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.

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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 22, Day 5: John 16:16-33

Summary of passage: Jesus says he is leaving, but they disciples will see him again after the Resurrection and he appears before them.. The grief will turn to joy once they realize all Jesus’ death means. When they see him again, they will know all. If you ask for things in Jesus name, God will give them whatever they ask and they will have complete joy.

You will pray in Jesus’ name.  At last, the disciples get it and Jesus rejoices.  A time will come when they will be scattered.  In Jesus, they will have peace even though in this world they will have trouble.

Questions:

11a)  If we have faith in Jesus and ask in his name, God will answer our prayers according to His will.

b)  Personal Question.  My answer:  To do His will through my writings and my kids.

12)  Personal Question.  My answer:  Whether to work for money in the immediate future or whether to work for Him for patience for money to come.

13)  Personal Question.  My answer:  Jesus has overcome Satan to rule and despite any troubles we will be with him one day.  Knowing I’m following him despite troubles is a great comfort.

Conclusions:  Personal day.  Understanding who Jesus is and belief in Him will allow God to answer all our prayers.

End Notes:  The disciples didn’t know like we do that he is about to be arrested and crucified. Jesus is telling them he will rise from the dead. This obviously would confuse anyone.

The disciples are talking among themselves, asking if anyone knows what Jesus is saying here. Jesus interrupts them to give them more clarity. He says their grief will turn to joy once all is revealed. This is true. We see no writings of regret from the apostles. They got it after all!

The disciples will have access to God through Jesus by speaking in Jesus’ name.  There will be no need for Jesus to do it for them.  They can go directly to God in prayer since they have loved him and have faith in him and God will hear them.

Our love for God is evidence that He loves us.  Jesus’ death shows God’s love and God’s love is the reason for Jesus’ death–so we can be saved.

Verse 28 is a summary of God’s love and work for us:  Jesus is God, born into this world as man, and he will die and rise again into heaven.

The disciples declare they finally get it, but Jesus warns their faith will be shaken and tested.  They will leave Jesus, but he won’t be alone–God will not abandon him (nor us) ever.  It would be God and Jesus at the cross–together forever.

He concludes his discourse with his disciples, offering them peace in Him.  It’s not a promise; we have to find it.  He offers peace with God and peace with others and peace realized through conflict and struggle, which is promised we’ll have.

Fun Fact:  Jesus speaks of his victory.  “Overcome” is used only once here but 22 times in the 1 John and Revelation.

The world conquers when it comes between you and God.  Jesus is in control.  He never abandons us.  He loves us.  He overcomes.  Be of good cheer!

BSF Study Questions John Lesson 17, Day 2: John 13:1-17

Summary of passage:  It’s just before Passover and Jesus’ time is limited.  Judas has already betrayed him and now Jesus is sitting down for the Last Supper with his disciples.  He dresses himself as a slave and washed his disciples’ feet.  Peter protests and Jesus tells him to let him.  When he is finished, he dresses and sits with them.  He explains that they need to serve others and no one is greater than they.

Questions:

3)  Part personal Question.  My answer:  Jesus humbles himself and does the work of a slave, the lowest of the low in society.  His love is absolute and he cares not what others think of him.  He leads by example.  His actions speak louder than words.  He doesn’t just talk about it; he does it!  He loves his own and as we love him back we experience his love to the fullest.

4)  Part personal Question.  My answer:  Once we are bathed in Jesus, we still need to seek him and wash in him.  We are wholly clean by God’s love, mercy, and righteousness.  But we still need him and to experience him in smaller ways.  All were “clean” or believers except Judas because Judas did not accept Jesus as His Savior and he had hardness in his heart against him.  I am clean because I have accepted Jesus’ blood on the cross to pay the penalty for my sins.

Conclusions:  Such a great passage.  Again, not impressed with the questions.  See End Notes for more.

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

John has by far the longest account of the upper room, but he says nothing of the Lord’s Supper.  We get most of what Jesus said that night from John.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

BSF Study Questions John Lesson 15, Day 5: John 11:45-57

Summary of passage:  As usual, some believed in Jesus after Lazarus was raised from the dead and some didn’t.  The Sanhedrin met and were threatened by Jesus’ rise.  They would lose power and the Romans would take over.  Caiaphas, the high priest, said it is better for Jesus to die than lose the nation to Roman control.  They plotted against Jesus who moved to the desert near Ephraim with the disciples.  The next Passover came and Jesus did not appear since he would be arrested immediately if he did so (and likely put to death).

Questions:

12)  Some believed; others were threatened by him.

13a)  “What are we accomplishing?”  “The Romans will come and take away both our place and our nation.”  “It is better for you that one man die for the people than that the whole nation perish.”

b)  Part personal question.  My answer:  Not to lose power.  Political survival.  Be careful not to oppose God when you’re single-minded about power and driven by greed.

14)  Part personal question.  My answer:  The significance is Caiaphas took this as a literal death to save the nation of Israel whereas Jesus did this spiritually:  he died for the nation to save their souls not their lives and gather all God’s people (Jews and Gentiles) as one to Jesus.  God is good.

Conclusions:  I can’t imagine Jesus enjoying this time on earth where he has to constantly hide from the Pharisees instead of ministering to the people.  It’s a good lesson for us.  There are times in our lives when we just have to do the grunt work and times in our lives that aren’t pleasant but we must endure like Jesus.  I think a lot of people picture Jesus just doing his miracles and then dying.  They forget the day-in and day-out living that he did like we all do to get to God’s purpose.

End Notes:  The people are divided and some went to the Pharisees.  John either learned of what transpired during this meeting through Nicodemus or Joseph of Arimathaea or someone who was on the council and then converted to Christianity.

Now the Sanhedrin admit he is performing miracles and is the Messiah.  So now Jesus is a threat to them and he must be stopped.

In all four Gospels, the Pharisees appear as Jesus’ principal opponents throughout his public ministry. But they lacked political power, and it is the chief priests who were prominent in the events that led to Jesus’ crucifixion.  Here both groups are associated in a meeting of the Sanhedrin.  They did not deny the reality of the miraculous signs but they did not understand their meaning, for they failed to believe.

People probably imagine the “what if” again.  What if Jesus had lived?  Would everyone believe?  Maybe.  But then we wouldn’t be saved.  There is no “what if” ing God and His will.  What happens to you is for a reason.  Period.  Move on. Don’t dwell on “what if’s” because they will never be.  You can lament them.  But you can’t change them.

“Our place” refers to the temple.  It had become an idol to the Sanhedrin, thinking of it as theirs.  It’s God. Always.

Little did the Sanhedrin know that history would take its course and the Jews would love “our place” anyways in 70 AD when the Romans did invade Jerusalem, scattering the nation, and eradicating the nation of Israel for almost 2000 years.  And this had nothing to do with Jesus.

Caiaphas was logical but not moral.  He was willing to kill an innocent man to save many.

Caiaphas was high priest for 11 years.  “That year” is to draw emphasis to the year Jesus died. God overruled what he said here.  His words were true in a way he could not imagine.

Now, the high officials are joining with the lesser officials to kill Jesus.  Lazarus’ raising was the last straw to them.

Jesus retreats again because his time had not yet come.  He was not afraid.

Now, we are about to speed up history and Jesus’ days are numbered.  John jumps to a few days before Jesus’ last Passover.  The chief priests are the Sadducees and they were often in opposition to the Sanhedrin.  Not when it came to Jesus.  Both were united against him.

Note of location of Ephraim:  Ephraim was one of the original tribes of Israel but Jesus retreated to the town of Ephraim.  Unfortunately, no one knows exactly where that is and I couldn’t find any maps.  One could suppose it was located somewhere within this region.  Map HERE

Who was Caiaphas?  He was the official high priest during the ministry and the trial of Jesus (18-36 AD). By this point in history, the high priesthood had evolved into a political office, the priests still coming from the descendants of Aaron but being generally appointed for worldly considerations.  When Pompey gained control of Judea in 63 BC, the Romans took over the authority of appointing not only the civil rulers but the high priests also, with the result that the office declined spiritually.  Annas, the father-in-law of Caiaphas, had been high priest by appointed of the Romans from 7-14 AD.  In-between, three of his sons had succeeded him but Annas was still considered a high priest.

We shall see after Jesus’ betrayal, it was the house of Annas where he was brought and tried.  Caiaphas then took a leading role in the persecution of the early church.  Summarized from Zondervan Illustrated Bible Dictionary by Douglas and Tenney.

BSF Study Questions John Lesson 8, Day 2: John 6:1-5

Summary of passage:  After healing the man at the pool and accusing the Pharisees of having no heart for God, Jesus journeys to the Sea of Galilee.  He now has a gang of followers because of his miracles and it is close to Passover again.  Jesus expresses concern for feeding the multitude of followers.

Questions:

3)  He knows the Pharisees and other Jewish leaders are against him and out to kill him if possible.  Going to Jerusalem now would endanger his life and Jesus’ work is not yet complete.

4a)  Part-personal question.  My answer:  He had planned to go away to a quiet place and get some rest from all their teachings and healings.  Instead, the crowds followed them.  So, Jesus, seeing the spiritual needs of these people, had compassion on them and taught them many things.  Then, in John, Jesus sees their physical needs as well when he asks about their food.  What’s important is other people and their needs.  He puts others first above his own needs.  It could make a difference between a saved soul and not.

b)  Personal Question.  My answer:  Not very.  I’m selfish, I admit it.  To be more compassionate and less consumed with my needs and see the needs of those around me.

Conclusions:  The lesson BSF makes is good:  quit being so selfish and put others first.  However, the lesson is in Mark, not John, since otherwise we’d have no idea Jesus had other plans to begin with.  I think the point still could have been made relying on simply John alone.  Jesus sees the great hunger of his followers and addresses it (and will solve it in the next verses).

End Notes:  This miracle is recorded in all the other Gospels as well with only Mark mentioning how it wasn’t the plan.  Luke tells us Jesus also taught the multitude who was following him and not just those following him up the mountain.

The Sea of Tiberius is the official Roman name for the Sea of Galilee, from the town of Tiberius named after the Roman emperor and founded in 20 AD.  This would be the northeast shore near Bethsaida.

The Greek verbs here are continuing action.  It seems these crowds always followed Jesus and never went away.

John is the only one to date this incident by mentioning Passover.  These crowds could be heading to Jerusalem for that feast.  Passover is a celebration of God’s people leaving Egypt.  Here, Jesus will feed the people just like God did during those tumultuous times.

The mountain Jesus ascended is assumed to be the Golan Heights of today.

Mark tells us it was late in the day and Jesus had been teaching them all day.  Not John.  He cuts to the chase:  Jesus saw a need and is about to address it.

Map of Tiberius, Bethsaida, and the Sea of Galilee HERE

Fun Fact:  Apart from the resurrection, this is the one miracle found in all 4 Gospels.  It shows Jesus as the supplier of human need and sets the stage for his testimony that he is the bread of life (John 6:35).

BSF Study Questions John Lesson 4, Day 5: John 3:22-36

Summary of passage:  After Jesus’ time with Nicodemus, he and his disciples began spreading the word of God in the Judean countryside and baptizing people.  John the Baptist was also still baptizing people at this same time.  An argument arose between the followers of John the Baptist and other Jews.  They were saying Jesus is baptizing as well.  John said that’s fine for Jesus is giving the same gift from heaven.  Jesus is above John the Baptist since he came from heaven.  He speaks the words of God and has been given everything by the Father.  Whoever accepts Jesus will have eternal life.

Questions:

13)  Part personal Question.  My answer:  John said it’s fine Jesus is around and humbled himself by saying Jesus is greater than he since Jesus is from heaven.  He is joyful at Jesus’ presence.  The joy of others doing the same thing as you.

14)  Part personal Question.  My answer:  John says Jesus if “the one who comes from above”, “The one whom God has sent”, “the one who comes from heaven”, “the one above all”, the Son of God, and the one to bring eternal life.  The same.

Conclusions:  John’s reaction to Jesus is what’s important here.  He’s not jealous that people are going to Jesus instead of him.  He’s joyful and happy.  We should all be that way when our competitors in life do better than we do.  It’s very hard to repress that selfishness that arises but John’s example is inspiring to do so.

End Notes:  Notice John’s focus:  Jesus’ work in Judea.  The other gospels focus on Jesus’ work in Galilee.  Map HERE of region.

Jesus is continuing the work of John the Baptist, who was doing the work God told him to do.  Jesus baptized and preached repentance, the same as John.  All we know is we’re in the region of Judea.

Where John was (Aenon near Salim) is disputed.  Aenon means “springs”, which makes sense since you need water to baptize.  Two locations are suggested:  one is 7 miles south of Bethshan and the other near Shechem.

The details of the argument is unknown.  What’s important is John’s reaction:  joy!  Jesus is here.  Let him come!

John responds to his disciples:  all I have is Jesus’, Jesus is the one who he’s announcing is coming and has come (his life’s purpose), and he’s just the best man–not the bridegroom.  The friend of the bridegroom arranges many parts of the wedding for the groom and is there only to help, which is John the Baptist’s role.  Saying Jesus is the bridegroom is saying he’s God.  All would have recognized from the Old Testament that Israel is the bride of Yahweh.

John is happy that Jesus is winning disciples.  That is John’s job–to bring them all to Jesus.  He’s doing a good job at evangelism.

Jesus is greater; the servant is less.  This John understood.  He kept doing the job he was sent to do even if the crowds lessened.  He’s still doing God’s work, which changes for us all.

Scholars debate whether verses 31-36 is John the Baptist still speaking or John the Apostle adding commentary.

Jesus is greater than everyone else and has first-hand knowledge of heaven since he’s from heaven.  This who we trust:  those who’ve been there and done that.  Jesus is the only one who’s been to heaven and back to tell.

No one will believe John says.  Jesus will be rejected.  He is prophesizing here.  This is relatively speaking.  Some did believe but most did not.

The Spirit is given freely to us all (without measure).

“The one whom God has sent” is a key theme in John’s Gospel (John 4:34; John 17:3).

“Without limit” here is debated:  is God giving the Spirit to only Jesus or to all believers?

“Has” means eternal life is a present possession, not something the believer will only obtain later.

Fun Fact:  “The Father loves the Son” is used only twice in the book of John (again in 5:20).  But a different Greek word is used in each case.

Using “the Son” to designate Jesus is a theme in this Gospel.

The wrath of God is brought upon man by himself.  God doesn’t do it.  Wrath is not a passion or an outburst.  It’s God’s displeasure that sin brings.  It’s God’s righteousness against unrighteousness.  So many churches these days downplay God’s wrath.  But without God’s wrath, there is no judgment, no morals, no values.

“God’s wrath” means that God is actively opposed to everything evil.

Fun Fact:  This is the only time John uses “wrath” in his Gospel.

“Abides” or “remains” means God’s wrath is for eternity (total and permanent) unless you accept Jesus who takes God’s wrath.

Conclusions to Lesson 4 and John 3:

John 3 is a must read for any Christian and a great place to point unbelievers.  It states:

You must be born again (John 3:7)

The Son of Man must be lifted up (John 3:14)

God must increase (John 3:30)

Man must decrease (John 3:30)