Sunday, June 26, 2016

John Session 6

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.  Be sire to listen to the audio of the study at then end of these notes.

Last Week

Last week we talked about what happened after Jesus went to Jerusalem and cleared out the Temple grounds of the moneychangers and those selling the animals that the people coming for the Passover Festival needed for their sacrifices.  

He and His disciples went through Samaria on their way back home to Galilee.  In Samaria Jesus had a conversation with a Samaritan woman which in itself was a big surprise.   In that conversation He talked about living water.   

John 4:10-11 (NKJV)10  Jesus answered and said to her, "If you knew the gift of God, and who it is who says to you, 'Give Me a drink,' you would have asked Him, and He would have given you living water."11  The woman said to Him, "Sir, You have nothing to draw with, and the well is deep. Where then do You get that living water?

Jesus was talking about the kind of refreshing and continuous flowing water exemplified by the Holy Spirit.  The “living water” that the woman thought Jesus was talking about refreshes but the “living water” Jesus was talking about produces eternal life.  That water could come only through Him.  

Then He talked about the place of worship of God wasn’t what’s important but it’s how we worship.     

John 4:21-24 (NKJV)21  Jesus said to her, "Woman, believe Me, the hour is coming when you will neither on this mountain, nor in Jerusalem, worship the Father.22  You worship what you do not know; we know what we worship, for salvation is of the Jews.23  But the hour is coming, and now is, when the true worshipers will worship the Father in spirit and truth; for the Father is seeking such to worship Him.24  God is Spirit, and those who worship Him must worship in spirit and truth."

She was convinced that she was talking to the Messiah because He told her things that nobody else knew.  So she went to tell the people in the town of Sychar.

John 4:28-29 (NKJV)28  The woman then left her waterpot, went her way into the city, and said to the men,29  "Come, see a Man who told me all things that I ever did. Could this be the Christ?"

Meanwhile the disciples came back and asked if Jesus had eaten.  But like with the water He gave them a spiritual answer saying that His food was doing what His Father wanted Him to do and that was to talk about His kingdom.  

John 4:31-34 (NKJV)31  In the meantime His disciples urged Him, saying, "Rabbi, eat."32  But He said to them, "I have food to eat of which you do not know."33  Therefore the disciples said to one another, "Has anyone brought Him anything to eat?"34  Jesus said to them, "My food is to do the will of Him who sent Me, and to finish His work.

This Week

As we continue this week the people that the woman told about her encounter with Jesus came out to see for themselves and when Jesus sees them He tells His disciples something that may have seemed strange to them.  

John 4:35-38 (NKJV)35  Do you not say, 'There are still four months and then comes the harvest'? Behold, I say to you, lift up your eyes and look at the fields, for they are already white for harvest!36  And he who reaps receives wages, and gathers fruit for eternal life, that both he who sows and he who reaps may rejoice together.37  For in this the saying is true: 'One sows and another reaps.'38  I sent you to reap that for which you have not labored; others have labored, and you have entered into their labors."

Sychar was in a region where many fields of grain grew. This region is still famous because of its grain. So Jesus told his disciples to look at the fields near to them. Again, Jesus was using familiar, physical things to explain spiritual principles.  He had just talked about living water, and then, with His disciples food.

After his encounter with the Samaritan woman, what specific lessons does Jesus apply to his disciples and to us ?

Four months till harvest would be a normal expectation in the natural realm, but by lifting up their eyes the disciples could see a harvest already white (the approaching Samaritans), the result of Jesus sowing seed in the woman.  Jesus was not talking about an actual harvest of grain. He was talking about a harvest of people.  He sowed in His talking to the woman about living water, and worship, and she sowed by telling the men about her conversation with Jesus and immediately, they were coming to find him.  The harvest didn’t just include Jews either because these people that Jesus said was the harvest were Samaritans.  

Jesus ministry was one of both sowing and reaping. In spiritual work, sower and reaper are quite often different people.   They can both rejoice together in what their combined efforts have accomplished which would be leading people to Jesus, salvation, and eternal life. men.

1 Corinthians 3:5-8 (NKJV)5  Who then is Paul, and who is Apollos, but ministers through whom you believed, as the Lord gave to each one?6  I planted, Apollos watered, but God gave the increase.7  So then neither he who plants is anything, nor he who waters, but God who gives the increase.8  Now he who plants and he who waters are one, and each one will receive his own reward according to his own labor.

Jesus needs people to work for him today. They are doing God’s work. They get ‘good wages’ because God rewards them. ‘Good wages’ does not refer to money in particular. It refers to any of God’s blessings. All the workers are happy at the same time, because it is always time for the harvest. We may tell someone about Jesus. At that time, it is as if we are sowing a seed. We have to wait for a seed to grow.   We must not miss any opportunity to share the good news about Jesus.

Isn’t that what Jesus told His disciples before He ascended back to the Father?

Matthew 28:16-20 (NKJV)16  Then the eleven disciples went away into Galilee, to the mountain which Jesus had appointed for them.17  When they saw Him, they worshiped Him; but some doubted.18  And Jesus came and spoke to them, saying, "All authority has been given to Me in heaven and on earth.19  Go therefore and make disciples of all the nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit,20  teaching them to observe all things that I have commanded you; and lo, I am with you always, even to the end of the age."

What are some examples of sowing and reaping?

John 4:39-42 (NKJV)39  And many of the Samaritans of that city believed in Him because of the word of the woman who testified, "He told me all that I ever did."40  So when the Samaritans had come to Him, they urged Him to stay with them; and He stayed there two days.41  And many more believed because of His own word.42  Then they said to the woman, "Now we believe, not because of what you said, for we ourselves have heard Him and we know that this is indeed the Christ, the Savior of the world."
Here is the harvest Jesus was talking about and an example of what Christ and the woman were able to gather as sower and reaper. Many believed on the Lord because of the woman's testimony. This led to an invitation to stay in their midst, which Christ consented to do for two days. During those days, others who had heard the woman's testimony and had been inclined to believe in Jesus became full-fledged believers because of what they received through his own word.  What they heard convinced them that He was in fact Christ the i.e., Saviour of the world and that  meant that Samaritans as well as Jews could be saved. -The Wycliffe Bible Commentary.

That kind of goes back to what He told the woman about worshiping God.  

John 4:21-24 (NKJV)21  Jesus said to her, "Woman, believe Me, the hour is coming when you will neither on this mountain, nor in Jerusalem, worship the Father.22  You worship what you do not know; we know what we worship, for salvation is of the Jews.23  But the hour is coming, and now is, when the true worshipers will worship the Father in spirit and truth; for the Father is seeking such to worship Him.24  God is Spirit, and those who worship Him must worship in spirit and truth."

John 4:43-45 (NKJV)43  Now after the two days He departed from there and went to Galilee.
44  For Jesus Himself testified that a prophet has no honor in his own country.45  So when He came to Galilee, the Galileans received Him, having seen all the things He did in Jerusalem at the feast; for they also had gone to the feast.

Jesus had lived in Galilee since he was a child. Nazareth was in Galilee.  His family lived there still. It was his ‘own country’. And the people there were pleased to see him. But he said ‘Everywhere, people respect a prophet, except in his own country.’

A lack of honor was to be expected there in contrast to the growing popularity accorded him in Judea. The fact that Galileans who had been at Jerusalem and had seen his miracles there were ready to welcome him.  The people in Galilee greeted Jesus gladly because of what he had done in Jerusalem. They had heard about the miracles and they wanted him to do miracles for them.  

John 4:46-54 (NKJV)46  So Jesus came again to Cana of Galilee where He had made the water wine. And there was a certain nobleman whose son was sick at Capernaum.47  When he heard that Jesus had come out of Judea into Galilee, he went to Him and implored Him to come down and heal his son, for he was at the point of death.48  Then Jesus said to him, "Unless you people see signs and wonders, you will by no means believe."49  The nobleman said to Him, "Sir, come down before my child dies!"50  Jesus said to him, "Go your way; your son lives." So the man believed the word that Jesus spoke to him, and he went his way.51  And as he was now going down, his servants met him and told him, saying, "Your son lives!"52  Then he inquired of them the hour when he got better. And they said to him, "Yesterday at the seventh hour the fever left him."53  So the father knew that it was at the same hour in which Jesus said to him, "Your son lives." And he himself believed, and his whole household.54  This again is the second sign Jesus did when He had come out of Judea into Galilee.

While at Cana, Jesus had a visit from a certain nobleman (basilikos, indicating a royal figure or one in royal service). The father's hope of getting healing from Jesus for his son seems to have been based on contact with Galileans who had seen our Lord's miracles at Jerusalem. Having journeyed from Capernaum to Cana, the father made repeated and urgent request (ērōta) that Jesus would come down and heal the boy. Jesus expressed fear that the father, like so many others, was so preoccupied with the report of wonders performed that he would not believe. More important than the boy's health was the father's faith. The father's reply breathes the desperation of need. Jesus proved himself worthy of faith and also sympathetic to the supplicant's feelings—Go thy way; thy son liveth. His faith developing fast, the man believed the word of Christ apart from any visible sign, and went his way satisfied
The Wycliffe Bible Commentary.

How does the royal official's attitude toward Jesus differ from the response Jesus had already anticipated?

The official’s faith was sincere, because he trusted Jesus completely. He could not see that his son was well again. But he believed Jesus’ words. So he obeyed Jesus and he returned to his home immediately.

This is real faith: to believe in a miracle before we see it happen. Jesus hears us every time that we pray to him. We must believe that he will answer our prayers. He can do much more than we can imagine!

Ephesians 3:20-21 (NKJV)20  Now to Him who is able to do exceedingly abundantly above all that we ask or think, according to the power that works in us,21  to Him be glory in the church by Christ Jesus to all generations, forever and ever. Amen.

When he compared the time of the departure of the fever with the time of his interview with Jesus, he knew the healing was no accident. He himself believed. His faith was confirmed by experience. Faith spread to the entire household. At the first Cana miracle the disciples had believed (the water to wine at the wedding). The second miracle from the same spot resulted in a wider circle of faith.
The Wycliffe Bible Commentary.
In Chapter 5 Jesus is confronted because of something that he did for a man who had been sick for a very long time.  The problem was that Jesus healed this man on the Sabbath and He told the man to do something that was banned on the Sabbath.  The interactions after that resemble a trial.  Not a formal courtroom trial but they had all the elements of a trial, and accusation, testimony then a decision.   Judgments are still made, today, for and against Jesus. Whenever he is presented as Savior and Lord, people decide in their hearts to believe his claims or to turn and walk away.
What are some reasons why people reject Jesus Christ?
Model with labels of the Pool of Bethesda in New Testament times
John 5:1-8 (HCSB)1  After this, a Jewish festival took place, and Jesus went up to Jerusalem.
2  By the Sheep Gate in Jerusalem there is a pool, called Bethesda in Hebrew, which has five colonnades.3  Within these lay a large number of the sick—blind, lame, and paralyzed [—waiting for the moving of the water,4  because an angel would go down into the pool from time to time and stir up the water. Then the first one who got in after the water was stirred up recovered from whatever ailment he had].5  One man was there who had been sick for 38 years.6  When Jesus saw him lying there and knew he had already been there a long time, He said to him, “Do you want to get well?”7  “Sir,” the sick man answered, “I don’t have a man to put me into the pool when the water is stirred up, but while I’m coming, someone goes down ahead of me.”8  “Get up,” Jesus told him, “pick up your mat and walk!”

The feast John mentions here is probably Pentecost or Tabernacles because he specifically mentions the Passover in 2:13 and 23

The name Pentecost comes from the Greek word for 50, but the Jewish name is Shavuot (meaning weeks or sevens).  So 49 or 50 days after Passover.

Leviticus 23:15-17 (NKJV)15  'And you shall count for yourselves from the day after the Sabbath, from the day that you brought the sheaf of the wave offering: seven Sabbaths shall be completed.16  Count fifty days to the day after the seventh Sabbath; then you shall offer a new grain offering to the LORD.17  You shall bring from your dwellings two wave loaves of two-tenths of an ephah. They shall be of fine flour; they shall be baked with leaven. They are the firstfruits to the LORD.

Based on the scene and conversation around the pool, how would you describe the feelings and attitudes of the invalid?

John takes us to a pool around which there were a lot of people who believed that the water of the pool had the power to heal them of their diseases.   The pool was in the city, near to the hill where the Temple was. Archaeologists have uncovered it in recent times. Tourists visit it today. It was possible that there were some chemicals in the pool that had some curative properties.  Today we know that there are springs in certain places that do have something in them that accelerates healing or has some medicinal properties.  This pool may have been like this.    

Some manuscripts of the New Testament include a section between John 5:3 and John 5:5 about the "moving of the waters" in the pool of Bethesda. (See footnote in the New International Version.) It is generally agreed that these verses were not part of the original text of John's Gospel, but they do reflect some of the superstition that surrounded the pool. The people believed that when the water in the pool moved it was because an angel was stirring it. They also believed that whoever stepped in the water first after it moved would be healed. The paralyzed man was bitter because no one would help him get to the water first. Someone always beat him to it. In fact, the water may have been moved by the periodic bubbling of an underground spring (Morris, According to John, p. 302).

What’s interesting here is that the man did not ask Jesus to heal him he didn’t know who Jesus was and he didn’t see him as a healer.  His mind was on what he had seen in the past and believed that his cure was in the water.  

Jesus asked the man if he wanted to be well. This seems like a strange question, because the man had been ill for 38 years.   It’s interesting that the man didn’t say yes he wanted to be healed but based on his answer It’s pretty clear that he did but he said  that he couldn’t do it on his own.  

Question did the man have faith?

John 5:8-10 (HCSB)8  “Get up,” Jesus told him, “pick up your mat and walk!”9  Instantly the man got well, picked up his mat, and started to walk. Now that day was the Sabbath,10  so the Jews said to the man who had been healed, “This is the Sabbath! It’s illegal for you to pick up your mat.”

Jesus told the man to do what seemed to be an impossible thing.

He gave the man three commands what were they?  

Get up, pick up your mat, walk.  These commands indicate that Jesus imparted strength to the man.  The man had been ill for 38 years and probably he was lying down during all that time. But nothing is impossible for God. The man got up and he began to walk immediately!

Jesus never said anything about faith did He?

Is it possible to be healed even if you don’t have faith?

Of the 35 miracles recorded in the Gospel accounts the faith of the recipient is exercised in only10 of the accounts. Healing of the lame man (Jn.5:1-9) the cleansing of a leper (Mt.8:2-4) healing a man's withered hand (Mt.9:2-8) the healing of the man born blind (Jn.9:1-7) healing the blindness of Bartimaeus  (Mt.20:29-34) The women who had a blood flow (Mt.9:20-22; Mk.5:24-34) Peter who walked on water to Jesus (Mt.14:24-33) the miraculous catching of the fish (Lk.5:1-11) and the second miraculous catch (Jn.21:1-11) The cleansing of the 10 lepers of which only one had faith (Lk.17:11-19).  

Luke 17:17-19 (NKJV)17  So Jesus answered and said, "Were there not ten cleansed? But where are the nine?18  Were there not any found who returned to give glory to God except this foreigner?"19  And He said to him, "Arise, go your way. Your faith has made you well."

Just something to think about when we hear that you don’t have faith that’s why you’re not healed.    We may do a study someday on divine healing versus faith healing.

How do you think the man felt after his healing?

Instead of everybody being happy for this guy the the Jewish leaders were angry  because the man was carrying his mat on the Sabbath. The Law had simply told the Jews that they must not work on the Sabbath.  But the Jewish leaders had added many extra rules about the Sabbath. These rules explained what ‘work’ meant. The scribes had a list of 39 different types of work. The man was carrying his mat. This was a type of work.  It didn’t matter to them that this man could now walk after 38 years he was breaking a religious rule.

Exodus 20:8-10 (HCSB)8  Remember the Sabbath day, to keep it holy:9  You are to labor six days and do all your work,10  but the seventh day is a Sabbath to the LORD your God. You must not do any work—you, your son or daughter, your male or female slave, your livestock, or the foreigner who is within your gates.

What are some religious rules that we have that have nothing to do with our worship of God?  

When have you been more concerned about a religious activity than the reality behind it?

Easter and Christmas programs?

The ritual of communion?

Praying in church?

Prayer Meeting?

Attending Church?

John 5:11-15 (HCSB)11  He replied, “The man who made me well told me, ‘Pick up your mat and walk.’”12  “Who is this man who told you, ‘Pick up ⌊your mat⌋ and walk’?” they asked.13  But the man who was cured did not know who it was, because Jesus had slipped away into the crowd that was there.14  After this, Jesus found him in the temple complex and said to him, “See, you are well. Do not sin anymore, so that something worse doesn’t happen to you.”15  The man went and reported to the Jews that it was Jesus who had made him well.  

The man had a reason why he was carrying his mat. He said that Jesus had told him to do it. But the man did not use Jesus’ name, because he did not know Him.  And Jesus had gone immediately. Probably, he did not want to attract the crowd’s attention at that time.  Instead, Jesus wanted to speak to the man in private. He found the man in the Temple. Jesus told the man that he must not continue to sin. Perhaps there was a connection between this man’s illness and a particular sin. God’s power had cured the man’s body. Now he needed to repent. He needed to ask God to forgive him. Then he would be well in his spirit, too.

After this, the man went back to the Jewish leaders. He told them that Jesus had cured him. He wanted them to know that Jesus had done this wonderful *miracle. Probably, the man thought that the Jewish leaders would be excited. But they were angry!

John 5:16-18 (HCSB)16  Therefore, the Jews began persecuting Jesus because He was doing these things on the Sabbath.17  But Jesus responded to them, “My Father is still working, and I am working also.”18  This is why the Jews began trying all the more to kill Him: Not only was He breaking the Sabbath, but He was even calling God His own Father, making Himself equal with God.

Jesus explains that the work of creation ended on the seventh day, but not the work of compassion. Why does his explanation make the Jews even more determined to kill him?

He was making Himself equal with God by saying that He had a special relationship with Him by calling Him My Father.  The Jews didn’t even say the name of God because they said it was too holy to even utter His name.  So in their opinion saying “My Father” was too intimate.  They may have used “Our Father” or something like My Father in heaven”.  He was also calling Him His very own Father so close a relationship to make Him equal with God.  

To them his guilt as a lawbreaker was plain. He had violated the Sabbath. by healing the paralyzed man.