John's Gospel was written by "the disciple whom Jesus loved" (Jn 21:7,20,24). He was an eye-witness to Jesus' life, death and resurrection (19:26; Acts 1:21,22). His purpose in writing this gospel is stated in John 20:31: "These are written that you may believe that Jesus is the Christ, the Son of God, and that by believing, you may have life in his name."
John's Gospel is deductive. John announces in the prologue that Jesus is the eternal Word--God who was in the beginning, the Word through whom all things were made. He is God who became flesh and made his dwelling among us. There are 7 miracles or signs, and 7 "I Am's" that point to his divine Messiahship (Ch 2,4,5,6 (2),9,11; 6:35; 8:12; 10:7,11; 11:25; 14:6;15:5).
Belief/unbelief is a major theme. In chapters 1-4 he shows what belief is; in chapters 5-12, he shows why people don't believe. Other themes are: darkness/light, life/death, witness or testimony, love, glory.
John's Gospel may be divided as follows:
1:1-18 - Prologue, The Eternal Word
1:19-4:54 - The Lamb of God who takes away the sin of the world
5:1-12:50 - The Word of Life accepted/rejected
13:1-17:26 - He loved his own to the end
18:1-20:31 - Jesus' death and resurrection
21:1-25 - Epilogue--Feed my sheep; follow me
IN HIM WAS LIFE
Key Verse: 1:4
1. In the beginning was the Word (1-5)
The eternal Word is Jesus Christ. He is God. He is the One through whom all things were made. Life belongs to him (4). His life is the light that gives us direction and meaning. Man, cut off from God by sin, must live in darkness, a prisoner of fate, without hope in the world. God shined his light into the world by sending his one and only Son Jesus; the darkness of sin and death cannot overcome the light of Jesus.
2. The witness and the true light (6-9)
John the Baptist was sent to testify to Jesus so that people might believe and have life. John was the first witness; God still works through witnesses.
3. To those who receive him (10-13)
The world he created, and even his own people, did not receive Jesus. But God works in all who receive Jesus. He gives them new birth into his family; he makes them children of God. This is God's miracle.
Prayer: Lord, my life belongs to you. You made me, and you redeemed me. Use me according to your will.
One Word: In him was life
THE WORD BECAME FLESH
Key Verse: 1:14
1. He made his dwelling among us (14)
The eternal Word of God laid aside the glory of heaven, put on human flesh and came to dwell in this sin-sick and troubled world. He came to share the pain and joy of human life. He came to be our friend; he showed us his love, even to the point of death. He didn't have to come. The Almighty, Holy God could have simply wiped us off the earth like rotten scum--but he didn't. He came and bore our sins and burdens and opened for us the way to God and heaven.
2. Full of grace and truth (15-18)
When we welcome Jesus, he opens our spiritual eyes. We can see the glory of God in his face (2Co 4:6). We see people differently. He is the eternal God, the embodiment of truth; his coming to us is grace. The law he gave through Moses is a blessing to this chaotic world. But the grace of forgiveness which came through Jesus is the best blessing.
Prayer: Lord, thank you for sending Jesus and blessing me with your grace and truth.
One Word: He made his dwelling among us
ONE YOU DO NOT KNOW
Key Verse: 1:26
1. Who are you? (19-23)
John's popularity was growing. Many people came to hear him and repent of their sins and be baptized. But the priests and Levites who came were not seeking to make personal commitments to truth. They came as an investigating committee just to get information to take back to the Jewish establishment. John's answers to them became increasingly short. He had not come to talk about himself. He gave them one verse of scripture (Isa 40:3). He was a man with a mission from God. His mission was his life.
2. Among you stands one you do not know (24-28)
They asked him why he was baptizing. (He answered the next day.) He talked about the one whom they did not know, the one who was his Lord and King--Jesus. He is the one whom they must seek to know. He is the one whom all men must seek to know, for he alone is worthy of our worship.
Prayer: Lord, help me to find my mission from you in your word. Please use me in some small way to make Jesus known to a world that does not know him.
One Word: Know Jesus and make him known
THE LAMB OF GOD
Key Verse: 1:29
1. John's proclamation of the Lamb of God (29-31)
John testified that Jesus is the Lamb whom God provided (Ge 22) to take away the sins of the world. The Passover lamb (Ex 12:3,7,13) and the lambs of sacrifice in Exodus 29:38-46 look forward to his coming. In the Old Testament sacrificial system, blood was offered to atone for sin (Lev 17:11). This sacrificial system finds its fulfillment and meaning in Jesus. God takes sin seriously. He made a costly plan to save people oppressed by the power of sin and death, and bring them to himself. Anyone who repents of sin and accepts Jesus as his Savior is forgiven his sins, and becomes a child of God.
2. Jesus baptizes with the Holy Spirit (32-34)
John baptized repentant sinners with water so that Jesus might be revealed. Jesus is the eternal Word (30). He is the Son of God (34). Jesus is the one who baptizes with the Holy Spirit to make forgiven sinners fruitful children of God. When John baptized Jesus, the Holy Spirit identified him as the Christ, the Son of God. John became the first witness to Jesus.
Prayer: Lord, I lay my sins on you. Cleanse me and fill me with your Spirit.
One Word: Look, the Lamb of God
THE FIRST BELIEVERS
Key Verse: 1:39a
1. Come and see (35-39a)
What does it mean to believe in Jesus? The first believers received John the Baptist's testimony, then went to see for themselves. Jesus saw them following and asked, "What do you want?" They wanted to know Jesus, so they asked his address. Knowing Jesus is different from knowing about him. Jesus wanted to know them too, so he said, "Come and you will see." Believing in Jesus means to know him and to have a personal relationship with him.
2. We have found the Messiah (39b-42)
Andrew was looking for the Messiah--the one whom God had promised to send as Savior. His interest in Jesus was not academic; he wanted to commit his life to the true Messiah. The first thing he did after discovering that Jesus is the Christ was to bring his brother to Jesus. Jesus saw what Simon could become and gave him a new name, "Cephas." He would become a rock of faith.
Prayer: Lord, help me to have a growing personal relationship with you. Give me Andrew's bring-someone-to-Jesus faith.
One Word: A personal relationship with Jesus
Key Verse: 1:43
1. Philip's testimony (43-45)
Jesus decided to go to Galilee. He invited Philip to follow him. As Philip travelled with Jesus back to Galilee, he realized that Jesus was the Messiah whom God had promised to send, the one for whom he had been searching and waiting. We can know who Jesus is only by following him, by spending time with him.
2. Nathanael's faith (46-51)
Philip found his friend Nathanael and told him about Jesus. Nathanael was a man without guile. He had Bible knowledge--and some provincial prejudice, so he knew that Nazareth could not be the birthplace of the Messiah. Philip said, "Come and see." Jesus knew Nathanael's heart. He knew about one private event in his life. (Perhaps he had been reading about Jacob in Genesis under the fig tree.) Nathanael felt Jesus' love and power, and made a great confession of faith; his confession was correct, but still he needed to grow. His life of faith was just beginning.
Prayer: Lord, I want to know you better. Help me to give first priority to following you.
One Word: Follow Jesus
JESUS CHANGES WATER TO WINE
Key Verse: 2:7
1. They have no more wine (1-5)
Jesus and his disciples returned to Galilee and went to a wedding in Cana. Jesus' mother was serving in the kitchen when the wine failed. This small tragedy would ruin the banquet. Mary made the problem her own, and took it to Jesus. Jesus had begun his public ministry. He could no longer serve his mother as a human son. He must now live and work at the direction of his Father God. She was not discouraged by his seeming refusal (4). She trusted him and made an environment of obedient faith (5). We can learn from her how to pray.
2. Fill the jars with water (6-11)
The servants' obedience was wholehearted: They had to haul more than 100 gallons of water to fill the jars to the brim. Jesus turned the wash-water into delicious wine, and blessed the wedding feast. Jesus came to change useless people into useful people. He blesses and uses obedient faith. This event was a sign that revealed Jesus as God's Son and confirmed the disciples' faith.
Prayer: Lord, teach me the faith of Mary and the obedience of the servants.
One Word: Fill the jars to the brim
JESUS CLEARS THE TEMPLE
Key Verse: 2:16
1. Get these out of here! (12-16)
Jesus went up to Jerusalem, to the temple. He was angry. The religious leaders had turned his Father's house into a market. They didn't pray; they only thought about how to make money. They made the worship of God convenient--and superficial. Jesus cleansed his Father's house, the temple, by his authority as the Son, and by the authority of truth.
2. The temple was his body (17-21)
When the Jews demanded his credentials, he gave them a riddle (19). They would destroy his body on the cross, but God would raise him from death. He was the perfect sacrifice for sin.
3. His disciples believed his word (22-25)
His disciples didn't understand, either--but they accepted Jesus as the Christ. They based their belief on scripture and his word. Faith that rests on feelings or miracles will evaporate.
Prayer: Lord, cleanse my heart as you cleansed the temple. Teach me faith that rests on your word.
One Word: Don't make Jesus angry
YOU MUST BE BORN AGAIN
Key Verse: 3:3
1. To see the kingdom of God (1-3)
Nicodemus seemed to have everything men strive for: education, wealth, a position of honor and power. He was a man of high moral character. But something was missing. Jesus knew what it was. Nicodemus was a two-dimensional man. He had no inner life with God; God's kingdom was not in his heart. He came to Jesus because he believed that Jesus was a teacher sent from God who could do miracles. He hoped to learn something. But he was not prepared to accept Jesus as the Christ and commit his life to him.
2. You must be born again (4-15)
Jesus taught Nicodemus a spiritual secret: One must be born of the Spirit in order to have spiritual life. Nicodemus kept asking "How?" He didn't accept Jesus' words. But the way to be born again is to accept Jesus' words, look to him in faith, and trust his saving work. Then God's Spirit will give new birth.
Prayer: Lord, I believe your words of promise. Help me to hold them in my heart. Let your Spirit work in me and your kingdom come in my heart.
One Word: You must be born again
FOR GOD SO LOVED THE WORLD
Key Verse: 3:16
1. Not to condemn, but to save (16-18)
God loves all the people in the world. He loved Nicodemus too. He showed his love by sending his beloved Son to die for the sins of the world. We are all swimming in a sea of death because of our sins. Jesus came to save all people who put their trust in him. When we receive Jesus, we are accepting God's loving, saving hand extended to us. He gives us eternal life. When we reject Jesus, we are condemned, not because he condemns us, but because we are already condemned because of our sin.
2. Come to the light (19-21)
To come to the light means to repent and come to Jesus. Men reject Jesus because they love darkness; they want to cling to sin. Proud people don't want to have their sins exposed by God's light. They don't want to repent. Those who love truth come to the light, no matter what the cost.
Prayer: Lord, thank you for your love and grace which saved me from sin. Help me to live in your light with a repentant heart.
One Word: God loves even me
HE MUST INCREASE; I MUST DECREASE
Key Verse: 3:30
1. The joy of the friend (22-30)
John's disciples were sorry to see people leaving John and going to Jesus. They were humanly loyal to John, but they were not listening to his teaching, for John's whole ministry pointed to Jesus. John accepted God's sovereignty in his personal life and ministry (27). He rejoiced to see people going to Jesus, for Jesus alone is the true bridegroom.
2. Whoever believes in the Son has life (31-36)
John wanted his disciples to go to Jesus. To go to Jesus or stay with John was not a matter of personal preference; it was a matter of life and death. John was only an earthbound witness; Jesus came from heaven. The Father God loved Jesus his Son and put all authority in his hands. Jesus is the truth; he sought to plant God's word in men. One's response to Jesus determines his eternal destiny. One who rejects (does not obey--RSV) the Son will not see life--God's wrath rests on him.
Prayer: Lord, you are my true bridegroom, the Giver of life and joy. I come to you. Help me to listen to your word and obey you today.
One Word: Jesus must increase; I, decrease
WILL YOU GIVE ME A DRINK?
Key Verse: 4:14
1. Will you give me a drink? (1-9)
Jesus did not avoid Samaria, as most Jews did. At high noon, he sat down by a well outside the city of Sychar. He was tired, hungry and thirsty. The disciples went to buy food. When a despised and lonely Samaritan woman came to draw water, he asked her for a drink. He revealed his weakness. She had a bucket; he didn't. Her rebellious retort revealed the barriers between them. He was a Jew; she, a Samaritan. He was a man; she, a woman. He was the holy Son of God, Prince of heaven; she, a sinner cut off from God, alienated from people.
2. The water Jesus gives (10-15)
Jesus stepped over the human barriers and offered her the gift of God, the water of eternal life--if she would ask for it. When we ask for the water Jesus gives, he puts in our hearts the source of life. When we welcome Jesus, and he dwells within us, we are no longer thirsty.
Prayer: Lord, give me a drink so that I may never thirst again.
One Word: Jesus gives the water of life
I AM HE
Key Verse: 4:26
1. Go, call your husband (16-20)
Jesus' command revealed her sinful life and her thirst for love. She said, "I have no husband." Jesus accepted her answer without rebuking, and pointed out her problem. She had sought to quench her thirst with men's love, but after 5 husbands and one boyfriend, she was still unsatisfied. Her problem was not physical, but spiritual. She saw that Jesus was a man of God, and that he cared about her, so she asked him how to meet God.
2. Salvation is from the Jews (21-26)
Jesus taught her about God. God is Spirit; he is seeking those who seek him. Then he reminded her of a hard fact: God was sending the Savior through the Jews. She didn't like Jews; but she was also waiting for the Messiah. She overcame her human thinking and accepted Jesus. He revealed to her that he was indeed the Messiah.
Prayer: Lord, forgive me for seeking to quench my thirst in other things; thank you for the water of eternal life.
One Word: Jesus is my Christ and Savior
LOOK AT THE HARVEST FIELDS
Key Verse: 4:35b
1. My food is to do God's will (27-34)
Jesus' disciples were surprised to find Jesus talking with the Samaritan woman. They wanted to ask her what she wanted, and to ask him why he was talking with her, but they didn't ask either question. The woman's thirst was gone--she even forgot her water jar. Jesus' hunger was gone, too. He was satisfied to see God's work in one woman's heart. Jesus came to save sinners and give the water of life to thirsty people. This was God's will. One day he would finish this work on the cross.
2. Look at the fields! (35-38)
The townspeople heard this woman's testimony. They realized that she was different. One person's changed life opened the whole village to the word of God. As the people came out to him, Jesus challenged his disciples to look at the ripe harvest field. Jesus' disciples must be sowers or reapers in the field of the world.
Prayer: Lord, open my eyes to see one person as you do--and to see the harvest field of the world.
One Word: See the harvest fields!
THE SAVIOR OF THE WORLD
Key Verse: 4:42
1. Many Samaritans believed (39)
Belief is not static; it must grow. The Samaritans heard the woman's testimony and believed in Jesus. This kind of belief is second-hand. It is a good starting point, but belief can't stop there. They came out to see for themselves.
2. We know that he is Savior of the world (40-42)
They came and met Jesus, and asked him to stay with them. He stayed and taught them the Bible for two days. They received his words for themselves, and many more believed in him. They made it a point to tell the woman that their faith rested on Jesus' word--not just on her testimony. They weren't even Jews, but they accepted Jesus as their Savior and the Savior of the world. Each one must study the Bible and meet Jesus for himself. When I know Jesus, I realize that he is not only my Savior, but the Savior of the world.
Prayer: Lord, help me to listen to your word until I know you personally, and know your great world mission purpose as well.
One Word: Know Jesus, Savior of the world
JESUS' SECOND SIGN
Key Verse: 4:50b
1. Unless you see signs, you won't believe (43-48)
The Galileans did not really know Jesus. They had seen his miracles (2:23-25), but they had not received his word nor had they made any personal commitment to him. When the official from Capernaum came to him in Cana and begged him to come and heal his dying son, Jesus pointed out that his faith was too superficial, for it was based on signs and miracles.
2. He took Jesus at his word (49-54)
The man did not give up. He continued to ask Jesus to come with him. Jesus did not go with him, but he sent him home with a promise, "Your son will live." The man took Jesus at his word and left. He must have struggled as he walked home alone. When servants met him with the news of his son's recovery, he didn't rush home. He thought of Jesus and asked, "When?" He realized that Jesus had healed his son, and he and his whole family believed.
Prayer: Lord, help me take you at your word so that you may work in and through me.
One Word: Believe and obey Jesus' word
GET UP, PICK UP YOUR MAT AND WALK
Key Verse: 5:8
1. Do you want to get well? (1-7)
The pool of Bethesda was a microcosm of society. The people lying around the pool had superficial relationships with one another, but when the water moved, it was every man for himself. Jesus came into this competitive and selfish society and spoke to a man who had been an invalid for 38 years. He asked him a strange question: "Do you want to get well?" He was declaring his intention to change this man's life. The man answered Jesus' question with excuses; he blamed others for his condition. Jesus wanted to plant in him hope, and a desire to be changed. Jesus can't help a person who doesn't want to be changed.
2. Get up! Pick up your mat and walk (8-9a)
Jesus did not sympathize with him. He cut through the man's self pity and dependence on others. The man received Jesus' words and was healed. He picked up his burden and carried it into a new life.
Prayer: Lord, help me to hear your life-giving word and depend on you alone.
One Word: Pick up your mat and walk!
Key Verse: 5:14
1. The Jews' criticism (9b-13)
When the Jewish leaders saw the former invalid carrying his mat, they did not rejoice that a man had been given new life. They only criticized him for carrying his mat on the Sabbath. Their pride and legalism kept them from seeing the work of God. The man became fearful. He was so self-centered that he didn't know who had healed him.
2. Stop sinning! (14-15)
Jesus found the man at the temple and warned him, "See, you are well again. Stop sinning or something worse may happen to you." This man had been healed in his body by Jesus' grace; but his dependent, critical spirit was unchanged. He didn't know how to be thankful. When he was rebuked by the Jewish leaders, he was quick to make excuses and put the blame on Jesus. Jesus challenged him to repent and build a new life on the grace which God had poured out on him.
Prayer: Lord, thank you for your gracious work in my life. Help me to stand firmly on your grace with a thankful heart.
One Word: Be thankful and stop sinning
MY FATHER IS ALWAYS AT HIS WORK
John 5:16-23 (Tue.) August 19
Key Verse: 5:17
1. He called God his Father (16-18)
Jesus did God's work; he gave new life to a man who had been paralyzed for 38 years. When the Jews criticized him for working on the Sabbath, he pointed out that his Father God was working, so he worked too. Then they tried to kill him for making himself equal with God. Jesus the Son of God lived among men; he did whatever he saw his Father doing; he did nothing that was pointless. He shows us how to please God. Pleasing God sometimes displeases people.
2. God gives life (19-23)
The Father gives life, for he is the Creator. He sent Jesus to be the life-giver. Those who destroy life and tear down faith are not from God. God who raised Jesus from the dead is still at work giving life to people dead in sin. God is the judge; he entrusted judgment to his Son. Those who judge Jesus are judging themselves; they dishonor the Father and the Son.
Prayer: Lord, thank you for working in my heart to give me life. Help me to share in your life-giving work by being a Bible teacher.
One Word: The Father and the Son give life
HE HAS CROSSED OVER FROM DEATH TO LIFE
Key Verse: 5:24
1. Good news for those dead in sin (24-26)
People who live without God are dead. They are cut off from the source of life; they are like cut flowers, for they look alive, but they are dead. Sin cuts us off from God. We were dead in sin (Eph 2:1). But if we hear Jesus' voice and believe, we cross over from death to life. We have eternal life as a present reality.
2. The judgment to come (27-29)
Jesus' word is life-giving. If dead people hear the voice of the Son of God, they will live. He is the life-giver. But he is also the Judge. When he comes again, it will be as a judge. Those who hear his voice will come out of their graves and stand before his throne, and he will judge the living and the dead. This is the final judgment. How we respond to him and his word now determines how we will fare in the final judgment. He assures us that if we believe God who sent Jesus we will not be condemned.
Prayer: Lord, your word has life-giving power. Help me to hear your voice in the Bible every day, and obey you.
One Word: Hear his word, believe, and live
SEEK TO KNOW AND PLEASE GOD
Key Verse: 5:44
1. Valid testimonies (30-39)
Jesus did not seek to please himself; he sought to please God who sent him. Faith in Jesus is not blind, nor does it rest on changeable feelings; it rests on the testimony of reliable witnesses. John the Baptist testified about Jesus so that men might believe (1:7). The most authoritative witness is God himself. Although we cannot see him or hear him, he testifies to Jesus in two ways: First, he establishes the mighty work he sent Jesus to do; second, he testifies to Jesus through the Scriptures (39,46). The Bible points to Jesus. If we hold God's word in our hearts, it will lead us to Jesus. When we come to him, he gives us life.
2. Why, then, don't men believe? (40-47)
People don't believe because: 1) they do not accept God's word in their hearts; 2) they do not come to Jesus to have life; 3) they do not love God or truth; 4) they seek to please men instead of God (44).
Prayer: Lord, teach me to come to you each time I study the Bible. Help me to seek and follow truth. Help me to seek to please you, not people.
One Word: Please God, not men
FIVE SMALL LOAVES AND TWO SMALL FISH
Key Verse: 6:9
1. "Where shall we buy bread?" (1-7)
Jesus wanted to feed the crowd; he also wanted to train his disciples in faith, so he asked this question to Philip. Philip calculated quickly and answered, "Impossible!" He was not including Jesus' power or Jesus' shepherd heart in his calculations. He only thought about what he didn't have.
2. "Here is a boy..." (8-9)
Jesus had asked, "Where?" Andrew was looking around to see what they had. He found a small boy with a lunch box, and he brought him to Jesus. He knew that 5 loaves and 2 fish were not enough, but he brought what he had. He knew Jesus' heart and believed his power.
3. "Have the people sit down" (10-13)
This required faith and hard work, for there were more than 5,000 people. Jesus then took Andrew's loaves and fish, gave thanks, and fed the crowd.
Prayer: Lord, give me the faith of Andrew to see your shepherd heart and bring what I have to you.
One Word: Offer your loaves and fish
IT IS I! DON'T BE AFRAID
Key Verse: 6:20
1. Jesus withdrew (14-19)
The crowd ate the bread and believed. But they had their own agenda for a Messiah. Jesus withdrew to pray. Perhaps Jesus' disciples were disappointed when he refused the crowd's demand that he become a worldly king. They waited with the crowd for his return, but when he didn't come back by evening, they decided to leave. They got into a boat and started across the sea. Then a wind storm struck. When they saw Jesus walking toward them on the water, they were terrified because they didn't recognize him. They had left the shore, not with faith and a clear direction, but with a vague, let-down feeling. Fear and human thinking kept them from recognizing Jesus.
2. It is I; don't be afraid (20-21)
Even when Jesus doesn't do what we want him to do, his almighty power and his shepherd heart are the same. When he is there, there is no need to fear--or to be disappointed. Jesus got into the boat and the problems disappeared. Immediately the boat reached shore.
Prayer: Lord, come and get into the boat of my life; forgive my faithless fear.
One Word: "It is I; don't be afraid."
DON'T WORK FOR FOOD THAT SPOILS
Key Verse: 6:27
1. Food that endures to eternal life (22-27)
The crowd had had lunch with Jesus, but they were hungry again. They wanted him to give them more bread. He had done a gracious act and demonstrated his Messiahship, but they only thought about bread. Men work hard for bread, but bread does not solve men's life problem. Material things can never satisfy the deepest needs of a man's heart, nor can they solve the problem of death. But the bread that Jesus gives endures to eternal life.
2. The work of God is to believe (28-29)
What must we do to do the work of God? This is what the crowd asked. The only work we can do for God is to believe in the one whom he has sent--Jesus. No matter what, we must believe in Jesus who loves us. When we believe in him, we have eternal life. This is the food that truly satisfies and lasts forever.
Prayer: Lord, thank you for teaching me how to do your work. Help me to believe in you no matter what. Help me to see people and events with the eyes of faith.
One Word: Do the work of God
JESUS THE BREAD OF LIFE
Key Verse: 6:35
1. The bread of God (30-35)
The crowd quoted the Bible. Moses gave the people bread--so Jesus should too. Jesus taught them the real meaning of the scripture they quoted: God is the one who gives the true bread of heaven. The bread he was now giving to the world was Jesus, the Bread of life. Jesus was sent by God to give life to the world. Man's real hunger is not physical--it is spiritual, and God alone can satisfy that hunger.
2. My Father's will (36-40)
Jesus could have been instantly popular if he had done what the crowd wanted. But he did not come to do his own will--or even the will of the crowd. He came to do the Father's will. And what is God's will? It is to give eternal life to everyone who looks to Jesus and believes in him.
Prayer: Lord, thank you for not casting out anyone who comes to you. Thank you for your sure promise of life and of deep satisfaction of soul. I believe your promise, and I come to you to be filled.
One Word: Jesus is the Bread of life
EAT HIS FLESH AND DRINK HIS BLOOD
Key Verse: 6:57
1. Taught by God (41-51)
Neither manna in the desert nor three meals a day can keep people from dying. But whoever listens to the Father, learns from him, and comes to Jesus will live and not die. God teaches us through his word and draws us to himself by his Spirit. If one allows worldly desires to fill his heart, and hangs on to his old sinful ways of thinking and doing, he cannot be taught by God.
2. Eat Jesus' flesh and drink his blood (52-59)
Jesus' body was broken and his blood shed on the cross for the sins of the world. To drink his blood means to repent of sin and accept cleansing by Jesus' blood; to eat his flesh means to receive him by faith as Lord and Savior, and be united with him in his death and in his resurrection. Eating once is not enough; I must continue to feed on him every day to remain in him.
Prayer: Lord, I come as I am; cleanse me by your blood, and bind me to yourself.
One Word: Feed on Jesus daily
YOU HAVE THE WORDS OF ETERNAL LIFE
Key Verse: 6:68,69
1. This is a hard teaching (60-66)
Most of the people to whom Jesus had given bread in the wilderness left him. He offered them the word of eternal life, but they only wanted bread. Jesus had known all along that some would betray him, but still it was painful to see them reject God's love and life, and go away.
2. Do you want to leave too? (67-69)
When Jesus asked the Twelve this question, Peter answered in verses 68-69. He saw the alternative to following Jesus--a meaningless, useless life, a dead-end street. He had received Jesus' words in his heart, and he knew that they were the words of life.
3. Yet one of you is a devil (70-71)
Judas Iscariot looked like a disciple, but he was a materialist, like the crowd who had left. Perhaps in his heart he took the first step toward betrayal. Jesus stilled loved him and sought to warn him.
Prayer: Lord, you have the words of eternal life; to whom else can I go? Help me to be your disciple throughout my lifetime.
One Word: The majority is not always right!
JESUS' TIME AND HIS BROTHER'S TIME
Key Verse: 7:6
1. Jesus' brothers' unbelief (1-5)
The Jews tried to kill Jesus because he had healed a paralyzed man on the Sabbath and had claimed equality with God (Ch. 5). Jesus retreated to Galilee because it was not God's right time for him to die. He demonstrated his shepherd's love and his almighty power when he fed 5000 people. Jesus' brothers wanted to get some human benefit. "His own brothers didn't believe in him" means that they were unspiritual men.
2. The world hates me; it cannot hate you (6-13)
Jesus lived and died on God's time schedule. He did not compromise with the world, but rather exposed its evil, so the world hated him. He could not compromise with his unbelieving brothers--they were friends of the world--so he did not travel with them. The crowds did not know who he was, but they would know.
Prayer: Lord, help me to live in your history and see people and events with spiritual eyes.
One Word: Live in God's history
HOW TO KNOW THE TRUTH
Key Verse: 7:17,24
1. Choose to do God's will (14-18)
The Jews in Jerusalem could not agree about whether Jesus was a good man or a deceiver of the people. Jesus told them how one could know the truth. First, he must choose to do God's will. This must be an unconditional decision, a commitment to God to live by the truth. Second, he must put God's honor and glory--not his own--first. God created man for his own glory.
2. Judge by right judgment (19-24)
The Jews judged Jesus by appearances. He was a young man from the country; his teaching was clearly God's truth, but he had no degree from Jerusalem U.; his attitude toward the Sabbath was unconventional. Those who judged by appearances did not believe; those who judged with right judgment could not but believe in him. Jesus showed them that the Jews who criticized Jesus, yet claimed to obey the law were hypocrites. It is surely pleasing to God to heal a man on the Sabbath.
Prayer: Lord, help me not to make superficial judgments, but right ones. Give me courage to live by the truth.
One Word: Make a right judgement
HE WHO SENT ME IS TRUE
Key Verse: 7:28
1. I know him (25-29)
Jesus was a man with a mission. He was sent by his Father on a rescue mission into a sinful world to bring dying men back to God. He came as the culmination of God's redemptive history. He was the promised Christ. But many people saw him with human eyes and could not recognize him. He plainly announced, "I am not here on my own, but he who sent me is true...I know him because I am from him and he sent me." Tho