10/15/2013 07:01

John (Part 1): Introduction

  The headings of most manuscripts give the title to this book (in Greek, of course) as The Gospel According to John. In fact, the earliest record of this title is from AD 125, only about 40 years after the book was written. Yet still, many of the last century’s higher criticism scholars have...


10/21/2013 08:03

John (Part 2): Prologue – Part 1 (Ch 1:1-18)

  I think we find three distinct points in the very first verse of the prologue. First, John wants to ensure that his readers understand that the One who became incarnate as Jesus existed from the beginning. Second, that One who existed from the beginning was “with God” in the sense of part of...


10/28/2013 09:41

John (Part 3): Prologue – Part 2 (Ch 1:1-18)

We have been talking about the Communication of God – the heading I’ve given for the first five verses of John’s prologue. In verse 1, we’ve seen the explicit message focusing on the second half of each of the three clauses, that Jesus, in his preincarnation, was in the beginning, with God, and...


11/04/2013 10:50

John (Part 4): Prologue Final to John's Declaration of the Lamb of God (Ch 1:10-34)

The first section of the prologue, verses 1-5, explained the Communication of God. The second section, verses 6-9, spoke of the Testimony of God. The third section, verses 10-13, show us the Revelation of God. In the progression from one section to the next, John follows “the Word” from...


11/11/2013 07:12

John (Part 5): Gathering Disciples (Ch 1:35 – 1:51)

On day 3 of John’s record concerning this opening series of events that highlight the presentation of Jesus, we find John the Baptist again declaring that Jesus is the Lamb of God, just as he did on day 2. On day 2, however, he was speaking to the priestly contingent that had come from Jerusalem....


11/18/2013 09:36

John (Part 6): Cana Wedding (Ch 2:1 – 2:12)

Not having enough wine would be a social embarrassment, and social embarrassments were not easily sloughed off in early 1st century Palestine. Jesus was invited to the wedding. He likely came toward the end, bringing with him at least five disciples, who were immediately welcomed (invited) as well....


11/25/2013 08:06

John (Part 7): Temple Cleansing (Ch 2:13-2:22)

Following the wedding in Cana, John states in 2:13 that the Passover was near. He uses that statement to transition to the incident in which Jesus cleanses the temple. But is his transition a connection of chronology or merely one to switch scenes? The reason for the question is that every other...


12/10/2013 07:39

John (Part 8): Nicodemus, the Beginning (Ch 2:23 – 3:10)

The last three verses of chapter 2 provide a transition from the temple cleansing to Jesus’ discussion with Nicodemus. In verses 23 and 24, John presents a contrast. He says that many of the people in Jerusalem trusted in Jesus, but that Jesus didn’t trust them. The fact that Jesus didn’t trust...


01/13/2014 07:32

John (Part 9): Nicodemus, the End (Ch 3:11-21)

Jesus continues his explanation to Nicodemus by emphasizing again the contrast of the two categories of human beings—of image bearers: those born of God who faithfully follow the covenant and those born of Adam who have broken the covenant. Jesus, of course, is the only one of the righteous (the...


01/27/2014 08:52

John (Part 10): Purification Dispute

The last incident John presents in the Jesus-as-Replacement section (1:19 through 3:36) is that of a problem (or so it seemed to the Baptist’s disciples) that arises in the course of a who-is-greater argument. The Apostle has just finished presenting Jesus’ discussion with Nicodemus. He transitions...


02/03/2014 06:09

John (Part 11): Woman at the Well (Ch 4:1 – 4:42)

Jesus asks for a drink. The Samaritan woman replies, “How is it that You, a Jew, ask for a drink from me, a Samaritan woman?” John, it would appear, believes some explanation is in order for his audience. Perhaps the Gentile readers in the Asia, Greece, and Rome are not familiar with the fact that...


02/17/2014 06:21

John (Part 12): The Royal Official (Ch 4:43 – 4:54)

We must recall that the incident at the well was in the middle of Jesus’ journey back to Galilee. We learned at the beginning of chapter 4 that Jesus intended to avoid confrontation with the Jewish leaders because his ministry was not yet over (his “hour” had not yet come). So, he was headed to his...


02/24/2014 06:06

John (Part 13): The Bethesda Healing (Ch 5:1 – 5:15)

Verse 6 of chapter 5 tells us that Jesus knew the man had been lying there a long time. Some may think that of course Jesus would know that fact because Jesus is God. And yet from other Gospel indications, we find many examples of when Jesus did not know something. What was the difference? Did he...


03/03/2014 05:51

John (Part 14): The Sabbath Discourse – Part 1 (Ch 5:16 – 5:23)

The Jews and Jesus had a conflict concerning the Sabbath. I believe the conflict existed because the Jews forgot (or never knew) the true purpose of the Sabbath. The first mention of the Sabbath as Sabbath occurs in Exodus 16. There we find the Israelites on their journey in the wilderness hungry...


03/09/2014 20:12

John (Part 15): The Sabbath Discourse – Part 2 (Ch 5:24 – 5:47)

The whole next section of verses 24 through 30 provides support to the life granted on the basis of faith in Jesus. The whole hangs neatly on the skeleton of two resurrections. Again, Jesus is not changing subjects. Remember that we are in the middle of Jesus’ reply to the Jews who had accused him...


03/17/2014 05:34

John (Part 16): Trinity Hierarchy? (continued)

It cannot be supported that God is only one. God is love, and love necessarily must have others to whom it may be expressed. But it cannot be supported that there are multiple Gods. Equal infinites would necessarily limit each other, losing the very definition of being infinite. A supreme God with...


03/24/2014 07:45

John (Part 17): Bread of Life (part 1)

Suppose I say to a group of people, “Finish this sentence: if a person has no food to eat, he or she will … what?” There would be a couple possibilities for an answer, but probably the majority would finish the sentence with die, and that makes sense. Some may say, “get hungry,” but I think the...


03/31/2014 11:16

John (Part 18): Bread of Life (part 2)

Many of the crowd that had sought to make him king were still at the miracle spot in the morning. They had seen the one boat depart without Jesus, and so they assumed he was still there as well. But when they couldn’t find him, they drifted back to their homes—mostly in Capernaum. There they did...


04/14/2014 07:08

John (Part 19): Bread of Life (part 3)

Two points should be made clearer before we move on. First, I will provide another illustration (or differing detail) of the difference between Faith Electionism and Arminianism to ensure we can see the difference. The Arminian example is of a person in the room incapable of seeing the painting...


04/28/2014 05:51

John (Part 20): Jesus’ Covenant Point (ch 6)

Finishing up chapter 6 and the Bread of Life section, we come to verses 59 through 71. This subsection begins, actually, with a closing comment about the previous discussion. John mentions that they were in a Capernaum synagogue. Normally John mentions the setting at the beginning of the activity....


05/05/2014 08:49

John (Part 21): Festival of Tabernacles (ch 7)

John chapter 7 begins a new section: Jesus as Light. It runs through chapter 10 verse 21. At this point, we have moved along far enough to take a backwards look to recognize how John is organizing his discussion. “Jesus as Light” is the fourth of the major sections following the prologue (1:1-18)....


05/19/2014 07:28

John (Part 22): Revelation of Messiah - Origin (ch 7)

The Festival of Tabernacles had two major themes: water (discussed last time) and light. The Israelites were led in their wilderness journey by a pillar of cloud during the day and a pillar of fire by night. They understood the fire, then, as God’s presence with them. Within the tabernacle itself,...


06/02/2014 06:57

John (Part 23): Revelation of Messiah - Origin continued (ch 7)

Before we get into the action of chapter 7, we should note the structure of this whole Jesus-as-Light section. It is neatly divided into two main sections, the first discussing identification of the Messiah and the second discussing the Mission of the Messiah. Of course, each subject is necessarily...


06/09/2014 06:34

John (Part 24): Mission Illustration – Adulteress pericope (ch 8)

Following Jesus’ declaration of springs of living water for those who believed in him, the rest of chapter 7 speaks of division among the people relative to believing in him. Some believed Jesus to be the Messiah; others did not. But again the lesson of how God moves among us is shown. The word...


06/16/2014 08:58

John (Part 25): Mission Illustration – Adulteress Pericope continued (ch 8)

Finally, scholars who view the adulteress periscope as a later addition to John’s Gospel find its placement awkward, as if just thrust into the text making an otherwise flowing narrative suddenly change course. If it is removed, so they say, the text moves seamlessly from 7:52 to 8:12. But I would...


06/23/2014 08:37

John (Part 26): Revelation of Messiah – Jesus to God (ch 8)

In verse 12, John mentions that Jesus spoke to them again. To whom does John refer? The scene just ended included Jesus speaking to the Pharisees, telling them that the one without sin should cast the first stone. And he could be calling to these Pharisees to give up their darkness and follow him....


06/30/2014 08:21

John (Part 27): Revelation of Messiah – OT Covenant Background

In the last discussion, we began reviewing the major covenants that drive the story from creation to Christ. The importance of this review is to, as correctly as possible, understand the perspectives of Jesus as he understands and teaches of his mission and the Pharisees who are offended at his...


08/19/2014 14:57

John (Part 28): Revelation of Messiah – OT Covenant Background (cont’d)

In John 5 through 10 we find a section of major debate in which Jesus distinguishes himself from the Jews. At the center is the idea that Jesus (and he alone) has a covenant relationship of life with God. The Jews are confused. They believed they had a covenant of life with God based on the...


08/26/2014 07:48

John (Part 29): Revelation of Messiah – Legalism Opposed (ch 8)

Second Corinthians 5:21 seems to be the core verse for those who believe the atonement was a transactional exchange of our guilt to Jesus for his righteousness. The verse reads: “He made the One who did not know sin to be sin for us, so that we might become the righteousness of God in Him.” We have...


09/01/2014 09:05

John (Part 30): Messiah’s Mission – People from their Father the Devil (ch 8)

Another hint we are given that shows the Jews still did not understand the covenant context of relationship with God is the last sentence of chapter 8, verse 20. No one yet seized Jesus. Despite his claim to unique relationship with Father, the Jews did not understand that in speaking of his...


09/08/2014 06:04

John (Part 31): Messiah Illustration – the Blind Man Healed (ch 9)

Chapter 9 provides us with an illustration of the revelation of the Messiah. The chapter contains the story of a blind man healed by Jesus. But there are layers of meaning here that we are meant to see. The chapter begins as Jesus passes by a blind man. The man, no doubt, is probably sitting at a...


09/15/2014 06:28

John (Part 32): Messiah Illustration – the Blind Man Healed cont’d (ch 9)

The Pharisees were in a difficult situation. For both political and religious reasons, they didn’t want Jesus gaining prominence. The problem was that he had supposedly performed a miracle—opening the eyes of the blind. They had attempted to grasp at a straw. He had performed his miracle on a...


09/22/2014 05:58

John (Part 33): Messiah Illustration – the Blind Man Healed - Final (ch 9)

The Pharisees were willing to accept that the miracle was from God, but they didn’t want credit going to Jesus. So they urge the man to give glory to God, telling him by that to either renounce his previous error in saying Jesus was a prophet or simply to praise God and not Jesus for this miracle....


09/29/2014 05:30

John (Part 34): The Good Shepherd (ch 10)

Jesus’ summary statement in 9:39 actually initiates the conversation that follows. As mentioned, when Jesus talked with the healed man, they were not alone. Some Pharisees were around as well listening and judging. Jesus statement had talked of judgment. He said he came for judgment. Note that he...


10/06/2014 06:16

John (Part 35): The Good Shepherd part 2 (ch 10)

Knowing (and understanding and seeing) is the focused point of this allegory as it was all through the narrative of chapter 9. Let’s look at that emphasis. The main thrust at the beginning of this allegory is that the sheep know the shepherd’s voice. 9:11 – The healed man says, “I received my...


10/20/2014 05:47

John (Part 36): Hanakkuh (ch 10)

John 10:22 shifts the time. For the last several chapters, John had recorded events and conversations that took place around the time of the Festival of Tabernacles, which occurred in the Hebrew month Tishri (the September-October timeframe for us). Now he tells us that this next scene took place...


10/27/2014 04:37

John (Part 37): Lazarus, Mary, and Martha (ch 11)

God created us to reflect his truth, goodness, and beauty. But that image bearing that we hold is not mere unthinking imitation. He created us with characteristics of apprehension, approbation, and articulation. Therefore, it is not merely understanding his truth, goodness, and beauty that leads to...


11/10/2014 06:05

John (Part 38): Lazarus, Mary, and Martha – cont’d (ch 11)

We found that John assumes his readers know of Mary because of the inclusion of the anointing story in Matthew and Mark. But why does John mention it? Why does he want his readers to recall, at this point, exactly who Mary, and, therefore, her sister, is? If he were intent on simply telling the...


11/17/2014 08:16

John (Part 39): Teaching the Truth – To Disciples; To Martha (ch 11)

The next few verses drive home the point that this is not just for Lazarus although it is for Lazarus as well. Verse 5 is a pivotal verse. We are told in it that Jesus loved this family. But it is a love that goes far deeper than they may have realized. In verse 3, Martha may have tried to...


11/24/2014 05:44

John (Part 40): Teaching the Truth – To Mary (ch 11)

When Jesus tells Martha he is the resurrection and the life, he tells her more than simply that he can cause Lazarus to live again. He is telling her that the means for bringing life—for bringing about resurrection of life from death—will be through his own resurrection, which means that he must...


12/08/2014 05:29

John (Part 41): Caiaphas the Prophet (ch 11)

Imagine someone calling another person to come out of a grave when you know that other person has been in there for four days. And then that dead person actually does come out! Would you be stunned? Surprised? Shocked? Amazed? Would you excitedly tell friends the miracle you just witnessed? All...


01/12/2015 08:23

John (Part 42): Triumphal Entry (ch 12)

The short section of John’s Gospel from the start of chapter 11 through verse 11 of chapter 12 covers Part 2 called Jesus is the Truth. This truth brings out the idea that the means of Messiah’s rescue is by his death. We saw the concern of death for life in the story of Lazarus’s resurrection and...


01/19/2015 06:24

John (Part 43): The Hour of Glorification (ch 12)

Though Jesus will, in just a few chapters, declare that his kingdom is not of this world, the tendency of many prophecy pursuers is to create for him just such a kingdom—a kingdom that looks and feels like a kingdom of this earth, albeit with high moral values. But his kingship is different. He is...


01/26/2015 05:46

John (Part 44): Hardening Hearts (ch 12)

In his discussion about glory, Jesus informs his disciples and the crowd that he must die. It is, in fact, his very death that manifests both his truth, goodness, and beauty and the truth, goodness, and beauty of God. He points to the analogy of wheat. The grain falls to the ground and dies just as...


02/02/2015 11:09

John (Part 45): Summary (ch 12)

Jesus did not say he would die in explicit terms. He said he would be lifted up. But the crowd immediately understands this expression to say that he would die, presumably connecting it with Roman crucifixion. And John notes that Jesus said “this” to signify what kind of death he was about to die....


02/09/2015 07:11

John (Part 46): Last Supper (ch 13)

As a reminder, here is the Passion week chart we reviewed last...


02/16/2015 07:50

John (Part 47): Order of the Evening (ch 13)

Just as there seemed to be differences among the Gospels as to whether the Last Supper was considered the Passover meal, the Gospels also present differences regarding the incidents of that Last Supper evening. And again, I think, the differences can be resolved. Matthew and Mark (chapters 26 and...


02/23/2015 07:10

John (Part 48): Footwashing (ch 13)

In verses 2 and 3 of the chapter, John seems to be giving us necessary thoughts to bear in mind as we continue into the scene. Jesus knew that the Father had given everything into his hands, that He had come from God, and that He was going back to God. But, didn’t he know that before? What exactly...


03/02/2015 06:35

John (Part 49): Betrayal (ch 13)

A slight change in the feel of the scene seems to have occurred. Of course, this is all still prior to Jesus going to the cross. However, the footwashing action was meant to depict Jesus’s sacrifice on the cross. Therefore, as it ends and Jesus “put on His robe” and “reclined again,” it has the...


03/09/2015 08:26

John (Part 50): New Command (ch 13)

Giving the sop was a mark of special favor, which makes this scene so striking in its contrast. Just as in the foot-washing example, Jesus acted in care for even the one who, certainly by this time, he knows would betray him. The contrast is striking because we don’t expect Jesus to act in favor of...


03/30/2015 07:12

John (Part 51): Going (ch 13-14)

Although the command to love one another was not only because Jesus was going away, Jesus does link it to his going in this passage. It flows well from his insistence in verses 31 and 32 of shared glory with God. There we hear Jesus express the he-in-God and God-in-him characteristic of true...


04/13/2015 06:18

John (Part 52): The Father’s House (ch 14)

Jesus had brought up several times that he was going away. When we think of Jesus’s physical location, we obviously realize he is not physically here with us now. So, yes, he physically went away. But the reality of his physical location was not his main concern during his ministry on earth. His...


04/20/2015 07:29

John (Part 53): Peace Given (ch 14)

In verses 12 through 14 of chapter 14, Jesus explained the benefit to the disciples in his “going away.” He began by saying, “I assure you,” as a continuation of his insistence that they be not troubled. The word translated “assure” (which is translated as “verily” in the KJV and “truly” in most...


04/27/2015 07:00

John (Part 54): The Vine and the Branches (ch 15)

Although the discussion continues about relationship, Jesus shifts the focus from his relationship with the Father (God) to the disciples’ relationship with him. Verses 1 through 8 of chapter 15 provide an illustration of how the relationship with Jesus works. Jesus presents himself as the vine and...


05/04/2015 10:06

John (Part 55): The Hatred of the World (ch 15)

Jesus explains the flow of love thoroughly in John 15:12-17. He explains that central to love is the selfless nature of the lover. Stressing the greatest love of totally giving up self for the sake of friends, Jesus effectively describes what he would be doing in loving them—giving up himself for...


05/12/2015 08:13

John (Part 56): Trinity (ch 15)

In response to Arius’s confusion concerning the statements of Jesus (such as John 14:28 “The Father is greater than I”), the Cappadocian Fathers argued for two presentations of the Trinity. One describes the Immanent Trinity—the interaction of the Godhead as they have always existed in eternity—and...


05/22/2015 08:39

John (Part 57): Trinity, part 2 (ch 15)

The last summary gave several points that I may repeat (or just reference) in this summary in order ensure presenting a complete picture. We are discussing the Trinity. The Cappadocian Fathers helped us understand the concept of one essence and three persons. But this structure created an argument...


06/01/2015 08:36

John (Part 58): Holy Spirit in Us (ch 15-16)

The Trinity is defined as one essence and three persons. The Cappadocian Fathers wrote of this. The definition seems to present a difficulty in understanding because we just can’t find an analogy that helps us comprehend it. But it appears that the Cappadocians didn’t have as great a trouble as we...


06/09/2015 09:59

John (Part 59): Holy Spirit in Us – Part 2 (ch 16)

The next mini-section we come to in Jesus’s discourse begins in verse 5 of chapter 16. Again Jesus mentions that he is going away, and then he seems to chide the disciples for not asking where he is going. But if we flip back just a page or so in our Bibles, we find at the end of chapter 13 that...


06/15/2015 17:02

John (Part 60): Understanding Plainly (ch 16)

Chapter 16 closes the conversation. This last topic—about the fact that Jesus’s normal speaking in figurative language would soon change to plain speech—follows from the last point concerning not seeing him and seeing him again from verses 16 through 24. In verse 23 of that section, Jesus had...


06/22/2015 06:52

John (Part 61): Shared Glory (ch 17)

Chapter 17 is known as Jesus’s high priestly prayer. That is a good title. It matches the appellation of Hebrews 4, and the prayer speaks exactly of Christ’s intercessory work. It does so even as it starts out in speaking of the glory brought to the Son by the Father and to the Father by the...


06/29/2015 08:43

John (Part 62): Limited Atonement? (ch 17)

The penal substitution theory of the atonement has significant faults that cannot be overlooked. However, what is the alternative? Can we say—and be in line with God’s Word—that the guilt of our sin was actually not placed on Christ at the cross so that Jesus’s death was not caused by God striking...


07/07/2015 08:00

John (Part 63): Faith First (ch 17)

We have discussed the point of shared glory between the Father and the Son. The Son glorified God in his movement toward death—he had walked the road of God’s salvation plan by manifesting God’s truth, goodness, and beauty in all his life. The Father glorified the Son in the many ways he confirmed...


08/11/2015 07:34

John (Part 64): Unity (ch 17)

As Jesus continues in his prayer, he starts to expand the relationship that he has enjoyed with the Father to include the disciples also. Again, we must hold tightly to the understanding that Jesus is praying from the perspective of the perfect man—not as God of the Trinity. Here he is the only...


08/17/2015 07:40

John (Part 65): Jesus Arrested (ch 18)

Although Jesus knew that the disciples needed much more instruction (16:12), his time of personal teaching (prior to the cross) was done. Chapter 18 opens with them going out. Whether that means leaving the upper room or going out from the confines of their intimate conversation to meet with the...


08/26/2015 13:24

John (Part 66): Jesus Before Pilate (ch 18)

John’s point is not merely to recount the events of the night. The Synoptics had been around for years by the time John wrote his Gospel. People knew the events. John is interested in making certain points as he writes. Therefore certain events such as Jesus’s trial before Caiaphas and Pilate...


09/03/2015 13:36

John (Part 67): Jesus Still Before Pilate (ch 18)

The Jews had accused Jesus of calling himself a king (Luke 23:2). Pilate, intent on judging the matter for himself, asked Jesus if he was the king of the Jews. Rather than answering him directly, Jesus asks whether Pilate is asking for himself or because someone else has said so. This sort of...


09/10/2015 06:00

John (Part 68): To the Cross (ch 19)

Pilate had been wanting to find means to let Jesus go because he did not believe Jesus was a threat—he could not find any fault with him. But now in the midst of a conversation, as Pilate is interested in finding out whether there is any divine connection here, Jesus will not talk to him. Somewhat...


09/15/2015 07:11

John (Part 69): From Cross to Grave (ch 19)

After receiving the drink, Jesus cried out, “It is finished!” The statement again echoes Psalm 22. John’s crucifixion scene, in fact, seems to follow the two-fold theme of the psalm—shame and triumph in purpose. The psalm speaks of descendants serving Christ, telling a people yet to be born that it...


09/21/2015 04:51

John (Part 70): Resurrection (ch 20)

After the special Sabbath of the first day of the Feast of Unleavened Bread and after the weekly Sabbath on the next day, Mary Magdalene came to the tomb while it was still dark. This whole discovery scene of the resurrection is recorded in all four Gospels. But each provides a few details that...


09/29/2015 08:18

John (Part 71): Disciples' Commission (ch 20)

When Jesus said her name, Mary’s eyes were opened. She saw that it was Jesus, and thrilled, she grabbed hold of him, locked in embrace, and would not let him go. And I’m sure Jesus was smiling and laughing at her exuberance as he hugged her back. But eventually he told her, “Okay, okay, you can let...


10/08/2015 16:24

John (Part 72): Epilogue (ch 21)

In John 20:30-31, John seems to be concluding his thoughts and therefore this Gospel. He speaks of many other signs that Jesus performed but that he hasn’t written about because he believes what has been written would be sufficient for people to “believe Jesus is the Messiah, the Son of God, and by...