The Gospel Of John – Lesson Seven – “Nicodemus” – John 3:1-13

This article is part 9 of 12 in the series The Gospel Of John

Nicodemus is known as the ‘one who came to Jesus by night’, yet no one really knows why! Many have speculated to no end.
I. THESE THINGS WE KNOW:
A. He was wealthy! (John 19:39)
Rich people know other rich people. They often run together and join the same clubs and frequent the same social events. Sometimes they go to the same church. Nicodemus accompanied Joseph of Arimathea to obtaim permission to take the body of Jesus and bury it. (Joseph was another ‘secret’ disciple of Jesus.) Nicodemus had brought a mixture of Myrrh and Aloes, “about 75 pounds, and together they wrapped Jesus’ body and buried it.)
B. He was also a “Pharisee” (“Chaburah” which means “Brotherhood”.) The Pharisees spent their entire life in studying and observing every detail of the law, (as well as making sure everyone else did the same.) There were approximately 6,000 Pharisees, and they were considered the ‘best’ in the country. They were orthodox and could quote the first five books of Moses, which they considered the complete will of God. They considered themselves ‘perfect’ as regarding law keeping.
C. He was a ‘ruler’ (“archon”) – One of seventy who made up the Sanhedrin, which was the Supreme court of the Jews. They claimed jurisdiction over all Jews throughout the world. One o’f their duties was to examine every ‘so-called’ prophet and determine whether they were TRUE OR FALSE prophets.
D. He came to Jesus by night. I doubt that this was due to his busy schedule… and more likely because he had much to loose by being an admirer of Jesus of Nazareth. So he exercised caution… He seems to have been a troubled man, and one who ‘thought for himself’. Night time was also a good time to get Jesus by himself and just talk. Reading from verse 1-21, one is amazed to see the depth of the private, one on one study which Jesus had with this man.

II. “YOU’RE A GREAT TEACHER”
(Jesus did to this man what He can do to everyone… HE CHANGED HIM!)
Often when we think of ‘change’, it is OUTWARD. We change our looks with loosing weight, face lifts, make-up, exercise, new clothes and so on. Jesus is not so interested in the outside as He is the inside… the heart, mind and soul.
He speaks to nicodemus about the NEW BIRTH. There are a few passages which help with this which we will be looking at besides this text, but this is the key to them all.
A. “Born again” (Gk. “Anothen” born from above).
This is important because it deals with real change… Here’s what I think (ie. my opinion). 1.) It means ‘from the beginning, radical, complete,  2.) “Again” in the sense of a ‘second time’. 3.) “From above” – From God. While it is difficult to get all of this into one English word… The phrase “BORN AGAIN” OR “BORN FROM ABOVE” seems to be the best way to describe what Jesus is telling Nicodemus and US!
B. Let’s look at some passages carefully:
1.) John 3:3-5 (These are Jesus’ words) “I tell you the truth, no one can see the kingdom of God unless he is BORN AGAIN.” “I tell you the truth, no one can enter the kingdom of God unless he is BORN OF WATER AND THE SPIRIT.”
2.) I Peter 1:3, 22-23 “Praise be to God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ! In His great mercy he has given us NEW BIRTH into a living hope through the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead…” “Now that you have purified yourselves by obeying the truth so that you have sincere love for your brothers, love one another deeply, from the heart. For you have been BORN AGAIN, not of perishing seed, but of imperishable, through the living and enduring word of God.” ,
3.) James 1:18 “He chose to give us BIRTH through (by way of) the word of truth that we might be a kind of first fruits of all he created.”
4.) Titus 3:5 “He saved us not because of righteous things we had done, but because of His mercy. He saved us through the washing of REBIRTH and RENEWAL by the Holy Spirit, whom he POURED OUT on us generously THROUGH Jesus Christ our Savior.”
5.) Romans 6:1-11 (Read)
6.) I Corinthians 3:1-2 “Brothers, I could not address you as SPIRITUAL, but as worldly – mere infants in Christ….”
7.) II Corinthians 5:17 “Therefore if anyone is in Christ – he is a new creature; the old has gone and the new has come.”
8.) Galatians 6:15 “Neither circumcision nor uncircumcision means anything; what counts is a new creation.”
9.) Ephesians 4:22-24 “You were taught , with regard to your FORMER WAY OF LIFE, to put off your OLD SELF, which is being corrupted by its deceitful desires; to be MADE NEW in the attitude of your minds; and to PUT ON the NEW SELF, created to be LIKE GOD in true righteousness and holiness.”
10.) Hebrews 5:12-14 “In fact, though by this time you ought to be teachers, you need someone to teach you the elementary truths of God’s word all over again. You need mild, not solid food! Anyone who lives on milk, being still an infant, is not acquainted with the teaching about righteousness.”
Read and re-read these passages. As Hodge has said, “Familiar passages need to be studied again.” Here the writer(s) speak refer to our new birth… our ‘spiritual birthday.’
Here we find references to the SOURCE, the POWER, the LOVE and MERCY and the means by which we learn about this new birth. We also read of INFANTS in Christ and MILK. This is for the NEW BORN… and those who are not growing up properly. Here we read about the before and after (birth), dead and alive. Buried and raised to walk a NEW LIFE. We read about baptism which symbolizes a point where this birth takes place… but there is more to come…

III. THE NEW BIRTH IN THE NEW TESTAMENT
A. Born INTO the kingdom (grace rule) of God (through Jesus) “For He has rescued us from the dominion of darkness and brought us into the kingdom of the Son he loves. In whom we have redemption, the forgiveness of sins.” (Colossians 1:13-14).
B. Born INTO the family of God as ‘children’ (I Timothy 3:15 Speaks of “God’s household, which is the church of the living God…”; “I tell you the truth, unless you change and become like LITTLE CHILDREN you will never enter the kingdom of heaven” (Matthew 18:3).
C. Born into the ‘body’ of Christ. “And God placed all things under his feet  and appointed him to be head over everything for the church, which is his BODY, the fulness of Him who fills everything in every way” (Ephesians 1:22-23). “Husbands love your wives, just as Christ loved the church and gave Himself up for her to make her holy, cleansing her by the washing with water through the word, and to present her to himself as a radiant church….” (Ephesians 5:25-27). “For we were ALL baptized by one Spirit into one body – whether Jews or Greeks, slaves or free – and we were ALL given the one Spirit to drink” (I Corinthians 12:13). We are given a new heart/spirit (Ezekiel 36:26).
D. “Pneuma” – (Gk. “spirit or wind”). “Flesh gives birth to flesh, but the Spirit gives birth to spirit. You should not be surprised at my saying, You must be born again. The wind blows wherever it pleases. You hear its sound but you cannot tell where it comes from or where it is going. So it is with EVERYONE born of the Spirit” (John 3:6-8). Thus it is hard… very hard to explain everything about the Spirit of God. Basics, we know! Even the birth of a human is hard to explain everything. Basics we know! (Don’t put the Spirit in a ‘box’!) We may not know everything, but we know the Spirit works… we can see the effects!!!
E. “Water and Spirit”. The “water” IS baptism in water. This is “for the remission of sins”, a sense of ‘cleansing’. The ‘Spirit’ IS also referring to baptism in the Holy Spirit. Yet (this is important), there is only one birth… two elements… ONE BIRTH. The Holy Spirit is the life Giver, and source of power for the Christian life. (DON’T GET HUNG UP ON THE WORD ‘BAPTISM’ when referring to the Spirit (cf. Jno. 3:3-5). I can baptize someone into water and raise him up… Jesus gives the Spirit and the Spirit gives life (anew). We are not dealing with gifts FROM the Spirit here… what we are speaking of and what Jesus spoke to Nicodemus about… is THE NEW BIRTH… a new beginning. This birth involves water and Spirit… The Spirit is referred to in Acts 2:38-39 as a GIFT. Jesus speaks of the Spirit as the activating, renewing, regenerating element in this NEW BIRTH.

Beloved in the Lord… The bible does not teach water birth ONLY nor does it teach SPIRIT birth ONLY… The Bible teaches both water and Spirit INVOLVED IN ONE BIRTH. A Spirit-less water birth is powerless providing no life. A water-less Spirit birth is useless sense one cannot separate these two elements from the NEW BIRTH.

John 3:3-5 (These are Jesus’ words… not mine!) “I tell you the truth, no one can see the kingdom of God unless he is BORN AGAIN.” “I tell you the truth, no one can enter the kingdom of God unless he is BORN OF WATER AND THE SPIRIT.”

Why fear what the Master says? Why deny what Jesus plainly teaches? Just because there is misunderstanding and false teaching on the subject doesn’t mean we have to deny the very power of the Christian’s life!
Christian, you have been baptized in water and the Spirit! Call it “the gift of the Spirit” (Acts 2:38-39), call it the “out pouring” (Acts 2). It all refers to the same thing… God through Jesus gives His people the Spirit of God!

Good books to study:
The BIBLE! (I used the New International Version for this study. I like it. Use what you like.)

“The Holy Spirit Makes No Earthly Sense” by Terry Rush
“Christian You Are Biaptized in Water and the Holy Spirit” by Robert Gibson
“The Holy Spirit” by Richard Rogers
“How The Holy Spirit Works in the Life of the Christian Today” by Jack Exum

I would enjoy hearing from you on this and other studies on this web site… God bless you in your search for truth. Grace and peace! By the way… don’t be surprised if I don’t update this and other articles… I just keep studying.

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The You Might Believe – “The Word Became Flesh”

   Today our study covers John 1:14-18
   It is truly a marvelous thought that “.. the Word became flesh and dwelt among us, and we beheld his glory, glory as of the only begotten from the Father, full of grace and truth.” God (the Son) came to this earth, lived and died according to the plan and design of God to save mankind. His very life shows us how grace and truth find balance and application in life as opposed to a life based on law and works.
   The point which John writes to prove is that this is THE ONE mankind has long been waiting for… the Son of God! True there are other things he could have written about… but this subject is the supreme need of man. Jesus is the embodiment of “Reason” and “Creating power”, our salvation… Jesus is truly amazing, and as John records in Revelation 4:12-14 “WORTHY IS THE LAMB”.
   Let’s notice some other things…
   Jesus is the embodiment of grace and truth. (In other words… He, what He says, and does… His example, His deeds are both grace and truth in action. Jesus didn’t just talk… HE LIVED. Grace (unmerited favor) in action in how he deals with people in their sin, in their hurt and pain. Today we understand the meaning of grace, and yet we seem to come up short in how to apply grace. Our focus on truth is not wrong. We need truth… but our lack in understanding and having the balance of grace has hurt us. Jesus, John says, is “full of grace and truth”.
   Jesus said in John 14:6 “I am the way, the truth and the life; no one comes to the Father but through Me.” The way is clear, and there is only one way… it is Jesus.
We have a hard time understanding and putting our arms around GOD… but Jesus is the ‘door’ to the Father, and we can wrap our arms around Jesus, because He was one of us. Finally mankind can find the peace that passes all understanding, the forgiveness of not just a few minor sins, but all sins… all because of this ONE man… Jesus.
   Following the idea of “truth”… Jesus was the divine ‘Communicator’ of truth. John 8:31-32, “If you abide in My word, then you are truly disciples of mine, and you shall know the truth, and the truth SHALL MAKE YOU FREE.” Free from what? Free from the power, the principle and the punishment of sin (Romans 8). “…Everyone who is of the truth hears my voice” (John 18:37b). The Spirit of truth also is with us today, (John 14:17)… this is not to say we receive revelations… because we have the Word of God, but this same Spirit is the One Jesus referred to in John 3:3-5 and 7:37-39, as being the One who takes part in our own new birth (more on that when we study John 3 and 7). 
   Truth can be resented and resisted…(John 8:40; Acts 7:51-55). It can be rejected and disbelieved (John 8:45). Yet it’s power, when seen in the only begotten Son of God… cannot be disputed (Philippians 2:5-11), the Suffering Servant prophesied by Isaiah 53.

  Next: Jesus! The Inexaustible, Revealing, Lamb of God!

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That You Might Believe – “The Witness”

  Welcome to our study of the book of John…. We will be covering John 1:6-13…
   I. THE PROPHET SPEAKS AGAIN!
      (From Malachi to John the baptizer, a period of some 400 years has passed. The silence of ‘prophetic speaking’ should not assume the absence of Divine work. God has not nor will He ever retire or take a ‘Sabbatical’. The prophecy of Daniel 2 is being fulfilled, the Romans are in power, Israel hates them, and longs for a special someone to come and free them from their rule, and restore once more, the former glory of Israel. What Israel hopes for will not happen,because God’s plan is greater. It will take the form of a witness named John, who will ‘prepare the way’ for the Savior named Jesus.  
   John 1:6-8 says, “There was a man sent from God whose name was John. 7  He came as a witness to testify concerning that light, so that through him all might believe. 8  He himself was not the light; he came only as a witness to the light.”
   John lived, and preached in the wilderness, knowing all along, that he would be eclipsed by the Promised One. He, unlike many, had no problem with ‘playing second fiddle’, His ministry, although great, and although he immersed many, would ‘decrease’ while that of the Messiah would ‘increase’. Of course this is how it should be since John was not the Christ. Note what John says, “He (John the baptizer) did not fail to confess, but confessed freely, “I am not the Messiah.” 21 They asked him, “Then who are you? Are you Elijah?” He said, “I am not.” “Are you the Prophet?” He answered, “No.” 22  Finally they said, “Who are you? Give us an answer to take back to those who sent us. What do you say about yourself?” 23 John replied in the words of Isaiah the prophet, “I am the voice of one calling in the wilderness, ‘Make straight the way for the Lord.’ ” (John 1:20-23).Preparing the way for the Messiah, meant he would be preparing the hearts of those who would repent and be immersed, for the coming kingdom (rule) of the Messiah. These were to the rulership of this Messiah. John’s was but a preamble for something, Someone greater. 
   Later we find remnants of John’s work in Acts 19:1-4 “While Apollos was at Corinth, Paul took the road through the interior and arrived at Ephesus. There he found some disciples
2  and asked them, “Did you receive the Holy Spirit when you believed?” They answered, “No, we have not even heard that there is a Holy Spirit.” 3 So Paul asked, “Then what baptism did you receive?” John’s baptism,” they replied. 4 Paul said, “John’s baptism was a baptism of repentance. He told the people to believe in the one coming after him, that is, in Jesus.” 5  On hearing this, they were baptized in the name of the Lord Jesus.” )
   JOHN’S WITNESS:
   1. John was “NOT the Light”, but came to bear witness of the Light”.(John 1:8).
   2. John readily admitted that he was not the Christ, (John 1:20)
   3. John had fewer disciples than Jesus, (John 4:1).
   4. John was a prophet of God, but Jesus was the miracle worker, of which he spoke (John 10:41-42).
    OTHER WITNESSES
   1. The FATHER: John 8:18.
   2. JESUS: John 8:14, 18.
   3. JESUS’ WORKS (MIRACLES): John 6:30; John 10:25; John 14:11; John 15:24.:
   4. The (OLD TESTAMENT) SCRIPTURES: John 5:39, 46; John 1:45.
   5. The DISCIPLES John 15:27; John 19:35; John 21:24; I John 1:1-2.
   6. The HOLY SPIRIT: John 15:26; I John 5:6
   JESUS GIVES ‘LIGHT’ TO EVERY MAN (ALL MANKIND). (vs. 9)
   “In him was life, and that life was the light of all mankind. 5 The light shines in the darkness, and the darkness has not overcome it” (John 1:4-5).”The true light that gives light to everyone was coming into the world” (John 1:9). Truly marvelous verses about Jesus with whom, there are NO DOUBTS, NO DISPARE, NO DARKNESS OF DEATH, and true victory OVER SIN.
    “UNRECOGNIZED” “He was in the world, and though the world was made through him, the world did not recognize him. 11  He came to that which was his own, but his own did not receive him” (John 1:10-11). Notice what Paul says in Romans 1:16-17, 21-25.
How can the world NOT SEE the greatness of God? Yet it is to be expected. They ‘hated’ Him, and they will hate all who follow Him. Let us….
    “LOOK OUTWARD” – Planets, ‘keep to their appointed course’. Tides of the oceans, ‘keep their appointed times’. Then you have seed time and harvest time. Spring, summer, fall and winter, all follow as planned. That there is a  Supreme Scientist, a Designer, is proclaimed to all mankind through Creation. Mankind may not know the True God, or His plan, or the Messiah through creation, but they know there is SOMEONE. 
   “LOOK UPWARD” – The stars are as many as the sands on the shore, and more. Astronomy shows that there is a Controller of it all. Consider Psalm 139 and Psalm 19.
   “LOOK INWARD” At the amazing make up of man and woman. Even without a ‘written law’ man still has a knowledge of what’s right and wrong, (Romans 2:14-15). Yet there is still within mankind, an emptiness, and a ‘hole’ which none can fill but a relationship with the Creator (Ephesians 2:5-11; Psalm 23).
   “CHILDREN OF GOD” – “Yet to all who did receive him, to those who believed in his name, he gave the right to become children of God— 13  children born not of natural descent, nor of human decision or a husband’s will, but born of God.14  the Word became flesh and made his dwelling among us. We have seen his glory, the glory of the one and only Son, who came from the Father, full of grace and truth” (John 1:12-14).
   This is the desire, plan, goal of God… to ‘redeem’, by back, all who would come to Him through His Son, Jesus. He offers grace in Jesus Christ, to all who will come.. 
   John 6:44-45; John 5:39-40; John 3:3-7, 16; John 20:30-31; Matthew 28:18-20; Mark 16:15-16; Acts 2:37-39. 

   Next: “THE WORD BECAME FLESH”

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That You Might Believe – “The Word”

   Welcome to our continued study of the Gospel of John…
We introduce this lesson with some excerpts from William Barclay’s Devotional on John,  “Before we begin to study (John) in detail, let us try to see what John was trying to do when he wrote it…… Christianity began amongst the Jews; and therefore inevitably it spoke in the Jewish language and used Jewish categories of thought. But although Christianity in Judaism it very soon went out into the wider world. Within thirty years of Jesus death, by AD 60, Christianity had traveled all over Asia Minor and Greece and had arrived in Rome. By AD 60 there must have been a hundred thousand Greeks in the Church for every Jew who was a Christian. Jewish ideas were completely strange to the Greeks. To take but one outstanding example, the Greeks had never heard of a Messiah. The very center of Jewish expectation, the coming of  the Messiah, was an idea that was quite alien to the Greeks. The very category in which the Jewish Christians conceived and presented Jesus, meant nothing to the Greek. Here then was the problem – how was Christianity to be presented to the Greek world?…. As E. J. Goodspeed put it, the question was, “Must a Greek who was interested in Christianity be routed through Jewish Messianic ideas and through Jewish ways of thinking, or could some new approach be found which would speak out of his background to his mind and heart?”….
   Round about the year AD 100 there was a man in Ephesus who was fascinated by that problem. His name was John. He lived in a Greek city. He dealt with Greeks to whom Jewish ideas were strange and unintelligible and even uncouth. How could he find a way to present Christianity to these Greeks in their own thought and in their own language and in a way that they would welcome and understand? Suddenly the solution of the problem flashed upon him. In both Greek and Jewish thought there existed the concept of ‘THE WORD’. Here was something which could be worked out to meet the double world of Greek and Jew. Here was something which belonged to the heritage of both races, something that both could understand.” (William Barclay’s ‘Gospel of John’, Vol. 1 Pgs 2-3).
   Jesus is referred to as the ‘Good Shepherd’ , ‘Lord’, ‘Mighty God’, ‘Prince of Peace’, ‘the way, the truth, and the life’, ‘Light’, ‘first and last’, ‘Alpha and Omega’, ‘Lamb of God’, and ‘Savior’. John introduces him as the “Word”. John’s purpose in writing, is “that all might believe” (John 20:30-31), in Christ, the answer to man’s sin predicament, (John 3:16).

I. “IN THE BEGINNING WAS THE WORD”: “In the beginning God created….(Genesis 1-2:2), John says that “the Word” was there. More than just ‘being there”, we find that He created the worlds (universe) (Hebrews 1:1-3).
   A. Since the Word was “before” all things (creation) – He is therefore eternal.
   B. John records Jesus as saying, “Verily, verily, I say unto you, Before Abraham was, I am” (John 8:58). When Jesus said this, the Jews understood him to be making the claim to Deity, (cf. Exodus 3:19).
   C. “In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God” (John 1:1) is a profound way to begin, and in doing so, he portrays Jesus as the very “reflection of God” for all to see, believe in, and follow.
   D. God did not change! (Just as the Word of god does not change… it like Jesus… is meant to CHANGE US)… Our knowledge of God changed when Jesus came. Jesus said, “If you really know me, you will know my Father as well. From now on, you do know him and have seen him.” Philip said, “Lord, show us the Father and that will be enough for us.” Jesus answered: “Don’t you know me, Philip, even after I have been among you such a long time? Anyone who has seen me has seen the Father. How can you say, ‘Show us the Father’? 10 Don’t you believe that I am in the Father, and that the Father is in me? The words I say to you I do not speak on my own authority. Rather, it is the Father, living in me, who is doing his work” (John 14:7-10).
   E. Paul said, 11 When I was a child, I talked like a child, I thought like a child, I reasoned like a child. When I became a man, I put the ways of childhood behind me. 12 For now we see only a reflection as in a mirror; then we shall see face to face. Now I know in part; then I shall know fully, even as I am fully known (I Corinthians 13:11-12). The idea being that there are some spiritual things we just can’t clearly see, whereas later we will see clearly. We don’t understand everything about God, and Jesus revealed the Father, but even still, after this life is over, Christians will truly see God. Jesus shows us the Father, in love, character, patience, caring, saving, reaching out to mankind, giving, and much more. This does not compare to what we will see later.

II. “THE WORD WAS WITH GOD – THE WORD WAS GOD”
   Paul said 4″ For everything that was written in the past was written to teach us, so that through the endurance taught in the Scriptures and the encouragement they provide we might have hope” (Romans 15:4). In the Old Testament one is constantly faced with fields of battle, blood shed, sacrifices, plagues etc… one child was asked about this, and he said, “O that was before God became a Christian.” No there are not two separate Gods, there is One God (Deuteronomy 6:4). The Old Testament does not portray God one way and the New Testament another way.
   A. “HE WAS WITH GOD”
Jesus reveals what God ‘was’ and ‘is’ and ‘always’ will be. John says, 2″ He was with God in the beginning.” (John 1:2). All that Jesus ‘was’ God is. His desires, love, justice, jealousy, feelings and grace are all revealed both in the Old and New Testaments. Jesus (the Word made flesh) came, and showed the same, but he especially came to die on the cross for us (Philippians 2:1-11). Compare what Peter says here, 4″ For if God did not spare angels when they sinned, but sent them to hell,[a] putting them in chains of darkness to be held for judgment;” (2 Peter 2:4)  and “The Lord is not slow in keeping his promise, as some understand slowness. Instead he is patient with you, not wanting anyone to perish, but everyone to come to repentance. (2 Peter 3:9). Same Lord and Savior revealed in both.
   B.  “THROUGH HIM ALL THINGS WERE MADE”
The New Testament has always affirmed – GOD created something out of nothing.
Read John 1:3 3 “Through him all things were made; without him nothing was made that has been made.” The writer of Hebrews says, “Now faith is confidence in what we hope for and assurance about what we do not see. This is what the ancients were commended for.” (Hebrews 11:1-2). Do we understand HOW God created everything? No! Can we explain how everything was made? No! Do we believe God made everything mentioned in Genesis 1-2? Yes! This is called faith. Evolution is nothing more than a theory, which is unprovable, and takes more faith to believe in. It has no place in the Genesis record. (An excellent exposition and discussion of this is Gerald Wright’s work on “The Supreme Scientist” which can be obtained through his site at Biblical-Books.com. This link is found on jackexum.com for easy access.
   C. “IN HIM WAS LIFE”
John records these wonderful words, “In him was life, and that life was the light of all mankind.” (John 1:4). When I was a young child, I was afraid of the dark. I would cry out to mom or dad, and they would come and turn on the light, or bring a light. It lit up the room, and dispelled the darkness. Going through life without Jesus is like walking in darkness. Jesus came and ‘lit up the whole world’. I know of no other who can do this? “He is my everything, He is my all”. Why would anyone turn away from Him?
John 5:40 “yet you refuse to come to me to have life.
John 10:10 The thief comes only to steal and kill and destroy; I have come that they may have life, and have it to the full.”
John 10:28   “I give them eternal life, and they shall never perish; no one will snatch them out of my hand.”
John 14:6 Jesus answered, “I am the way and the truth and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me.”
John 3:16 “For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life.”
John 5:24 “Very truly I tell you, whoever hears my word and believes him who sent me has eternal life and will not be judged but has crossed over from death to life.”
John 6:40 “For my Father’s will is that everyone who looks to the Son and believes in him shall have eternal life, and I will raise them up at the last day.”
John 3:36 “Whoever believes in the Son has eternal life, but whoever rejects the Son will not see life, for God’s wrath remains on them.”
D. LIGHT AND DARKNESS
Studying the Scriptures you will come across words and phrases used in special ways to represent certain lessons. These are not difficult, and john is no exception to this. He writes to the Greek mind in ways which appeal to them, and they can easily understand. The use of LIGHT AND DARKNESS as representing GOOD AND EVIL respectively was a s common then as it is now. Simply put, Jesus is the light of the world. Satan is the ruler of darkness. Due to the Religious leaders of Jesus’ time, (Pharisees, Sadducees etc…) the people of God (Israel) could have no close relationship with God their Father. Jesus often exposed their hypocrisy, and ignored their traditions and ‘laws’ which stood as ‘road blocks’ to walking with God. When Jesus spoke (cf. Matthew 5-7) it was like putting a light in a pitch black room. He spoke “as no one else did” with the authority of God. It was a time of darkness, and sin. Jesus came as the true light of the souls of mankind.
Take the time to read the following passages
John 8:12 “When Jesus spoke again to the people, he said, “I am the light of the world. Whoever follows me will never walk in darkness, but will have the light of life.”
John 12:35-36 Then Jesus told them, “You are going to have the light just a little while longer. Walk while you have the light, before darkness overtakes you. Whoever walks in the dark does not know where they are going. 36 Believe in the light while you have the light, so that you may become children of light.” When he had finished speaking, Jesus left and hid himself from them.”
John 12:46 “I have come into the world as a light, so that no one who believes in me should stay in darkness.”

Next: THE WITNESS OF JOHN

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That You Might Believe – Introduction To John’s Gospel – “Jesus”

INTRODUCTION  TO OUR STUDY OF JOHN’S GOSPEL

   In a day where faith in Jesus as the Son of God, the Source of hope and salvation is questioned, and ridiculed, there needs to be an open study of that book which in itself claims to be written “that you might believe” (John 20:30-31).
   The “Gospel of John”, is the favorite of many, not only because of it’s many ‘proofs’  (“signs”) (miracles) that point to Jesus as the Son of God, but also because John develops topics either only ‘touched’ by the other Gospel writers, or omitted altogether.
   I will be using dad’s (unpublished, as far as I know) notes in this study along with other sources (which will be notated for further study), as well as adding my own thoughts.

   John received a vision… Revelation 4:7 says, “The first living creature was like a lion, the second was like an ox, the third had a face like a man, the fourth was like a flying eagle.” Revelation is of course highly figurative, and the figures are tied largely to the Old Testament… Here are a few thoughts on these four ‘faces’. Dad compared these four “living creatures” with the four Gospels. However, in the end, they all speak of the Christ(!), who is our Champion(!) forever…
   1.) “The face of a man”  shows us Jesus the ‘son of man’ who identifies with us all…
         the Gospel of Mark (the PLAINEST MOST STRAIGHT FORWARD OF THE
         GOSPELS) speaks of this as well…
   2.) The “face of a lion” = The Gospel of Matthew (THE LION = THE TRIBE OF
        JUDAH) speaks of the royalty of King Jesus!
   3.) The “face of an ox” = the Gospel of Luke (THE OX IS AN ANIMAL OF SACRIFICE
         AND SERVICE) as well as the strength of our Master seen in His service (Jno. 13
         as well as on the cross).
   4.) The “face of an eagle” = Speaks of the all knowing, swift judgment of our Lord…  
        The Gospel of John (THE EAGLE “LOOKS THE SUN IN THE EYE” IT IS THE
        GREATEST OF THE GOSPELS.) 

   The Gospel of John is different in several ways:
   1.) John omits the birth, baptism, temptations of Jesus as well as the last supper.
   2.) He doesn’t mention Gethsemane or the Ascension of Christ.
   3.) He tells nothing of Jesus’ healing any one being healed of demon possession or
        evil spirits.
   4.) There are no parables which Jesus used so often while teaching his disciples and
        multitudes as well.

   Matthew wrote with the Hebrew or Jewish nation in mind.
   Mark‘s style seems to be with the Roman in mind.
   Luke, he wrote to Theophilus (not only in Luke but also when writing the book of Acts.
   Evidently he was a well respected friend of Luke). He writes of the compassionate
   Physician, the Perfect Jesus Christ.
   John wrote about Jesus’ ministry in Jerusalem and Galilee. His focus is proving that Jesus the Son of God. Here are some of the Apostle John’s proofs offered to support this.

   1.) The marriage feast at Cana (Jno. 2:1-11)
   2.) The conversation between Jesus and Nicodemus (Jno. 3:1-15)
   3.) The woman at the well – Samaria (Jno. 4:1-26)
   4.) The woman taken in adultery (Jno. 8:1-11)
   5.) Jesus washing the disciple’s feet (Jno. 13)
   6.) Jesus teaches about the Comforter (Holy Spirit) (Jno. 14-17)
   7.) John reveals Thomas (Jno. 11:16; 14:5; 20:24-29)
   8.) John reveals Andrew (Jno. 1:40-41; 6:8; 12:22)
   9.) John reveals Philip (Jno. 1:44-46; 6:5-7; 14:8-9)
  10.) John reveals Judas (Jno. 12:4)

       John’s Gospel never mentions the writer (John) by name. He only refers to himself, as the “disciple whom Jesus loved”. He wrote this book from Ephesus about the year 90 AD, (of course this is just an estimate based on the manuscripts and fragments found, but it is close). He wrote after the Gospel had spread to the Gentiles. He writes to those of a Greek or Hellenistic background and perspective. Which may explain his approach in his Gospel record. John did not write as an historian, he wrote about Someone he loved, and would die for and ultimately did. He wrote about the good news of Jesus.

   John refers to the Deity of Jesus Christ.
   1.) The PRE-existence of Jesus  (Jno. 8:58)
   2.) Jesus was before the world even began (Jno. 1:1-3; 17:5)
   3.) Jesus “coming down from Heaven” (Jno. 6:33-38)
   4.) Jesus is all knowing (cf. Jno. 4:14-16 and 6:61-64)

   For 70 years, John thought of Jesus, and the things he had seen and heard about and from him. He wrote WHAT JESUS MEANT to him, not just words that Jesus spoke. This is not just a record about Jesus… John had so much he could have written down (I wish he had)… John had a real purpose and he pulled out of all the things he knew of his Master, and best Friend, and wrote… He wrote so that all who read it, all who sit and think about his writings…. will come to one and the same conclusion – JESUS IS THE CHRIST, THE SON OF THE LIVING GOD.
   John wrote, but these were not just words and memories… the Holy Spirit Himself was at work here. “I have much more to say to you, more than you can now bear. 13 But when he, the Spirit of truth, comes, he will guide you into all the truth. He will not speak on his own; he will speak only what he hears, and he will tell you what is yet to come.” (John 16:12-13).
26 “But the Advocate, the Holy Spirit, whom the Father will send in my name, will teach you all things and will remind you of everything I have said to you.” (John 14:26)

   John, called the Apostle of love, (but first he and his brother were known as ‘sons of thunder’ (wonder why? Luke 9:51-55). John evidently lived the longest of the Apostles,  and died a natural death, (according to ‘tradition’)… He wrote so that you might know and believe what he did… that Jesus is alive!               

                                                 John 20:17-23
17 Jesus said, “Do not hold on to me, for I have not yet ascended to the Father. Go instead to my brothers and tell them, ‘I am ascending to my Father and your Father, to my God and your God.’ ”18 Mary Magdalene went to the disciples with the news: “I have seen the Lord!” And she told them that he had said these things to her.19 On the evening of that first day of the week, when the disciples were together, with the doors locked for fear of the Jewish leaders, Jesus came and stood among them and said, “Peace be with you!” 20 After he said this, he showed them his hands and side. The disciples were overjoyed when they saw the Lord.21 Again Jesus said, “Peace be with you! As the Father has sent me, I am sending you.” 22 And with that he breathed on them and said, “Receive the Holy Spirit. 23 If you forgive anyone’s sins, their sins are forgiven; if you do not forgive them, they are not forgiven.”

 

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