BSF Study Questions John Lesson 3, Day 2: John 2:1-12

Summary of passage:  Jesus performs the first of his miraculous signs the day after having called Philip and Nathanael.  He attends a wedding in Cana still in Galilee.  Jesus’ mother told Jesus there was no more wine.  Jesus replied his time has not yet come.  Still, Jesus told the servants to fill 6 stone water jars with water and hand them to the master of the banquet.  The water had been turned into wine.  He then goes to Capernaum with his mother, brothers, and disciples and stays for a few days.

Questions:

3a)  The wine ran out.  In ancient times, it was custom to feed guests until they were full.  To run out of wine would have been a major faux pas.  The newly married couple would forever feel shame and be known for what happened at their wedding day.  Wine was also a symbol of joy, so the subliminal message would have been “We’re not happy.”

b)  Part personal Question.  My answer:  No.  Not to jump the gun and be patient and wait for Jesus to make the first move.  That doesn’t mean not to ask.  It just means to be patient.  Mary looks at Jesus expectantly.  We should not expect things from Jesus.  All we are is in His grace alone.  We must remember that when life doesn’t go our way and we’re tempted to blame God.

4)  He performs the miracle anonymously and without pomp.  He doesn’t stand up and announce to the whole wedding party:  “Hey, everyone!  I’m about to turn water into wine.  Everyone look at me!”  No.  Jesus performs miracles with no expectations of acknowledgment or anything in return.

Jesus is showing how he’s better than the Old Covenant if you think of Jesus as the wine and the Old Covenant as the water (See End Notes for more detail on this).

5)  Part personal Question.  My answer:  It seems to indicate that the disciples believed in Jesus when they saw his glory through this first recorded miracle.  They believed before but this miracle deepens their faith just like ours is deepened when we see God in our lives.  Jesus is building up his men for their important work to come.

Conclusions:  Once Jesus decides it’s go time, it’s go time.  He doesn’t dilly-dally around and waste time.  He knows his time is limited here on earth.  This is a great lesson for us all.  Do God’s work for your life now.  You never know when you’ll be called home.

End Notes:  Note Jesus calls Mary “woman” and not mother.  There is a shift in their relationship as Jesus embarks on his plan for the world.  It’s like when our kids grow up.  We’re always parents, but we cut the cord and let our children make their own decisions.  This Greek word indicates this change between the two.

These are one of the few recorded words of Mary in the Bible.  Note what they are:  “Do whatever he tells you.”  What wisdom and advice for us today!

Jesus’ “hour” is his destiny of his death on the cross and John pictures Jesus moving towards it (John 7:6,8,30: 8:20).

The 6 stone jars show detail and show how Jesus uses what’s at hand.  He uses us right where we are today!

Note how Jesus didn’t just conjure up the water.  He uses man to aid him.  Like today when we’re called for Jesus’ work.  This is very typical in Jesus’ miracles and we’ll see this throughout the book of John.  Imagine the servants’ joy.  They didn’t do the miracle, but they shared in it’s joy.  They were blessed by obedience.

The master of the feast would have been angry if the wine ran out.  The servants showed courage in carrying the water to him.

Note how Jesus makes “choice wine”.  Jesus makes the best and goes above and beyond expectations.  We should expect the best when Jesus is involved.

Note Jesus’ first miracle is a miracle of conversion:  water to wine.  Old Testament law to New Testament law.  Cleansing from the blood of Jesus.  Old life to new life.  The water is God under the Old Covenant.  The wine is Jesus under the New Covenant.

The wine was after the water, from the water, and better from the water–all indicative of Jesus.  This first sign points to the redemption of creation from all its trials, allowing the wine of joy to flow fully as the prophets had announced (Isiah 35:1-2; Joel 3;18; Amos 9:13).

John always refers to Jesus’ miracles as “signs”, which speaks to the action not the marvel.  There are 7 signs in the book of John (the number of completion), which reveal Jesus’ glory and point to the completion of salvation.  The large catch of fish is in the epilogue.

Map of Cana HERE

BSF Study Questions John Lesson 2, Day 5: John 1:43-51

Summary of passage:  Jesus calls Philip and Nathanael as disciples in Galilee.  Philip is called first and he tells Nathanael who wonders if anything good can come from Nazareth.  Jesus knows Nathanael instantly and tells all that they will see heaven open and the angels of God ascend and descend on him.

Questions:

10)  John the Baptist, Andrew, and Philip.  Their faith, their strength of character, their heart for God, their commitment and perseverance for Christ.

11a)  Nathanael upon hearing that Jesus was from Nazareth wondered how anything good could come from Nazareth.  This is an honest and a prejudice response.  Nathanael, however, keeps an open mind and does follow Philip to come and see.  Nathanael asked Jesus how he knew him and we’re told Jesus saw Nathanael meditating on Scripture under the fig tree.  So he knows all about Jesus and asks questions.  And Nathanael declares Jesus truthfully who he is:  The Son of God and the King of Israel.

Thus, Nathanael does not allow prejudice to get in his way.  He investigates until he has his answer.  He thinks for himself.  Imagine if Nathanael hadn’t of followed Philip.  He would have missed Jesus!  Don’t let that happen to you!

b)  Personal Question.  My answer:  I think and question a lot.  I’m pretty honest.  We’re all born prejudiced in terms of making judgments on others.  It’s something we work our whole lives at to overcome.

12)  The stairway that linked heaven and earth was made possible by Jesus, who is the bridge (or the ladder) between heaven and earth.  This is what Jesus is referring to when he declares he’ll be the one in the middle, “the way, the truth the life” (John 14:6).  Heaven open means the disciples will see heaven’s testimony about Jesus as plainly as if they heard an announcement from heaven.

Conclusions:  The testimonies and the different ways people come to Jesus is prominent here.  All of our paths are different and all of our journeys are different.  As long as the path leads to Jesus, none of it matters.

Great example of overcoming prejudice and thinking and investigating for ourselves.  Our minds make unconscious judgements but we can consciously override them and see people for who they truly are.  Great lesson!

End Notes:  Philip, Andrew, and Peter were all from Bethsaida.  Undoubtedly, they all knew each other as 2000 years ago villages were small and close-knit.  This is not the first time Jesus has met Philip.  He’s met them before but here John is recorded the formal invitation by Jesus to Philip to follow him.  This we know from the other gospel accounts of this incident.

Nazareth was a town of ill-repute in the ancient world.  It was small and dinky.  Could anything good come from such a place?  This is how God works.  He takes the unexpected and makes it big.  Great analysis of this scene HERE

The Greek verb follow here has the sense of perpetuity.  “Keep on following….”

Bethsaida means “House of the fisherman” or “Fishertown.”  It’s very close to where the Jordan River enters the Lake of Galilee.  See map of Bethsaida in relation to Nazareth HERE.

Philip declares Jesus the one Moses wrote about in the law.

Rabbi is the Hebrew word for teacher.

Nathanael is the same person as Bartholomew.

Jesus compliments Nathanael by saying there is nothing false or no deceit within him.

“Under the fig tree” was a phrase Rabbis used when meditating on Scripture.  Hence, most likely Jesus saw Nathanael in prayer.  He could have been under an actual fig tree as well.

Then Nathanael recognizes Jesus as the Son of God.

Jesus says there is greater things to come.  This applies to us today.  Do you believe it?  Do you believe there are much greater things to come with Jesus?

Why does Jesus quote Genesis here and reference Jacob’s dream?  Perhaps this was the very Scripture Nathanael had been meditating on under the fig tree.

Jesus calls himself many times the Son of Man.  This references Daniel 7:13-14 where the King of Glory who will judge the world is called the Son of Man, a messianic title.  It is Jesus’ favorite self-designation.  It is used 81 times in the Gospels and never used by anyone else but Jesus here.

Fun Fact:  “Truly I tell you” occurs more in their Gospel than in any other Gospel and nowhere else in the New Testament.  John is the only one who prefaces the phrase with “very” a total of 25 times.

Conclusions to Lesson 2:  Here we see 4 ways to come to Jesus:

  1. Andrew by the preaching of John the Baptist.
  2. Peter because of his brother.
  3. Philip who was called directly by Jesus
  4. Nathanael who personally encountered Jesus

We also see 4 different testimonies to the identity of Jesus:

  1.  John the Baptist testified Jesus is eternal, the man uniquely anointed with the Holy Spirit, the Lamb of God, and the unique Son of God.
  2. Andrew testified Jesus is the Messiah, the Christ.
  3.  Phillip testified Jesus is the One prophesied in the Old Testament.
  4.  Nathaniel testified Jesus is the Son of God and the King of Israel.

We see all of Jesus’ titles in one chapter in the Bible.  Do you still doubt who Jesus is?

BSF Study Questions John Lesson 2, Day 4: John 1:35-42

Summary of passage:  John the Baptist points out Jesus as the Messiah.  Jesus gains his first 2 disciples (John and Andrew) who were followers of John the Baptist.  They spent the day with Jesus.  Then Andrew found his brother, Simon, whom Jesus called “cephas” or Peter.

Questions:

8 )  Part personal question.  My answer:  They followed Jesus.  Just listening to him as he moved us around the country and believing he had my life all worked out and I don’t have to worry at all.

9a)  Jesus invited the men to follow him and see.  They had to spend the day with him.

b)  Personal Question.  My answer:  Spending the day reading the Bible, praying, listening for answers and guidance from God.  Help others.  Walk in his ways instead of mine.

Conclusions:  The way to Jesus is simple:  He’s identified.  He invites you in.  You follow and spend time with him.  You believe.  Open hearts and open minds are all that are required.  If you follow these steps, belief and eternal life will follow.

End Notes:  Most scholars agree the 2nd disciple who is never named must be John.  John never names himself in this book and the account is so specific it must be made by an eye-witness.

“Look, the Lamb of God” is repeated from John 1:29.  Perhaps John always said this when he saw Jesus.  To him, it was the most important thing about Jesus.

John the Baptist did not care that his disciples left him for Jesus.  After all, that’s his mission in this world: to prepare the way for Jesus.

“What do you want?” or “What do you seek?” are the first words spoken by Jesus in the book of Joh.  And Jesus still asks us this today.

The disciples lived with Jesus and shared in his life.  Jesus did not separate himself from his followers.  The same is true today.

John remembers the time (the tenth hour) that he came to Jesus–another supporting detail that John was the 2nd disciple.

Every time we see Andrew in the book of John he is bringing people to Jesus (John 6:8 and 12:22). That is how most of us come to Jesus–through a friend or family member.  Every Peter has an Andrew.  Who was your Andrew?

“We have found the Messiah” is the simplest and greatest testimony for Jesus.

Jesus knew what kind of man Peter would become so he renames him.

By spending the day with Jesus, the disciples would have first-hand testimony of Jesus and his doings to tell others instead of just pure faith alone.

Comparison of the gospels accounts of the first calling of the disciples HERE  Interesting to see the differences.

Fun post about the order of the calling of the disciples HERE  Only 4 people total in the New Testament got renamed.  This same post goes over each in detail.  3 were disciples and Saul/Paul is considered a close second disciple.  There are also 3 sets of the brothers of the original 12 disciples. Cool!

BSF Study Questions John Lesson 2, Day 3: John 1:29-36

Summary of passage:  John points out Jesus as the Son of God since he saw the Spirit come done and remain on Jesus.

Questions:

6a)  Jesus’ baptism allows the Holy Spirit to live inside of someone and gives them the saving waters of God.  John’s baptism is only to cleanse the soul and prepare to receive Jesus.  John cleanses.  Jesus bestows.

b)  Personal Question.  My answer:  Everything.  I walk with Jesus and in his ways–not in mine.  I work for him, not me.  It’s all about him.

7a)  The lamb was a sin offering for the Jesus people, a sacrifice they must make on the altar to atone for their sins.  Isaiah says how lambs are led to the slaughter.  In calling Jesus the Lamb of God, John the Baptist is saying Jesus is the sacrifice that must be made to atone for their sins.  The difference is this is final.  No more sacrifices will have to be made.

b)  Personal Question.  My answer:  It’s a vivid image on the meekness of Jesus and the sacrifice he bore for our sins.  It makes me more worshipful.

Conclusions:  I will probably be saying “everything” a lot this year to personal questions because Jesus is our everything.

End Notes:  Here we’ve skipped ahead.  Most scholars believe this passage is after John baptized Jesus (since that’s when the Holy Spirit descended on Jesus: Matthew 3:13-17) and after the 40 days of temptation in the wilderness (Matthew 4:1-11; Luke 4:1-13; Mark 1:12-13).  Jesus came back to see John the Baptist in his work.

John could have described Jesus as any thing here:  the king, the conqueror, the Savior, the mighty, the great, etc.  Instead, he chooses the Lamb.  How powerful!  Jesus as the sacrifice–the whole reason we are saved and how we get to God.  Remember that.

Fun Fact:  “Lamb of God” is found in the Bible only twice:  here and in verse 36.

This whole sentence is perhaps the most concise description of Jesus in the Bible and the most important:  “Look, the Lamb of God who takes away the sin of the world!”.  John sees Jesus first, calls him by his role, and tells us what Jesus does for us.

Note how many times we’ve seen the lamb in the Old Testament:  The lamb slain before the foundation of the world, the animal slain in the Garden of Eden to cover Adam and Eve’s nakedness, the lamb provided to Abraham in place of Isaac, the Passover lamb, and the guilt offerings required by God to cleanse Israel of its sins.

Taking away is bearing.

Note it’s sin (singular), not sins (plural).  All of humanity’s sin is bore by Jesus.

Jesus was before John like he was before all of us:  since the beginning of time.  Remember, John the Baptist is older than Jesus so he’s speaking of eternal existence here.

The Greek word for “man” here connotes head of household, Jesus’ superiority over man and women.

Jesus already had the Holy Spirit.  It was merely made visible by God to John so he could witness to the people.

BSF Study Questions John Lesson 2, Day 2: John 1:19-28

Summary of passage:  John the Baptist was questions by the Levites (Jewish priests) about his identity near Bethany.  He says he is not the Christ repeatedly.  He denies being Elijah and the Prophet.  He’s the announcer and precursor to Christ, and he says he’s unworthy to untie Christ’s sandals.

Questions:

3)

1)  “Then who are you?  Are you Elijah?”  Answer:  “I am not.”

2)  “Are you the Prophet?”  Answer:  “No.”

3)  “Who are you?”  4)  “”What do you say about yourself?”  Answer:  “I am the voice of one calling in the desert, ‘Make straight the way for the Lord.'”.

5)  “Why then do you baptize if you are not the Christ, nor Elijah, nor the Prophet?”  Answer:  “I baptize with water but among you stands one you do not know.  He is the one who comes after me, the thongs of whose sandals I am not worthy to untie.”

4a)  In Malachi 4:5-6, Elijah was predicted to return before the Day of the Lord (which we learned last year in Revelation is the Second Coming of Christ).  In Deuteronomy 18:15-19, God promised another Prophet would come in due time.  So the Levites here are trying to figure out if John the Baptist is this promised return of Elijah or the Prophet.

b)  He says he’s the one sent to reveal the Christ and tell the people to prepare for his arrival that Isaiah predicted in his book.  The one who shall make straight the highway path to God.

5)   Personal Question.  My answer:  He’s humble and gives Christ all the credit.  I can remember this for all the blessings in my life and take no credit for them.  They are all HIS.

Conclusions:  We gain insight into John the Baptist’s character here.  He knows his purpose in life and in all humility he goes about his business singularly focused.  A great example to us of a witness for Christ.

End Notes:  This is John’s testimony for Jesus.

“The Jews” here do not refer to the Jewish people as a whole.  John uses it to denote the religious establishment and this is the first time in the gospels this is seen.  Specifically, they are sent here to look into the activities of an unauthorized leader.

The Levites as most of you know were descendants of Levi who were the priests of God’s people.

Fun Fact:  The Greek word for “Jews” occurs about 70 times in this Gospel.

Note John doesn’t say exactly who he is:  “Well, I’m Jesus’s cousin, the son of the priest Zechariah” etc.  Instead, he focuses on his mission:  to prepare and cleanse (hence baptisms) the way for Jesus.

Elijah did not die (2 Kings 2:11) and thus believed he would return to earth to announce the end times.  John is repeatedly asked if he is the Messiah and he gets more and more terse with each denial.  Like we do when repeatedly asked a question.

The Messiah means “the Anointed One”.  In the Old Testament anointing was a sign of being set apart.  Here, the people are seeking “the One”.

Baptisms grew out of the Old Testament tradition of ceremonial washings.  In the first century AD, baptisms with water were only for Gentiles converting to Judaism.  So if Jews agreed to be baptized they are openly repenting of their sins.

Untying thongs of sandals was the duty of slaves and a duty which disciples did not do for masters. John is saying he’s not worthy of even this duty.  He is lower than a slave.

Bethany is just outside of Jerusalem on the banks of the Jordan River.  See map HERE

Prayer Requests are Back!

Hey all!

I will be posting weekly prayer requests on Sundays for the week.  Similar to ASK’s in BSF but with more eyes to see and more voices to lift you up!  You may either post a comment below or email them to me at atozmom.wordpress@gmail.com and I’ll get to them ASAP.

My requests:  This year in BSF more people turn to Jesus for the answers.  For my husband:  guidance in his job and if he wants to pursue another avenue in business.

God bless and have a wonderful week!

BSF Study Questions John Lesson 1, Day 5: John 1:14-18

Summary of passage:  The Word (Jesus) became flesh and was sent by the Father to us.  John testifies for Jesus, saying Jesus is greater than him.  Jesus is the source of our blessings.  Jesus has made God known to all of us.

Questions:

12a)  God has blessed us out of faith through Jesus.

b)  Personal Question.  My answer:  Way too many to choose but a recent one is God has given me a job to help support my family and continue His financial blessings upon us AND it’s a job He picked for me because it fits me and the people and company I work for are fantastic.

13)  “The law was given through Moses”:  God sent His law (the rules for livings) through Moses.

“Grace came through Jesus Christ”:  Because of Jesus, God gives us grace (forgiveness, etc).

“Truth came through Jesus Christ”:  Jesus brought the Truth which is there’s only one way to God and that’s through him (Jesus).

In essence, this entire phrase together (separated is confusing) means Christ is replacing the law brought by Moses and only Jesus is grace and truth and life.

14)  Personal Question.  My answer:  Incredible and heart-wrenching.

Conclusions:  Based on this first lesson of John, I’m gonna say that BSF has stopped marking questions as challenge questions and personal questions.  Now, BSF provides the reference verses for us to look up (which I think is a good thing especially for new believers who have no clue where to look in the Bible for such things).  And I’m assuming the personal nature of BSF questions is here to stay, especially after Revelation where it seemed every question had a personal twist on it.  I’ll leave it up to you whether you think this is a good thing or not.  I’m ambivalent.  I think it’s a good thing except where it gets repetitive i.e. the same question worded slightly different for each lesson.  We do need to apply the Word (note the pun) to our daily lives and I love that.  However, there’s only so many ways to apply the same subject to my life at any given time.  I just can’t take in big changes.  Small steps and let’s focus on those.

End Notes:  Verse 16 should say:  “Of his fullness we have all received, and grace for grace”.  John means here grace is never-ending with God.

Verse 18:  In the Greek, “God” here is missing the definite article which indicates a person.  Here, John is speaking of God’s deity or his nature of being.  “At the Father’s side” is better translated as “who is in the bosom of the Father”.  This is how children are to parents–connected and one.  Jesus and God are one.

“God the One and Only” is Jesus here. “Made him known” can be read as “declared”.  Jesus has declared the nature of the unseen God and IS the unseen God.

Because no one can look upon God and live (Exodus 33:20), God became human and sent Jesus in order to make Him known.

Final Conclusions to Lesson 1:  Admittedly, my Bible had dust on it when I pulled it out after the study of Revelation ended.  I’m so glad BSF has started because I need that push to know God and I need the structure of a bible study to make me do so.  Great opening verses to dive right into God and Jesus and who they are.  This is the essence of the book of John and what he’s trying to convey and what we as believers need to know.  We got a nice introduction to John the Baptist and we’ll see him again next week.  Knowing God and Jesus and the Holy Spirit are one and have been since before time began and all God asks of us is to believe that statement should lift the heart of any struggling with doubts of worthiness or shame or any other lies from Satan.  We are worthy.  We are His.  And He is ours.