Week 12 Discussion – Come and See: Exploring the Gospel of John

Published May 20, 2023

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Week 12 Discussion – Come and See: Exploring the Gospel of John

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Welcome to the final week of our 12-week Bible study, Come and See: Exploring the Gospel of John, covering the life, teachings, and miracles of Jesus. “Come and See” how the Gospel of John reveals the depth of God’s love and grace, and how it can transform your life.

Through this study, we’ve discovered and discussed who Jesus is, what he accomplished, and how to respond to him in faith, obedience, and love. We also learned about his role as the Son of God, what his life and death mean for us today, and how we can apply and share these teachings.


Week 12: Overview

Here’s a quick recap of what we covered in Week 12 using Justin Buzzard’s John: A 12-Week Study (Knowing the Bible) as our weekly discussion guide, and how the Gospel of John:

  • Uniquely reveals Jesus as the eternal Word of God, showcasing His divine nature, authority over creation, and powerful signs.
  • Deepens our understanding of the Gospel of Jesus by providing a unique perspective, highlighting Jesus’ divinity, exploring theological themes, and offering insights into discipleship and the mission of the Church.
  • Enhances our appreciation for God’s interconnected redemptive plan, illuminating the continuity of God’s redemptive plan in Jesus.
  • Unveils the human condition, exposing our brokenness and need for salvation.
  • Explores the ramifications for our own relational journey in the application of Jesus’ teaching on discipleship.
  • How without the Gospel of John, our understanding of God would be greatly diminished.

GOSPEL GLIMPSES

Has your understanding of the gospel changed, expanded, or deepened in any particular way doing the course of this study? Explain.

Studying the Gospel of John has greatly informed and deepened our understanding of the Gospel of Jesus in several ways. 

John’s Gospel provides a unique perspective on Jesus’ life, teachings, and ministry. It offers distinct insights and emphasizes different themes compared to the other Gospels. By studying John, we gain a more comprehensive understanding of Jesus’ character and purpose.

Secondly, John’s Gospel highlights the divinity of Jesus in a profound way. It presents Jesus as the eternal Word of God who became flesh and dwelt among us. Through the “I am” statements and powerful signs, John emphasizes Jesus’ identity as the Son of God, the Messiah, and the source of eternal life. This deepens our understanding of Jesus’ divine nature and his role in salvation.

Furthermore, the Gospel of John explores significant theological themes such as belief, love, light, truth, and the Holy Spirit. It delves into the intimate relationship between Jesus and the Father and the importance of faith and trust in him. By studying these themes, we better understand the depth and significance of Jesus’ message.

Additionally, John’s Gospel provides profound insights into the nature of discipleship and the mission of the Church. It portrays Jesus as the Good Shepherd who cares for and leads his flock, and it emphasizes the role of believers in spreading the message of salvation. Through the encounters and teachings in John’s Gospel, we learn valuable lessons about following Jesus, serving others, and living out our faith in the world.

What are a few particular passages in John that have brought the gospel home to you in a new way? Why have these texts helped you better grasp the gospel of God’s grace?

When we consider particular passes in John that truly bring the Gospel of Jesus home, making it real to and for us, the following passages emerge:

John 3:16, where Jesus says, “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.” This verse encapsulates the essence of the gospel message—the incredible love of God for humanity and the gift of salvation through faith in Jesus. Meditating on this verse helps us grasp the depth of God’s grace and understand that salvation is not earned but freely given through God’s love and sacrifice.

Another impactful passage is John 8:12, where Jesus declares, “I am the light of the world. Whoever follows me will never walk in darkness but will have the light of life.” This verse portrays Jesus as the source of spiritual enlightenment and life. It reminds us that we find illumination and guidance in a dark and broken world in Christ. Understanding Jesus as the light of the world helps us recognize our need for His grace and the transformative power He brings to our lives.

There’s also John 14:6.  It holds significant meaning for understanding the gospel of God’s grace. Jesus declares, “I am the way and the truth and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me.” This statement underscores Jesus’ exclusive role as the mediator between humanity and God, emphasizing that salvation is found solely in Him. It deepens our appreciation for the grace extended to us through Jesus, who offers reconciliation and eternal life with God.

Finally, John 15:13 provides a profound insight into God’s grace demonstrated through Jesus’ sacrifice. Jesus states, “Greater love has no one than this: to lay down one’s life for one’s friends.” This verse highlights the selfless love of Jesus, who willingly gave His life for the redemption of humanity. Contemplating this sacrificial love helps us grasp the depth of God’s grace, realizing that Jesus paid the ultimate price for our salvation out of His boundless love.

Furthermore, by reflecting on these passages and allowing them to speak to our hearts, we gain a deeper understanding of the gospel of God’s grace. They remind us of the immense love, sacrifice, and exclusivity of Jesus as the source of salvation and eternal life. Through His life, death, and resurrection, we experience God’s unmerited favor and forgiveness, compelling us to respond with gratitude, faith, and a desire to share this good news with others.

WHOLE-BIBLE CONNECTIONS

How has your understanding of how John’s Gospel fits within the entire Bible been deepened through your study of John?

Studying the Gospel of John deepens one’s understanding of how it fits within the entire Bible by revealing the fulfillment of Old Testament prophecies, recognizing recurring themes and symbolism, exploring the significance of Jesus as the Word, understanding the relationship between law and grace, and embracing the universal scope of the Gospel. This holistic approach to studying John’s Gospel enhances one’s appreciation for the interconnectedness and continuity of God’s redemptive plan as revealed throughout the Bible.

What are some connections in John to the Old Testament that you hadn’t noticed before?

When studying the Gospel of John, there are several connections to the Old Testament that are often missed initially. Here are a few examples:

  1. The Passover Lamb: In John 1:29, John the Baptist declares, “Behold, the Lamb of God, who takes away the sin of the world!” This statement directly references the Passover lamb in the Old Testament. Just as the blood of the Passover lamb protected the Israelites from the judgment of God in Exodus, Jesus, as the perfect Lamb of God, offers salvation and forgiveness from sin through His sacrificial death.
  2. The Bronze Serpent: In John 3:14-15, Jesus makes a connection to the Old Testament account of the bronze serpent in Numbers 21:4-9. Venomous snakes plagued the Israelites, and God instructed Moses to lift up a bronze serpent on a pole. Those who looked at it were healed. Jesus uses this incident as a metaphor for His own crucifixion, indicating that just as the people looked to the bronze serpent for physical healing, all who look to Him in faith will receive spiritual healing and eternal life.
  3. The Bread of Life: In John 6, Jesus performs the miracle of feeding the 5,000 with five loaves of bread and two fish. This event alludes to the provision of manna in the wilderness during the time of Moses. In the Old Testament, God provided bread from heaven to sustain the Israelites. Jesus, as the Bread of Life, offers Himself as the true sustenance that satisfies the spiritual hunger of humanity.
  4. The Good Shepherd: In John 10, Jesus refers to Himself as the Good Shepherd who lays down His life for the sheep. This image of the shepherd caring for his flock is a powerful motif in the Old Testament. In passages like Psalm 23 and Ezekiel 34, God is portrayed as the shepherd who leads and protects His people. By applying this imagery to Himself, Jesus declares His divine nature and His loving care for His followers.
  5. The Vine and Branches: In John 15, Jesus compares Himself to the true vine and His disciples to the branches. This analogy draws on the Old Testament imagery of Israel as the vineyard of God. In passages like Isaiah 5 and Psalm 80, Israel is depicted as a vineyard that God planted and tended. By identifying Himself as the true vine, Jesus emphasizes the importance of abiding in Him for spiritual fruitfulness and intimate union with God.

These connections highlight the continuity and fulfillment of God’s redemptive plan throughout Scripture, and they enrich our understanding of Jesus’ identity and mission as the fulfillment of Old Testament promises and symbols. Recognizing these connections deepens our appreciation for the depth and richness of John’s Gospel and its interconnectedness with the Old Testament narrative.

Has your understanding of the unity of the Bible been clarified through studying John? How so?

The Gospel of John brings clarity to the understanding of the unity of the Bible by revealing the identity of Jesus as the divine Son of God, emphasizing the theme of belief in Him, highlighting the fulfillment of Old Testament prophecies through Jesus’ life and ministry, and drawing on Old Testament imagery and symbols to connect the Old and New Testaments.

Through these elements, John’s Gospel helps us see the continuity of God’s redemptive plan and understand how Jesus is the fulfillment of God’s promises throughout Scripture.

What development has there been in your view of who Jesus is and how he fulfills the Old Testament?

The Gospel of John helps to develop a person’s view of who Jesus is and how he fulfills the Old Testament by presenting Jesus as the divine Son of God, the long-awaited Messiah, and the fulfillment of Old Testament prophecies.

Through the “I Am” statements, signs, and teachings of Jesus, John portrays him as the eternal Word made flesh who brings grace, truth, and salvation to the world. By drawing connections to Old Testament imagery and symbols, such as the Passover lamb and the brazen serpent, John shows how Jesus embodies and fulfills the spiritual truths foreshadowed in the Old Testament.

Through these revelations, John’s Gospel deepens our understanding of Jesus’ identity, his mission, and his role in the grand narrative of God’s redemptive plan.

THEOLOGICAL SOUNDINGS

Where has your theology been tweaked, corrected, or enhanced as you have studied John?

Studying the Gospel of John does all the above by holistically growing our theology, and by providing a clearer understanding of Jesus’ divinity, the nature of salvation, the role of the Holy Spirit, and the call to love and discipleship. It deepens our understanding of these theological concepts and aligns our beliefs more closely with the teachings of Jesus.

How would our understanding of God be diminished if we didn’t have John’s Gospel?

The Gospel of John enhances and deepens our understanding of God’s nature, love, redemptive plan, accessibility, and the promise of eternal life. Without it, a person’s understanding of God would be diminished, lacking the richness and fullness that comes from studying this profound Gospel.

How does John’s Gospel uniquely contribute to our understanding of Jesus?

The Gospel of John uniquely contributes to our understanding of Jesus by presenting Him as the eternal Word of God who became flesh. It emphasizes Jesus’ divine nature, highlighting His preexistence, unity with the Father, and role in creation.

John also showcases Jesus’ powerful signs and miracles, demonstrating His authority over nature, sickness, and even death itself. Through profound theological discourses, such as the “I am” statements, John reveals Jesus’ identity as the bread of life, the light of the world, the good shepherd, and more.

The Gospel of John provides deep insights into Jesus’ teachings, emphasizing the themes of love, faith, and eternal life. It vividly portrays Jesus’ sacrificial death on the cross as the ultimate expression of God’s love for humanity.

Additionally, John presents Jesus as the way, the truth, and the life, emphasizing the exclusive role of Jesus as the mediator between God and humanity. 

What are a few specific ways in which John helps us understand the human condition?

The Gospel of John helps us understand the human condition by revealing the universal need for salvation and the inherent brokenness of humanity. It portrays the spiritual blindness and darkness that pervade the world and the human heart.

Through encounters with various individuals, John depicts human struggles with doubt, fear, pride, and the pursuit of worldly desires. At the same time, the Gospel offers hope and redemption by presenting Jesus as the answer to our deepest needs. It shows that through faith in Jesus, we can receive forgiveness, new life, and a restored relationship with God.

John’s Gospel invites us to recognize our need for a Savior and to find true fulfillment and purpose in Christ.

PERSONAL IMPLICATIONS

As you consider the Gospel of John as a whole, what implications do you see for your own life?  Consider especially the issue of life in Christ.  This is an important emphasis throughout John, particularly Jesus’ emphasis that, just as the Father sent him into the world, so Jesus sends his disciples into the world as they abide in him.  What are the ramifications for your own life of Jesus’ teaching on discipleship in John?

As we consider the Gospel of John and its emphasis on life in Christ and discipleship, we should recognize that it challenges us to live a life that is rooted in a deep and abiding relationship with Jesus. It calls us to embrace Jesus’s mission and purpose for me in this world.

The teaching on discipleship in John reminds us that as a follower of Jesus, we are called to imitate his example of selfless love, humility, and obedience. It compels us to surrender our own will and desires to God’s will and to seek to live in alignment with his teachings.

Moreover, Jesus’ emphasis on being sent into the world as he was sent by the Father reminds us that our life has a greater purpose beyond our own personal pursuits. We, the sons and daughters of God, are called to witness Christ’s love and truth in the world, share the good news of the Gospel, and make a positive impact in the lives of others.

In practical terms, this means that we must prioritize our relationship with Jesus, praying, studying his Word, and aligning our thoughts, attitudes, and actions with his teachings. It also means being intentional about loving and serving others and seeking opportunities to extend grace, compassion, and forgiveness.

As you reflect on John as a whole, what other implications for your own life have arisen?

The Gospel of John reveals several implications for our lives:

We are called to believe in Jesus, deepening our trust in Him and recognizing the transformative power of a personal relationship with Him.

We are urged to abide in Christ, cultivating an intimate connection with Him, aligning our thoughts, desires, and actions with His will, and finding strength and sustenance in Him.

Jesus’ command to love one another challenges us to embrace selfless and sacrificial love, seek reconciliation, unity, and extending grace and forgiveness to others.

We are reminded of our responsibility to bear witness to Jesus and share the Gospel through our words and actions, living as ambassadors of His kingdom in the world.

John emphasizes the promise of eternal life through faith in Jesus, encouraging us to have an eternal perspective, prioritizing God’s kingdom, and investing in what truly matters.

As We Conclude Studying John…

Let us rejoice together! May this Week 12 of Justin Buzzard’s John: A 12-Week Study (Knowing the Bible) enrich your Christian walk day by day, week by week, and throughout your life. We hope and pray that this Bible study has encouraged you to continue studying God’s Word on a regular basis.

Take a moment now to ask for the Lord’s blessing and help as you engage in this study of John. And take a moment also to look back through this unit of study, to reflect on a few key things that the Lord may be teaching you — and perhaps to highlight or underline these to review again in the future.

We hope these notes have been helpful in catching up on what we’ve covered and now conclude our final week of studying the Gospel of John together. Reflect again on the key themes that the Lord has revealed to you about Himself and His Word. May these treasures be a blessing not only to you but also to others throughout your life. We pray this in the name of the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit. Amen.

Thanks, and we look forward to journeying together in our next Bible study. In the meantime, explore a very engaging animation video from the Bible Project team that explains the first twelve chapters of the Gospel of John. You can also read Mark L. Strauss’ article John: The Gospel of the Eternal Son Who Reveals the Father.”


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