BSF Study Questions John Lesson 23, Day 5: John 17:20-26

Summary of passage:  Jesus prays for all believers, prays for our unity and our glory so that the world may believe God sent Jesus.  He prays for all believers to be where he is and to see his glory for him to be in them and for God’s love to be in us.

Questions:

11)  Part personal Question.  My answer:  We are to be united in our mission to let the world know Jesus as the Son of God and believe in him and come to him.  We can’t be divided in our church.  The underlying mission must be the same.

12)  Part personal Question.  My answer:  Jesus saves us completely as our High Priest in heaven and died for our sins.  It encourages me when I sin and offers a peace that I am still sanctified with God.

13)  Personal Question.  My answer:  That as believers we are unified in our purpose to shine Jesus’ light to the world and we don’t let Satan tear us apart over petty things.  I want to see Jesus’ glory and be where he is, that God’s love would be in me as would Jesus.

Conclusions:  Important passage on unity.  We as Christians are in this fight together.  We can’t let little things cause big rifts.  Jesus is everything.  We must remember that.

End Notes:  Jesus knew the disciples would prevail in his work.  Scholars believe Jesus envisioned the great multitude before the throne of God here (Revelation 7:9-10) of all races and walks of life. The unity is based upon equality just like the equality of God and Jesus. We are to share in the life God has for us.

Jesus essentially gave the world permission to judge the validity of His ministry based on the unity of His people. Unity among God’s people helps the world to believe that the Father sent the Son.

Jesus gives glory to his people.  Scripturally speaking, when God gives or displays His glory to His people, it is some type of manifestation of God’s presence. God’s glory is, in some way, the radiance or shining of His presence, His essential nature.

Jesus’ glory was his work on the cross.  It was humble, weak, and sacrificial.

Jesus repeats the idea that God sent Him.  This is crucial to salvation.

It’s as if Jesus gave the world permission to doubt both His mission and His love if the world does not see unity and love among believers.  This is difficult because despite what we do, some will still not believe for various reason.  Christians have a great responsibility to display Jesus to the world through their love and unity, but often Christians are too quick to blame one another for an unbelieving world.  Remember God chooses who will be saved and ultimately it’s Free Will.

Jesus wants all of us to be with him.  He desires the Second Coming and for the consummation of all things.  Before creation, there was love and God loved.  Love has always been.  Cool!

Jesus ends his prayer by declaring God to the world–his whole mission in this world!  He prays for God’s love to be in them and for him to be in them.  The two essentials we need in this world!

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BSF Study Questions John Lesson 23, Day 4: John 17:11-19

Summary of passage:  Jesus is continuing his prayer for the disciples, asking God to protect them except for Judas who betrayed Jesus.  He asks God to protect them from the evil one and to sanctify them.

Questions:

8a)  He prayed for God to protect them from the evil one and to sanctify them.

b)  God sent the Holy Spirit to protect the disciples and set them apart for His work.  I have my purpose for God as well.

9)  As believers in Jesus as Savior, we are awaiting our home in heaven, we are forgiven, and we are sanctified.  We are in the world, but not of the world, indulging in sin and the things of the devil.  We do not have the mind-set of the world, which is hostility to God.

10)  The definition of sanctify according to Webster’s Dictionary is “to set apart as or declare holy; consecrate; to free from sin, purify.”  We are set apart as holy as God’s chosen people, made righteous by Jesus’ sacrifice, and justified before God.  We are to lead holy and godly lives, full of joy and mercy.

Sanctify means to be set apart for God’s special pleasure and use. It implies holiness, being set apart from the corruption of the world and for God’s use.

Conclusions: Well, we focused on the idea of holiness here instead of the passage, which we haven’t really focused on in this study as of yet.  Reasonable enough.  Dissection of the passage below.

End Notes:  Jesus is praying for the disciples because their lives are about to dramatically change.  They won’t have Jesus to go to for questions and answers.  They will be on their own, still in this world but not of it.  They will begin to face persecution and will have to rely upon the Holy Spirit.  A major life-changing even for sure!

Christ’s power is adequate for every need.

Most disciples of the time found a new rabbi to follow once the old one died.  Jesus prays for God to keep the disciples true to him.  We need to be kept true to Jesus as well with God’s power for we’d never survive the temptations of this world without Him.  He wants our joy as well–why else would Jesus pray for it?

Jesus prayed to keep them together and unified so they wouldn’t scatter upon his death.  The meaning is they stay unified as the church was meant to be.  He prayed for their joy–Jesus’ joy.

Judas was lost as he was meant to be lost according to Scripture (Psalm 41:9 and Psalm 109:8, Acts 1:20).

Jesus was a messenger as well and always spoke God’s words.  We are to be in this world and not cloister ourselves in monasteries.  For without us, there would be no light, no service, no witness, no grace, no mercy, no compassion from God to others.  We are God’s witnesses and we can’t do that isolated.  We must do His work He has given us to do.

Sanctification is by truth–the word of God read, heard, understood, and applied.  The more truth you believe, the more sanctified you are.  The disciples are sent into the world to continue Jesus’ work.

Jesus sanctifies himself, unparalleled in the Bible.  The same verb is used of priests in the Old Testament.  Jesus sets himself apart to do God’s will, which is death.  Jesus’ death saved us and consecrated us to God’s service.

Fun Fact:  “Holy Father” is a form of address found only here in the New Testament.  It suggests both remoteness and nearness, awe and love.

BSF Study Questions John Lesson 23, Day 3: John 17:6-10

Summary of passage:  Jesus says he has revealed God to the disciples.  They have obeyed him and accepted Jesus as God.  Glory comes to Jesus through them.  God has given the disciples and us to Jesus. We are His.  We will bring glory to God.

Questions:

6)  Part personal Question.  My answer:  Because we are God’s gift to him (Jesus).  We have believed in Jesus. We will bring glory to Jesus.  It’s hard to internalize that I bring joy to Jesus especially when my life is wrought with sin.  It helps to know I’m on his path and doing his work.

7a)  Because they obeyed God, accepted the teaching, knew Jesus’ origin, and believed in Jesus as God’s Son.

b)  Personal Question.  My answer:  By following Jesus everyday in all the little things in life that add up to the big things in life.  By having faith in him.  By showing the world our faith to bring Jesus glory.

Conclusions:  Thought we could have dug a little deeper into these questions instead of focusing so much on the personal.  See End Notes for more.

End Notes: This prayer is to the disciples initially but is extended to all believers as well.  Here, Jesus is giving the disciples over to God.  Only as people see the Father at work in Jesus do they have a proper concept of God.

Manifest is a better translation that revealed in the NIV.  Jesus manifested God to his disciples in all that he did:  miracles, the way he lived, the love, the compassion, the holiness of God.  So we are to manifest God as well in all we do.

God gave the disciples to Jesus (Luke 6:12-16).  Yet they had faith in Jesus as the Savior.  Both must occur for eternal salvation.

This prayer is for the disciples.  It is the disciples who will bring the rest of us to faith.

Spurgeon says, “There is an old proverb; it is, ‘Love me, love my dog.’ It is as if the Lord Jesus so loved the Father that even such poor dogs as we are get loved by him for his Father’s sake. To the eyes of Jesus we are radiant with beauty because God hath loved us.”  Because God loves us, Jesus loves us.  And thank God for that!  He loved us enough to pay our penalty for sin.  Amazing!

Believers belong to both God and Jesus.  Everything we have belongs to God, but not everything He has belongs to us.  Anyone can say to God the Father “all mine are Yours“; but only Jesus could say “and Yours are Mine.”

Jesus is glorified in us.  Think on that a moment.  Think of our actions every day.  We must be mindful that Jesus is in us and must be glorified.  How would your actions change if you remembered that?

BSF Study Questions John Lesson 23, Day 2: John 17:1-5

Summary of passage:  Beautiful prayer of Jesus to his Father, saying the time has come to glorify Him through himself, defining eternal life as knowing God and himself, Jesus Christ.  Tearful!

Questions:

3)  The definition of glorify according to Webster’s Dictionary is:  “to make glorious by bestowing honor, praise, or admiration; to elevate to celestial glory; to light up brilliantly; to represent as glorious : extol; to cause to be or seem to be better than the actual condition; to give glory to (as in worship)”

Jesus asks God to glorify him so that He Himself would be glorified.

Glory according to Webster’s Dictionary is:  ” praise, honor, or distinction extended by common consent : renown; worshipful praise, honor, and thanksgiving; giving glory to God”.

It is time to give glory to God by bringing His plan to fruition and saving mankind for Himself.

4a)  Knowing about Jesus doesn’t mean you believe in Him.  Most people in the developed world know about Jesus.  Only those saved know who Jesus is and what he has done for them as sinners and be saved.  I know about Communism.  That doesn’t make me a communist.

b)  Personal Question.  My answer:  There have been signs recently in my life that time is of the essence and I need to get back to His path and quit dinkering around and being diverted by frivolous desires of my heart.  It is all about Him and I need to get on it!

5)  Before Jesus’ death, he had existed, taking a background to God.  After he was sent to die for mankind, God the Father elevated him to the highest place and gave him the name that is above all names.  All will bow in heaven and on earth before him and confess him as Lord and Savior.  He sits at God’s right hand in heaven.  God created the universe through Jesus.  He is heir to all things.  Jesus represents God’s being and radiates God’s glory.  His role in this world was amplified for humans.  Jesus was always there and important.  God just chose not to reveal this to mankind.

Conclusions:  I had missed that God made the universe through his Son!  Awesome how there are always new revelations to discover in His word.  Beautiful prayer to God.  Great questions about completing God’s work for us.

End Notes:  Commentators call this the greatest recorded prayer in the Bible.

Fun Fact:   This is the only long, continuous prayer of Jesus recorded in the Gospels.  It is sometimes called his High Priestly Prayer.

We see the nature and heart of Jesus.  This echoes the Lord’s prayer and we see what it’s like to have equals revere one another.  Amazing!

We see the customs of the time:  Jesus prayed with his eyes open towards heaven, very different from us bowing our heads today.

Jesus’ work being done on earth except to die, he prays.  Great lesson for us!  He will never again perform miracles or instruct his disciples.  He prays.  This is a victory prayer.

Note the words: Father . . . Your Son . . . Your Son . . . You. This is a prayer deep and rich with relationship. Jesus prayed with a full and deep sense of the familial relationship and the natural hierarchy or order that exists between God the Father and God the Son.  There is no Lord mentioned here.

This is often translated as “the hour has come”, which in my mind is better.  To Jesus, it is but one hour to suffer to him.  Great lesson for us who are stuck in the trenches of life’s tribulations.  It is but an hour before we will be glorified or our trials will appease.  Remember that!

Jesus is concerned for God’s glory only here.  It is the cross that brings glory to God and to Jesus.  If this doesn’t happen, then all if for naught.  God is glorified in His wisdom and power over evil.

All of our prayers need to have the desire to glorify God in them.  Are we looking for promotion so we can do God’s work?  Is it His desire or yours?

Verses 2-3:  Jesus has authority over all people (another claim to deity).  This is comforting to us as we evangelize cause Jesus is in control, not us.  With this authority, comes the authority to grant eternal life.  Jesus is God’s gift to us.  However, we are God’s gift to Jesus.  God gave Jesus US!  Powerful!

Everything Jesus did glorified the Father.  Jesus saw his work on the cross as finished.  Similarly, God sees the work in us as finished.  We just have to do it.

Jesus asks for the same glory God has.  Jesus relinquished some of this glory to accomplish his task. He asks for its return, confirming his preexistence and equality with the Father as One being.  This happens at Christ’s resurrection and exaltation at God’s right hand.

Fun Fact:  “World” occurs 18 times in this one prayer.

BSF Study Questions Revelation Lesson 23, Day 5: Revelation 18:21-24

Summary of passage:  An angel threw a millstone into the sea and said Babylon will be thrown down in the same way.  Nothing will be heard, found, or seen again.

Questions:

11)  It would be thrown down never to be found again like a millstone in the sea.

12a)  Because believers live forever.

b)  Personal Question.  My answer:  Nothing is impossible with God (Luke 1:37) or with God all things are possible (Matthew 19:26).  Nothing is ever hopeless.

13)  Personal Question.  My answer:  The truths apply to all no matter the age.  Most importantly, talk about it.  Bring it up.  Start with BSF and how you do a bible study and invite them to join.  Point out to them where their treasure lies and when you see them chasing things of this world.  Be a good witness.  A good observer.  A good friend.  A good friend doesn’t at least mention God and heaven occasionally.

Conclusions:  I don’t think I can take another “give you hope” question for the rest of this year!  Did not need the references to question 12a.  Seems almost silly to ask.

End Notes:  Jeremiah 51:61-4 ties a scroll containing God’s judgment of ancient Babylon to a stone and throws it in the Euphrates and says “So will Babylon sink to rise no more.”  Jesus says as well in Matthew 18:6 that it is better to tie a millstone around your neck and hurl yourself in the sea than  to lead others to sin.

“Magic spell” in Greek is pharmakia which means to prepare drugs.  Sin was like a drug.

The fact the saints and prophets were killed is listed last because it’s the most important reason Babylon is judged.  When you mess with God’s people, you mess with God!

Conclusions to Revelation 18:  Be different than the world.  Live outside the world.  Don’t be a part of the world.  We have to live in it but we don’t have be of it.  Choose wisely or face judgment!

Conclusions to Lesson 23:  Good reminder of what is actually treasure and what isn’t and where our home is. Also, love how God’s judgment is for vindication of His people’s death.  Very, very encouraging in this broken world where life is not fair and we as Christians often face harshness.  God will judge.  Give it to Him to handle.  We have no need to cloud our life with anger and bitterness and strife.

BSF Study Questions Revelation Lesson 23, Day 4: Revelation 18:9-20

Summary of passage:  All those who sinned will weep and mourn over Babylon as it is judged and see its smoke from the fire.  They weep not out of repentance but because their livelihood is up in smoke.  They will be terrified.  But the saints will rejoice for her downfall because of how Babylon treated them.

Questions:

8a)  The kings of the earth mourn because they shared in Babylon’s luxury and idolatry (adultery) and have now lost it.  The merchants of the earth because no one will buy their cargoes anymore.  All those who earn their living from the sea (sea captains, and sailors) mourn because they will no longer be able to gain riches anymore.

Side Note:  This lament is modeled off of Ezekiel’s lament over Tyre in Ezekiel 27.  15 of the 29 luxuries are also mentioned in Ezekiel 27.

b)  We just had similar questions.  True treasure is found and stored up in heaven.  If your treasure is in heaven, you are doing God’s work, not yours.  You care for others, not yourself.  Your heart is either God’s or it’s not.  What treasure you work for is a strong indication of who has possession of your heart.

9)  Because God has fulfilled His promise to judge those who hurt His people.  It is a righteous resolution we (believers) rejoice in–not the actual suffering itself.

10)  Personal Question.  My answer:  All.  Specifically, crimes against children, abuse, neglect, hunger, etc.

Conclusions:  Focus on Lesson 23 seems to be things of this world versus things of heaven.  Day 2 we were asked do things of this world or God most occupy our time.  Note:  the kings, merchants, and sailors are described as “of the earth”.  It tells you right there what their problem is.  Lesson 22 Day 2 we were asked about attractions of the world.  Lesson 22 Day 3 we were asked about glittering things of this world.

Question 10 is a filler.  We all hope all evil to end.  Period.  And it will only happen upon Jesus’ return.  That is “His timing”.

For an in-depth analysis, study the fall of Tyre and you will see the fall of the future Babylon.  God is amazing in giving us exactly what we need to know.  Much, much to explore in a greater historical context for those interested!

End Notes:  In Chapter 17 we see the ruin of Babylon but many do not realize its repercussions until now when Babylon burns.  The items listed in verses 12 & 13 are just a sample of the luxuries of the day.  They are all standing at a distance because the fire is so intense.

Note cargoes of “bodies and souls of men.”  No doubt this refers to the slave trade which thrived in Ancient Rome.  In fact, most people were slaves of some sort.  This can be applied to the slave trade of the 1700’s and 1800’s as well as well as the continued traffic in humans today.

We saw the same 3 groups wail at the fall of Tyre in Ezekiel 27:29-36.

Throwing dust on your head was an act of sorrow and dismay also from Ezekiel 27:30.

Some commentators say it is this fire, which is all-encompassing and on a giant scale, which will alert the Antichrist to Christ’s coming and be the impetus to him gathering his armies in Revelation 19.

Historical Note on Tyre:  A rich merchant city on the coast of modern-day Lebanon, Tyre controlled trade for the Mediterranean in ancient times.  It produced the purple dye only royalty wore in Rome.  However, their pride and wealth took over their hearts and they considered themselves virtual gods (Ezekiel 28:2,6).  They rejoiced in Jerusalem’s downfall, seeing an opportunity to increase its trade even more (Ezekiel 26:2).  So God sentences them.  Nebuchadnezzar began its punishment but Alexander the Great finished off the city.  Tyre became a bare rock, nothing.  Prophecy is in Ezekiel 26 & 28.  Lament is Ezekiel 27.

Another fun fact:  According to legend, Carthage, Rome’s nemesis throughout much of its history (think Hannibal and his elephants) until its final defeat by Scipio in 146 BC was founded by Queen Dido who fled Tyre after the murder of her husband.

Tyre exists today but is nowhere near the import it once held.

BSF Study Questions Revelation Lesson 23, Day 3: Revelation 18:4-8

Summary of passage:  Another voice from heaven begs the people to turn from their sins for God is going to pay the prostitute back double for what she has done.  She will be consumed by fire.

Questions:

5)  Another voice from heaven begs the people to turn from their sins for God is going to pay Babylon back double for what she has done.  In one day her plagues will overtake her and she will be consumed by fire.

6)  God has remembered His promises to His people and will blot out their transgressions. (Hebrews 8:12).

7)  Part personal Question.  My answer:  God gives people one more chance to come to Him even after all of these judgements and even after they have still rejected Him.  He offers mercy but follows up with justice for those who refuse to turn from sin.  God is in charge.  He already knows who will be saved and who won’t so I pray and give the rest to Him.

Conclusions:  Hard passage to get anything new out of–a vague vision warning God’s people (again) to turn from their ways for the final judgment will happen at any time.

End Notes:  The voice is talking to God’s people who are surrounded by decadence and sin.  We see the call to leave Babylon frequently in scripture (Jeremiah 50:8, 51:45; Isaiah 52:11; 2 Corinthians 6:14-17).  The call is for God’s people to separate themselves from the sins around them or face God’s wrath as well.

We see double restitution in Exodus 22:4-9.  We saw the cup as God’s anger in Revelation 14:10 as well.

Here, the voice points out three sins:  selfishness (living luxuriously), pride (boasting as a queen), and avoiding suffering (not a widow and will never mourn).

Who is the voice?  Some say Jesus since the voice says, “my people.”

Babylon will be destroyed as described by Isaiah 47:14 and Jeremiah 51:58.  Fire is a symbol of judgment.

Many commentators draw parallels to the US as Babylon. But I argue all nations are Babylon.  We live in luxury, are prideful, indifferent to others’ sufferings, and turn from God.  The fall can happen any time.