave no doubt he is a Triune God.

There is debate about who speaks this last beatitude in Revelation:  John, an angel, or Jesus.

Some versions say blessed are those who do his commandments instead of who wash their robes. The difference stems from a Greek word:  HOIPLUNONTESTASSTOLAS (washed their robes) or
HOIPOIOUNTESTASENTOLAS (do His commandments).  This would be a copyist’s error.  Still, the meaning is clear.  This is the desire of our hearts.  Obviously, we all fail.  But our desire is to keep his commandments and wash our robes.  That is what matters.  The unbeliever has no such desire.

We saw washing of robes in Revelation 7:14 or washing in Jesus’s blood.  It means fully committing to the Lord Jesus Christ, our lives.

Being on the outside is not literal here.  There are not throngs of unbelievers standing outside the New Jerusalem.  It means they are not in the eternal city.  Jesus is making clear one last time who will stand with him and who will stand against him.

Dogs here is a derogatory term for the morally impure or unbelievers (Matthew 7:6; Philippians 3:2).  Dogs were considered unclean and despised.

Jesus assures us here the Book of Revelation is his word to us, the churches, to be known.

The Root is a Messianic title (Isaiah 11:1).  It shows that Jesus is both the Creator of King David and His descendent.  Jesus spoke this same idea in Matthew 22:41-46.

The Morning Star is another Messianic title from the Old Testament (Numbers 24:17) and the New Testament (Revelation 2:28).  Just as the Morning Star (generally held to be the planet Venus) shines and welcomes the new day, so does Jesus.

Fun Fact:  This is the first reference to the church since the letters to the seven churches in Revelation 2-3.