BSF Study Questions John Lesson 28, Day 5: John 20:24-31

Summary of passage:  Thomas who was absent the first time Jesus appeared to the disciples refused to believe Jesus had risen unless he sees Jesus.  So Jesus appears a week later in much the same manner when Thomas is present and he believes.  However, Jesus commends those who believe without seeing.

Questions:

12)  Part personal Question.  My answer:  He’s devoted to Jesus and follows him.  His faith is weak though when Jesus is not around.  He’s a skeptic but he questions honestly.  He was authentic:  he never pretended.  If he didn’t understand something, he said so.  If he felt discouraged, he acted like it.  I’m very much like Thomas–open book.  One who questions and doesn’t pretend “I’m good” when strangers ask when I’m not.  Once Thomas sees, his faith is 100%–never to leave again.  All in.  That’s me too.

13)  Jesus appearing before him.  He acknowledged Jesus as his Lord and God–the only disciple to do so.

14)  Personal Question.  My answer:  Truthfully, it hasn’t.

Conclusions:  Another weak lesson despite the fact I like Thomas.  Questioning leading to faith is the lesson here which should have been the focus of the questions instead of personalizing them.

End Notes:  “Thomas” is Aramaic and “Didymus” is Greek for twin, which could have been an epithet.  By not staying together as Jesus had said to do (John 15:17; 17:11), Thomas missed out on the first blessing of Jesus.  Hence, this recorded exchange earned Thomas the nickname “Doubting Thomas”, which is unfair to what he’ll become.  It wasn’t that he doubted; he refused to believe in the disciples’ testimony.  Thomas is slammed for this but he could be in shock still or mourning.  He was still with the disciples however.

Again, Jesus appears in the same way and says the same thing on the same day–a Sunday–evidence of the disciples gathering together on Sundays.  The doors are locked still, indicating the disciples still haven’t quite internalized the resurrection of Jesus yet.

Jesus gave Thomas what he asked for (his physical presence and proof) out of mercy and kindness.  He didn’t have to appear for Thomas’ sake but he did.  For Thomas, the implication of a risen Jesus was too great to take someone else’s word for.  Jesus orders him to stop doubting and have faith.  Despite all the previous faith Thomas had, without faith in the resurrection none of it mattered.  The same is for us.  Doubt is okay to a certain extent.  It moves us towards faith and deepens it.

Thomas quickly believes, calling Jesus Lord and God, titles Jesus does not refuse.  He calls Jesus my Lord and my God–titles of deity.  He also is not half-way in.  He’s all out (100% doubting) or all in (100% belief).  This is the high point of faith.

Fun Fact:  Thomas in fact is the only disciple that is recorded who directly addresses Jesus as God.

Scholars are divided on whether or not Thomas actually touched Jesus’ wounds.  Because Jesus points out only that Thomas has seen him that strengthens his faith, most say Thomas didn’t actually touch Jesus.  However, sight could have been what had convinced Thomas and not the physical touching.

Ironically, Jesus says those who believe without seeing are the blessed ones–that would be us!  Those who are satisfied with God’s gifts and not yearning for more.  This is another beatitude from Jesus to us.  If we demand a voice, a vision, or answers, our faith is diminished.

Some scholars say Thomas’ belief is the climax of the book of John.  Here, Jesus has conquered unbelief–more important than the miracle of sight or sorrow or sin.

Thomas’ questions led to faith because he expressed them sincerely and looked for answers.  We last see Thomas in the Bible in Acts 1:12-14 praying, waiting with the other disciples for the Holy Spirit to come.

Tradition has it Thomas went to Parthia and India to spread the Gospel.  Present-day Christians of St. Thomas of India claim spiritual descent from him and a place near Madras is called St. Thomas’s Mount.

John sums up this chapter with the whole point of the Gospels–the show the truth of Jesus’ Messiahship and to present him as the Son of God so that readers may believe in him– and to bring about faith that leads to life.

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BSF Study Questions John Lesson 28, Day 4: John 20:19-23

Summary of passage:  Jesus appeared to the disciples as they huddled together, afraid of the Jewish authorities.  He showed them his hands and thighs and the disciples were overjoyed at seeing Jesus.  Jesus gave them the Holy Spirit and commissioned them to the world.

Questions:

9a)  He personally appears to them.  He gifts them with the Holy Spirit to guide them in his ways.  He shows them his wounds.  He blesses them with peace.

b)  Personal Question.  My answer:  Above all, by choosing me to be a believer.  By giving me a purpose for my life and a means to achieve it through Him.

10)  He appears to Mary who clings to him physically.  He appears to the disciples and shows them his wounds physically.  Luke tells us he ate food with his disciples.  He appeared to the disciples and others over a period of 40 days and spoke of God’s kingdom.  He appeared to more than 500 of his brothers at the same time.  He appeared to James.  He appeared to Paul on the road to Damascus.  Jesus must rise again to conquer death so we can live forever with the Father.  It proves the Gnostics of the time wrong that he only died a spiritual death.

11)  Privilege:  They are the chosen ones to spread the Good News.

Authority:  Jesus personally commissioned them.

Power to accomplish the commission:  Jesus gave them the Holy Spirit to aid in their mission and peace as well.

Message:  If you forgive others, they are forgiven as Jesus has forgiven them of their sins.  If you don’t forgive them, they aren’t.

Conclusions:  Not a big fan of these questions.  Repetitive.

End Notes:  This is the same day that Mary saw Jesus at the empty tomb.  5 times Jesus appeared on Resurrection Day:

  1.  To Mary Magdalene (John 20:11-18)

2)  To the other women (Matthew 28:9-10)

3)  To the two on the road to Emmaus (Mark 16:12-13, Luke 24:13-32)

4)  To Peter (Luke 24:33-35, 1 Corinthians 15:5)

5)  To ten of the disciples, Thomas and Judas being absent (John 20:19-23)

Jesus prayed for them to stay together and they did (John 15:17)–all except Thomas, who we don’t know why he wasn’t there.

Jesus visits small groups of people (one exception in 1 Corinthians 15:6) in remote areas or closeted indoors.  By the garden tomb, in a locked room, on the road toe Emmaus, beside the Sea of Galilee, atop Mount Olives–such private encounters bolster the faith of people who already believed in Jesus.

Fun Fact:  As far as we know, not a single unbeliever sees Jesus after his death.

What would have happened if Jesus made a public spectacle and appeared before Pilate?  Would it have bolstered faith?  Jesus tells us no.  “If they do not listen to Moses and the Prophets, they will not be convinced even is someone rises from the dead” (Luke 16:31).

Jesus appeared amongst them despite the locked doors.  Jesus did not rebuke his disciples for abandoning him at the cross.  Instead, he told them “peace” or all is well.  Jesus revealed himself and invited all present to touch him to prove he’s real (Luke 24:39-40).  Jesus came for us.  He was also calming the disciples at his sudden appearance.

Jesus commissions them to do his work on earth such as he prayed in John 17:18.  Luke tells us there are others there besides the disciples.  Jesus sends them as well!  We are sent in the same way–for Jesus!

Jesus gives the disciples the Holy Spirit as their guide, John purposefully connecting this with Genesis, saying Jesus breathed on them.  Cool!  I want Jesus to breathe on me!  This is re-creation or born again.  This is Jesus’ spirit as well.

This also creates the duty of the church to forgive and warn of the consequences of unforgiveness.  We are the messengers, announcing forgiveness according to God’s word.  In essence, if you repent of your sins and believe in Jesus as our Lord and Savior, you will receive God’s forgiveness.

BSF Study Questions John Lesson 28, Day 3: John 20:11-18

Summary of passage:  John and Peter depart.  Mary weeps and saw 2 angels in the tomb where Jesus’ body had been.  Jesus appears at the tomb but Mary does not recognize him until he calls her name.  Jesus orders Mary to return to the disciples and tell them what she has seen.

Questions:

6)  Part personal Question.  My answer:  He called her name.  How amazing and powerful!  I’ve never noticed this before.  A name is power.  When Jesus calls your name (like when your parents do when you’re in trouble), you’d better listen.

7)  Jesus wants her to realize he is only risen and here temporarily.  That soon the Holy Spirit will descend upon her and take his place.  Not to get attached to him physically for he is leaving again.  He is headed back home to His Father.  He has important work for her to do.

8 )  Part personal Question.  My answer:  Jesus told Mary to go and tell his brothers/disciples what she has seen.  It’s the same for us to spread the word about Jesus.  Also, Jesus tells us our work here on this side of heaven to complete and we must obey!

Conclusions:  What power in a name!  Love the focus on women again and how Jesus uses Mary to spread the word.  We are all equal in God’s eyes.

End Notes:  Mary did not yet believe in the resurrection so she weeped.  Mary was not afraid when she saw the angels.  She may not have even known they were angels (Hebrews 13:2).  They were seated at the head and feet like cherubim (Exodus 25:18-19).  She didn’t notice the burial cloths.

Matthew has one angel (Matthew 28:2).  Mark a young man (Mark 16:5).  Luke has 2 men who were angels (Luke 24:4, 23).

Mary turned possibly because she heard Jesus or the angels motioned for her to turn.  She didn’t recognize Jesus.  Perhaps he was a bit different in appearance or her tears blurred her vision.  Or perhaps Jesus intentionally blinded them to him.  A number of times he was not recognized (John 21:4, Matthew 28:17, Luke 24:16, 37)  Jesus asks her questions so she’ll push through her unbelief.  She plans to carry Jesus’ body for burial.  Likely, she is not strong enough but all she is thinking about is Jesus!

Jesus calls her by her Hebrew name.  In one word, Jesus changes a life.  She recognizes the voice of her shepherd as his sheep instantly.  Jesus told her who she was to him not who he was to her.

Spurgeon points out how in the garden the sentence of sorrow falls heavily upon a woman.  And after the resurrection the comfort and peace falls upon a woman as well.  How apropos!

The presumption of verse 17 is Mary is clinging to Jesus and does not want to let him go.  Jesus tells her he has important work for her to do (notify the disciples of his return) and that he will be around for a bit longer.

Jesus made a woman the first witness of His resurrection.  The law courts in ancient times would not recognize the testimony of a woman, but Jesus did.  This shows the historic truth of this account.  If someone fabricated this story, they would not make the first witnesses to the resurrection women, who were regarded as unreliable witnesses.

Fun Fact:  This is the first time Jesus calls his disciples “brothers.”

Jesus says “my Father and your Father” because his relationship with God is different than ours.  By nature, Jesus.  By grace, ours.

BSF Study Questions John Lesson 28, Day 2: John 20:1-10

Summary of passage:  Mary Magdalene went to Jesus’ tomb and saw the stone to the entrance had been moved.  She ran and told Peter and John who came running to the tomb.  John got there first and looked in and saw no body.  Peter went in and saw the strips of linen lying there and the burial cloth, folded up separate.  John followed inside.  They left and still did not get it that Jesus had risen!

Questions:

3a)  John was the cautious one.  He had to stop and think.  Peter the reckless, impulsive, more courageous one.

b)  Personal Question.  My answer:  I’m unsure I expect anything of Jesus.  I hope for things–for him to work in my life and provide me the way and the strength to do His will–but I don’t think I expect anything from him.  His death was enough for me.  I’m in bible study to draw closer to God and Jesus.  Period.

4)  John saw the strips of linen and the burial cloth folded up separate from one another.  This wouldn’t have been done by tomb robbers who would have ripped the cloth and thrown it haphazardly about.

5)  Part personal Question.  My answer:  If Jesus doesn’t rise from the grave, none of us will rise either.  He was raised so we’d be justified before God and spend all of eternity together with Him.  Furthermore, it was in Scripture and thus the will of God.  It has made all the difference.

Conclusions:  Stock answer to “difference in life” question we’ve had many times in this study.  I think they saw and believed but still didn’t get it.  The Holy Spirit has yet to descend on them.  I believe this is where all the disciples finally get it.

End Notes:  Mary Magdalene was the first person to see Jesus risen from the dead and spread the word.  All we know about her was she came from Magdala, a city on the Sea of Galilee and Jesus drove 7 demons from her.  Afterwards, she dedicated her life to him and helped finance his ministry.  She was there at the crucifixion and went faithfully to care for his body.  As a second class citizen in ancient times, God chose her to be the first to witness Jesus’ work fulfilled.  Imagine:  Jewish courts did not even accept women’s testimony.  Take that, mankind!

Fun Fact:  Mary Magdalene is mentioned more often than most of the other believing women, and usually first.

Jesus was crucified on a Friday (or some say Thursday).  Afterwards, the tomb was guarded (Matthew 27:62-66) until today.  Other Gospel accounts say Mary was not the only woman to go to Jesus’ tomb.  She was just the one to run back and report her findings.  The women were probably going back to finish burial rites.  She immediately thinks the body is stolen.  No one was expecting a risen Jesus!

John was humble enough not to mention his name but prideful enough to say he outran Peter!  Peter is in his mid-40-50’s and John is in his mid-20’s.  Obviously, he outran Peter.

The Greek work blepei meant “seeing clearly.”  There was no doubt what John saw.  However, he didn’t enter either presuming the body was there since he saw the wrappings or out of fear of defilement of touching a dead body.  A rich man’s tomb would have been big enough to walk into but probably with some stooping.

Peter saw (Greek theorei meaning contemplate and scrutinize) the cloths as if the body has evaporated.  Remember the linens were lathered with ointments, aloes, and spices.  They would have hardened and would have had to have been cut off the body.  Think ancient Egyptian mummies and Howard Carter and King Tut.  The point here is something inhuman was at work here.

Some scholars point to the Shroud of Turin here.  However, would God allow the wrappings to be preserved so it could be worshipped?

John then saw (the Greek word eiden meaning, “to understand, to perceive the significance of”) and then believed.  The distinctive arrangement of the burial wrappings convinced him.  Note that John believed here but Peter did not.  He would not until he met the resurrected Jesus.  John believed on faith with his eyes only.  It is obvious they did not make up a story of a resurrection to fit  preconceived understanding of Scriptural prophecy when it was written about later.

Both Peter and John know the fact Jesus rose again.  They don’t understand the meaning behind it yet.  That Jesus is the Son of the One, True God.  That he died sinless for our sins so we can rise again and be with God.  It proves the gnostics of the day wrong that God does have a plan for our bodies, which is sacred (1 Corinthians 3:16-17; 1 Corinthians 6:19-20).

BSF Study Questions Revelation Lesson 28, Day 5: Various Passages for the Day

Summary of passages:  Various passages for the day.

Questions:

10)  Matthew 28:19-20:  “Go and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, and teaching them to obey everything I have commanded you.”

(We had this EXACT SAME passage and question in Lesson 19 Day 3.  My answer hasn’t changed and neither has the passage.)

It challenges me to spread the word.  Duh.

John 13:31-36:  “Love one another.  As I have loved you, so you much love one another.”

It challenges me to love others.  Duh.

1 Thessalonians 5:16-22:  “Be joyful always; pray continually; give thanks in all circumstances, for this is God’s will for you in Christ Jesus.  Do not put out the Spirit’s fire; do not treat prophecies with contempt.  Test everything.  Hold on to the good.  Avoid every kind of evil.”

This challenges me to remember my blessings, be grateful for all I have, to pray more, to be happy, to remember this is the life God has granted me, to challenge what I hear as Truth and see if it lines up with the Word, to hold onto God (the good), and to avoid evil.

Hebrews 12:28:  “Let us be thankful, and so worship God acceptably with reverence and awe.”

This challenges me to be more worshipful.  I’m wondering what acceptably means here.  I don’t like it for it’s too subjective.  Your acceptable might not be my acceptable.

1 Peter 1:13-16; 2 Peter 3:10-14:  “Prepare your minds for action; be self-controlled; set your hope fully on the grace to be given you when Jesus Christ is revealed.  Do not conform to the evil desires you had when you lived in ignorance.  Be holy in all you do.”  “You ought to live holy and godly lives and look forward to a new heaven and a new earth.”

This challenges me to be more like Jesus and be holy and not be like the world around me.

11)  Personal Question.  My answer:  Be more like Jesus.  Every day.  Love others.  Do His will more.

Similar question:  Lesson 24 Day 5

Conclusions:  We’ve had question 10 before.  My attitude is so poor as you can tell.  I hope yours isn’t as bad as mine.

Conclusions to Lesson 28:  Complete and total filler lesson.  All were personal questions except for question 8 on day 4 (the only good question in my opinion).  All were ones we’ve had before on topics beaten to death.  Weak.  Can we just finish Revelation please?

BSF Study Questions Revelation Lesson 28, Day 4: Various Passages for the Day

Summary of passages:  Various passages for the day.

Questions:

7)  Part Personal Question.  My answer: 1 Corinthians 15:42-44: Our bodies will be raised imperishable, in glory, in power, and spiritual.

1 John 3:2:  We shall be like God.

Revelation 22:1-5:  There will no longer be a curse.  God and Jesus will dwell in the city and we will serve Him.  We will see God’s face and His name will be on our forehead.  There will always be light, never darkness.  We will reign forever.

It doesn’t give me hope and I’m tired of being asked this.

8 )  Luke says “in paradise”.  Philippians says “with Christ.”  All of these passages are vague at best.  See End Notes for a thorough analysis.  The results may surprise you.

9)  Personal Question.  My answer:  That it is eternal.  That it is paradise.  That Christ is the only way.  Relatives.

Asked same question:  Lesson 26 Day 2 & 3, Lesson 23 Day 5, Lesson 19 Day 3Lesson 7 Day 2, Lesson 13 Day 5, and Lesson 15 Day 4

Conclusions:  Hope again.  It’s as if I don’t have any hope so I have to be asked about it REPEATEDLY to find it.  I have hope.  Lots of it.  Can we move on now?  Again, sharing the gospel.  This lesson could be used in that seminar.

Question 8 was actually good and it’s obvious where BSF lands on this one.  Both sides have merit and I’m not a scholar so I go with my gut here:  our souls go to heaven first while our bodies sleep.  Unbelievers await judgment in a temporary location to await the Great White Throne room.

End Notes:  So I decided to find out for myself where people go who have died.   HERE is a great piece that actually dismisses BSF’s Luke 23 and why it’s not saying we go to heaven (which it doesn’t).  This SITE has so many bible passages it’s ridiculous, but the conclusions are the same:  when we die, we lie asleep in our grave until Christ comes again.

This SITE supports BSF’s assertion that we immediately go with Jesus/God, using the EXACT SAME passages BSF does to support this conclusion.  This one says the same thing HERE.  We go to heaven but await our physical bodies after the Second Coming.

So here we have two different beliefs.  1) Our body and soul lie in the ground, “asleep”, until Jesus’ Second Coming where both will be raised.  2)  Our soul immediately goes to be with Jesus while our body slummers and rises again at the Second Coming, where body and soul shall be reunited.

So which is true?  Both have biblical support.  Obviously, the latter is more comforting and is commonly taught at churches.  Here’s my view:  does it matter when?  I’m not going to worry about it.  For one, I’ll be dead and I have no control over it anyways.  And two, all that matters is at some point I shall dwell forever with God.

I have never heard of belief #1 before until just now.  It totally changes what I would think of death if I believed it.  Not sure if I do.  To me, it makes sense that God loves us so much He wants us with Him immediately.  So I think we all go to heaven and await for our physical bodies for the Second Coming.  Other thoughts?

BSF Study Questions Revelation Lesson 28, Day 3: Various Passages for the Day

Summary of passages:  Various passages for the day.

Questions:

5)  Part-personal Questions.  My answers:  Fallen.  Bible describes it as cursed and sin made it so.  Paul adds in Romans a world of suffering, decaying, and groaning.

6a)  Personal Question.  My answer:  I’m assuming “this contrast” refers to the state of earth versus the state of heaven.  I look forward to the next life, but I don’t long for it.  I have work here yet to do and until that’s done I focus on God’s will for me here on earth.  It’s such a short time.  Eternity is not going anywhere.  But my earthly life is and I will be sad for all of eternity if I don’t accomplish God’s purpose for me here.

b)  Personal Question.  My answer:  Like I said above, I focus on God’s will for my life here to bring me contentment (Ephesians 2:10).  Serve others.  Teach others.  My kids first about God’s love.  And whoever else God brings to my path.  If I live consciously for God, He’ll take care of the rest.

Conclusions:  Anyone want to explain to me how this all relates to the book of Revelation?  This lesson was bad and repetitive (how many times have we been asked about bringing others to Christ?)  This has definitely been the most evangelical of BSF’s studies so far that I’ve done.