Week 7 Discussion – Come and See: Exploring the Gospel of John

Published April 15, 2023

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Week 7 Discussion – Come and See: Exploring the Gospel of John

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Welcome to 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, you’ll gain a deeper understanding of who Jesus is, what he accomplished, and how to respond to him in faith, obedience, and love. You’ll also learn about his role as the Son of God and what his life and death mean for us today.

Each week, we’ll explore a different theme from the Gospel of John, including love, grace, and forgiveness. We’ll also take time to reflect on what it means to be a follower of Christ and how we can apply these teachings to our lives.

If you haven’t registered, no problem at all. Register now (yes, right now!) for this in-person Bible study and experience a deeper understanding of the Scriptures, fellowship with other believers, and the joy of growing in your faith as you share the Gospel of Jesus with others.

Week 7: Overview

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

  • The tension building between Jesus and the Jewish leaders.
  • Jesus’ increasing clarity about his role as the Messiah.
  • The importance of faith in him as the only way to eternal life.

What is the difference between a Jew and a Gentile? From what you know of the Bible, and first-century history, write out a definition for the word Jew, and for the word Gentile. How did they view one another?

In the Bible, a Jew is a member of the tribe of Judah or a descendant of the Israelites. The term can also refer to any person who practices the religion of Judaism. First-century Jews believed that they were the chosen people of God, and that they were set apart from other nations to fulfill a specific purpose. They were commanded to keep the Law of Moses and maintain their distinct identity as God’s people.

A Gentile, on the other hand, is any person who is not a Jew or a member of the Israelites. They were viewed by Jews as outsiders and considered unclean because they did not follow the Law of Moses or practice the religion of Judaism. In Jewish culture, Gentiles were considered inferior and were often discriminated against.

There was a significant divide between Jews and Gentiles in the first century, with little interaction or mixing between the two groups. Jews saw themselves as superior and often looked down upon Gentiles, while Gentiles viewed Jews as strange and intolerant of other cultures.

These Gentiles approach Jesus’ disciple Philip, saying, “Sir, we wish to see Jesus” (John 12:21).  Why do you think these Gentiles wished to see Jesus?

The reason why these Gentiles wished to see Jesus is not explicitly mentioned in the text, but it’s possible that they had heard of his teachings and miracles and were curious to learn more. Alternatively, they may have been seeking spiritual guidance or answers to their questions. It’s also worth noting that the Passover festival, which was taking place in Jerusalem at the time, attracted many pilgrims from different regions, so these Gentiles may have been among the crowds who had come to celebrate the festival and heard about Jesus.

Jesus gives an interesting response to the Greeks’ desire to see him (John 12:23-26). What is Jesus’ response?  How do you make sense of it?

In response to the Greeks’ desire to see him, Jesus says, “The hour has come for the Son of Man to be glorified” (John 12:23). He then goes on to talk about how a grain of wheat must fall to the ground and die in order to bear fruit and how those who love their life will lose it, but those who hate their life in this world will keep it for eternal life.

Jesus’ response can be understood as a reference to his impending death and resurrection, which will bring glory to God and bring salvation to humanity. He is explaining that his death will be like a seed that falls to the ground and dies but eventually bears much fruit, i.e., the salvation of many people. Additionally, Jesus is saying that those who are willing to give up their own lives for his sake will find eternal life, while those who cling to their earthly lives will ultimately lose them.

Overall, Jesus is highlighting the importance of his mission and the necessity of his death in accomplishing that mission. He is also emphasizing the cost of following him and the need for his followers to be willing to sacrifice their own lives in order to gain eternal life.

Jesus gives an illustration of a grain of wheat in John 12.  How does this sentence about a grain of wheat illustrate what Jesus came to accomplish with his life, and how does it illustrate what must happen in the lives of all who follow Jesus?

In John 12, Jesus uses the illustration of a grain of wheat to explain what he came to accomplish with his life. He says, “Truly, truly, I say to you, unless a grain of wheat falls into the earth and dies, it remains alone; but if it dies, it bears much fruit” (John 12:24).

Jesus is saying that just as a grain of wheat must be buried and die before it can produce new life and bear fruit, so he must die in order to bring new life and salvation to all who believe in him. This means that his death is not an end, but rather a necessary step towards new life and fruitfulness.

In addition, Jesus is also teaching that all who follow him must be willing to die to themselves in order to truly live for him. They must let go of their own desires and ambitions and surrender to his will, just as the grain of wheat surrenders to the soil. This is a call to self-denial and discipleship, as Jesus says, “Whoever loves his life loses it, and whoever hates his life in this world will keep it for eternal life” (John 12:25).

The Bible mentions three instances in Jesus’ earthly ministry where a heavenly voice attests to his identity (John 12:28, Matthew 3:17, and Matthew 17:5). What is the significance of these instances? Why at these three junctures does a heavenly voice validate Jesus’ identity and mission?  How does John 12:30 add to the discussion?

The instances where a heavenly voice attests to Jesus’ identity are significant because they serve as divine affirmation of Jesus’ status as the Son of God and his mission on earth. These three instances also mark important turning points in Jesus’ ministry.

In Matthew 3:17, the voice affirms Jesus’ identity at the beginning of his public ministry, symbolizing the start of Jesus’ mission to save humanity. In Matthew 17:5, the voice affirms Jesus’ identity at the transfiguration, symbolizing the fulfillment of Jesus’ mission on earth. In John 12:28, the voice affirms Jesus’ identity and mission just before his death, symbolizing the completion of Jesus’ mission on earth.

The fact that a heavenly voice validates Jesus’ identity and mission at these junctures underscores the importance of Jesus’ work on earth and his divine nature. It also shows that God is present and actively involved in Jesus’ life and ministry.

In John 12:30, Jesus indicates that the voice was not for his benefit, but for the benefit of the people listening. The voice was a sign for those who were present to recognize that Jesus was indeed the Son of God and that they should believe in him. This further emphasizes the importance of the heavenly voice in affirming Jesus’ identity and mission, and in encouraging people to put their faith in him.

How do the passages of Hebrews 2:14-15 and Colossians 2:13-15 further illuminate what Jesus says in John 12:31 about his death on the cross will result in defeat for the “ruler of this world”, Satan?

Hebrews 2:14-15 states that Jesus shared in humanity and became like us in every way so that he might free us from the fear of death and the power of the devil. Similarly, Colossians 2:13-15 describes how God made us alive with Christ, forgave our sins, and disarmed the powers and authorities, triumphing over them through the cross. These passages further illuminate Jesus’ statement in John 12:31 by emphasizing that through his death and resurrection, Jesus gained victory over the powers of darkness, including Satan, and provided a way for humanity to be freed from the fear of death and the power of the devil.

How does Jesus reply to the crowd’s questions in John 12:34?  What is Jesus saying here?  Jesus has used similar phrasing in John 8:12, 9:4, and 11:9-10.  How do these passages add color to what Jesus is saying here?

In John 12:34, the crowd asks Jesus, “We have heard from the Law that the Messiah will remain forever, so how can you say, ‘The Son of Man must be lifted up’? Who is this ‘Son of Man’?”

Jesus replies by telling them that the light will be among them only a little longer, and then they will look for him but won’t find him. He also tells them that where he is going, they cannot come.

In essence, Jesus is telling the crowd that he is not an earthly king who will remain with them forever, but that his mission on earth is to suffer and die for the sins of humanity. He is the Son of Man prophesied in the Scriptures, and he must be lifted up on the cross.

In John 8:12, Jesus says, “I am the light of the world. Whoever follows me will never walk in darkness, but will have the light of life.” In John 9:4, he says, “As long as it is day, we must do the works of him who sent me. Night is coming, when no one can work.” And in John 11:9-10, he says, “Are there not twelve hours of daylight? Anyone who walks in the daytime will not stumble, for they see by this world’s light. It is when a person walks at night that they stumble, for they have no light.”

These passages add to the color of what Jesus is saying in John 12:34 by emphasizing the importance of following him while he is still present, for a time is coming when he will no longer be physically present in the world.

After all that Jesus said and did in John 12:37, how did the people respond to him?  John quotes the prophet Isaiah to explain what is going on.  How do these passages from Isaiah explain the peoples reaction to Jesus?

According to John 12:37, even after Jesus had performed so many signs, the people still did not believe in him. John quotes from Isaiah 53:1 and Isaiah 6:10 to explain this response, saying that Isaiah had prophesied about the unbelief of the people. Isaiah 53:1 says, “Who has believed our message and to whom has the arm of the Lord been revealed?” This passage emphasizes the fact that the message of the prophets is not always accepted by the people. Similarly, Isaiah 6:10 says, “Make the heart of this people calloused; make their ears dull and close their eyes. Otherwise they might see with their eyes, hear with their ears, understand with their hearts, and turn and be healed.” This passage suggests that the people are intentionally rejecting the truth of Jesus’ message, and that their rejection is a part of God’s plan.

According to John 12:47, why did Jesus come to the world?

According to John 12:47, Jesus says, “I came not to judge the world, but to save the world.”

Don’t forget to read through the three sections in Week 7 of Justin Buzzard’s John: A 12-Week Study (Knowing the Bible) on Gospel Glimpses, Whole-Bible Connections, and Theological Soundings. Then take time to reflect on the Personal Implications these sections are likely to have on your walk and relationship with Lord Christ Jesus and his people.

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 so far. We’re excited to continue our study of John together next week in Week 8!

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. Additionally, you can read Mark L. Strauss’ article John: The Gospel of the Eternal Son Who Reveals the Father.”

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