Gospel Reading Guide – January 23-29, 2012

How do I use this guide?

John 2:23-3:15

John 2:23-25. Jesus here at the Passover Feast becomes very popular with the people. Many believe in his name because of the signs he was doing, but notice what the scripture says here, “But Jesus on his part did not entrust himself to them, because he knew all people…”

What does it mean that Jesus knew all people? Why does he not need anyone to bear witness about man, or what was in a man?

John 3:1-15. Here we see Jesus having an encounter with a ruler of the Jews, a member of the Sanhedrin, named Nicodemus. Notice how Nicodemus addresses Jesus here. What does he call Jesus? What is his take on who Jesus is? How does Jesus reply to him? (“Truly, truly, I say to you, unless one is born again he cannot see the kingdom of God.”) What does Jesus mean here by being born again?

John 3:10 As a prominent teacher (the teacher of Israel), Nicodemus should be able to understand Jesus, since this new life is like the resurrection depicted in Ezekiel 37 and the new heart in Deut. 30:6; Jer. 31:33; and Ezek. 36:26 [ESV Study Bible Notes]. But we see here that Nicodemus just doesn’t quite get it yet. What does Jesus say to Nicodemus about how to have eternal life (see verses 14-15)?

John 3:16-21

Here Jesus is having a conversation with Nicodemus a Pharisee and a ruler of the Jews. Nicodemus came to Jesus by night as you would expect Nicodemus would not want to be caught with Jesus as he was a trusted ruler of the Jews. What follows is a discussion about spiritual rebirth. John 3:16 and following is the most famous summary of the gospel in the Bible.

What is the purpose for God sending his Son into the world? What is the the reward for believing in the Son? What is the consequence for those that do not believe in the Son of God?

Who is the light that has come into the world? Who comes to the light? Who hates the light and why? Do you believe in Jesus as the light of the world and the Son of God?

John 3:22-36

How does John the Baptist react to the news that people are leaving him to follow Jesus? Why? How does John see his role? How does John see Jesus? Who is Jesus (the Son) in relation to his Father?

John 4:1-15

John 4:4 Jesus had to pass this way because of geography (it was the shortest route), but the words may also indicate that Jesus’ itinerary was subject to the sovereign and providential plan of God (“had to” translates Gk. dei, “to be necessary,” which always indicates divine necessity or requirement elsewhere in John: 3:7, 14, 30; 9:4; 10:16; 12:34; 20:9). Through Samaria was the usual route taken by travelers from Judea to Galilee, though strict Jews, in order to avoid defilement, could bypass Samaria by opting for a longer route that involved crossing the Jordan and traveling on the east side [ESV Study Bible Notes].

The Samaritans were a racially mixed group of partly Jewish and partly Gentile ancestry, who were disdained by both Jews and non-Jews (see Luke 10:33; 17:16; John 8:48; see also 2 Kings 17:24–31, which describes how the king of Assyria brought foreign people to settle in Samaria in 722 b.c.; over time they had intermarried with some Jews who had remained in the area). See also note on John 4:20–21. Many inhabitants of this region between Judea and Galilee were descendants of the OT northern kingdom of Israel, although from the Jewish perspective these Samaritans had assimilated strongly into non-Jewish culture and had intermarried with Mesopotamian colonists. The Samaritans had their own version of the Pentateuch, their own temple on Mount Gerizim (see 4:20), and their own rendering of Israelite history. Copies of their Pentateuch in Hebrew (and in Targumic Aramaic) remain extant, as do their basic historical narratives. Tensions often ran high between Jews and Samaritans; thus Josephus recounts fighting between Jews and Samaritans during Claudius’s reign in the first century a.d. being so intense that Roman soldiers were called in to pacify (and to crucify) many of the rebels (Jewish War 2.232–246) [ESV Study Bible Notes].

Knowing that the Samaritans were hated by both Jews and non-Jews, why do you think Jesus traveled through Samaria? Why does the woman find it strange that Jesus would ask her for water from her water jar?

Jesus here says, “Everyone who drinks of this water will be thirsty again, but whoever drinks of the water that I will give him will never be thirsty again.” What do you think that means?

John 4:16-26

What does Jesus statement that the woman has had five husbands reveal about Jesus? Who does Jesus reveal himself to be in this passage? Why do you think he chooses to reveal himself as Messiah to a Samaritan woman of all people? What does this say about the kingdom of God that Jesus is ushering in?

John 4:27-42

How does the Samaritan woman (she was also an obvious sinner) respond to Jesus?  How does the rest of the community respond?  Jesus starts talking about a harvest, what harvest is he referring to?

Mark 7:31-37

Why do you think Jesus took such an unusual approach to healing the deaf and mute man? This also would have violated Jewish cleanliness laws.

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