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

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

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


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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

· The first sign persuaded His disciples

· The second sign persuaded a Jewish nobleman and his household

· The Samaritans believed without a sign

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

Map of Cana and Capernaum:

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

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


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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

BSF Study Questions Revelation Lesson 6, Day 5: Revelation 3:14-22

Summary of passage: To the church in Laodicea Jesus says he knows the church’s deeds which are only lukewarm or mediocre. They believe they are rich and have everything they need, but they are poor and lacking in God. He wants them to see their spiritual blindness, become righteous, and obtain his riches.  Jesus loves them and wants them to repent and choose him and receive eternal life.


13a)  True riches are heaven and eternal life with God.  White clothing is righteousness–what enables you and me to stand with God–and salvation.  When you are clothed in God’s righteousness, you gain His spirit and character which gives you compassion, kindness, humility, gentleness, and patience (Colossians 3:12) and love and forgiveness (Colossians 3:13 & 14).

b)  He will eat with them and sit with him on his throne.

14a)  Discipline by the Lord separates us from the unbelievers and saves us from condemnation with the world (1 Corinthians 11:32).  Discipline is what makes us God’s children (Hebrews 12:8).  It is for our good and what allows us to share in His holiness (Hebrews 12:10).  It produces righteousness and peace (Hebrews 12:11).  If God didn’t love us, He wouldn’t bother to discipline us, to teach us His ways, to save us.

God invites earnestness and repentance.  God looks for love in return for His care; compassion; surrender; a life of love for others.

b)  Personal Question.  My answer:  God loves us enough to discipline us so we’ll turn to Him and walk in His ways.  We will gain the world if we do.  Gratefulness is the right response.  Humbleness.  An increased awe of Him.  More love and compassion for Him and His people.

Conclusions:  Good reminder of the importance and necessity of discipline in all of our lives. Good verses to use to explain to your children when they ask why their punishment is necessary.

End Notes:  The Greek word here for love is phileo which means friend (the same word Philadelphia comes from).  Earnest here is the same root word as hot used in Revelation 3:16.  Turn to Him and be zealous for Him.

Here’s the Great Invitation to us all:  Jesus standing at the door and knocking.  Only you can open the door and invite him in.  Will you?

Listen!  And you will hear his voice.

The “dine” or “eat” here was the Greek meal of deipnon, which was the main meal at the end of the day where the family would sit and linger and talk about the day.  It was supper where relationships were deepened and strengthened.

The invitation was to all–the individual–not the church here.  We each must accept Jesus.  Then we will sit on his throne (Luke 22:30; Rev 20:4; 22:5)

Laodicea is the worst of the churches (the only one not praised) promised the greatest reward.  This is hope for all of us that despite our sins we are loved and accepted and invited to be with God forever.  He pursues us to the end.

Quote of the Week:  “It is, in fact, God’s final punishment to leave a man alone.” (Barclay)

Map of Region with Laodicea:

Conclusions to Lesson 6:  Scholars say Chapters 2 & 3 of Revelation are the most practical in the whole book since Jesus lays out what he expects of churches and thus you and me.

I love the hope throughout.  Most people think Revelation is a book of gloom and doom.  It’s not.  It’s a book of hope and love and salvation and wonderment.  It’s Jesus personified meaning we see all of him–his love, his judgment, his salvation, his condemnation.  So many times churches nowadays just speak of Jesus as love and ignore the judgment because it’s not politically correct to judge people and sadly Christian’s knowledge of the Bible has shrunken to the point that they don’t understand what true judgment is.

The Book of Revelation should be discussed more and in depth in churches these days.  It would go a long way to furthering our knowledge of Him in ways we can’t even imagine.

We have finished studying the letters John wrote to the churches, giving them Christ’s words.  We will take a break for the next two lessons and study Acts and Daniel before we jump into the next major section of Revelation which is Christ as judge and his judgments upon man.

Commonalities in the Letters and Patterns:

  1. Character of Christ
  2. Commendation
  3. Complaint
  4. Correction
  5. Conclusion

BSF Study Questions Revelation Lesson 6, Day 4: Revelation 3:14-18

Summary of passage:  To the church in Laodicea Jesus says he knows the church’s deeds which are only lukewarm or mediocre.  They believe they are rich and have everything they need, but they are poor and lacking in God.  He wants them to see their spiritual blindness, become righteous, and obtain his riches.


10)  Personal Question.  My answer:  “The words of the Amen” which is the complete and wholeness and final word.  It is done.  Jesus is the finisher.

11)  They are neither hot nor cold.  He wishes they were one or the other and he spits them out of his mouth.

12a)  They think they are rich and don’t need a thing.  Jesus says they are poor, wretched, pitiful, blind and naked.

b)  They think they are rich and don’t need a thing (including God).  God reprimands them because although they aren’t bad, they aren’t good.  They are indifferent and complacent in their works.  They can do better and should do better for God.  Either do it whole-heartedly or not at all God is saying here.

c)  Part-personal question.  My answer:  Through prayer.  I think most people do know in their hearts if they are not on God’s path.  If not, ask God to show you.  Not sure myself where I am struggling.  I know I’m a bit clouded cause I’ve been a bit depressed lately due to the failure of my writings.  I have been praying nothing specific, just “Lord, you know what ails me.  Heal me.”

Conclusions:  I like how Jesus speaks to people who aren’t using their full potential for him and are just doing enough to get by.  I see this in our young people today.  God wants your all, your best, 100%.  If your heart is not in it, why do it?

End Notes:  Laodicea is the last stop for our messenger.  Like the other cities, Laodicea was an important commercial and trading town.  It’s name means “rule of the people”.  It was well off and held a good number of Jews.  However, Roman temples abounded to Caesar, Asklepios, and others.  Laodicea was wealthy enough to rebuild after an earthquake in 60 AD.  History with pictures of ruins HERE

Laodicea had no significant water supply.  Water traveled on an aqueduct from a hot springs via Hierapolis and it arrived lukewarm or it traveled from Collasae where the water was cold but it still arrived lukewarm.  Hence, Laodicea was vulnerable to attack and siege and often negotiated with invaders rather than face death from lack of water.

Paul mentions Laodicea in Colossians 2:1 and 4:16.  It is also the only church Jesus addresses the people (Laodiceans) instead of the city (e.g. Ephesus).  However, some translations have Laodicea only.

Laodicea is also the only church Christ did not praise for anything!  He only condemns.  How tragic!

Lukewarm is apathy, indifference, complacency, and even uselessness–never giving their hearts fully over to Jesus.  Results:  unhappiness in world and in heaven.  Lukewarmness is comfortable; God wants us outside our comfort zone.

Jesus wants you hot for him or cold so you’d be more likely to turn to him (cold is also refreshing like ice water on a hot, summer day).  If you are lukewarm, it’s harder to reach you because you have a bit of him already and think that’s enough.  You are useless in the sense that you’re not doing enough and don’t care enough to bring others to him.  Spurgeon has great commentary on the idea of lukewarmness to God.

We are in Jesus’ mouth as he prays for us and we spread his word.  “Spit you out of my mouth” does not mean they will be kicked out of the kingdom.  What it means is that the people are in danger of being far from him and his presence.

Laodicea was famous for healing and textiles.  Yet the people were blind and naked.

They had the opposite problem of Smyrna who thought they were poor but were rich.  Very similar to the church at Sardis.

Jesus tells them to heal their eyes so they can see their spiritual blindness.  He wanted them to buy his gold (his riches–spiritual not material) and his righteous garments (white clothes).

Literally:  Gold is Laodicea’s financial wealth.  Clothes is the textile industry Laodicea is known for.  Eye salve is another product Laodiceans were known for.  Jesus knows all!

Map of Laodicea, showing its proximity to Hierapolis, a town with hot springs and its main water supplier and Colossae, a town with cold springs:

My Favorite Map of Region with Laodicea:

BSF Study Questions Revelation Lesson 6, Day 3: Revelation 3:11-13

Summary of passage:  Jesus is coming soon to never leave again.  Those who overcome shall have written upon him God’s name, the new Jerusalem, and Jesus’ new name.


7a)  Part personal Question.  My answer:  Hold onto what you have.  Jesus and hope.

b)  Faith, righteousness, life (eternal), victory.

8 )  Part personal Question.  My answer:  He will make believers into pillars in the temple of my God.  Means God will reign here on earth (or in the temple of my God–in God’s kingdom if we die before the Second Coming).  Never again will he (us) leave it–meaning we will have eternal life, reigning forever with God either in heaven or here on earth.

I will write on him the name of my God and the name of the city of my God, the new Jerusalem, which is coming down out of heaven from my God; and I will also write on him my new name.  Means all those saved will be marked with the Holy Spirit (God’s name), given a new name in Christ, and dwell in the New Jerusalem.

I will be a new person in Him and with Him always.

9)  Personal Question.  My answer:  God is in control.  He has it.  One day it will come to pass. I am His.  He is mine.  Even when the immediacy is slow and overbearing, I know in my heart I’ll have it one day.

Conclusions:  Personal Question day it seems.  I enjoyed the whole image of the pillar (see End Notes). It’s such an iconic image, which fits perfectly with Jesus.  I can only hope to stand as strong as a temple pillar.

End Notes:  “Soon” here means when it comes, it will be quick.  NOT it is coming in the immediate future.

Remember the ancient Romans and Greeks invented the pillar–the tall stone columns that support the building, mostly temples.  Every important building and temple had pillars.  Often when we see pictures of ancient ruins, what is the only thing still standing?  Pillars.  They symbolized strength, stability, and beauty.

Jesus here is saying, “Even when the world around you is crumbling, stand strong like a pillar. Stand with me.”

Philadelphia had a lot of earthquakes.  Often the people would flee the city and then come back to it once the tremors stopped.  We are to stand strong in the Lord and never flee.

Pillars were often inscribed in the ancient world much like plaques today.  It was a great honor and privilege.  The fact God would inscribe us is so beyond it’s insane.

Picture of Roman Temples with Pillars HERE and HERE