BSF Study Questions John Lesson 30/Lesson Review

Questions:

Day 1:

1) I learned more how much God loves me by sending His one and only Son as a sacrifice for me.  God’s love for me is infinite and I’ve learned just how hard that is to grasp.  Like any thing that grows me closer to Him, I try to live my daily life and actions according to His will.  I’ve tried to remember how much He loves me, especially in the bad times.  I’m sure I will have more clarity on the minute changes in my life as the years progress.

Day 2:

2) I learned I needed Him more than I thought I did.  I just think my faith is stronger in Him than before.  I also learned to trust in Him more as He is the conductor and I am merely a player in my life.

Day 3:

3) I look for Him more.  I talk to Him more.  I pray more before I do something.  I’m more compassionate towards others.  I’m trying to love others more as Jesus commands us to do and have more sympathy for others in my life.  I desire Him more.  I desire Him to do His will in my life more.

Day 4:

4) I think I understand him more and appreciate him more.  I love him more.  I understand suffering more and the purpose behind it.  I am more accepting of what happens to me in my life because of the trials in Jesus’s life.  I try to be more compassionate to others because of him as well.  More understanding.  And just be there more for others as well.

Day 5:

5)  While I cannot say for sure as I am not omniscient like God, I do believe He plans to prosper me and do His work while preparing me for the future and leading others to Christ.  I have started a new blog based on one of my other passions.  I may have a new job that is much more flexible for my family life and has the potential to be more lucrative.  I am sure He wants my kids in school as they age and mature.  And I continue to write my novel.  Slowly but surely.  And one day I’ll be a published author.  He has great things in store and I can’t wait!

Day 6:

6)  It’s not just during the study of John.  It’s all the time.  I want to tell them how God is good and true and faithful and He is there and His plan is to prosper you as you become more like His Son, Jesus Christ.  God is working, all the time, whether you see it or not.  Have faith!  All of my family needs to hear this.

Final Thoughts on the Study of John:  While I enjoyed this study, I’m glad it’s coming to an end.  I was unable to attend most of the lectures due to a schedule conflict with my children.  They were unable to attend as well because of this schedule conflict.  So that was disappointing.  I know I didn’t get as much out of this as I normally would have but at this stage in my life I did what I could and you all helped me with your comments and being faithful.  Hence, my proposal for lectures available online.  I attend a night class and it’s late both for me and the kids.  Having this as an option would be amazing!  And does it really matter if more people would listen at home?  I don’t think God cares.

Usually BSF asks a whole question on the kids’ program and how it affected your kids.  This year it seems more like an after thought.

I enjoyed my group this year who pushed me to dig deeper into God and His word.

My answers seem trite for Lesson 30.  For me it’s hard to quantify how God has worked in my life when the changes are so very small.

I am looking forward to the break.  To reading some good books and writing one.  To listening to God’s voice in my life this summer.  To hearing Him speak.  To finding a summer bible study.  To watch Him work in my life even when I don’t understand it.  God is good!

Have a great break and see you all in the Fall!

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BSF Study Questions John Lesson 29, Day 5: John 21:24-25

Summary of passage:  John says this is his testimony that he recorded and Jesus did many other things he didn’t record.

Questions:

12)  John recorded these events in Jesus’ life so people will believe Jesus is the Christ, the Sone of God, and have faith in him and his name and thus receive eternal life with the Father.

13)  Personal Question.  My answer:  My faith has grown.  My depth of love for Jesus and God have grown.  My path is clearer.  My love is stronger.

Conclusions:  Why are we being asked a question that is not in this passage at all (question 12)?  Question 13 should be in Lesson 30.  Weak ending to the study of John.

End Notes:  We have been given all we need to know.  John refers to the ongoing work or Christ throughout the centuries–so much good it could not possibly be written down.  Awesome!

John, once known as the “son of thunder” in Mark 3:17 changes as he journeys with Jesus and becomes known as the apostle of love.  Scholars speculate that as John looked back and wrote these episodes of Jesus’ life that these are the ones that convinced him Jesus was the Son of God.  As we journey with God and Jesus, we change as well.  We grow, we expand, we deepen, we love.

I hope you all have done all of this and more throughout this study.  Have a great summer break and I’ll see you all in the Fall for the Book of Romans!

BSF Study Questions John Lesson 29, Day 2: John 21:1-14

Summary of passage:  While on an unsuccessful fishing trip, the disciples saw Jesus again.  He told them where to cast their net for fish.  John recognizes Jesus and impulsive Peter swims to him.  They all have a fish bake for breakfast on the shore, celebrating the 3rd time Jesus appeared to them.

Questions:

3)  John recognizes Jesus.  Peter is impulsive and enthusiastic.  Peter perhaps doesn’t want John to beat him again to Jesus like at the tomb so he throws himself overboard.  Or perhaps he thought he’d walk on water.  Peter is competitive.  Jesus’ power is unlimited and he uses it for specific purposes–here to encourage and fellowship.

4)  Part personal Question.  My answer:  Jesus shows up when the disciples are discouraged on an unsuccessful fishing trip.  He provides them food when they need it.  Jesus meets their every day needs daily.  All of them do.  Jesus is there always in my little moments, which frequently are the moments I need him most.  He provides.  He encourages.  He walks with me and has breakfast and coffee!  Great stuff!

5)  Personal Question.  My answer:  Encourages me to always seek and ask him.

Conclusions:  I love this fish bake!  Jesus is amazing, isn’t he?  He cares about us in the daily struggles of life as much as he cares about our spiritual health.  He encourages us when we are discouraged and seeks to fellowship with us.  Jesus can have a cup of coffee with you.  Make a cup and open his word and he’ll speak!

This is my favorite scene in the whole book of John.  You can just see the enthusiasm of Peter as he jumps in the sea to swim to his Lord.  He’s gotta be on cloud 9.  This is a moment of pure pleasure and relaxation for all of them as they refuel in preparation for a hard road ahead.  I love how Jesus gives us these moments in our lives of pure fun to recharge before the grind of His work.  All are sitting around the fire, enjoying an incredible meal in fellowship.  Encouraging one another.  Laughing.  Having a good time.  Telling stories.  Great, great life stuff!

End Notes:  Now the disciples are back in Galilee near the Sea of Tiberias.  Peter’s name is listed first again amongst the 7 disciples there.  2 were unnamed and scholars say these represent the majority of the saints whose works do go unrecognized except by Jesus.

Jesus told them to return to Galilee in Matthew 28:7, 10.  Previously, the disciples had their food provided for them by donors of followers of Jesus.  Now, they must return to their previous occupation to earn a living.  This could also show their uncertainty as to their next move so they retreated to what they knew best (fishing) while awaiting clarity from prayer.

Perhaps it was hard to see Jesus on the shore so they didn’t recognize him.  It could have been foggy or too far.

“Friends” would better be translated “lads”.  The Greek word is a common greeting.

Jesus’ request was small and strange but still a test of faith in stranger’s fishing advice.  He rewards workers.

This story shows us the results of activity with Divine guidance and without.

The word for garment is the only time it appears in the New Testament.  Jews regarded a greeting as a religious act that could be done only when one was clothed.  Peter was preparing himself to greet the Lord.

Jesus is a servant again, having food already prepared for his disciples.  Peter drags up a net probably weighing close to 300 pounds by himself, the exactitude of the numbers is eyewitness detail.

Scholars have debated what the number 153 means.  However, it’s just a number.  Be wary of those trying to find hidden meanings in God’s word.

Jesus probably appeared different since John writes how none questioned Jesus’ identity.  Perhaps his scars never went away.  Jesus eats with them and fellowships with them.

This is the 3rd time John has recorded Jesus’ appearance after the resurrection to the group of disciples–not the 3rd time in order Jesus has appeared.

The Apostle Peter (taken from Zondervan Illustrated Bible Dictionary by JD Douglas and Merrill C Tenney):  “The personality of Peter is one of the most vividly drawn and charming in the New Testament.  His sheer humanness has made him one of the most beloved and winsome members of the apostolic band.  He was eager, impulsive, energetic, self-confident, aggressive, and daring, but also unstable, fickle, weak, and cowardly.  He was guided more by quick impulse than logical reasoning, and he readily swayed from one extreme to the other.  He was preeminently a man of action.  His life exhibits the defects of his character as well as his tremendous capacities for good.  He was forward and often rash, liable to instability and inconsistency, but his love for and associations with Christ molded him into a man of stability, humility, and courageous service for God.  In the power of the Holy Spirit eh became one of the noble pillars of the church (Galatians 2:9).”

And to think:  Jesus chose one such as him.  And he chose one such as you and I.  Despite our character flaws, God has great plans for us.  We merely have to believe in ourselves and in our Lord.  We can’t do it on our own.  Only God can.

Peter recedes into the background after Jesus’ resurrection, almost unheard of until his letters from Rome.  Tradition asserts that Peter went to Rome, labored there and was crucified there under the Emperor Nero.

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 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 27, Day 3: John 19:31-37

Summary of passage: The Sabbath was the next day and the Jews did not want bodies hanging around so they asked Pilate to take the bodies down. The soldiers went around and broke the legs of the two criminals who were still alive. Jesus had already died so they did not break his legs. Instead, a Roman soldier pierced his side, fulfilling Scripture once again.

Questions:

6)  He was pierced in the side and water and blood flowed from his insides.  This proves Jesus was a man and discounts the Gnostics who say Jesus was never a man and was only a Spirit.  Jesus has to die for us physically in order to take our physical sins away.

7)  Here one lamb (Jesus) sufficed as a sacrifice for all.  There was no cooking involved or sprinkling of blood.  Jesus’ blood spilled and covered all believers’ sins.  Jesus’ bones remained intact according to Jewish tradition of the Passover lamb.

8 )  Personal Question.  My answer:  He was pierced for our sins.  His punishment/death brought us peace with God.  Our spiritual wounds are healed by his wounds.  When Jesus rises again all will experience God’s grace and supplication and mourning of Jesus’ death as they will be cleansed of all sin and impurity.  It deepens my worship.

Conclusions:  Good lesson as we look forward to Jesus’ resurrection and just exactly what it means.  Can’t wait!

End Notes:  The day of Preparation again gives scholars problems as to the exact date of Jesus’ death. The special Sabbath was Passover. Most scholars believe the Passover meal had been eaten on Thursday. The day of Preparation was Friday. The Sabbath would be Saturday.

As we’ve discussed LAST WEEK, the bodies of those crucified would normally hang on the crosses and rot as a sign to others not to break the law. However, the Jewish leaders, concerned about ceremonial pollution on the Passover, requested the bodies removed early. Breaking the legs (known as crucifragium in Latin) would bring asphyxiation on quickly. Men had to push themselves up with their legs in order to breathe while hanging suspended by their hands. Unable to do this, they would die.

Could you imagine? You are suffering on a cross and a guy comes up and wracks you on the legs with a club? The pain! In one sense, it’s a good thing cause you’ll pain will end sooner through death but still…

Mark 15:44-45 tells us that Pontius Pilate asked for confirmation that Jesus was dead. These were seasoned Roman soldiers who knew the look of death. The customary way to confirm death on the cross was to break the legs. However, this centurion did not. Instead, he pierced Jesus, probably meant to be a death blow, and fulfilled prophecy. This could have been out of cruelty as well.

Blood and water flowed and doctors today think this proves Jesus died of a burst heart since the water would come from the watery sack that surrounds the heart known as the pericardium and possibly the heart itself. Typically, in the Old Testament, water and blood was used to cleanse the people. Spurgeon compares this to Adam and Eve who came from his side. From Jesus’ side comes the church.

John tells us he was there to testify to what he saw. Later in one of his letters (1 John 5:6–which we studied in Lesson 21) he described Jesus as He who came by water and blood. This description has puzzled many commentators, unsure if John meant the waters of baptism or the water mentioned in John 19:34.

The not breaking of the legs prophecy of Psalm 34:20, Exodus 12:46, and Numbers 9:12 was unknowingly and accidently (on man’s part) fulfilled. Nevertheless, its exact fulfillment shows the providence and guidance of God, and leads us to believe.

This piercing prophecy of Zechariah 12:10 and 13:6 was unknowingly and accidently (on man’s part) fulfilled. Nevertheless, its exact fulfillment shows the providence and guidance of God, and leads us to believe.

Zechariah also says Jesus will be looked upon, mourned, and petitioned. This is to still to come.