The Church of Divine Guidance Sunday morning Adult Bible Study is embarking on an exhaustive study of the book of John. Of the four gospels, John’s gospel presents Jesus as God most forcefully. John explicitly declared Jesus to be God who brought all things into existence. John’s gospel confirmed that Jesus was YHVH of the Jews . He is light and life . These are the notes of that study along with the recorded audio of the session.
Last week we talked about the miracle of Lazarus’ resurrection and the response of the Pharisees which was to silence Him because they were very worried about Jesus because many people were following him. And they thought that he might lead these people to fight against the Romans. Then the Romans would punish all the Jews.
The Jewish leaders wanted to stop what was happening. They decided that there was only one way to do this. Jesus had to die!
It was Caiaphas, the High Priest, who suggested this.
John 11:45-54 (NLT)45 Many of the people who were with Mary believed in Jesus when they saw this happen.46 But some went to the Pharisees and told them what Jesus had done.47 Then the leading priests and Pharisees called the high council together. “What are we going to do?” they asked each other. “This man certainly performs many miraculous signs.48 If we allow him to go on like this, soon everyone will believe in him. Then the Roman army will come and destroy both our Temple and our nation.”49 Caiaphas, who was high priest at that time, said, “You don’t know what you’re talking about!50 You don’t realize that it’s better for you that one man should die for the people than for the whole nation to be destroyed.”51 He did not say this on his own; as high priest at that time he was led to prophesy that Jesus would die for the entire nation.52 And not only for that nation, but to bring together and unite all the children of God scattered around the world.
However, Caiaphas did not realise that he was speaking a prophecy. He thought that he was making just a political decision. He did not understand that his words had a different, spiritual meaning. But God used him to say this, because he was the most important Jewish leader at that time.
In fact, Jesus would die on behalf of the Jews. But he would not die to save them from the Romans’ punishment. He would die to save them from the punishment that is the result of sin. Also, he would die to save all people who believed in him, not just the Jews. And he would unite all people who share the same belief in him.
We ended with the people getting ready for the Passover Celebration and wondering if Jesus would show.
John 11:55-57 (NLT)55 It was now almost time for the Jewish Passover celebration, and many people from all over the country arrived in Jerusalem several days early so they could go through the purification ceremony before Passover began.56 They kept looking for Jesus, but as they stood around in the Temple, they said to each other, “What do you think? He won’t come for Passover, will he?”57 Meanwhile, the leading priests and Pharisees had publicly ordered that anyone seeing Jesus must report it immediately so they could arrest him.
|Mary anoints Jesus' feet in preparation of His death and burial|
John 12:1-11 (NLT)1 Six days before the Passover celebration began, Jesus arrived in Bethany, the home of Lazarus—the man he had raised from the dead.2 A dinner was prepared in Jesus’ honor. Martha served, and Lazarus was among those who ate with him.3 Then Mary took a twelve-ounce jar of expensive perfume made from essence of nard, and she anointed Jesus’ feet with it, wiping his feet with her hair. The house was filled with the fragrance.4 But Judas Iscariot, the disciple who would soon betray him, said,5 “That perfume was worth a year’s wages. It should have been sold and the money given to the poor.”6 Not that he cared for the poor—he was a thief, and since he was in charge of the disciples’ money, he often stole some for himself.7 Jesus replied, “Leave her alone. She did this in preparation for my burial.8 You will always have the poor among you, but you will not always have me.”9 When all the people heard of Jesus’ arrival, they flocked to see him and also to see Lazarus, the man Jesus had raised from the dead.10 Then the leading priests decided to kill Lazarus, too,11 for it was because of him that many of the people had deserted them and believed in Jesus.
When Jesus returned for the Passover, he stayed again with his friends called Mary, Martha and Lazarus. They wanted to thank him because of what he did on behalf of Lazarus.
In some ways, the situation was similar to a different occasion that Luke described in his Gospel
Luke 10:38-42 (NLT)38 As Jesus and the disciples continued on their way to Jerusalem, they came to a certain village where a woman named Martha welcomed them into her home.39 Her sister, Mary, sat at the Lord’s feet, listening to what he taught.40 But Martha was distracted by the big dinner she was preparing. She came to Jesus and said, “Lord, doesn’t it seem unfair to you that my sister just sits here while I do all the work? Tell her to come and help me.”41 But the Lord said to her, “My dear Martha, you are worried and upset over all these details!42 There is only one thing worth being concerned about. Mary has discovered it, and it will not be taken away from her.” In Luke’s account, Martha was busy with practical tasks. But Mary sat with Jesus. She listened to him as he spoke. She was learning from him. Martha complained to Jesus because Mary was not helping her. But Jesus said that Mary was right. She knew what was more important.
In John’s account of this other occasion, Martha was doing practical tasks again. Mary did something that would have caused shock to everybody there. She took a very expensive bottle of perfume and she poured it over Jesus’ feet. It was the custom to put perfume on a guest’s head, but it was not usual to pour a whole bottle of perfume over a guest’s feet. This particular perfume was worth as much as some workers earned in a year!
Then Mary did something else that was very unusual. She uncovered her hair and she wiped Jesus’ feet with it. Jewish women always covered their hair in public. Only prostitutes did not cover their hair. So for Mary to show her hair like this would have offended people, too.
Judas was very angry. He considered that Mary had wasted the perfume on Jesus. Judas thought that she should have sold it. Then poor people could have money from the sale of the perfume.
However, Judas did not say this sincerely. He did not really care about poor people. He just loved money. Actually, he was stealing it from Jesus and the disciples.
Jesus always helped poor people but this time he didn’t agree with Judas. Mary’s act of love had a spiritual meaning. It was like a prophecy. People poured expensive perfume over a dead body before they put the body in a grave. Mary probably didn’t realize it but she was prophesying about Jesus’ death. She was also showing in public that she had faith in him. by was giving him the best and most precious thing that she possessed.
He told them that there would always be opportunities to help poor people but that He would not be with them always.
The Jewish leaders wanted to kill Jesus. They did not believe that he is God. So they thought that they had a reason to kill him. But Lazarus had not done anything! However, the fact that he was alive was evidence of Jesus’ power over even death. Nobody could deny the*miracle that Jesus had done. Lazarus himself was the chief witness. So the leaders wanted to murder Lazarus, too. This wrong attitude to Jesus had caused them to plot another evil act.
John 12:12-19 (NKJV)12 The next day a great multitude that had come to the feast, when they heard that Jesus was coming to Jerusalem,13 took branches of palm trees and went out to meet Him, and cried out: "Hosanna! 'Blessed is He who comes in the name of the LORD!' The King of Israel!"14 Then Jesus, when He had found a young donkey, sat on it; as it is written:15 "Fear not, daughter of Zion; Behold, your King is coming, Sitting on a donkey's colt."16 His disciples did not understand these things at first; but when Jesus was glorified, then they remembered that these things were written about Him and that they had done these things to Him.17 Therefore the people, who were with Him when He called Lazarus out of his tomb and raised him from the dead, bore witness.18 For this reason the people also met Him, because they heard that He had done this sign.19 The Pharisees therefore said among themselves, "You see that you are accomplishing nothing. Look, the world has gone after Him!"
Many people had seen Jesus call Lazarus out of the grave. The news had spread quickly into Jerusalem. So a large crowd went out to meet Jesus as he entered the city for the Passover. They waved branches from palm trees. They shouted some words from the scriptures,
|The Triumphal Entry into Jerusalem|
Psalm 118:25-26 (NLT)25 Please, LORD, please save us. Please, LORD, please give us success.
26 Bless the one who comes in the name of the LORD. We bless you from the house of the LORD.
The Jews used the word ‘hosanna’ when they were asking a king to help them. It actually meant ‘save us now’. They used this phrase when they wanted the king to save them from their enemies.
So, when the crowd shouted, ‘hosanna!’ they were really greeting Jesus as their king. They were greeting Jesus as their Messiah. They were showing that they expected him to defeat their enemies, the Romans. But Jesus was not the kind of Messiah that they were expecting!
Jesus did not enter *Jerusalem like a powerful leader. Instead, he was riding on a donkey. Poorer people rode on donkeys instead of horses, because donkeys were much cheaper. Jesus came to the people humbly, not proudly. The prophet Zechariah had prophesied that their king would come to them in this way.
Zechariah 9:9 (NLT)9 Rejoice, O people of Zion! Shout in triumph, O people of Jerusalem! Look, your king is coming to you. He is righteous and victorious, yet he is humble, riding on a donkey— riding on a donkey’s colt.
At that time, the disciples were not thinking about Zechariah’s prophecy.
After Jesus was resurrected and then returned to heaven, the disciples realised what this prophecy meant.
Jesus had become very popular. But many of the people who greeted him that day did not remain loyal to him. They did not try to prevent his death a few days later. Probably, some of them even shouted, ‘*Crucify him!’
John 19:15 (NLT)15 “Away with him,” they yelled. “Away with him! Crucify him!” “What? Crucify your king?” Pilate asked. “We have no king but Caesar,” the leading priests shouted back.
The Pharisees were very worried because Jesus was so popular. It seemed that everybody was following him. So they said that ‘everybody in the world’ was following him! The Pharisees choice of words shows their despair. But in fact, like Caiaphas’s words they were more accurate than they realised.
John 11:50 (NLT)50 You don’t realize that it’s better for you that one man should die for the people than for the whole nation to be destroyed.”
This was because, in the future, people from countries all over the world would follow Jesus. The Pharisees were angry because so many people were following Jesus already.
John 12:20-36 (NLT)20 Some Greeks who had come to Jerusalem for the Passover celebration
21 paid a visit to Philip, who was from Bethsaida in Galilee. They said, “Sir, we want to meet Jesus.”22 Philip told Andrew about it, and they went together to ask Jesus.23 Jesus replied, “Now the time has come for the Son of Man to enter into his glory.24 I tell you the truth, unless a kernel of wheat is planted in the soil and dies, it remains alone. But its death will produce many new kernels—a plentiful harvest of new lives.25 Those who love their life in this world will lose it. Those who care nothing for their life in this world will keep it for eternity.26 Anyone who wants to be my disciple must follow me, because my servants must be where I am. And the Father will honor anyone who serves me.27 “Now my soul is deeply troubled. Should I pray, ‘Father, save me from this hour’? But this is the very reason I came!28 Father, bring glory to your name.” Then a voice spoke from heaven, saying, “I have already brought glory to my name, and I will do so again.”29 When the crowd heard the voice, some thought it was thunder, while others declared an angel had spoken to him.30 Then Jesus told them, “The voice was for your benefit, not mine.
31 The time for judging this world has come, when Satan, the ruler of this world, will be cast out.
32 And when I am lifted up from the earth, I will draw everyone to myself.”33 He said this to indicate how he was going to die.34 The crowd responded, “We understood from Scripture that the Messiah would live forever. How can you say the Son of Man will die? Just who is this Son of Man, anyway?”35 Jesus replied, “My light will shine for you just a little longer. Walk in the light while you can, so the darkness will not overtake you. Those who walk in the darkness cannot see where they are going.36 Put your trust in the light while there is still time; then you will become children of the light.” After saying these things, Jesus went away and was hidden from them.
Some Gentiles followed the Jewish religion. They believed in Israel’s God and they worshipped him at the important Jewish festivals.
Some of these Gentiles who were Greeks wanted to meet Jesus.
Jesus’ reaction to Philip and Andrew’s request seems strange. He did not even mention the Greeks. But he was answering them. He began to talk about his death and to explain it to them.
Jesus’ death was the only way that people could enter God’s kingdom. And God’s*kingdom is for everybody who believes in Jesus. It is not just for the Jews. When Jesus died on the ross, he provided the way for all people to receive eternal life.
Jesus used a familiar situation in nature to explain why he had to die. There is only one way for a seed to produce more seeds. The seed must fall into the ground. Jesus compared this to his death. If the seed does not die, it will not produce more seeds. So Jesus had to die as a sacrifice. He had to receive the punishment that we all deserve. Also he had to show that he had power over death. His resurrection proved that he had eternal life. He gives this eternal life to everybody who believes in him. These people are like the new seeds that the original seed’s ‘death’ produces.
This doesn’t mean that we should want to die. It does not mean that we should not enjoy our lives. It means that we should live to serve God. We should not live just for our own pleasure and comfort. We should not find security in the things of this world.
Instead, we should want to do only what Jesus wants. We should not be selfish. We should not try to control our lives. We should let Jesus control our lives. Then we will be really free. We will be really happy. We will receive the gift of eternal life. This wonderful life begins when we first believe in Jesus. And it continues after our death.
Jesus knew that he would suffer. People would reject him and they would hate him. We may have people reject us and to hate us, but when we follow Jesus sincerely, God will reward us. He will bless all who are loyal to his Son. This is worth more than anything that this world could offer us.
Then a voice spoke from heaven. The voice said, ‘I have brought *glory to myself already. And I will do it again!’
The crowd who were standing there heard the voice. Some people thought that it was thunder others thought that an angel had spoken to Jesus.
Jesus knew what would happen to him. He knew that he had to suffer a cruel and painful death. He was a human person, like us. So it was natural for him to feel strong emotions at this time, but he also knew that he had to suffer. He had come to save us from the punishment that we deserve because of our sins. There was only one way to do this. He had to receive our punishment instead of us. He had to pay the price for our sins. That price was death.
Jesus was not afraid only of physical pain and death. He was afraid because he had to suffer spiritually, too. Jesus took upon himself every person’s sins, whether they are past, present or future.
God is completely holy. He cannot have a relationship with anything sinful. So while Jesus was on the cross, he was not united with God. Jesus had always been united with God. To be separate from God would cause him extreme pain in his spirit.
Jesus obeyed his Father completely. He wanted to do what his Father wanted. This is what would bring glory to God. When Jesus said this aloud, his Father spoke from heaven. The signs that Jesus had done had always brought glory to God. Jesus did not need to hear the voice speak aloud, but the voice spoke aloud so that the crowd could hear God, too.
When Jesus spoke about ‘the ruler of this world’, he was referring to the devil. Jesus defeated the devil by means of Jesus’ death and resurrection.
When He said People will lift me above the earth’ Jesus was referring to his physical death, when he hung on a cross
John 3:14 (NLT)14 And as Moses lifted up the bronze snake on a pole in the wilderness, so the Son of Man must be lifted up,
John 8:29 (NLT)29 And the one who sent me is with me—he has not deserted me. For I always do what pleases him.”
The crowd did not want to believe that Jesus would die. Certainly, they did not want to believe that he would die like a criminal. They wanted him to lead them and to defeat their enemies.
Certain*scriptures promised that the Messiah would live
Psalm 89:29 (NLT)29 I will preserve an heir for him; his throne will be as endless as the days of heaven.
Psalm 89:36 (NLT)36 His dynasty will go on forever; his kingdom will endure as the sun.
Isaiah 9:7 (NLT)7 His government and its peace will never end. He will rule with fairness and justice from the throne of his ancestor David for all eternity. The passionate commitment of the LORD of Heaven’s Armies will make this happen!
So the people thought that he would never die. But the people misunderstood the meaning of these scriptures. That is not what those scriptures actually said. However, the scriptures were true. Jesus is alive and he will always be the ruler of everything.
‘The light’ that Jesus referred to meant himself. Soon, his time on earth as a man would end. Like a light, he guided people. He showed them the truth and he pointed them towards God. He wanted the people to benefit from this short time that he was among them.
Bible Study Audio
(Subscribe to my YouTube Channel to hear the audio of all my Bible Studies and sermons....it's free)
<====IF YOU DON'T HAVE A BIBLE OR WANT ANOTHER ONE CLICK HERE====>