BSF Study Questions John Lesson 21, Day 5: 1 John 4:7-5:21

Summary of passage:  1 John 4:7-21: God is love and showed it to us by sending His Son so that we may live.  We ought to love one another.  If you love, you know God.  If you acknowledge Jesus and God’s Son, then God lives in you.  You should have no fear.

1 John 5:  To love God is to obey His commands.  Only those who believe Jesus is the Son of God will overcome this world and have eternal life.  The Spirit, the water (baptism), and the blood all testify the truth.  If we ask anything according to his will, God hears us and will answer us.  We are born of God.  He keeps us safe from the evil one.  We are God’s children.  Jesus gives us understanding.  Stay with the truth.

Questions:

12)  Part personal Question.  My answer:  He sent His Son to dies for us so that we might live.  He has given us the Holy Spirit as a guide.  He has taken away our fear.  I am more loving towards others and compassionate.  Love overflows from God’s love.

13a)  We have eternal life through faith in Jesus.  We do not continue to sin as the Holy Spirit is our guide.

b)  We do not continue to sin and are kept safe from the evil one.  We are God’s children.  Christ gives us understanding so that we may know the truth.

Conclusions:  John repeats himself here, summing up what he just said and what’s most important:  loving God and others and obeying his commands.  Jesus’ baptism, death, and Spirit testify to who he is and are a gift from God to us.

End Notes: 1 John 4:  We love one another because and only because we are loved by God.  Otherwise, we’d all hate each other.  Man is still capable of love because we are made in God’s image.  But it’s imperfect and messy like man.  The Greek says is best:  agapetoi agapomen, “those who are loved, let us love.”

When you are born of God, you have a love you didn’t have before, one you weren’t capable of.  Because it’s God’s love, not man’s, which is non-existent without God.

This is the agape love, the love without expecting anything in return.  If we want to love one another more, we need to draw closer to God.  Love is a triangle with God at the apex.

God does everything out of love.  He’s righteous and holy and just because He loves us.  He is incapable of hating.

Love is also the giving of the Father as much as it is the sacrifice of the Son.  This should read only begotten Son, indicating God and the Son are of the same substance or being.

The love of the Father takes away our sin and allows us to live.  Both are important for we still deserve death but God wants us with Him.

His love for us initiates our relationship of love with Him, our love only responds to His love for us. We can’t love God the way we should unless we are receiving and living in His love.

Love is the constant.  Wherever there is love, there is God.  This is our evidence since we cannot see God that He exists and is working in our lives.  However, God is also spirit (John 3:24), light (1 John 1:5), righteous (1 John 2:29; 3:7), holy (1 John 2:20), powerful or great (1 John 4:4), faithful (1 John 1:9), true (1 John 5:20), and just (1 John 1:9).

We know (not hope) that Jesus is in us (through the Holy Spirit) and we are in him (giving us this knowledge is the Holy Spirit).

“We” are the disciples and the eyewitnesses.  Believers must acknowledge of confess that Jesus is the Son and believe God loves them even when they don’t feel His love.  God’s love will be complete on the day of Judgment.

Fear here is not the fear of God of his awesomeness but the fear that robs us of having a life full of peace in Him.  We should not fear judgment when Christ has taken it all on him.

“We love because he first loved us.”  We love God and Christ.  God has always loved us since before time.  Our love for God is always in response to His love for us; He initiates, and we respond. We never have to draw God to us; instead, He draws us to Himself.

Loving others is a choice and that is why it is a command from God.  We must choose to love others even when it’s not easy; otherwise, God is not in us if not.  To love God more is to love others more. If you want to love God move, love fellow Christians more.

1 John 5:  John wants to make sure you understand that you don’t earn salvation by loving others. You trust in Jesus and his atoning sacrifice on the cross to earn salvation.

Our love and obedience to God is a demonstration of love to the body of Christ.  Love for God will show itself in obedience.  Commandments are gifts from God to show us the most fulfilling life possible.  The Holy Spirit enables us to obey.

The key to victory is faith (reliance upon, trust, etc) in Jesus as Son and Savior.

“water and blood” has perplexed scholars for centuries.  What exactly did John mean here?  Some think water is our baptism and blood is communion (Luther and Calvin).  Some think this is the water and blood that flowed from Jesus when he was pierced with the spear at crucifixion (Augustine).  Others think the water is Jesus’ birth from the womb and the blood is his death.

Most likely, John means the water of Jesus’ baptism, and the blood of His crucifixion.  This was when Jesus’ ministry began and ended.  This explanation is the oldest recorded Christian understanding of the passage.  Jesus identified with man when he was baptized and saved us with his death.  This also supports John 3:5.

A priest was always ordained by sacrificial blood, cleansing water, and oil that spoke of the anointing of the Holy Spirit.  So Jesus also had these same three witnesses to His priestly ministry.

John keeps harping on this point because of the Gnostics.  If Jesus was not fully God at death, then his death was not sufficient to pay for our sins.

The Holy Spirit testifies that Jesus is the Son of God in two ways:  When the Spirit descended upon Jesus at his baptism and he continues to affirm this truth in the heart of believers.

Note on 1 John 5:7-8:  This passage is disputed.  Some words were added to the Latin manuscript that never appeared in any Greek manuscript that still appear in some Bible versions.  The NIV has it correct however.  Words were probably added to clarify the Trinity late in the Middle Ages.

If you reject Jesus, you are calling God a liar with your unbelief.

Eternal life is a gift from God receive in Jesus.

Ask anything and everything in His will.  Why doesn’t God just answer prayers?  God wants us to work with Him, and that means bringing our will and agenda into alignment with His. He wants us to care about the things He cares about, and He wants us to care about them enough to pray passionately about them.  God is delighted when we pray His promises. It shows our will aligned with His, our dependence on Him, and that we take His Word seriously.

We pray for our sinful brothers.  There are sins that lead to death but not all.  This could refer to the Gnostics adamant denial of the truth and their shameless immorality.  This is a spiritual death. Another view here is a physical death because a believer continues to sin so God takes their life (1 Corinthians 11:30).

If we are in Jesus, Satan cannot harm us.  Some bibles say “touch” instead of harm here.  It means “grasp” or “lay hold of”.  The only other place in his writings where John uses this particular verb for touch is in John 20:17, where He literally tells Mary to stop clinging to Me.

Significantly, this understanding must be given. We cannot attain it on our own. If God did not reveal Himself to us, we would never find Him.  Jesus is fully man and God.

Idols interfere with our relationship and fellowship with God.  Remember, putting anything (wealth, money, others, clothes, power, self, food, etc) above God is an idol.

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BSF Study Questions John Lesson 18, Day 3: John 13:36-38

Summary of passage:  Peter, of course, asks Jesus where he’s going (none of them quite understanding Jesus’ words).  Jesus says they will follow him to where he’s going later.  Peter protests, saying he wants to go with the Lord now.  Jesus calls him on his bluff, saying he’s about to disown him 3 times in less than 24  hours!

Questions:

6)  Jesus says Peter is will disown him 3 times before the rooster crows.  Peter will be more able to strengthen his brothers, having been wrung through the wringer by Satan and then confessed his sin.  He can better relate to people having denied Jesus out of fear and then come to him stronger.

7)  Personal Question.  My answer:  It gives me courage to do His will for my life when I am scared of losing income because I know He will bless me much more in the long term which will lead to me being able to touch many more lives than I do already.

Conclusions:  How many of us know a Peter in our lives?  Someone who is gung-ho on everything and then when the time comes to put the talk into action, they back down or freeze up or come up with an excuse.  How encouraging for us that even though we may freeze up in that moment for Jesus, he forgives us and strengthens us and moves us forward according to His will.  Great stuff!

End Notes:  Jesus tells Peter he will eventually follow him.  He just doesn’t mention the after you die part.

Peter is 100% committed as a disciple of Jesus.  He says he’ll lay down his life for him.  At this moment.  Later, he fails because he let emotion get in the way.

Peter’s denial of Jesus is not the same as Judas’.  Judas planned his and is deliberate.  Peter’s is in the heat of the moment, based on fickle passions, and is accidental.  It is still bad but not as bad as Judas’.  This is a whole different level.

Christ must die for Peter FIRST; then Peter can die for Jesus.

Peter denies Jesus off of very human emotions of being laughed at.  He was embarrassed.  The girl’s tongue is sharper than a sword!  Peter denies he even knows Jesus, let alone denying he will lay his life down for him.  Peter does go from bad to worse. However, Jesus forgives those who make very human mistakes (all of us) with the right heart.  Dark hearts (like Judas’) are not forgiven.

Jesus knows Peter’s heart here and says so!

The time is halfway between midnight and dawn is when the rooster crows.  It was the 3rd of 4 Roman nightwatches.

BSF Study Questions John Lesson 17, Day 5: John 13:1-30

Summary of passage:  It’s just before Passover and Jesus’ time is limited.  Judas has already betrayed him and now Jesus is sitting down for the Last Supper with his disciples.  He dresses himself as a slave and washed his disciples’ feet. Peter protests and Jesus tells him to let him. When he is finished, he dresses and sits with them. He explains that they need to serve others and no one is greater than they.  Jesus says he knows the hearts of all he has chosen and whoever whoever accepts those in his name (such as the disciples) accepts Jesus and thus accepts God.  Jesus knows Judas will betray him and he indicates this by giving him bread. Judas takes it and Jesus tells him to betray him quickly and Judas leaves.  The disciples (clueless as ever) don’t understand.

Questions:

10)  Personal Question.  My answer:  Jesus still showed Judas love.  He didn’t condemn him, leaving the final choice up to Judas.  He offered him another chance to not do what he was about to do.  Jesus keeps fighting for you to the end.

11)  Part personal Question.  My answer:  This act revealed the true character of God himself.  In it we see it’s the acceptance of what Jesus did for us and does for us that matters. We have to accept his cleansing or it’s meaningless.  It was a spiritual cleaning, not a physical.  Once we are bathed in Jesus, we still need to seek him and wash in him.  Jesus explained his actions so he was sure they got it. They needed to have the same attitude and service as him. We must wash one another’s feet–do for others. Following Jesus’ example, doing the acts of service leads to blessings.  For me, it’s about helping others and putting others first and being bless by it (either in the moment or later).  It’s loving others as much as Jesus loved us.

Conclusions:  This is like Day 6 questions.  We see the crux of this passage here:  Jesus loves us so much he’ll forgive anything–even an act that leads to his own death!  It’s incomprehensible how deep the Father’s love for us is but this passage gives us at least a little bit more understanding of it.  Great stuff!

End Notes:  Alexander Maclaren wrote of this remarkable section, John 13:1-17: “Nowhere else is His speech at once so simple and so deep. Nowhere else have we the heart of God so unveiled to us…The immortal words which Christ spoke in that upper chamber are His highest self-revelation in speech, even as the Cross to which they led up is His most perfect self-revelation in act.”

John has by far the longest account of the upper room, but he says nothing of the Lord’s Supper. We get most of what Jesus said that night from John.  He devotes 1/3 of his book to the 24 hour period immediately preceding Jesus’ death.  Chapters 13-17 describe the long day and night of the Last Supper.  Nothing else like this exists in the Bible.  We have an intimate portrait of Jesus’ most anguished moments.

John focuses on the emotional currents and not the physical details.  Jesus is direct with the disciples, not speaking in parables but painstakingly answering their questions until they finally seem to get it.  Still, most won’t make sense until later after his death when the Holy Spirit arrives.  John’s purpose is to prove that Jesus is the Son of God.  He handpicks these incidents or signs to make his point.  You either believe he is or he isn’t.  There is no middle ground.

The Greek noun agape (love) and the verb agapao (love) appear only 8 times in John Chapters 1-12 but 31 times in Chapters 13-17. Chapters 13-14 take place at the Last Supper. The discourses in Chapters 15-16 are probably spoken on the way to Gethsemane.

We have a time reference but still scholars disagree if this was on Passover or celebrated the day before when the traditional Passover meal was taken. This affects whether Jesus was crucified on the day of Passover or the day after.

Jesus had less than 24 hours to live. He is preparing his disciples for their work after he is gone.

The cross is not specifically mentioned in this passage, but it hangs in the actions and the words.

Jesus’ love for his own is greater because we have a response back. I picture Jesus holding us close to him.

In this scene we have the thinking of Jesus as well (either he told John or John was more observant than the other writers). Instead of it being all about that person (at the end of your life it can be), Jesus focuses on others and shows his love even though he knows he will be abandoned by them. Jesus never abandons us. Jesus did every part of this act himself–an act in Jewish custom that no one else would ever do.

Luke tells us that the disciples were debating who was the greatest when they entered the room. Jesus showed what true greatness was.

It was customary to wash feet before the meal started. However, this didn’t happen. At that time, the meal was eaten at a low table called a triclinium. It was U-shaped. The higher status guests sat the closest to the host. They leaned on pillows with their feet behind them. The disciples were willing to wash Jesus’ feet but not the others’ because it would put him below them. Hence, no one’s feet got washed–until Jesus did it.

Jesus showed the disciples humility. Scholars see this act as a comparison the cross. Jesus rose from supper (from his throne in heaven). He took off his clothes (he took off his glory). He poured water to clean (he poured out his blood to cleanse us).

This act revealed the true character of God himself. In it we see it’s the acceptance of what Jesus did for us and does for us that matters. We have to accept his cleansing or it’s meaningless. Peter protested out of a misplaced humility and pride. Peter again didn’t get it: it’s receiving Jesus into our lives that matter. It was a spiritual cleaning, not a physical, that Peter needed.

First, Peter says don’t do it. Then he says do more! He’s telling Jesus what to do here.

Once we are bathed in Jesus, we still need to seek him and wash in him.

Jesus explained his actions so he was sure they got it. They needed to have the same attitude and service as him. We must wash one another’s feet–do for others. Following Jesus’ example, doing the acts of service leads to blessings.

Some believe this act was meant to be performed by Christians today. Most scholars agree it’s the message beneath that is important.

Christ washing the disciples’ feet was a favorite amongst painters. My favorite HERE

Jesus is predicting his betrayal for the other disciples’ sake. He doesn’t want their faith to waver in him. Hence, he’s telling him he knew all along Judas would betray him. And Jesus is pointing out rejecting him as the one God sent is rejecting God.

Jesus loves Judas and thus is moved (and probably hurt) by the impending betrayal. By telling all he knows about the betrayal, this shows Jesus is the one in control, not Satan or Judas.

The other disciples are confused because up to this point Judas has been one of them, doing everything and going through the motions of faith like so many do today. They may have even thought Jesus was speaking of an unintended betrayal.

Peter, curious as always, asks John to ask Jesus whom he is speaking to. One can imagine that in Peter’s mind, he’s gonna be the superhero here and stop the betrayal before it happens. This also indicates to scholars that Peter is not sitting next to Jesus or he would have asked him himself.

FUN FACT: This is the first of 4 times John refers to himself as “the one Jesus loved”. The 4 are:

· Here in the upper room (John 13:23)

· At the cross of Jesus (John 19:26)

· At the empty tomb (John 20:2)

· With the risen Jesus at the Sea of Galilee (John 21:20)

All of these are connected with the cross and all indicate that John did not boast of this egotistically but out of the love of Jesus.

SPOILER ALERT FOR ART FANS: The famous paintings you see of the Last Supper are all false (like this one HERE and HERE). At a special or ceremonial meal like this they would lay on their stomachs around a U-shaped table, leaning on their left elbow and eating with their right hand their head towards the table, much like the Romans did at the time. It seems that from John’s position next to Jesus, he could lean back and be close enough to speak quietly to Jesus and still be heard. Bear in mind most of the artwork we associate with the Last Supper was painted 1000 years after the fact. Times change and man for the most part had transitioned to eating sitting up at tables. Hence, the depiction.

Picture this: On each side of Jesus sat a disciple. Spurgeon says it best: “One of them was John the divine, and the other was Judas the devil. One of them was the seer of the Apocalypse, the other was the son of perdition.”

Another scholar, Morris, says this: “The place of honor was to the left of, and thus slightly behind the principal person. The second place was to his right, and the guest there would have his head on the breast of the host. Plainly this was the position occupied by the beloved disciple.

The normal posture at a table was sitting, as rabbinical sources indicate; reclining was the posture reserved for special meals, such as parties, wedding feasts, etc.

Giving of dipped bread is like a toast today. It was a special honor. Jesus is still showing love to Judas even at the last hour. Like he will to many of us at the Second Coming. Jesus is showing how to love your enemies to the last and even offering Judas one last chance to repent.

Judas is in the place of honor and Jesus could speak to him without being overheard. Also, scholars speculate that only John heard Jesus indicate Judas as the betrayer, being on Jesus’ other side. Peter is the man of action, the superhero, and the one to defend Jesus with gusto and bravado and sometimes without thinking (like we’ll see in the Garden). John did nothing to stop Judas from leaving and we are not told why. He could have been shocked or he could have trusted Jesus to have it all under control. We don’t know. All we are told is “no one understood Jesus”.

FUN FACT: This is the only time John uses the name Satan in his Gospel.

Judas rejects Jesus’ final act of love and Satan then completely takes over. It’s a choice of Free Will. And Judas will pay the ultimate price.

With the words “do quickly” Jesus is indicating he’s the one in control. He would die as he directed, not as his opponents determined.

The disciples just thought Judas, as the one in charge of the money, had left to pay the bill or give alms to the poor. Note how even though Jesus and them had little money they still gave what they could. It’s not the amount you give but the heart that matters.

No one is immune from the devil. Judas was one of the 12. He lived with Jesus. He listened to Jesus. He watched Jesus perform miracle after miracle. He was one of the best and still he was lost. Man needs more than an example and good teaching. It’s a turn of the heart. If that doesn’t happen, there is no hope.

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.