BSF Study Questions John Lesson 29, Day 4: John 21:18-23

Summary of passage:  Jesus says Peter will go places where he doesn’t want to go when he follows him and he’ll be martyred.  Peter goes off with Jesus with John following with Jesus indicating John will live a long time.

Questions:

9)  Peter would go places he didn’t want to go and he’d be martyred (specifically crucified) and John would live a long time.

10)  He gives each enough information to continue on their path.

11)  Personal Question.  My answer:  I am trying to follow him by quitting my job, teaching my kids, and doing His work in my life not mine.

Conclusions:  Very weak.

End Notes:  “I tell you the truth” means pay attention.  Most of us in our younger days did what we wanted to do.  Jesus is saying as he gets older, he’ll do what Jesus wants him to do.  Jesus tells him it will be his death by a cross that will glorify God.

On one hand, this should have terrified Peter (remember he denied Jesus to save his own skin).  Yet on the other hand, Jesus says you will have faith at the end.  How encouraging!

Scholars say in about 34 years, Peter would face this death and he would so embrace it that he’d ask to be crucified head down, deeming himself unworthy to go in the same manner as his Lord.

The verb is “keep on following” all the days of Peter’s life just as Jesus called him to do years before in Matthew 4:18-19.

Peter, not wishing to answer, deflects the attention from himself to John (as most of us would do).

Jesus lets Peter know that his destiny for John is completely different than his.  We also see how easy it is for others to misconstrue God’s word as the rumor spread that Jesus said John would live forever.  John makes sure to correct this misconception.

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BSF Study Questions John Lesson 29, Day 3: John 21:15-17

Summary of passage:  Jesus asks Peter if he loves him.  Peter says of course.  Jesus tells Peter to feed his lambs, take care of his sheep, and feed his sheep.

Questions:

6)  Jesus is letting Peter know he is forgiving for denying him three times after his arrest and that he has important work for him to do.  He’s encouraging him to forgive himself, get over the past, and concentrate on the work ahead.  He’s doing this in front of the others so the others support him as well.

7)  Personal Question.  My answer:  It seems I always have people placed in my way to teach me something the Lord is trying to get across to me.  He always knows just where I need to be or what I need to hear in order to move more towards Him.

8 )  Our past and our sins are forgiven.  Despite our faults of being human, we can still impact this world and make a difference.  In fact, we can use our shortcomings to help others who are struggling with the same sins (addiction, etc).  All is for a purpose for Him.

Conclusions:  Great example of God’s love for us.  There is no reason to wallow in self-pity over our sins when God doesn’t.  He has a plan for us and we can’t waste precious time avoiding it.

End Notes:  Jesus had already met with Peter individually on the day of His resurrection (Luke 24:34, 1 Corinthians 15:5). We can only wonder at what Jesus and Peter talked about at that first meeting. Nevertheless, it was still important for Jesus to restore Peter in the presence of the other disciples.

Peter means “rock” and Jesus does not address him as such here.  Peter hadn’t been a rock.  But he sure would become one!

Before Peter denied Jesus three times, he claimed to love Jesus more than the other disciples did (Matthew 26:33).  Jesus wanted to know if Peter still believed thus.  Of course, Jesus already knew the answer (as Peter points out in verse 17), but Jesus is asking for Peter’s self-knowledge, not his.

Some scholars say here Jesus could be asking if Peter were willing to give up fishing for him since “these” is a pronoun referring to something previous.  However, all indications are it’s the disciples he’s referring to.

Jesus uses the word “agape” when speaking of love and Peter responds with the Greek word “philio”.  Agape is the all-encompassing love and philip is brotherly love as we discussed HERE.

Most scholars agree there is a reason for the difference but most disagree as to what that reason could be.  Some think Peter was now being more reserved after his dismal denials earlier.

Jesus instructs Peter on how to act towards God’s people.  Jesus first emphasizes that the people are his.  The verb translated “take care” or “tend” has a much fuller meaning.  It means to shepherd his people.  Collect them, care for their every need, and lead them.

If Peter loved Jesus how he claimed he loved Jesus, then he would care for Jesus’ people.

Peter, abashed, knows why Jesus is asking him three times.  Three times he denied and now three times he gets to confirm.

This third question Jesus uses “philio” instead of agape.  Again, Jesus tells Peter to forget the past and move on to feeding his people.  Great stuff!

This reinstatement helped embolden Peter to become one of the early church’s most fearless spokesmen.

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.

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 27, Day 4: John 19:38-42

Summary of passage:  Joseph of Arimathea, a secret follower of Jesus, asked Pilate for Jesus’ body.  Along with Nicodemus, the two of them prepared Jesus’ body for burial by wrapping it in strips of linen.  Jesus was laid in a nearby tomb.

Questions:

9)  Joseph of Arimathea was a member of the Council and in good standing.  He was a follower of Jesus.  Nicodemus was also a member of the Jewish ruling council, a Pharisee, who came to Jesus previously to know him better.  He spoke up for Jesus as well.  Both were risking being thrown out of the synagogue by being near Jesus.

10a)  They lost a chance to get to know God’s Son here on earth and be near him.  They lost a chance to be eternally saved (we are never told these men confessed their faith in Jesus).  They gained political power here on earth.  Reputation.  Status.  Wealth.  All by staying quiet about Jesus.

b)  They risked their positions, their lives, their wealth, their status, their family, etc.  They gained the privilege of preparing Jesus’ body.  They showed their love towards Jesus.  They gained status in God’s eyes instead of man’s.

11)  Personal Question.  My answer:  I believe I follow Jesus fully.  Unsure of loved ones.  I’m just not that close to many in my family.

Conclusions:  Love how we see these 2 men come to full circle with Jesus.

End Notes:  God used these men to protect the body of Jesus.  Jewish custom was to bury the body before sundown and the start of the Sabbath.  All indications are that Joseph and Nicodemus did this work themselves instead of slaves.  This must have been difficult to remove the bloody body of Jesus from a hanging cross.  These 2 men who were religious leaders must have known they were fulfilling prophecy.  Can you imagine being in their place?  How awesome!

“One of the customs of the Jews in preparing a body for burial is the requirement to remove all foreign matter from the body and to carefully wash it.  Joseph and Nicodemus examined His entire body and found broken pieces of thorn all over the head. They saw His bloody, matted hair; the terrible bruising of the face, the areas of beard pulled out, the dry and cracked lips. They turned the body over to see His shoulders and arms are riddled with splinters; each one was removed with care. The back, from the shoulders down, was a bloody open wound from the terrible scourging suffered before the crucifixion. His hands and feet were smashed and bloodied. On the front – just beneath the rib cage – there was a gaping wound made from the spear thrust that confirmed His death.”  Taken from Enduring Word.com.  Can you imagine?

Jesus could have risen right then.  But instead he hung dead on the cross.  God’s perfect plan.

The burial of Jesus is so important it’s considered one of the essential components of the gospel itself (1 Corinthians 15:3-4):

· The burial fulfilled the Scripture of Isaiah 53:9 says, “And they made His grave with the wicked”; so that meant the Messiah would be buried in a grave – and He was

· The burial fulfilled the promise, the prediction of Jesus. Jesus said that He, like Jonah, would be buried away for three days (Matthew 12:40), and so it had to be fulfilled

· The burial demonstrated that Jesus was truly dead; it was proof of the glory of the coming resurrection.

· The burial was important because burial spices and preparations protected His holy body from decay; as it was said in Psalm 16:10: You will not allow Your Holy One to see decay

· The burial pushed both Joseph of Arimathea and Nicodemus to proclaim their relationship with Jesus in public

· The burial and the days of Jesus in the tomb tested the faith and devotion of the disciples; it made them die a certain kind of death for those days they knew Jesus lay in the tomb

· The burial and the days of Jesus in the tomb proved Jesus defeated not only sin, but also death. The burial and the empty tomb show that Jesus conquered sin and death

· The days in the tomb were important because there was important work for Jesus to do during that time in the tomb. 1 Peter 3:18-20 tells us that Jesus went and preached to the spirits in prison; though there isn’t as much explanation on all this as we would like to have, it seems that as the body of Jesus lay lifeless in the tomb, His Spirit went to Hades, the abode of the dead. There He led the faithful dead to heaven, in light of His then-completed work on the cross. He also preached a message of judgment and coming condemnation to the evil spirits that were imprisoned in the depths

· The burial shows he was buried with us, in the humiliation of utter humanness. We are buried with Him – spiritually by faith, ceremonially by baptism. He identified with us; we by faith identify with Him.  [Again, summarized from enduring word.com]

The myrrh and aloes were an extravagant amount of money.

Matthew 27:60 tells us that this tomb belonged to Joseph of Arimathea himself.  A rich man like Joseph would probably have a tomb that was carved into solid rock; this tomb was in a garden near the place of crucifixion.

A typical tomb of this type had a small entrance and perhaps one or more compartments where bodies were laid out after being somewhat mummified with spices, ointments, and linen strips. Customarily, the Jews left these bodies alone for a few years until they decayed down to the bones, then the bones were placed in a small stone box known as an ossuary (picture HERE.) The ossuary remained in the tomb with the remains of other family members.

The door to the tomb was typically made of a heavy, circular shaped stone, running in a groove and settled down into a channel, so it could not be moved except by several strong men. This was done to ensure that no one would disturb the remains.

Adam fell in a Garden.  And so we are redeemed in one.

Spurgeon points out that the tomb was empty so no one could say Jesus’ body had touched the bones of a prophet and so sprung to life.  Every detail recorded was super important to the Jewish people at that time too all would know–Yes, He is King!

BSF Study Questions John Lesson 26, Day 5: John 28-30

Summary of passage:  Jesus was given a drink of wine before he pronounced, “It is finished” and died.

Questions:

11)  His last thought and words of this world is for us, saying his work is finished for us to be with God.  Awesome!

12a)  His asking for the drink and acceptance of it show it is done.  He was at peace and he willingly gave up his spirit when all was done.  What we don’t see is God laying upon Jesus’ shoulders our guilt and sins and wrath and Jesus accepting it for us in our place and paying the penalty or consequences of it–death.  When this is satisfied, Jesus speaks.

b)  The curtain of the temple was torn in two from top to bottom.  This is the curtain separating God from His people that only the High Priest was allowed to enter.  Now we are all allowed to be with God since the blood of Jesus has cleansed us of our sins.  We can enter into a personal relationship with God with no barriers, physical or spiritual before us.

13)  Part personal Question.  My answer:  It means Jesus’ work to die for our sins so we are forgiven, justifying us before God, being righteous, so we can be with God, is finished.  It means eternal life and life with the Holy Spirit.  It has given me peace and confidence to go forth and do God’s work despite opposition and the world’s ways.  God has and will bless me.

Conclusions:  Good lesson on the meaning of Jesus’ death.

End Notes:  Being thirsty is a real torture and Jesus needed to wet his throat in order to make his last pronouncement.  This is not a drugged wine.  It’s the wine of those standing around waiting for the crucified to die.  It’s the common drink all drank in Ancient Times.  Hence, we all thirst for God in our deepest and darkest moments.

This is one word in the ancient Greek (tetelestai), announcing our debt paid and our peace made with God, His wrath against man satisfied.  This is a triumphant, victory cry.  The power of Satan, sin, and death is overcome.

One word changes everything–the most important word ever spoken in all of history for mankind. It’s like “Yes” to a marriage proposal.  “Good-bye” to someone.  “Guilty” in a court of law.  Nothing can compare.

Bowing his head is Jesus at peace.

Jesus willingly gave up his spirit.  No one took it from him.

Jesus’ last week of life takes up 1/3 of the Gospels.  All are writing with hindsight and understand his death. Can you imagine how it would read otherwise?  At this point, understanding if far, far away.  The Son of God die?  Impossible!  Jesus will live again.  The Holy Spirit will come.  All will be clear.  For now, only John stands by his side.  And women.  Women who loved him despite any danger to their lives.

Jesus experienced anything we can ever experience:  trivial irritations in life, hard work, poverty, pain, fear, rejection, humiliation, defeat, despair, and death.  How can we not fall in love with him?