BSF Study Questions John Lesson 16, Day 5: John 12:37-50

Summary of passage:  Many Jews still did not believe in Jesus.  God had blinded them and deadened their hearts.  Still, many believed in Jesus but were too afraid to say anything out of fear.  Jesus says those who see him see God and he is the light of the world.  Jesus speaks what God has commanded him to.  He has come to save the world.

Questions:

11)  Many Jews still did not believe in Jesus. God had blinded them and deadened their hearts.

12a)  Well, John quoted verse 10.  Some will never be able to believe in Jesus/God because they have been blinded and their hearts hardened.

b)  Personal Question.  My answer:  Honestly, none.  I’ve never been one to care what people think of me.  It’s what you see is what you get.  I’m pretty authentic.

Conclusions:  I have no comments on this.  Either you got something out of this or you didn’t.

End Notes:  The Old Testament prophets predicted many would not believe in Jesus.  Today, this is the norm, especially among Jews.  But back then everyone believed in God so why not in Jesus?  It was man’s choice to believe or not.  Those who did not would be strengthened in their hardening hearts as judgement.

Isaiah, in seeing God, saw Jesus as well.  He understood they were one and the same.

Isaiah spoke primarily of the glory of God.  John speaks primarily of the glory of Jesus, making no distinction between the two.  Glory here is majesty and Jesus’ death on the cross, resurrection, and exaltation.  Both portray suffering and healing, rejection and triumph, humiliation and glory.

Fun Fact:  These are the last words in John’s gospel from Jesus to the public.  He emphasizes the culmination of all his previous teaching in John, including a challenge to decide, a warning to those who decide, against Him and a promise to those who decide for Him.  Scholars are unsure when Jesus spoke these words.

Jesus stresses his closeness and oneness with God, the need of man, the need of man to be saved, and his submission to God.

In John’s Gospel, the theme is:  Jesus came in love, but his coming is a judgement.  Judgement is the other side of salvation.  Rejecting Jesus is rejecting God since Jesus is doing God’s will.

BSF Study Questions John Lesson 15, Day 4: John 11:32-44

Summary of passage:  Mary then went 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:

9)  “For the benefit of the people standing here that they may believe that you sent me.”  It’s important for us so we know everything Jesus does is for us and to clarify to us that Jesus’ power is from God.

10a)  “Come out.”  “Take off the grave clothes and let him go.”

b) Our spirits will all rise from the dead just like Lazarus’ physical body rose.  Jesus will conquer death.

11)  John 10:10: Jesus gives us life to the full.

John 17:1-2:  Jesus gives eternal life to all those chosen by God.

Ephesians 2:1-5:  We are alive in Christ and saved by grace.

Colossians 3:1-4:  Christ is our life who gives us glory.

1 Thessalonians 4:16:  Those dead in Christ will rise first.

I like Colossians because it emphasizes our glory in eternal life as chosen by God.

Conclusions:  For me, lackluster.  Question 11 was repetitive.

End Notes:  Same as yesterday’s.  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 15, Day 2: John 11:1-16

Summary of passage:  Mary’s brother, Lazarus, was sick.  Mary had previously washed Jesus’ feet with perfume.  She sent word to Jesus who knew God’s plan.  He waited 2 days for Lazarus to die and then he returns to Bethany (just outside Jerusalem and remember Jesus is somewhere on the other side of the Jordan River) despite the disciples’ protests.

Questions:

3a)  He knew God’s plan to raise Lazarus from the dead. God alone can raise the dead and this event will help initiate events that will lead to the cross–God’s ultimate plan and glory.

b)  Personal Question.  My answer:  To draw us closer to Him, rely on Him, and follow Him.

4a)  To let Lazarus die so that when he returns and raises Lazarus there will be no doubting God’s glory.

b)  Personal Question.  My answer:  It’s all in God’s timing and what’s right for us and Him.

5)  Part personal Question.  My answer:  Those who walk with Jesus should have no fear.  Those who walk in darkness stumble and should have fear.

Conclusions:  I love how Jesus waits for Lazarus to die–waits on God’s timing.  Great lesson for us.  Patience is something many of us lack or need more of and this is a classic example of how good things come to those who wait.  Rely on God and His timing, not ours.

End Notes:  You could say Jesus saved the best miracle for last.  Here we have the 7th sign in John’s Gospel and it’s Jesus raising a man from the dead who had been dead for 4 days and whose body had begun to rot.  This puts Lazarus at having died shortly after the messengers left Bethany (1 day for travel, 2 days Jesus waited, 1 day to travel back).

Lazarus is the Greek form of “Eleazar” or God is my help.

John is the only one to record this miracle–the most astounding of all.  Why?  Some conjecture the other 3 Gospels were written while Lazarus was still alive and they didn’t want to offend anyone.  Some say it’s because Peter was not present with the Lord.  He was in Galilee preaching.  The other 3 Gospels may be based on Peter’s account of the Lord.

Note the women did not ask for a miracle from Jesus.  Just telling Jesus Lazarus was sick was enough.  They knew if Jesus could heal him, he would.  They had faith.

By the time Jesus got the message Lazarus was sick, he was already dead.  He knew this.  He also knew upon healing Lazarus, he’d set the course for his last days–the ultimate glory of God.

Note how Jesus loves all individually-Martha and Mary and Lazarus–as He does us.

He stayed two days deliberately until the fourth day.  This must have been agony for Martha and Mary but their faith did not waver.  This was bringing greater glory to God and shows us it’s in God’s timing, not ours.

Jesus could have healed Lazarus from afar.  Despite the dangers, he goes to Judea.  But Jesus still has work to do given to him by God.  There is enough time for us to do God’s purpose so don’t waste it!  No harm will come to them during this time.

Sleep is a metaphor for death.

Jesus is glad for many reasons:  grief was comforted, life was restored, many more believed, and the necessary death of Jesus was set in motion–not to mention his friend would live!

God often permits us to pass into profounder darkness, and deeper mysteries of pain, in order that we may prove more perfectly His power.

Remember Jesus was on the other side of the Jordan River.  He no heads back to Judea and Bethany to heal Lazarus.

All Jews in those days had two names – one a Hebrew name by which a man was known in his own circle, the other a Greek name by which he was known in a wider circle. Thomas is the Hebrew and Didymus, which is Greek for twin.  Thomas apparently looked like Jesus and hence his nickname.  Despite the risks, Thomas encourages the other disciples to accompany Jesus.  He may not understand the resurrection yet, but he knows Jesus enough to die for him.

BSF Study Questions John Lesson 14, Day 4: John 10:11-21

Summary of passage:  Jesus declares he is the Good Shepherd who lays down his life for His sheep.  A hired hand cares nothing for his sheep.  He knows his sheep and the sheep know him just as God knows him and vice versa.  Jesus will bring other sheep.  He freely lays down his life and takes it up again as God has commanded.  Many Jews still insisted he is demon-possessed and did not believe.  But many believed.

Questions:

8 )  Part personal Question.  My answer:  Lay down his life for his sheep.  Jesus’ crucifixion.  Eternally grateful.

9)  Part personal Question.  My answer:  Gentiles.  God calls all and wants all to be with Him.

10)  Personal Question.  My answer:  Jesus is God.

Conclusions:  Would have liked to explore the Gentiles more.  Pretty weak questioning today.

End Notes:  “I am the Good Shepherd” (Another I am statement–the 4th of 7 that are unique to John’s Gospel and point to Jesus’ unique, divine identity and purpose) is clear to the Jews–He is the one to care for them.

“Lays down his life” is perpetually. Jesus is always giving us life.

Jesus here declares he is for the Gentiles as well (the other sheep) and he will bring them together as one.  All the sheep will hear, answer and obey, the shepherd.

Lost in translation:  early translations of the Bible had “one fold” instead of “one flock”.  A fold of sheep is only a part of the flock.  Here, some churches used this mistake to justify exclusiveness.

Jesus can raise himself from the dead–what separates him as God and us as man.

That Christ would die for his people runs through this section of John’s Gospel.  Both the love and the plan of the Father are involved, as well as the authority he gave to the Son.  Christ obediently and voluntarily chose to die; otherwise, no one would have had the power to kill him (Luke 23:46).

Jesus, again, divides humanity (John 7:43; 9:16)–as it will be during the Last Days.

Both words and deeds validate Jesus.  Here Jesus was saving souls and telling people he’s gonna die for them and he’s accused of demon-possession?  What demon would ever do such a thing?

BSF Study Questions John Lesson 13, Day 5: John 9:35-41

Summary of passage:  Jesus heard what had happened to the man he healed and he hunts him down and finds him and asks him if he believes in him as the Son of Man.  The man believes and worships Jesus.  Jesus says those who see and do not believe in him are guilty of sin.

Questions:

12a)  Jesus heard what had happened to the man he healed and he hunts him down and finds him and asks him if he believes in him as the Son of Man. The man believes and worships Jesus.

b)  Personal Question.  My answer:  The same.

13)  That the Pharisees who believe they can see the Truth and no not admit their blindness are therefore blinded to the Truth and thus remain in sin.  Those who admit blindness will see.

14)  Personal Question.  My answer:  He cares for every individual follower of his to the point he finds him and makes sure he believes.  He cares about what happens to every follower.  He defends every follower.  We all matter in God’s eyes.  He even cares for those who are Spiritually blind and tells them to admit their blindness and they will see.  He offers everyone another chance.

Conclusions:  Wow! How amazing that Jesus came back for the man–which is what he does for each of us.  He never gives up.  He cares for us.  He wants us.  How cool!

End Notes:  The man had been rejected by his fellow humans, but not by Jesus.  He calls the man to declare his loyalty and he does.  For that he’s rewarded with more information: you are speaking to the Son of Man.  It is unlikely that this took place in front of the Pharisees so there’s a gap in time here.

Jesus dealt with this man differently than most. He met his physical need first, then allowed him to endure persecution, then called him to a specific belief.  God works differently in different lives.

When the man worshipped Jesus, Jesus received the worship. This is something that no man or angel in the Bible does. The fact that Jesus accepted this worship is another proof that Jesus was and is God, and that He knew Himself to be God.

We see an increasing awareness of Jesus by the blind man:

· Jesus is a man (John 9:11)

· Jesus is a prophet (John 9:17)

· Jesus is my master, I am His disciple (John 9:27)

· Jesus is from God (John 9:33)

· Jesus is the Son of God (John 9:35-38)

· Jesus is who I trust (John 9:38)

· Jesus is who I worship (John 9:38)

This is a common progression to accepting Jesus into our hearts.

Jesus is coming into this world to draw a line in the sand:  choose him or suffer judgement.  He didn’t necessarily come for judgment (John 3:17; John 12:47), but his coming divides people which always brings a type of judgment.  Those who reject his gift end up blind.

Those who admit blindness will see.  Those who think they are spiritually sound and aren’t won’t see and are stuck in sin.

The Pharisees’ claim to sight showed their complete unawareness of their spiritual blindness and need.  And though they claimed to have sight their actions were evidence of their blindness.

BSF Study Questions John Lesson 13, Day 2: John 9:1-7

Summary of passage:  Jesus and his disciples come upon a blind man.  His disciples wonder who sinner that this man was born blind (a commonly held belief of the times).  Jesus said neither and is the result of God’s work.  He put mud on the man’s eyes made with spit and told him to wash in the Pool of Siloam and he could see.  Still, no one believed he was the same man.

Questions:

3)  The Old Testament teaches that God punishes the children for the sin of the fathers for multiple generations.  Jesus says, “Neither, but this happened so that the work of God might be displayed in his life.”

4)  Part personal Question.  My answer:  The man was blinded since birth and as far as we know this was the first time a man was healed who has been born blind.  No other prophet has done so.  According to Isaiah 35:5, this is a sign of the Messiah.  I learn Jesus can do anything and that he is more concerned about helping people now than anything else.

5)  Personal Question.  My answer:  He gives me the strength to overcome, knowing he is there with me.

Conclusions:  Weak.  Very.  Please see End Notes for much more meaning.

End Notes:  In this story, Jesus corrects a commonly held notion that suffering comes because of sin.  The healed man became a loyal spokesman for Jesus.  His testimony, however, failed to convince the Pharisees , who also rejected Jesus’ teaching about why the man had been born blind.

This continues right from the moment he was about to be stoned.  Jesus was not ruffled by them.

The disciples were more interested in discussing the man’s case rather than helping him.  Jesus does not care; he will be more practical as we are to be.

They thought the man’s blindness was due to a previous sin.  Some Jews even thought babies could sin in the womb or some were punished for a sin they would commit in the future.

Jesus says right away that no specific sin caused this man’s blindness.  Most often birth defects are the result of Adam’s sin when he brought death into this world and our fallen condition.  Because we are to die our bodies die and this comes out in different conditions.

However, Jesus says there is always a purpose in such conditions so God’s work can be displayed.  In this blind man’s case, the purpose was so Jesus can heal him and be a testimony for him.  That doesn’t mean God made him born blind to show His character.  It means God overruled his blindness so that man could see the light.  In other cases, it’s to test someone through suffering.  Nothing happens by accident in God’s world.

Jesus worked like we all must work.  He saw the need and felt the urgency to help the man before his time on this earth was up.  We all must be thus.  Despite the fact Jesus knew he’d get in trouble for healing on the Sabbath, his compassion for man overrode that concern.  Can we say the same thing?

Why mud and spit?  He used dirt as God used dirt to make man.  Also, the emphasis was not on the method but the result.  He didn’t want anyone to believe he has a magic formula for healing that was outside of God.  Furthermore, spitting on the eyes was a common thing in ancient times to either remove dirt or as a cure.  Mark records two other healings where Jesus used his saliva (Mark 7:33 & 8:23).

Even though in this miracle Jesus approached the blind man, the blind man still had to show faith in Jesus to be healed.  Jesus asked him to go the Pool of Siloam and wash.  Siloam meant ‘sent’ because the water from the pool was sent through a conduit to the city and came through Hezekiah’s tunnel, a remarkable engineering feat built in Old Testament times.  This water was used at the altar of the Feast of Tabernacles and today is still used to represent the pouring out of The Spirit.

Pool of Siloam

Pool of Siloam

Again and again John refers to Jesus as having been ‘sent’ by the Father. So now blindness is removed with the aid of the ‘sent’.

Acting in faith, the man went and washed his eyes despite not being promised he’d be healed if he did.  He had to have had help down there since he was still blind.

Fun Fact:  This is the first time in the Bible a man born blind has been healed.  This is the work of God.  Thus, Jesus is God.  Isaiah prophesied this to be a sign of the Messiah (Isaiah 29:18; 35:5 42:7).

Fun Fact:  Jesus performed more miracles of this kind than of any other.

Some scholars speculate this as a foreshadowing of Jesus helping the Gentiles.  They see the man in Chapter 5 as the archetype Jew to be healed and this man as the archetype Gentile to be healed.  Again, we are not told if his man is Jew or Gentile.

The one sent by God uses the pool of sent to prove he is God and the light of the world, offering the greatest gift–the living waters–to all who have faith.

History of Pool of Siloam HERE

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.