A Bible Study on John - English NKJV
"He calls his own sheep by name and leads them out." JOHN 10:3b
WHY THE GOSPEL OF JOHN WAS WRITTEN
And truly Jesus did many other signs in the presence of His disciples, which are not written in this book; but these are written that you may believe that Jesus is the Christ, the Son of God, and that believing you may have life in His name. –John 20:30,31
John called himself "the disciple whom Jesus loved." We do not think that Jesus loved John more than He loved the other disciples, but perhaps John was more sensitive to feel the love that Jesus had for them all. John appreciated Jesus' love very deeply and was sensitive to Christ's mission and purpose in this world.
Many years after the Gospels of Matthew, Mark, and Luke were written, some false teachings were being spread that Jesus was just a man. So John wrote this very special book to show that Jesus was God made flesh. Out of all the hundreds of miracles that Jesus performed, John carefully chose to record miracles which proved that Jesus was WHO He claimed to be. He called these miracles "signs."
John also proved why the religious leaders of that time hated Jesus and delivered Him to be crucified. It was because Jesus claimed to be equal with God! John shows how Jesus planned to be the "Lamb of God" who takes away the sin of the world. Jesus gave Himself as the perfect sacrifice required by God to atone for the sins of the world.
It was John's purpose that those who read his Gospel ("good news") would believe on Jesus and receive eternal life.
It is my prayer that this study of the Good News According to John will lead you to believe in Jesus and receive Him into your life to be your own Savior and Lord. Jesus is Life and He offers to share His life with you through all eternity. Why not tell Him today that you reject your old life and that you receive Him? Thank Him for the new life He gives you. Enjoy fellowship with Him each day. Live every day to please Him. And tell others about this wonderful Jesus. He loves them, too!
–(Mrs.) Vicky R. Benson
HOW TO STUDY GOD'S WORD
1. Pray for God's help. You need God's help in order to understand what you study in the Bible. Take Psalm 119: 18 as a prayer: "Open my eyes, that I may see wondrous things from Your law."
2. Read the Scripture passages carefully in a quiet place. Underline the words that impress you most. Remember that God speaks to you through His Word.
3. Answer the questions from the Bible passage.
4. Check your answers by referring to the inside of the back cover.
5. Learn the memory verses. Read each memory verse and reference aloud several times until you can say it without looking. You may want to write the verse and reference on a card, so you can carry it with you. Every day say it aloud several times, so you will remember it easily. Say it to a friend who can check for any mistakes. Or write the verse out without looking and then compare it with the printed verse to make sure every word is right. Even when you know the verse well, review it once a week for about 7 weeks, and then once a month. As you store up this "good treasure" in your heart, your speech and actions will be changed. Choose other verses to memorize as well.
6. Think about the Word of God you have read, studied, and memorized. God has made special promises to those who meditate on His Word day and night:
This Book of the Law shall not depart from your mouth, but you shall meditate in it day and night, that you may observe to do according to all that is written in it. For then you will make your way prosperous, and then you will have good success. —Joshua 1:8
But his delight is in the law of the Lord, and in His law he meditates day and night. He shall be like a tree planted by the rivers of water, that brings forth its fruit in its season, whose leaf also shall not wither; and whatever he does shall prosper. —Psalm 1:2, 3
7. Put into practice what God says. James 1:22 tells us, "But be doers of the word, and not hearers only, deceiving yourselves." Jesus likened the man who hears His words but does not do them to a foolish man who built his house on the sand. When the winds and rain and floods came, this house built on the sand fell. But the man or woman, boy or girl, who hears Jesus' words and obeys them is like a wise man, who built his house on a rock. When the winds and rain and floods came, his house stood firm because it was built on a rock. Only as we do what God says can we grow strong spiritually and get to know God better. Write down exactly what you plan to do, then do it. God will be with you, and He will help you.
8. Share God's Word with someone else. You may want to share what you learn with those in your family. Deuteronomy 6:7 says, "You shall teach them diligently to your children, and shall talk of them when you sit in your house, when you walk by the way, when you lie down, and when you rise up."
LESSON 1. GRAND INTRODUCTION TO JESUS CHRIST
1In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. 2He was in the beginning with God. 3All things were made through Him, and without Him nothing was made that was made. 4In Him was life, and the life was the light of men. 5And the light shines in the darkness, and the darkness did not comprehend it.
6There was a man sent from God, whose name was John. 7This man came for a witness, to bear witness of the Light, that all through him might believe. 8He was not that Light, but was sent to bear witness of that Light. 9That was the true Light which gives light to every man who comes into the world. 10He was in the world, and the world was made through Him, and the world did not know Him. 11He came to His own, and His own did not receive Him. 12But as many as received Him, to them He gave the right to become children of God, even to those who believe in His name: 13who were born, not of blood, nor of the will of the flesh, nor of the will of man, but of God. 14And the Word became flesh and dwelt among us, and we beheld His glory, the glory as of the only begotten of the Father, full of grace and truth.
15John bore witness of Him and cried out, saying, "This was He of whom I said, ‘He who comes after me is preferred before me, for He was before me.'" 16And of His fullness we have all received, and grace for grace. 17For the law was given through Moses, but grace and truth came through Jesus Christ. 18No one has seen God at any time. The only begotten Son, who is in the bosom of the Father, He has declared Him.
Jesus Is the Word of God
The Bible says, "Your word is a lamp to my feet and a light to my path" (Psalm 119:105). Another name for Jesus is the "Word of God." (Compare verse 1 with verse 14.) The Bible is God's written Word, and Jesus is God's Living Word, because God tells us about Himself by Jesus.
"GOD, who at various times and in different ways spoke in time past to the fathers by the prophets, has in these last days spoken to us by His Son" (Hebrews 1:1, 2a).
Jesus Is the Life of God
Have you ever wondered why we become children of God when we receive Jesus into our hearts? It is because "in Him was life" (verse 4).
First we see that Jesus made all living things (verses 3 and 10). "All things were created through Him and for Him. And He is before all things, and in Him all things consist" (Colossians 1:16b, 17). Jesus, as God, is the source of all life. He also sustains all life. "He gives to all life, breath...for in Him we live and move and have our being" (Acts 17:25b, 28a).
Just as man became a living soul when God breathed the breath of life into man's physical being at Creation, so also Jesus has been given power over all flesh, to give eternal (spiritual) life to as many as come to Him (John 17:2). "He who has the Son has life; he who does not have the Son of God does not have life" (1 John 5:12).
Have you received new life—spiritual life—by receiving Jesus and putting your complete trust in His name? If you have, you are a child of God, born of God, and possess His eternal life. As you walk in His light and more fully experience His life in you, you will enjoy one blessing after another (verse 16). If you have not received Him, won't you ask Him right now to come in and give you new life—His very own eternal life?
You have answered a knock on your door before, haven't you? Jesus is standing beside you right now, knocking on the door of you heart. He promises, "If anyone hears My voice and opens the door, I will come in to him" (Revelation 3:20).
LESSON 2. JOHN THE BAPTIST PREPARES THE WAY FOR JESUS
19Now this is the testimony of John, when the Jews sent priests and Levites from Jerusalem to ask him, "Who are you?" 20He confessed, and did not deny, but confessed, "I am not the Christ." 21And they asked him, "What then? Are you Elijah?" He said, "I am not." "Are you the Prophet?" And he answered, "No." 22Then they said to him, "Who are you, that we may give an answer to those who sent us? What do you say about yourself?" 23He said: "I am ‘The voice of one crying in the wilderness: "Make straight the way of the Lord,"' as the prophet Isaiah said." 24Now those who were sent were from the Pharisees. 25And they asked him, saying, "Why then do you baptize if you are not the Christ, nor Elijah, nor the Prophet?" 26John answered them, saying, "I baptize with water, but there stands One among you whom you do not know. 27It is He who, coming after me, is preferred before me, whose sandal strap I am not worthy to loose." 28These things were done in Bethabara beyond the Jordan, where John was baptizing.
29The next day John saw Jesus coming toward him, and said, "Behold! The Lamb of God who takes away the sin of the world! 30This is He of whom I said, ‘After me comes a Man who is preferred before me, for He was before me.' 31I did not know Him; but that He should be revealed to Israel, therefore I came baptizing with water." 32And John bore witness, saying, "I saw the Spirit descending from heaven like a dove, and He remained upon Him. 33I did not know Him, but He who sent me to baptize with water said to me, ‘Upon whom you see the Spirit descending, and remaining on Him, this is He who baptizes with the Holy Spirit.' 34And I have seen and testified that this is the Son of God."
Preparing the Way for Jesus
For 400 years, God's chosen nation Israel had not had a prophet to bring them a message from God. They did have the Old Testament to tell them God's requirements and promises. They knew that Messiah, a deliverer anointed by God, would come one day to rule Israel. Isaiah had said He would be born of a virgin (Isaiah 7:14) and described Him as "Immanuel" (Isaiah 7:14), which means "God with us." Micah had foretold that He would be born in Bethlehem and be a ruler in Israel (Micah 5:2).
Don't you think the people were surprised and glad to hear John the Baptist preaching and telling them to get ready for the coming of the Lord? How could the people get ready? Matthew tells us that John preached, "Repent, for the kingdom of heaven is at hand" (Matthew 3:2). Many people were then baptized by John in the Jordan River, "confessing their sins." You see, before hearts are ready to receive Jesus, they must be willing to turn from their sins (repent). When you and I are willing to turn from our sins—our wrong attitudes, thoughts, and actions toward God and man—we are ready then to recognize Jesus as the "highway" to God and receive Him as our King and Lord. John's kind of baptism in water was to show the washing away of sins. Jesus would baptize with the Holy Spirit to purge sins as with fire (Matthew 3:11, 12) and to give us a new life of righteousness (Christ's own life in us). Have you confessed your sins to God?
Jesus, the Lamb of God
The people of Israel knew the importance of a lamb in God's dealings with them. Centuries before, when the children of Israel were in slavery in Egypt, God worked on Pharoah's heart to let God's people leave Egypt in freedom. God had to use ten plagues to get Pharoah to allow this great people, numbering perhaps 2 million, to go. The last and most terrible plague was that the Lord would go through the land of Egypt and all the first-born in the land would die during one night.
But there was a way of escape. Every household who would obey God's command would live. God commanded a lamb without blemish to be killed. The blood of the lamb was to be put on the sides of the doorway of each house and above the doorway of the house. When God saw the blood on the doorway, He would "pass over" them and the death plague would not destroy them. What a wonderful plan! The children of Israel were to keep the Passover feast every year from that time as a memorial of the time when God's judgment "passed over" them because they had applied the blood of the lamb to their doors. (This story is found in Exodus 12:1-42.)
How precious that Jesus' first public introduction to the world should be as the "Lamb of God"! He had come to be the sacrificial lamb, perfect and without blemish or sin, so that His shed blood could be applied to the door of our hearts and God's judgment for our sin can "pass over" us! Hebrews 9:22 tells us, "...without shedding of blood there is no remission [forgiveness of sins]." Leviticus 17:11 says, "...it is the blood that makes atonement for the soul." All the lambs slain through the years pointed to Jesus who would come as "the Lamb of God" to shed His blood so that all who take Him as Savior might have His blood applied on the doorposts of their heart. "Most assuredly, I say to you, he who hears My word and believes in Him who sent Me has everlasting life, and shall not come into judgment, but has passed from death into life" (John 5:24).
Isaiah 53:7 points out that "He was led as a lamb to the slaughter." Jesus came to die for the sins of the world. Why not thank Him out loud right now for being the Lamb of God, whose blood was shed for you and takes away your sins? When God sees the blood, He does not see your sins anymore; He sees only the perfect sacrifice of Christ who took our sins upon Himself and received our judgment for us. Praise God!
ATONEMENT means being AT ONE with God because Jesus' blood cleanses us from our sins.
LESSON 3. GETTING TO KNOW JESUS
35Again, the next day, John stood with two of his disciples. 36And looking at Jesus as He walked, he said, "Behold the Lamb of God!" 37The two disciples heard him speak, and they followed Jesus. 38Then Jesus turned, and seeing them following, said to them, "What do you seek?" They said to Him, "Rabbi" (which is to say, when translated, Teacher), "where are You staying?" 39He said to them, "Come and see." They came and saw where He was staying, and remained with Him that day (now it was about the tenth hour). 40One of the two who heard John speak, and followed Him, was Andrew, Simon Peter's brother. 41He first found his own brother Simon, and said to him, "We have found the Messiah" (which is translated, the Christ). 42And he brought him to Jesus. Now when Jesus looked at him, He said, "You are Simon the son of Jonah. You shall be called Cephas" (which is translated, A Stone).
43The following day Jesus wanted to go to Galilee, and He found Philip and said to him, "Follow Me." 44Now Philip was from Bethsaida, the city of Andrew and Peter. 45Philip found Nathanael and said to him, "We have found Him of whom Moses in the law, and also the prophets, wrote—Jesus of Nazareth, the son of Joseph." 46And Nathanael said to him, "Can anything good come out of Nazareth?" Philip said to him, "Come and see." 47Jesus saw Nathanael coming toward Him, and said of him, "Behold, an Israelite indeed, in whom is no guile!" 48Nathanael said to Him, "How do You know me?" Jesus answered and said to him, "Before Philip called you, when you were under the fig tree, I saw you." 49Nathanael answered and said to Him, "Rabbi, You are the Son of God! You are the King of Israel!"
Come and See
Two of John the Baptist's disciples were very curious to know more about Jesus when they heard John say, "Behold the Lamb of God!" They decided to find out where Jesus lived. Jesus invited them to "Come and see." Can you imagine what a wonderful talk they had with Jesus! They must have learned a lot about Jesus, because soon after that one of the men, Andrew, told his brother Peter that they had found the Messiah!
The Messiah means "the anointed One"—the person who would be sent by God as prophet, priest, and king to rule over Israel. Many of the prophets in the Old Testament had spoken about this very special person who would come. Even Moses had written about Him. God had said to Moses, "I will raise up for them a Prophet like you from among their brethren, and will put My words in His mouth, and He shall speak to them all that I command Him" (Deuteronomy 18:18). Later Jesus said, "As My Father taught Me, I speak these things" (John 8:28b). How excited these men were!
Are you curious about Jesus? Do you want to learn more about Him? Do you wonder who Jesus is? Jesus says to you today, "Come and see." Discoveries come by searching. Jesus said, "Seek, and you will find" (Matthew 7:7b). If you come to Jesus, you will see! If you stay with Him and let Him talk with you in His Word, He will show you who He really is. You can know Him for yourself! "Then I will give them a heart to know Me, that I am the LORD; and they shall be My people, and I will be their God, for they shall return to Me with their whole heart" (Jeremiah 24:7).
Testimonies About Jesus
When a person comes to Jesus and sees who He is, then he wants to tell others about Him! He wants to tell others what He knows about Jesus, so that his friends can also "come and see." If you know Jesus, and are learning from Him, are you sharing this good news with someone else?
Write out below who Jesus is to you:
Ask God for a chance to share your testimony with someone today, so that person also can "come and see."
LESSON 4. JESUS BRINGS JOY TO A MARRIAGE
1On the third day there was a wedding in Cana of Galilee, and the mother of Jesus was there. 2Now both Jesus and His disciples were invited to the wedding. 3And when they ran out of wine, the mother of Jesus said to Him, "They have no wine." 4Jesus said to her, "Woman, what does your concern have to do with Me? My hour has not yet come." 5His mother said to the servants, "Whatever He says to you, do it." 6Now there were set there six waterpots of stone, according to the manner of purification of the Jews, containing twenty or thirty gallons apiece. 7Jesus said to them, "Fill the waterpots with water." And they filled them up to the brim. 8And He said to them, "Draw some out now, and take it to the master of the feast." And they took it. 9When the master of the feast had tasted the water that was made wine, and did not know where it came from (but the servants who had drawn the water knew), the master of the feast called the bridegroom. 10And he said to him, "Every man at the beginning sets out the good wine, and when the guests have well drunk, then that which is inferior; but you have kept the good wine until now." 11This beginning of signs Jesus did in Cana of Galilee, and manifested His glory; and His disciples believed in Him.
Obedience Is the Key to Joy
Jesus' mother may never have seen Jesus perform a miracle before. But she did know that Jesus would do something to help. Now we know that the kind of wine which was used at this marriage was not the kind of wine which would make people drunk. It was not the same kind of wine which people make today. It was a delicious juice made from grapes. How embarrassing to run out!
Perhaps you are a Christian. Have you "run out" of something? Do you run out of patience before the day is done? Is your heart empty of joy or love right now? Jesus can see your need, whatever it is. He wants to bless your life with a miracle! He does not want you ever to be embarrassed in your Christian life by not having enough joy and peace and love to last through the day. He has promised, "And whoever believes on Him will not be put to shame" (Romans 9:33b). But there is a secret you must know! Obedience is the key to blessing. "Whatever He says to you, do it" (John 2:5). When we obey, Jesus can work a miracle. Obeying shows we really trust Him.
If someone has wronged you, have you forgiven that person (Matthew 6:14, 15)? Are you laying up treasure in heaven (Matthew 6:20)? Perhaps you think you can't give to God's work. But Jesus knows your needs. Trust Him by obeying Him. "‘And prove Me now in this,' says the LORD of hosts, ‘If I will not open for you the windows of heaven and pour out for you such blessing that there will not be room enough to receive it'" (Malachi 3:10b).
"Be filled with the Spirit," God says to you today (Ephesians 5:18). No Christian can expect to live a life of joy if he does not allow God to fill him with His Spirit each day.
Perhaps you are not a Christian. Perhaps life is boring to you. You, too, can obey the command of Jesus. Come to Him and receive His life—to the brim. He said, "I have come that they may have life, and that they may have it more abundantly" (John 10:10).
The servants obeyed fully. They did not fill the waterpots half-full, or almost full. They filled them "to the brim." Obeying God with your whole heart brings joy and blessing. "And whatever you do, do it heartily, as to the Lord and not to men, knowing that from the Lord you will receive the reward of the inheritance; for you serve the Lord Christ" (Colossians 3:23, 24).
Is there something that Jesus has spoken to you about that you should do in obedience to Him? Why not do it today.
When the disciples saw the miracle, their faith grew—they "believed on Him." When you obey God's Word and see God work, your faith will grow, too. Faith is like a muscle in our bodies. It is strengthened by using it, by exercising it. Let us choose to walk by faith each day. "The just shall live by faith" (Romans 1:17).
FAITH = Forsaking All, I Trust Him
LESSON 5. JESUS CLEANSES THE TEMPLE
13Now the Passover of the Jews was at hand, and Jesus went up to Jerusalem. 14And He found in the temple those who sold oxen and sheep and doves, and the moneychangers doing business. 15When He had made a whip of cords, He drove them all out of the temple, with the sheep and the oxen, and poured out the changers' money and overturned the tables. 16And He said to those who sold doves, "Take these things away! Do not make My Father's house a house of merchandise!" 17Then His disciples remembered that it was written, "Zeal for Your house has eaten Me up."
18So the Jews answered and said to Him, "What sign do You show to us, since You do these things?" 19Jesus answered and said to them, "Destroy this temple, and in three days I will raise it up." 20Then the Jews said, "It has taken forty-six years to build this temple, and will You raise it up in three days?" 21But He was speaking of the temple of His body. 22Therefore, when He had risen from the dead, His disciples remembered that He had said this to them; and they believed the Scripture and the word which Jesus had said.
What Jesus Knew
Do you remember what the "Passover" means? We talked about it on page 10. Jesus went up to Jerusalem to celebrate the Passover. What an amazing sight He saw in the temple! It did not look and sound like a place to worship God or a place to get right with God. It was like a busy market place! God's presence was far away. Jesus was very angry.
It was true that the people did need to buy animals to use as sacrifices to God. But the merchants were really cheating the people by charging high prices. And they were selling the animals right in the temple! No wonder Jesus drove them all out of the temple! It is recorded in Mark 11:17 that He said, "Is it not written, ‘My house shall be called a house of prayer for all nations'? But you have made it a ‘den of thieves.'"
Jesus told the Jewish leaders that His right to cleanse the temple would be proved when they would destroy the temple. He, Jesus, would raise it back up in three days! They were astonished, because they did not know that Jesus was talking about His own body. Jesus knew that these Jewish leaders would crucify Him. He also knew that three days after they crucified Him, He would raise His own body from the dead.
Jesus' Body Was God's Temple
Years before, the beautiful temple Solomon built had been "filled with the glory of the LORD." But because the nation of Israel had served false gods, the glory of the LORD departed from the temple, and it was destroyed. Later the temple was built again by those who wanted to turn back to God. God said at that time, "...The desire of all nations [Messiah] shall come: and I will fill this house with glory, saith the LORD of hosts" (Haggai 2:7 KJV). Now here was Jesus, coming into the temple to cleanse it! Here He was, even claiming that His own body was the temple of God!
"For in Him dwells all the fullness of the Godhead bodily" (Colossians 2:9).
"...God was manifested in the flesh..." (1 Timothy 3:16).
"‘Behold, a virgin shall be with child, and bear a Son, and they shall call His name Immanuel,' which is translated, ‘God with us'" (Matthew 1:23).
"Which none of the rulers of this age knew; for had they known, they would not have crucified the Lord of glory" (1 Corinthians 2:8). Remember how Jesus began to manifest His glory in Lesson 4 (John 2:11)? The Jewish leaders did not know that the Lord of glory was among them, living in Jesus' body, and had every right to cleanse His temple!
"Do you not know that you are the temple of God and that the Spirit of God dwells in you?" (1 Corinthians 3:16)
Jesus lives in every person who has truly received Him, through the Holy Spirit, into his heart! Our bodies are His temple! What an awesome thought! "Or do you not know that your body is the temple of the Holy Spirit who is in you, whom you have from God, and you are not your own? For you were bought at a price; therefore glorify God in your body and in your spirit, which are God's" (1 Corinthians 6:19, 20).
How important it is for us to live holy lives! We should never commit sin with our bodies, because if we have received Christ into our lives, then we are joined to Him and should be faithful to Him. God has every right to cleanse His temple. He has every right to cleanse areas of our lives which are not pleasing to Him. Let us always yield to His cleansing. He cleanses us through His Word.
"How can a young man cleanse his way? By taking heed according to Your word" (Psalm 119:9).
"If we confess our sins, He is faithful and just to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness" (1 John 1:9).
"But if we walk in the light as He is in the light, we have fellowship with one another, and the blood of Jesus Christ His Son cleanses us from all sin" (1 John 1:7).
Not only does God make each individual Christian His temple, but also all Christians together are called the "body of Christ." "So we, being many, are one body in Christ" (Romans 12:5a). "And He is the head of the body, the church" (Colossians 1:18a).
"Jesus Christ Himself being the chief cornerstone, in whom the whole building, being joined together, grows into a holy temple in the Lord, in whom you also are being built together for a habitation of God in the Spirit" (Ephesians 2:20b-22). How precious is each person in whom God lives! We must be sure to treat other Christians with great tenderness and love. In the same way that we treat them, we are really treating Christ.
Let us say with Paul, "So now also Christ will be magnified in my body, whether by life or by death" (Philippians 1:20b).
Let us be sure our body-temples are places of prayer, where we talk with God each day and are aware of His presence. Never let them become a "den of thieves," where the cares and pleasures of this life dim the glory of God.
LESSON 6. JESUS TELLS A RULER HOW TO BE BORN AGAIN
John 3:1-8, 14-21, 36
1There was a man of the Pharisees named Nicodemus, a ruler of the Jews. 2This man came to Jesus by night and said to Him, "Rabbi, we know that You are a teacher come from God; for no one can do these signs that You do unless God is with him." 3Jesus answered and said to him, "Most assuredly, I say to you, unless one is born again, he cannot see the kingdom of God." 4Nicodemus said to Him, "How can a man be born when he is old? Can he enter a second time into his mother's womb and be born?" 5Jesus answered, "Most assuredly, I say to you, unless one is born of water and the Spirit, he cannot enter the kingdom of God. 6That which is born of the flesh is flesh, and that which is born of the Spirit is spirit. 7Do not marvel that I said to you, ‘You must be born again.' 8The wind blows where it wishes, and you hear the sound of it, but cannot tell where it comes from and where it goes. So is everyone who is born of the Spirit.
14"And as Moses lifted up the serpent in the wilderness, even so must the Son of Man be lifted up, 15that whoever believes in Him should not perish but have eternal life.
16"For God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him should not perish but have everlasting life. 17For God did not send His Son into the world to condemn the world, but that the world through Him might be saved.
18"He who believes in Him is not condemned; but he who does not believe is condemned already, because he has not believed in the name of the only begotten Son of God. 19And this is the condemnation, that the light has come into the world, and men loved darkness rather than light, because their deeds were evil. 20For everyone practicing evil hates the light and does not come to the light, lest his deeds should be exposed. 21But he who does the truth comes to the light, that his deeds may be clearly seen, that they have been done in God.
36"He who believes in the Son has everlasting life; and he who does not believe the Son shall not see life, but the wrath of God abides on him."
What It Means to Be Born Again
To be born again is to be born "from above," to start life over, to have a different beginning. Natural birth makes one a member of the human family. Spiritual birth makes one a member of God's family. The Spirit works in us and we see outward changes. For example, a person who has stolen doesn't steal anymore. It is just like when the wind blows. We can't see the wind, but we can see what it does.
A person whose spirit has not been born of God is spiritually "dead" (Ephesians 2:1, 5). Cleansing from sin comes first by the death of Christ and the death of our old way of life. Then the Spirit makes us alive with new life—Christ's resurrection life. Both are necessary to enter into God's kingdom. New birth takes place when the Holy Spirit (the Spirit of Jesus Himself) actually enters and lives in our bodies. "Now if anyone does not have the Spirit of Christ, he is not His" (Romans 8:9b).
We inherit Christ's nature (2 Peter 1:4): new attitudes, a new power of our wills, a new mind to understand Scripture.
Are you like Nicodemus? Perhaps you have always been a religious person. Or a person who obeys all the laws. Perhaps you are even a leader. But have you ever been born again from above by God's Holy Spirit, so that you are a new creation? "Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation; old things have passed away; behold, all things have become new" (2 Corinthians 5:17). If you are not "born again," why not come to Jesus right now, like Nicodemus did? Ask Jesus to come into your life, so that you can have a new life and be part of God's family. "He who has the Son has life; he who does not have the Son of God does not have life" (1 John 5:12).
Moses in the Wilderness
Long before, when the children of Israel were living in the wilderness under their leader, Moses, they grumbled and spoke bad things against God and against Moses. They complained about the way God was providing for them. So God sent serpents (snakes) among the people to bite them. Many people died. The people came to Moses and confessed their sin. They begged Moses to pray that God would take away the serpents. God answered their prayer in a different way. He told Moses to make a serpent of bronze and put it on a pole. Whoever looked at this bronze serpent, even though he had been bitten by a deadly snake, when he saw the serpent, he would live. (This story is found in Numbers 21: 4-9.)
Sin is like the bite of a deadly snake. We, too, will die unless we look to Jesus, who became sin for us (though He Himself never sinned). Many perished in the wilderness. Only those who looked were healed. Jesus warned Nicodemus that he, too, would perish if he did not look to Jesus to receive new life.
As men looked at the "dead" serpent and lived, they also must look at the One who takes the sin of the world upon Himself, crucified on a cross, (John 12:32, 33). Look and live! They didn't need to understand "how" it healed them to look at the serpent of bronze. All they had to do was just obey in faith. And it worked!
Look and live, my brother, live!
Look to Jesus now and live;
'Tis recorded in His Word, hallelujah!
It is only that you "look and live."
Coming to the Light
When we come to Christ, our sin is exposed because Jesus is the true light (John 1:9). Darkness hides the truth, but the light shows how things really are.
The one who chooses not to come to God's light has chosen to hold on to his sins and not allow God to change him. Sinful man is already headed for hell. He needs Christ to escape. Those without Jesus are under God's wrath now (John 3:36), but the one who receives Christ begins the same life he will have in heaven—God's eternal life. "This is the message which we have heard from Him and declare to you, that God is light and in Him is no darkness at all. If we say that we have fellowship with Him, and walk in darkness, we lie and do not practice the truth. But if we walk in the light as He is in the light, we have fellowship with one another, and the blood of Jesus Christ His Son cleanses us from all sin" (1 John 1:5-7).
When a man wants to be holy, he is willing to have his sins exposed and forgiven. So, coming to Christ is a life and death matter. Your destiny depends on what you do with Christ. Your destination depends on what you do with the light. Do you come to it? Or do you hide from it?
FAITH + GOD'S WORD (JESUS) = ETERNAL LIFE
LESSON 7. JESUS OFFERS LIVING WATER
5So He came to a city of Samaria which is called Sychar, near the plot of ground that Jacob gave to his son Joseph. 6Now Jacob's well was there. Jesus therefore, being wearied from His journey, sat thus by the well. It was about the sixth hour. 7A woman of Samaria came to draw water. Jesus said to her, "Give Me a drink." 8For His disciples had gone away into the city to buy food. 9Then the woman of Samaria said to Him, "How is it that You, being a Jew, ask a drink from me, a Samaritan woman?" For Jews have no dealings with Samaritans. 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." 11The woman said to Him, "Sir, You have nothing to draw with, and the well is deep. Where then do You get that living water? 12Are You greater than our father Jacob, who gave us the well, and drank from it himself, as well as his sons and his livestock?" 13Jesus answered and said to her, "Whoever drinks of this water will thirst again, 14but whoever drinks of the water that I shall give him will never thirst. But the water that I shall give him will become in him a fountain of water springing up into everlasting life."
15The woman said to Him, "Sir, give me this water, that I may not thirst, nor come here to draw." 16Jesus said to her, "Go, call your husband, and come here." 17The woman answered and said, "I have no husband." Jesus said to her, "You have well said, ‘I have no husband,' 18for you have had five husbands, and the one whom you now have is not your husband; in that you spoke truly." 19The woman said to Him, "Sir, I perceive that You are a prophet. 20Our fathers worshiped on this mountain, and you Jews say that in Jerusalem is the place where one ought to worship." 21Jesus said to her, "Woman, believe Me, the hour is coming when you will neither on this mountain, nor in Jerusalem, worship the Father. 22You worship what you do not know; we know what we worship, for salvation is of the Jews. 23But 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. 24God is Spirit, and those who worship Him must worship in spirit and truth." 25The woman said to Him, "I know that Messiah is coming" (who is called Christ). "When He comes, He will tell us all things." 26Jesus said to her, "I who speak to you am He."
27And at this point His disciples came, and they marveled that He talked with a woman; yet no one said, "What do You seek?" or, "Why are You talking with her?" 28The 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?" 30Then they went out of the city and came to Him.
31In the meantime His disciples urged Him, saying, "Rabbi, eat." 32But He said to them, "I have food to eat of which you do not know." 33Therefore the disciples said to one another, "Has anyone brought Him anything to eat?" 34Jesus said to them, "My food is to do the will of Him who sent Me, and to finish His work. 35Do 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! 36And he who reaps receives wages, and gathers fruit for eternal life, that both he who sows and he who reaps may rejoice together. 37For in this the saying is true: ‘One sows and another reaps.' 38I sent you to reap that for which you have not labored; others have labored, and you have entered into their labors."
39And 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." 40So when the Samaritans had come to Him, they urged Him to stay with them; and He stayed there two days. 41And many more believed because of His own word. 42Then they said to the woman, "Now we believe, not because of what you said, for we have heard for ourselves and know that this is indeed the Christ, the Savior of the world."
Isn't it interesting to see how the woman of Samaria comes to know and believe more about Jesus the more He talks to her? See verse 9. She first recognizes Jesus as a Jew who had spoken to her kindly. See verse 11. Her respect rises, and she calls Him, "Sir." See verse 19. Jesus knew so much about her, she now thinks He must be a prophet. See verse 29. She now believes Jesus must be the Christ, the promised Messiah.
The more we allow Jesus to talk to us through the Bible, the more our faith in Him will grow, too! "So then faith comes by hearing, and hearing by the word of God" (Romans 10:17).
What Is Living Water?
The woman of Samaria thought it would be a wonderful thing if she did not have to lower her skin bucket down into Jacob's well. The water level was 90 feet below. But Jesus was not talking about physical water. Jesus was talking about the satisfaction He could give her to stop the continual thirst of her empty spirit for sinful pleasures. The living water He talks about is the gift of eternal life—His own life. The gushing spring is the overflowing joy and peace we can experience when we are filled with His Holy Spirit!
The woman wants the water, but first Jesus needs to prick her conscience. She must confess her sin and be willing to turn from it before she can receive living water from Jesus.
What This Story Teaches About Working for God
1. Every person needs to hear the gospel and believe in Christ for salvation. We should not treat anyone as an outcast, or unacceptable. Jesus didn't.
2. The spiritual "fields" of the world are ripe and ready to be harvested. We need to look up and see how many people around us are hungry for the truth and ready to receive it.
3. One person may sow (tell others about Jesus, give out literature, teach God's Word). Another person may reap (actually introduce someone to Christ). We need to be willing to do either. Both the one who sows and the one who reaps can have joy.
4. Doing God's will and finishing our work each day brings a satisfaction even more than food can give.
5. Though it is important to tell our friends about Jesus, we also need to bring them to Him to know Him for themselves.
LESSON 8. JESUS HEALS THE NOBLEMAN'S SON
46So 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. 47When 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. 48Then Jesus said to him, "Unless you people see signs and wonders, you will by no means believe." 49The nobleman said to Him, "Sir, come down before my child dies!" 50Jesus 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. 51And as he was now going down, his servants met him and told him, saying, "Your son lives!" 52Then he inquired of them the hour when he got better. And they said to him, "Yesterday at the seventh hour the fever left him." 53So 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.
The Power of God's Words
When God says something, it happens! The God who created the world and the heavens and everything in them just by speaking the word is now speaking to the nobleman, "Go your way; your son lives" (John 4:50). And it was so.
Jesus said that everything promised in the Bible would happen (Matthew 5:18). Do you believe God's Word? Do you act like you believe it—like the man in our story did?
Our words have power too, if Christ lives in our hearts. In Mark 11:22, 23 Jesus told His disciples, "For assuredly, I say to you, whoever says to this mountain, ‘Be removed and be cast into the sea,' and does not doubt in his heart, but believes that those things he says will come to pass, he will have whatever he says." The words we speak, backed by faith in God, are powerful. What kind of words do you speak? Do you speak words of encouragement, comfort, trust, and love?
What This Lesson Teaches Us About Prayer
Does Jesus answer our requests today? Hebrews 13:8 tells us that Jesus Christ is "the same yesterday, today, and forever." We know that we must come to Him with our requests. He says that "the one who comes to Me I will by no means cast out" (John 6:37b). He tells us to "Ask, and it will be given to you; seek, and you will find; knock, and it will be opened to you" (Matthew 7:7).
Next, we must come believing that He will answer. "But without faith it is impossible to please Him, for he who comes to God must believe that He is, and that He is a rewarder of those who diligently seek Him" (Hebrews 11:6).
We must be satisfied with the answer Jesus gives. The nobleman asked Jesus to come down to his house, but Jesus did not choose to do that. Instead, He said, "Go your way; your son lives" (John 4:50). He may not answer you in exactly the way you ask, but He will always do what is best for you, and it will always be according to His word.
Faith does not always bring deliverance (study Hebrews 11:35-39), but faith always brings direction and peace. "Be anxious for nothing, but in everything by prayer and supplication, with thanksgiving, let your requests be made known to God; and the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and minds through Christ Jesus" (Philippians 4:6, 7).
When you believe God, and God works with power, your faith will be strengthened. The faith of your family will be strengthened, too, just as the whole household of the nobleman believed God.
LESSON 9. JESUS HEALS THE IMPOTENT MAN
John 5:1-9, 14-18
1After this there was a feast of the Jews, and Jesus went up to Jerusalem. 2Now there is in Jerusalem by the Sheep Gate a pool, which is called in Hebrew, Bethesda, having five porches. 3In these lay a great multitude of sick people, blind, lame, paralyzed, waiting for the moving of the water. 4For an angel went down at a certain time into the pool and stirred up the water; then whoever stepped in first, after the stirring of the water, was made well of whatever disease he had. 5Now a certain man was there who had an infirmity thirty-eight years. 6When Jesus saw him lying there, and knew that he already had been in that condition a long time, He said to him, "Do you want to be made well?" 7The sick man answered Him, "Sir, I have no man to put me into the pool when the water is stirred up; but while I am coming, another steps down before me." 8Jesus said to him, "Rise, take up your bed and walk." 9And immediately the man was made well, took up his bed, and walked. And that day was the Sabbath.
14Afterward Jesus found him in the temple, and said to him, "See, you have been made well. Sin no more, lest a worse thing come upon you." 15The man departed and told the Jews that it was Jesus who had made him well. 16For this reason the Jews persecuted Jesus, and sought to kill Him, because He had done these things on the Sabbath.
17But Jesus answered them, "My Father has been working until now, and I have been working." 18Therefore the Jews sought all the more to kill Him, because He not only broke the Sabbath, but also said that God was His Father, making Himself equal with God.
Perhaps you have a need to be made well and strong in your body, mind, or emotions. Perhaps you have a bad habit that hinders you from serving God as you would like. Perhaps resentment and bitterness are eating you up inside.
Jesus sees your need, and He says to you, "Do you want to be made well?" (or whole). You may have excuses why you are not whole. Perhaps you are the only Christian in your home or in your school. Or you may think other circumstances in life are all against you. But that is no problem to Jesus. He can make you whole immediately! But He may ask you to do something that seems impossible, just like He asked the man who could not walk to get up and walk, and even carry his bed! Whatever it is, as you start to obey God's Word, Jesus will give you the power you need and will make you whole. Then He can lead you to a life of victory.
LESSON 10. TWO RESURRECTIONS
24"Most assuredly, I say to you, he who hears My word and believes in Him who sent Me has everlasting life, and shall not come into judgment, but has passed from death into life. 25Most assuredly, I say to you, the hour is coming, and now is, when the dead will hear the voice of the Son of God; and those who hear will live. 26For as the Father has life in Himself, so He has granted the Son to have life in Himself, 27and has given Him authority to execute judgment also, because He is the Son of Man. 28Do not marvel at this; for the hour is coming in which all who are in the graves will hear His voice 29and come forth—those who have done good, to the resurrection of life, and those who have done evil, to the resurrection of condemnation."
Something to Think About
Isn't it wonderful that when we hear Jesus knocking on the door of our hearts, and we trust Him by letting Him come in to our lives, then we can have the confidence that we have everlasting life! We can know that we shall never be condemned. We can know that we have already passed from death to life. Do you wonder how this can be? It is because Jesus has life in Himself (verse 26). Those without Christ cannot please God (Romans 8:8), so when they are raised from the grave, they can expect only judgment and eternal separation from God.
LESSON 11. JESUS IS THE BREAD OF LIFE
John 6:5-14, 35, 47-51, 53-56, 63
5Then Jesus lifted up His eyes, and seeing a great multitude coming toward Him, He said to Philip, "Where shall we buy bread, that these may eat?" 6But this He said to test him, for He Himself knew what He would do. 7Philip answered Him, "Two hundred denarii worth of bread is not sufficient for them, that every one of them may have a little." 8One of His disciples, Andrew, Simon Peter's brother, said to Him, 9"There is a lad here who has five barley loaves and two small fish, but what are they among so many?" 10Then Jesus said, "Make the people sit down." Now there was much grass in the place. So the men sat down, in number about five thousand. 11And Jesus took the loaves, and when He had given thanks He distributed them to the disciples, and the disciples to those sitting down; and likewise of the fish, as much as they wanted. 12So when they were filled, He said to His disciples, "Gather up the fragments that remain, so that nothing is lost." 13Therefore they gathered them up, and filled twelve baskets with the fragments of the five barley loaves which were left over by those who had eaten. 14Then those men, when they had seen the sign that Jesus did, said, "This is truly the Prophet who is to come into the world."
35And Jesus said to them, "I am the bread of life. He who comes to Me shall never hunger, and he who believes in Me shall never thirst."
47"Most assuredly, I say to you, he who believes in Me has everlasting life. 48I am the bread of life. 49Your fathers ate the manna in the wilderness, and are dead. 50This is the bread which comes down from heaven, that one may eat of it and not die. 51I am the living bread which came down from heaven. If anyone eats of this bread, he will live forever; and the bread that I shall give is My flesh, which I shall give for the life of the world."
53Then Jesus said to them, "Most assuredly, I say to you, unless you eat the flesh of the Son of Man and drink His blood, you have no life in you. 54Whoever eats My flesh and drinks My blood has eternal life, and I will raise him up at the last day. 55For My flesh is food indeed, and My blood is drink indeed. 56He who eats My flesh and drinks My blood abides in Me, and I in him."
63"It is the Spirit who gives life; the flesh profits nothing. The words that I speak to you are spirit, and they are life."
He wants us to use our time wisely: "Redeeming the time, because the days are evil. Therefore do not be unwise, but understand what the will of the Lord is" (Ephesians 5:16, 17).
He wants us to use our abilities and talents wisely: "His lord said to him, ‘Well done, good and faithful servant; you were faithful over a few things, I will make you ruler over many things. Enter into the joy of your lord'" (Matthew 25:21).
Jesus also wants us to use our money wisely: "Do not lay up for yourselves treasures on earth, where moth and rust destroy and where thieves break in and steal; but lay up for yourselves treasures in heaven, where neither moth nor rust destroys and where thieves do not break in and steal. For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also" (Matthew 6:19-21).
5. As the disciples received the food from Jesus, they distributed it to the hungry crowd. When we receive spiritual food from Jesus each day, we also have something to share with those around us who need the "bread of life."
Two Kinds of Bread
The great crowd of people were glad to have food to eat when they were so hungry. They wanted Jesus to be their king, so they would never have to worry about working for food again! But Jesus reminded them of what had happened to their ancestors long before. The children of Israel were on their way from Egypt to the land God had promised them. This great crowd of people became hungry in the wilderness. So God "rained" bread from heaven to feed them each day. What a wonderful miracle this was (Exodus 16:4-35)! The people did not know exactly what this new kind of food was, so they called it manna, which means, What is this?
Later God taught the people why He had done this. Moses told the people, "And you shall remember that the LORD your God led you all the way these forty years in the wilderness, to humble you and test you, to know what was in your heart, whether you would keep His commandments or not. So He humbled you, allowed you to hunger, and fed you with manna which you did not know nor did your fathers know, that He might make you know that man shall not live by bread alone; but man lives by every word that proceeds from the mouth of the LORD"(Deuteronomy 8:2, 3).
Even though God provided manna from heaven in such a marvellous way for many years, the manna was just bread for physical bodies. The people who ate it still grew old and later died. So now, when Jesus fed the multitude that day, the bread they ate was just for their physical bodies. Though they ate it and were filled, they would still grow old and die later.
But Jesus had great news! Now Jesus was offering a new kind of "bread," which if people ate of it, would cause them not to die. Yes, their physical bodies would die, but they themselves would never die, and Christ would raise their bodies at the last day when He comes again. Jesus told the people that He, Himself, was a different kind of bread that could be eaten. He was living bread for their souls! He had come down from heaven just like the manna had come down from heaven. He had come to give His life for the world. Whoever "eats"—or receives into their souls—the life of Jesus will never die.
How can we "eat" this Bread of Life, which is Jesus? How can we "drink" His blood? We can accept Christ's sacrifice of His body on the cross for our own salvation. We can accept Jesus as the Lamb of God whose blood covers our sins. We can receive His life-giving Spirit into our hearts. We can also receive His life-giving words by studying them and obeying them. We need to keep taking in His life every day, just as we need to eat food every day for our physical bodies.
In a spiritual sense you can "eat" the flesh of Jesus and "drink" His blood each day:
1. Each day walk in the light of God's Word. If you sin, admit your sin to God, and the blood of Jesus will cleanse you so that you can continue having good fellowship with Him (1 John 1:7, 9).
2. Each day ask Jesus to fill you with His Holy Spirit. In every thing you do, depend on the power of His Spirit within you. Receive instructions from Him each day from the Bible. God's Word is life to us. Spend some time alone with God each day when you can talk to Him aloud. Then, during the day, keep thinking about Him. Talk to Him in your mind about everything. You will find yourself becoming more and more like Jesus.
God has a wonderful promise for you if you do these things: "Then those who feared the LORD spoke to one another, and the LORD listened and heard them; so a book of remembrance was written before Him for those who fear the LORD and who meditate on His name. ‘They shall be Mine,' says the LORD of hosts, ‘on the day that I make them My jewels. And I will spare them as a man spares his own son who serves him'"(Malachi 3:16, 17).
God's Word Is Food for Your Soul
Long ago, Job said, "I have not departed from the commandment of His lips; I have treasured the words of His mouth more than my necessary food" (Job 23:12).
Jeremiah declared, "Your words were found, and I ate them, and Your word was to me the joy and rejoicing of my heart; for I am called by Your name, O Lord God of hosts" (Jeremiah 15:16).
The psalmist said, "How sweet are Your words to my taste, sweeter than honey to my mouth!" (Psalm 119:103).
Peter urged, "As newborn babes, desire the pure milk of the word, that you may grow thereby, if indeed you have tasted that the Lord is gracious" (1 Peter 2:2, 3).
Let us "eat" God's Word every day.
LESSON 12. JESUS WALKS ON THE WATER
16And when evening came, His disciples went down to the sea, 17got into the boat, and went over the sea toward Capernaum. And it was now dark, and Jesus had not come to them. 18Then the sea arose because a great wind was blowing. 19So when they had rowed about three or four miles, they saw Jesus walking on the sea and drawing near the boat; and they were afraid. 20But He said to them, "It is I; do not be afraid." 21Then they willingly received Him into the boat, and immediately the boat was at the land where they were going.
Something to Think About
Are you living in a storm? Does life seem dark right now? Does Jesus seem far away? Are you and those around struggling by yourselves in the storm, trying in your own weak strength to get to the other side? If this describes you, know that Jesus cares. He knows, and He sees. He walks toward you in your desperate situation. Do not be afraid. Receive Jesus gladly into the problem or situation. Give it to His control. He will smooth the ruffled waters, and lead you safely through to the other side. "Yea, though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I will fear no evil; for You are with me" (Psalm 23:4a).
LESSON 13. JESUS TALKS ABOUT FREEDOM
John 8:31-37, 42, 47
31Then Jesus said to those Jews who believed Him, "If you abide in My word, you are My disciples indeed. 32And you shall know the truth, and the truth shall make you free."
33They answered Him, "We are Abraham's descendants, and have never been in bondage to anyone. How can you say, ‘You will be made free'?" 34Jesus answered them, "Most assuredly, I say to you, whoever commits sin is a slave of sin. 35And a slave does not abide in the house forever, but a son abides forever. 36Therefore if the Son makes you free, you shall be free indeed. 37I know that you are Abraham's descendants, but you seek to kill Me, because My word has no place in you."
42Jesus said to them, "If God were your Father, you would love Me, for I proceeded forth and came from God; nor have I come of Myself, but He sent Me."
47"He who is of God hears God's words; therefore you do not hear, because you are not of God."
17"If anyone wants to do His will, he shall know concerning the doctrine, whether it is from God or whether I speak on My own authority."
LESSON 14. JESUS IS THE LIGHT OF THE WORLD
12Then Jesus spoke to them again, saying, "I am the light of the world. He who follows Me shall not walk in darkness, but have the light of life."
John 9:1-9, 13-25, 33-38
1Now as Jesus passed by, He saw a man who was blind from birth. 2And His disciples asked Him, saying, "Rabbi, who sinned, this man or his parents, that he was born blind?" 3Jesus answered, "Neither this man nor his parents sinned, but that the works of God should be revealed in him. 4I must work the works of Him who sent Me while it is day; the night is coming when no one can work. 5As long as I am in the world, I am the light of the world." 6When He had said these things, He spat on the ground and made clay with the saliva; and He anointed the eyes of the blind man with the clay. 7And He said to him, "Go, wash in the pool of Siloam" (which is translated, Sent). So he went and washed, and came back seeing.
8Therefore the neighbors and those who previously had seen that he was blind said, "Is not this he who sat and begged?" 9Some said, "This is he." Others said, "He is like him." He said, "I am he."
13They brought him who formerly was blind to the Pharisees. 14Now it was a Sabbath when Jesus made the clay and opened his eyes. 15Then the Pharisees also asked him again how he had received his sight. He said to them, "He put clay on my eyes, and I washed, and I see." 16Therefore some of the Pharisees said, "This Man is not from God, because He does not keep the Sabbath." Others said, "How can a man who is a sinner do such signs?" And there was a division among them. 17They said to the blind man again, "What do you say about Him because He opened your eyes?" He said, "He is a prophet." 18But the Jews did not believe concerning him, that he had been blind and received his sight, until they called the parents of him who had received his sight. 19And they asked them, saying, "Is this your son, who you say was born blind? How then does he now see?" 20His parents answered them and said, "We know that this is our son, and that he was born blind; 21but by what means he now sees we do not know, or who opened his eyes we do not know. He is of age; ask him. He will speak for himself." 22His parents said these things because they feared the Jews, for the Jews had agreed already that if anyone confessed that He was Christ, he would be put out of the synagogue. 23Therefore his parents said, "He is of age; ask him." 24So they again called the man who was blind, and said to him, "Give God the glory! We know that this Man is a sinner." 25He answered and said, "Whether He is a sinner or not I do not know. One thing I know: that though I was blind, now I see.... 33If this Man were not from God, He could do nothing." 34They answered and said to him, "You were completely born in sins, and are you teaching us?" And they cast him out. 35Jesus heard that they had cast him out; and when He had found him, He said to him, "Do you believe in the Son of God?" 36He answered and said, "Who is He, Lord, that I may believe in Him?" 37And Jesus said to him, "You have both seen Him and it is He who is talking with you." 38Then he said, "Lord, I believe!" And he worshiped Him.
When Jesus opened the blind man's eyes, He brought light into his life. But Jesus wanted to show that He had really come to open the spiritual eyes of all people who sit in darkness. Many years before, God had promised through His prophets, that One would come who would bring light. God described Jesus: "I, the Lord, have called You in righteousness, and will hold Your hand; I will keep You and give You as a covenant to the people, as a light to the Gentiles, to open blind eyes, to bring out prisoners from the prison, those who sit in darkness from the prison house" (Isaiah 42:6, 7). Isaiah saw Jesus' day: "The people who walked in darkness Have seen a great light; those who dwelt in the land of the shadow of death, upon them a light has shined" (Isaiah 9:2).
When Jesus claimed to be the light of the world, the Jews knew Jesus was claiming to be God, because God is light. "The LORD is my light and my salvation" says Psalm 27:1a. "When I sit in darkness, the LORD will be a light to me" (Micah 7:8b). David, thanking God, said, "For You are my lamp, O LORD; The LORD shall enlighten my darkness" (2 Samuel 22:29).
When we know Jesus, we know God. Jesus said, "If you had known Me, you would have known My Father also" (John 14:7a). "For it is the God who commanded light to shine out of darkness who has shone in our hearts to give the light of the knowledge of the glory of God in the face of Jesus Christ" (2 Corinthians 4:6). Have you received this light?
Walking in the Light
Those who follow Jesus do not walk in darkness any more, but in light. "For you were once darkness, but now you are light in the Lord. Walk as children of light" (Ephesians 5:8).
"The way of the wicked is like darkness; they do not know what makes them stumble" (Proverbs 4:19). "But the path of the just is like the shining sun, that shines ever brighter unto the perfect day" (Proverbs 4:18).
God's Word is light. "Your word is a lamp to my feet and a light to my path" (Psalm 119:105). "The entrance of Your words gives light; it gives understanding to the simple" (Psalm 119:130). As we come to God's Word each day, we must listen and obey what it says. That is what it means to "walk in the light." Doing what God says is walking in the light. Do you remember Jesus' commandment that we should love one another? That is why God's Word says, "But he who hates his brother is in darkness and walks in darkness, and does not know where he is going, because the darkness has blinded his eyes" (1 John 2:11).
The quickest way to become blind is to walk in darkness all the time. When mules are used underground to help mine coal, they must be brought up to the light at least one day each week. If they were to be kept underground all the time, they would quickly go completely blind. So it is with us; we must keep walking in the light, or else our spiritual eyes can be deceived by Satan, and he can blind our minds and hearts.
We Are Lights in the World
"Do all things without murmuring and disputing, that you may become blameless and harmless, children of God without fault in the midst of a crooked and perverse generation, among whom you shine as lights in the world" (Philippians 2:14, 15). God has chosen us to "proclaim the praises of Him who called you out of darkness into His marvelous light" (1 Peter 2:9b). Is your life a light to those around you? If not, the apostle Paul urges us to "cast off the works of darkness, and let us put on the armor of light" (Romans 13:12b).
We need to be ready for our Lord's return. Only if we are awake, and walking in the light, will we be ready. "You are all sons of light and sons of the day. We are not of the night nor of darkness. Therefore let us not sleep, as others do, but let us watch and be sober" (1 Thessalonians 5:5, 6).
Jesus said, when telling about the new heaven and the new earth, that the new Jerusalem will have "no need of the sun or of the moon to shine in it, for the glory of God illuminated it, and the Lamb is its light" (Revelation 21:23b). Isn't it wonderful that Jesus will be our light for all eternity!
Working While It Is Light
Until Jesus comes back, we need to work while it is light in this dark world. One day, this earth will pass away (Matthew 5:18). Those who have not come to the light will pass on into outer darkness for ever and ever (Matthew 22:13). Let us work "to open their eyes and to turn them from darkness to light, and from the power of Satan to God, that they may receive forgiveness of sins" (Acts 26:18a).
The Jews once asked Jesus, "What shall we do, that we may work the works of God" (John 6:28)? Jesus answered them, "This is the work of God, that you believe in Him whom He sent" (John 6:29). Jesus taught very plainly that "If you do not believe that I am He, you will die in your sins" (John 8:24b).
First, we must be sure we ourselves have come to the Light to receive eternal life. Then we must work with Jesus to bring others to the light. "Do not labor for the food which perishes," He said, "but for the food which endures to everlasting life, which the Son of Man will give you" (John 6:27a).
Remember the blind man in our story? He boldly told others what Jesus had done for him. Though he was cast out by those who were spiritually blind, Jesus cared and came to him to reveal even more of Himself to him. He will do this for you, too!
LESSON 15. JESUS IS THE GOOD SHEPHERD
John 10:1-16, 27-33
1"Most assuredly, I say to you, he who does not enter the sheepfold by the door, but climbs up some other way, the same is a thief and a robber. 2But he who enters by the door is the shepherd of the sheep. 3To him the doorkeeper opens, and the sheep hear his voice; and he calls his own sheep by name and leads them out. 4And when he brings out his own sheep, he goes before them; and the sheep follow him, for they know his voice. 5Yet they will by no means follow a stranger, but will flee from him, for they do not know the voice of strangers." 6Jesus used this illustration, but they did not understand the things which He spoke to them. 7Then Jesus said to them again, "Most assuredly, I say to you, I am the door of the sheep. 8All who ever came before Me are thieves and robbers, but the sheep did not hear them. 9I am the door. If anyone enters by Me, he will be saved, and will go in and out and find pasture. 10The thief does not come except to steal, and to kill, and to destroy. I have come that they may have life, and that they may have it more abundantly. 11I am the good shepherd. The good shepherd gives His life for the sheep. 12But he who is a hireling and not the shepherd, one who does not own the sheep, sees the wolf coming and leaves the sheep and flees; and the wolf catches the sheep and scatters them. 13The hireling flees because he is a hireling and does not care about the sheep. 14I am the good shepherd; and I know My sheep, and am known by My own. 15As the Father knows Me, even so I know the Father; and I lay down My life for the sheep. 16And other sheep I have which are not of this fold; them also I must bring, and they will hear My voice; and there will be one flock and one shepherd.
27"My sheep hear My voice, and I know them, and they follow Me. 28And I give them eternal life, and they shall never perish; neither shall anyone snatch them out of My hand. 29My Father, who has given them to Me, is greater than all; and no one is able to snatch them out of My Father's hand. 30I and My Father are one." 31Then the Jews took up stones again to stone Him. 32Jesus answered them, "Many good works I have shown you from My Father. For which of those works do you stone Me?" 33The Jews answered Him, saying, "For a good work we do not stone You, but for blasphemy, and because You, being a Man, make Yourself God."
Some Lessons from This Lesson
1. Jesus is the only door to salvation. Only by hearing His voice and following Him can we be His very own sheep. He calls you by your name, He leads you, He gives you pasture, He gives His life for you. "All we like sheep have gone astray; we have turned, every one, to his own way; and the LORD has laid on Him the iniquity of us all" (Isaiah 53:6). Have you turned back from your own way to go His way?
2. Jesus is the only true Shepherd. "For He is our God, and we are the people of His pasture" (Psalm 95:7a). "Know that the LORD, He is God; it is He who has made us, and not we ourselves; we are His people and the sheep of His pasture" (Psalm 100:3).
3. If we are His sheep, He knows us, and we know Him. "But You, O LORD, know me; You have seen me, and You have tested my heart toward You" (Jeremiah 12:3a). Do you know Jesus as your Shepherd? If you do, you will follow Him and no one else. Does the Shepherd know you? When "the Chief Shepherd shall appear," many will say to him, "Lord, Lord, have we not prophesied in Your name, cast out demons in Your name, and done many wonders in Your name?" (Matthew 7:22). Jesus says, "And then I will declare to them, ‘I never knew you; depart from Me, you who practice lawlessness!'" (Matthew 7:23). We cannot belong to the Shepherd and go our own way at the same time. Without holiness no one will see the Lord (Hebrews 12:14).
4. When we belong to Jesus, we are safe for eternity. No one can pluck us out of His hand. This promise is given only to those who are following that "great Shepherd of the sheep," the Lord Jesus Christ.
5. The one who follows Jesus will flee from strangers. Satan is like a thief, who wants to steal, kill, and destroy.
6. Jesus claimed to be God. When Jesus claimed to be the good Shepherd, and when He said that He and His Father were one, the Jews knew that He was making Himself equal with God. If they had been following God, they would have recognized Jesus as their Shepherd. Isaiah prophesied, "Behold, the Lord God shall come....He will feed His flock like a shepherd; He will gather the lambs with His arm, and carry them in His bosom, and gently lead those who are with young"
(Isaiah 40:10, 11).
The Shepherd's Psalm
1The Lord is my shepherd; I shall not want. 2He makes me to lie down in green pastures; He leads me beside the still waters. 3He restores my soul; He leads me in the paths of righteousness for His name's sake. 4Yea, though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I will fear no evil; for You are with me; Your rod and Your staff, they comfort me. 5You prepare a table before me in the presence of my enemies; You anoint my head with oil; my cup runs over. 6Surely goodness and mercy shall follow me all the days of my life; and I will dwell in the house of the Lord forever.
LESSON 16. JESUS IS THE RESURRECTION AND THE LIFE
John 11:1-7, 17-46
1Now a certain man was sick, Lazarus of Bethany, the town of Mary and her sister Martha. 2It was that Mary who anointed the Lord with fragrant oil and wiped His feet with her hair, whose brother Lazarus was sick. 3Therefore the sisters sent to Him, saying, "Lord, behold, he whom You love is sick." 4When Jesus heard that, He said, "This sickness is not unto death, but for the glory of God, that the Son of God may be glorified through it."
5Now Jesus loved Martha and her sister and Lazarus. 6So, when He heard that he was sick, He stayed two more days in the place where He was. 7Then after this He said to the disciples, "Let us go to Judea again."
17So when Jesus came, He found that he had already been in the tomb four days. 18Now Bethany was near Jerusalem, about two miles away. 19And many of the Jews had joined the women around Martha and Mary, to comfort them concerning their brother. 20Then Martha, as soon as she heard that Jesus was coming, went and met Him, but Mary was sitting in the house. 21Then Martha said to Jesus, "Lord, if You had been here, my brother would not have died. 22But even now I know that whatever You ask of God, God will give You." 23Jesus said to her, "Your brother will rise again." 24Martha said to Him, "I know that he will rise again in the resurrection at the last day." 25Jesus said to her, "I am the resurrection and the life. He who believes in Me, though he may die, he shall live. 26And whoever lives and believes in Me shall never die. Do you believe this?" 27She said to Him, "Yes, Lord, I believe that You are the Christ, the Son of God, who is to come into the world."
28And when she had said these things, she went her way and secretly called Mary her sister, saying, "The Teacher has come and is calling for you." 29As soon as she heard that, she arose quickly and came to Him. 30Now Jesus had not yet come into the town, but was in the place where Martha met Him. 31Then the Jews who were with her in the house, and comforting her, when they saw that Mary rose up quickly and went out, followed her, saying, "She is going to the tomb to weep there." 32Then, when Mary came where Jesus was, and saw Him, she fell down at His feet, saying to Him, "Lord, if You had been here, my brother would not have died."
33Therefore, when Jesus saw her weeping, and the Jews who came with her weeping, He groaned in the spirit and was troubled. 34And He said, "Where have you laid him?" They said to Him, "Lord, come and see."
35Jesus wept. 36Then the Jews said, "See how He loved him!" 37And some of them said, "Could not this Man, who opened the eyes of the blind, also have kept this man from dying?" 38Then Jesus, again groaning in Himself, came to the tomb. It was a cave, and a stone lay against it. 39Jesus said, "Take away the stone." Martha, the sister of him who was dead, said to Him, "Lord, by this time there is a stench, for he has been dead four days." 40Jesus said to her, "Did I not say to you that if you would believe you would see the glory of God?" 41Then they took away the stone from the place where the dead man was lying.
And Jesus lifted up His eyes and said, "Father, I thank You that You have heard Me. 42And I know that You always hear Me, but because of the people who are standing by I said this, that they may believe that You sent Me." 43Now when He had said these things, He cried with a loud voice, "Lazarus, come forth!" 44And he who had died came out bound hand and foot with graveclothes, and his face was wrapped with a cloth. Jesus said to them, "Loose him, and let him go." 45Then many of the Jews who had come to Mary, and had seen the things Jesus did, believed in Him. 46But some of them went away to the Pharisees and told them the things Jesus did.
Something to Think About
Isn't it nice to know that Jesus loved His friends so much? You are His friend, too, if you do whatever He says (John 15:14). In this story, Jesus' friends were facing a very sad situation. Brother Lazarus had died. It seemed at first that Jesus didn't care. Do you ever feel that God does not care about a hard situation you are facing? But God is never asleep. He always has a plan. We must always keep trusting Him to work things out that will bring the most glory to God.
God has a plan for you, too. He wants to make you like His Son, Jesus. "And we know that all things work together for good to those who love God, to those who are the called according to His purpose. For whom He foreknew, He also predestined to be conformed to the image of His Son, that He might be the firstborn among many brethren" (Romans 8:28, 29). So this is why we have to go through hard times. "That the genuineness of your faith, being much more precious than gold that perishes, though it is tested by fire, may be found to praise, honor, and glory at the revelation of Jesus Christ" (1 Peter 1:7).
Jesus wanted to teach Mary and Martha, and us, too, that believing in Him means we will never die. When those who believe in Jesus die, they are "absent from the body" and "present with the Lord" (2 Corinthians 5:8).
Jesus proved also that He can bring dead bodies back to life by just calling their name. Lazarus heard the voice of Jesus calling him, and he lived. When Jesus comes back to this earth again, "the dead will hear the voice of the Son of God; and those who hear will live" (John 5:25b).
Even now, Jesus knocks on the doors of hearts. "If anyone hears My voice and opens the door, I will come in to him..." (Revelation 3:20b). Those who hear His voice and open the door will become a new creation. "And you He made alive, who were dead in trespasses and sins" (Ephesians 2:1). "Likewise you also, reckon yourselves to be dead indeed to sin, but alive to God in Christ Jesus our Lord. Therefore do not let sin reign in your mortal body, that you should obey it in its lusts. And do not present your members as instruments of unrighteousness to sin, but present yourselves to God as being alive from the dead, and your members as instruments of righteousness to God" (Romans 6:11-13).
This Miracle Required Obedience
Do you face a hopeless situation that needs a miracle? Jesus may allow many hard things to come in your life "for the glory of God." But never forget that He loves you as He did Martha and Mary. He may be planning a miracle you don't expect. But notice the obedience that was necessary for this miracle of new life. Jesus said, "Take away the stone." Even though they thought it was foolish, they obeyed. Then after Lazarus came forth, Jesus said, "Loose him, and let him go."
To see the glory of God's power, we, too, must be obedient in even small things that the Holy Spirit tells us to do. If we need to ask someone's forgiveness when we are only 2% wrong, we must do it. It may be the stone that needs to be rolled away so Jesus can work a miracle in the other person's heart. And when Jesus does work a miracle, let us lovingly help to loose others from the things that would hinder them from full freedom. Wasn't it wonderful that Jesus allowed His friends to help in the miracle?
LESSON 17. THE COUNCIL PLANS TO KILL JESUS
47Then the chief priests and the Pharisees gathered a council and said, "What shall we do? For this Man works many signs. 48If we let Him alone like this, everyone will believe in Him, and the Romans will come and take away both our place and nation." 49And one of them, Caiaphas, being high priest that year, said to them, "You know nothing at all, 50nor do you consider that it is expedient for us that one man should die for the people, and not that the whole nation should perish." 51Now this he did not say on his own authority; but being high priest that year he prophesied that Jesus would die for the nation, 52and not for that nation only, but also that He would gather together in one the children of God who were scattered abroad. 53Then from that day on they plotted to put Him to death.
Rejection of a King
The Jewish council had seen the miracles of Jesus. They had heard Him teach that He was one with His Father and that He had existed before Abraham (John 8:58). Yet, they could not believe that Jesus was the promised King of Israel.
This story suggests that the Jewish leaders were not willing to give up their own position. They were like the wicked servants in a parable Jesus told. The servants said, "We will not have this man to reign over us" (Luke 19:14b). So, the Jewish leaders decided to put one man to death—Jesus—in order to keep the nation safe. But, of course, they could not have done anything if Jesus had not willingly given His life.
God's purpose in Jesus from before the world began was to save not only the nation of Israel, but also the whole world! "Yet it pleased the LORD to bruise Him; He has put Him to grief. When You make His soul an offering for sin, He shall see His seed,...and the pleasure of the LORD shall prosper in His hand" (Isaiah 53:10).
LESSON 18. THE STORY OF A COSTLY GIFT
1Then, six days before the Passover, Jesus came to Bethany, where Lazarus was who had been dead, whom He had raised from the dead. 2There they made Him a supper; and Martha served, but Lazarus was one of those who sat at the table with Him. 3Then Mary took a pound of very costly oil of spikenard, anointed the feet of Jesus, and wiped His feet with her hair. And the house was filled with the fragrance of the oil. 4 Then one of His disciples, Judas Iscariot, Simon's son, who would betray Him, said, 5"Why was this fragrant oil not sold for three hundred denarii and given to the poor?" 6This he said, not that he cared for the poor, but because he was a thief, and had the money box; and he used to take what was put in it. 7Then Jesus said, "Let her alone; she has kept this for the day of My burial. 8For the poor you have with you always, but Me you do not have always."
Jesus Is Worthy of All Honor
When Jesus raised Lazarus from the dead, the Jewish council decided that Jesus must die. But Jesus' friends were so happy and full of praise that they put on a special supper to honor Jesus. Now Mary knew who Jesus really was. Her love for Him caused her to sacrifice costly ointment—worth about one year's wages for a worker. Mary had understood Jesus' words that He was to be crucified within a few days (Matthew 26:2).
"You are worthy, O Lord, to receive glory and honor and power; for You created all things, and by Your will they exist and were created" (Revelation 4:11).
John gives us a peek into heaven, when all the redeemed from every kindred, tongue, people, and nation will join with ten thousand times ten thousand angels to give praise to Jesus, "Worthy is the Lamb who was slain to receive power and riches and wisdom, and strength and honor and glory and blessing!" (Revelation 5:12b). Jesus is worthy of all the praise and worship we can give Him!
Gifts We Can Give Jesus
What can we give Jesus to express our grateful worship? Paul says, "I beseech you therefore, brethren, by the mercies of God, that you present your bodies a living sacrifice, holy, acceptable to God, which is your reasonable service. And do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind, that you may prove what is that good and acceptable and perfect will of God" (Romans 12:1, 2). Let us give our bodies to Jesus by living to please Him. Let us give our minds to Him, to think on His name, His Word, and His works instead of thinking about things of the world.
Of course, some may think you are wasting your life and talents by serving God. Didn't Judas think that Mary's sacrificial gift was wasted? But where is Judas today? "The memory of the righteous is blessed, but the name of the wicked will rot" (Proverbs 10:7). "The righteous will be in everlasting remembrance" (Psalm 112:6b).
When we show love to Christian brothers, we honor the Christ who lives in them. Do you treat your Christian parents, spouse, or children as you would treat Jesus? We also honor Jesus when we love our enemies, because He asked us to do so (Matthew 5:44).
Christ loved us so much; He gave Himself for us "an offering and a sacrifice to God for a sweet-smelling aroma" (Ephesians 5:2b). "Therefore by Him let us continually offer the sacrifice of praise to God, that is, the fruit of our lips, giving thanks to His name" (Hebrews 13:15).
LESSON 19. THE STORY OF A LOWLY KING
12The next day a great multitude that had come to the feast, when they heard that Jesus was coming to Jerusalem, 13took branches of palm trees and went out to meet Him, and cried out: "Hosanna! ‘Blessed is He who comes in the name of the Lord!' The King of Israel!" 14Then Jesus, when He had found a young donkey, sat on it; as it is written: 15"Fear not, daughter of Zion; behold, your King is coming, sitting on a donkey's colt." 16 His disciples did not understand these things at first; but when Jesus was glorified, then they remembered that these things were written about Him and that they had done these things to Him.
Jesus Will Return as an Exalted King
The Old Testament prophet had said, "Rejoice greatly, O daughter of Zion! Shout, O daughter of Jerusalem! Behold, your King is coming to you; He is just and having salvation, lowly and riding on a donkey, a colt, the foal of a donkey" (Zechariah 9:9). Yes, the coming of Jesus as a man, as a Savior, as a servant was clearly foretold by the prophets. More than 300 prophecies were fulfilled in Jesus' life, death, and resurrection. But three times more prophecies than that must yet be fulfilled when Jesus returns as the Exalted King to reign on this earth (Revelation 20:4).
"For the Lord Himself will descend from heaven with a shout, with the voice of an archangel, and with the trumpet of God. And the dead in Christ will rise first. Then we who are alive and remain shall be caught up together with them in the clouds to meet the Lord in the air, and thus we shall always be with the Lord" (1 Thessalonians 4:16, 17).
"The Lord Jesus is revealed from heaven with His mighty angels, in flaming fire taking vengeance on those who do not know God, and on those who do not obey the gospel of our Lord Jesus Christ" (2 Thessalonians 1:7b, 8).
Are You Ready for His Coming?
God always keeps His promises. He has delayed His coming so that many more people may be saved. He is "not willing that any should perish but that all should come to repentance" (2 Peter 3:9b). But He is coming soon! Are you ready, living a holy life and bringing others to Him? "But the day of the Lord will come as a thief in the night, in which the heavens will pass away with a great noise, and the elements will melt with fervent heat; both the earth and the works that are in it will be burned up. Therefore, since all these things will be dissolved, what manner of persons ought you to be in holy conduct and godliness" (2 Peter 3:10, 11).
LESSON 20. THE STORY OF A GRAIN OF WHEAT
24"Most assuredly, I say to you, unless a grain of wheat falls into the ground and dies, it remains alone; but if it dies, it produces much grain. 25He who loves his life will lose it, and he who hates his life in this world will keep it for eternal life. 26If anyone serves Me, let him follow Me; and where I am, there My servant will be also. If anyone serves Me, him My Father will honor."
What It Means to Die
Dying comes before resurrection power. This was true for Christ, and it is true for us. The apostle Paul showed us what it means to die to our self for the sake of Christ. "But what things were gain to me, these I have counted loss for Christ. That I may know Him and the power of His resurrection" (Philippians 3:7, 10a).
Many times obeying Christ means that some personal desire must die. But when self dies, then the power of Christ in us can operate. We can reckon our old self crucified with Christ; our new self lives by faith as we step out in obedience. "I have been crucified with Christ; it is no longer I who live, but Christ lives in me; and the life which I now live in the flesh I live by faith in the Son of God, who loved me and gave Himself for me" (Galatians 2:20). "For if you live according to the flesh you will die; but if by the Spirit you put to death the deeds of the body, you will live" (Romans 8:13). Let the Spirit of God lead you as to what you must put to death in your life: some bad habit, some wrong attitude perhaps? As you choose to count that dead, and step out in obedience, you will find that God's power will carry you on in newness of life, giving you the power to put on new habits, new attitudes, and to see victory in your life. "For it is God who works in you both to will and to do for His good pleasure" (Philippians 2:13).
LESSON 21. JESUS TEACHES BY EXAMPLE AND COMMANDMENT
John 13:3-17, 34, 35
3Jesus, knowing that the Father had given all things into His hands, and that He had come from God and was going to God, 4rose from supper and laid aside His garments, took a towel and girded Himself. 5After that, He poured water into a basin and began to wash the disciples' feet, and to wipe them with the towel with which He was girded. 6Then He came to Simon Peter. And Peter said to Him, "Lord, are You washing my feet?" 7Jesus answered and said to him, "What I am doing you do not understand now, but you will know after this." 8Peter said to Him, "You shall never wash my feet!" Jesus answered him, "If I do not wash you, you have no part with Me." 9Simon Peter said to Him, "Lord, not my feet only, but also my hands and my head!" 10Jesus said to him, "He who is bathed needs only to wash his feet, but is completely clean; and you are clean, but not all of you." 11For He knew who would betray Him; therefore He said, "You are not all clean." 12So when He had washed their feet, taken His garments, and sat down again, He said to them, "Do you know what I have done to you? 13You call Me Teacher and Lord, and you say well, for so I am. 14If I then, your Lord and Teacher, have washed your feet, you also ought to wash one another's feet. 15For I have given you an example, that you should do as I have done to you. 16Most assuredly, I say to you, a servant is not greater than his master; nor is he who is sent greater than he who sent him. 17If you know these things, happy are you if you do them."
34"A new commandment I give to you, that you love one another; as I have loved you, that you also love one another. 35By this all will know that you are My disciples, if you have love for one another."
The Secret of Happiness
Jesus said we would be happy if we would follow His example and serve others. What a picture! To see the Creator bending over and doing the job of a servant: washing off the dust of the day from the feet of His disciples! "Let this mind be in you which was also in Christ Jesus, who, being in the form of God, did not consider it robbery to be equal with God, but made Himself of no reputation, taking the form of a servant, and coming in the likeness of men. And being found in appearance as a man, He humbled Himself and became obedient to the point of death, even the death of the cross. Therefore God also has highly exalted Him..." (Philippians 2:5-9a).
Let us watch for ways to serve others, to meet their needs. If we do this, we will be happy. Serving and loving others shows that we are truly the followers of Christ, because that is what He did for us.
LESSON 22. FIVE WONDERFUL PROMISES
1. John 14:1-3, 6
1"Let not your heart be troubled; you believe in God, believe also in Me. 2In My Father's house are many mansions; if it were not so, I would have told you. I go to prepare a place for you. 3And if I go and prepare a place for you, I will come again and receive you to Myself; that where I am, there you may be also." 6Jesus said to him, "I am the way, the truth, and life. No one comes to the Father except through Me."
2. John 14:12
12"Most assuredly, I say to you, he who believes in Me, the works that I do he will do also; and greater works than these he will do, because I go to My Father."
3. John 14:13, 14
13"And whatever you ask in My name, that I will do, that the Father may be glorified in the Son. 14If you ask anything in My name, I will do it."
4. John 14:15-17
15"If you love Me, keep My commandments. 16And I will pray the Father, and He will give you another Helper, that He may abide with you forever, 17even the Spirit of truth, whom the world cannot receive, because it neither sees Him nor knows Him; but you know Him, for He dwells with you and will be in you."
5. John 14:27
27"Peace I leave with you, My peace I give to you; not as the world gives do I give to you. Let not your heart be troubled, neither let it be afraid."
1. Jesus promised to prepare a place for those who follow Him (John 14:1-3, 6).
2. Jesus promised greater power because He would be going to the Father. His Spirit living in believers would be able to do greater things than Jesus could ever do as one man living on earth (John 14:12).
3. Jesus promised a greater privilege of prayer to those who belong to Him (John 14:13, 14).
4. Jesus promised a greater presence with each disciple. When the Holy Spirit came, Jesus would be able to live in each believer, not just be with them (John 14:15-17).
5. Jesus promised a greater peace than the world could give (John 14:27). We need not ever be afraid, because "He who is in you is greater than he who is in the world" (1 John 4:4b).
LESSON 23. THE STORY OF THE VINE
1"I am the true vine, and My Father is the vinedresser. 2Every branch in Me that does not bear fruit He takes away; and every branch that bears fruit He prunes, that it may bear more fruit. 3You are already clean because of the word which I have spoken to you. 4Abide in Me, and I in you. As the branch cannot bear fruit of itself, unless it abides in the vine, neither can you, unless you abide in Me. 5I am the vine, you are the branches. He who abides in Me, and I in him, bears much fruit; for without Me you can do nothing. 6If anyone does not abide in Me, he is cast out as a branch and is withered; and they gather them and throw them into the fire, and they are burned. 7If you abide in Me, and My words abide in you, you will ask what you desire, and it shall be done for you. 8By this My Father is glorified, that you bear much fruit; so you will be My disciples. 9As the Father loved Me, I also have loved you; abide in My love. 10If you keep My commandments, you will abide in My love, just as I have kept My Father's commandments and abide in His love. 11These things I have spoken to you, that My joy may remain in you, and that your joy may be full."
Abiding in Christ
If we receive forgiveness and cleansing and new life from Jesus by trusting in Him at the beginning, we must continue to live by His Spirit throughout our Christian life. We should never think we can live by our own strength or abilities. Paul said, "Are you so foolish? Having begun in the Spirit, are you now being made perfect by the flesh?" (Galatians 3:3).
Sometimes Jesus has to purge us or "prune" us. This may mean that we go through times of suffering or testing. But He only wants to make us more fruitful. "Now no chastening seems to be joyful for the present, but grievous; nevertheless, afterward it yields the peaceable fruit of righteousness to those who have been trained by it" (Hebrews 12:11).
What Is Spiritual Fruit?
Paul tells us that "the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, longsuffering, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, self-control" (Galatians 5:22, 23). As you ask Jesus to cleanse you, and each day ask His Spirit to fill you, your life will start producing more and more of this beautiful fruit. Fruits of righteousness include having a thankful and singing heart, having a submissive spirit, introducing others to Jesus, giving to God's work, not wasting time, speaking the Word of God with boldness, and seeing answers to prayer.
A Serious Warning
If we do not abide in Christ, Jesus warns that we are cast forth as a branch, and are withered, gathered, and burned. Only those who bear fruit by abiding in Christ are His disciples (verses 6 and 8). The apostle Jude reminds us "that the Lord, having saved the people out of the land of Egypt, afterward destroyed those who did not believe" (Jude 5b).
Although we cannot produce fruit ourselves, it is good to look into God's Word, just as we look into a mirror, to "examine yourselves as to whether you are in the faith. Prove yourselves ...that Jesus Christ is in you" (2 Corinthians 13:5a). If we have Jesus' words in us, and obey what He tells us, we shall abide in His love (John 15:10). If we know that the Spirit of Christ is in us, we do not need to fear, because the Holy Spirit is a guarantee and an assurance that we are His. Remember that love is the important test: "God is love, and he who abides in love abides in God, and God in him" (1 John 4:16b). How God loves you! Live in that love.
LESSON 24. CHOSEN TO BE FRIENDS!
12"This is My commandment, that you love one another as I have loved you. 13Greater love has no one than this, than to lay down one's life for his friends. 14You are My friends if you do whatever I command you. 15No longer do I call you servants, for a servant does not know what his master is doing; but I have called you friends, for all things that I heard from My Father I have made known to you. 16You did not choose Me, but I chose you and appointed you that you should go and bear fruit, and that your fruit should remain, that whatever you ask the Father in My name He may give you. 17These things I command you, that you love one another."
LESSON 25. JESUS TEACHES US TO EXPECT PERSECUTION
18"If the world hates you, you know that it hated Me before it hated you. 19If you were of the world, the world would love its own. Yet because you are not of the world, but I chose you out of the world, therefore the world hates you. 20Remember the word that I said to you, ‘A servant is not greater than his master.' If they persecuted Me, they will also persecute you. If they kept My word, they will keep yours also. 21But all these things they will do to you for My name's sake, because they do not know Him who sent Me. 22If I had not come and spoken to them, they would have no sin, but now they have no excuse for their sin. 23He who hates Me hates My Father also. 24If I had not done among them the works which no one else did, they would have no sin; but now they have seen and also hated both Me and My Father. 25But this happened that the word might be fulfilled which is written in their law, ‘They hated Me without a cause.'"
John 16:1-3, 33
1"These things I have spoken to you, that you should not be made to stumble. 2They will put you out of the synagogues; yes, the time is coming that whoever kills you will think that he offers God service. 3And these things they will do to you because they have not known the Father nor Me. 33These things I have spoken to you, that in Me you may have peace. In the world you will have tribulation; but be of good cheer, I have overcome the world."
LESSON 26. JESUS PRAYS FOR US
John 17:1-8, 15-26
1Jesus spoke these words, lifted up His eyes to heaven, and said: "Father, the hour has come. Glorify Your Son, that Your Son also may glorify You, 2as You have given Him authority over all flesh, that He should give eternal life to as many as You have given Him. 3And this is eternal life, that they may know You, the only true God, and Jesus Christ whom You have sent. 4I have glorified You on the earth. I have finished the work which You have given Me to do. 5And now, O Father, glorify Me together with Yourself, with the glory which I had with You before the world was. 6I have manifested Your name to the men whom You have given Me out of the world. They were Yours, You gave them to Me, and they have kept Your word. 7Now they have known that all things which You have given Me are from You. 8For I have given to them the words which You have given Me; and they have received them, and have known surely that I came forth from You; and they have believed that You sent Me.
15"I do not pray that You should take them out of the world, but that You should keep them from the evil one. 16They are not of the world, just as I am not of the world. 17Sanctify them by Your truth. Your word is truth. 18As You sent Me into the world, I also have sent them into the world. 19And for their sakes I sanctify Myself, that they also may be sanctified by the truth. 20I do not pray for these alone, but also for those who will believe in Me through their word; 21that they all may be one, as You, Father, are in Me, and I in You; that they also may be one in Us, that the world may believe that You sent Me. 22And the glory which You gave Me I have given them, that they may be one just as We are one: 23I in them, and You in Me; that they may be made perfect in one, and that the world may know that You have sent Me, and have loved them as You have loved Me. 24Father, I de-sire that they also whom You gave Me may be with Me where I am, that they may behold My glory which You have given Me; for You loved Me before the foundation of the world. 25O righteous Father! The world has not known You, but I have known You; and these have known that You sent Me. 26And I have declared to them Your name, and will declare it, that the love with which You loved Me may be in them, and I in them."
Jesus Prays for You
Isaiah, the prophet, prophesied that the Messiah "made intercession for the transgressors" (Isaiah 53:12). He wanted to give eternal life to as many (John 17:2) as would receive Him.
Jesus also prayed for His own disciples. Earlier he had said to Peter, "Simon, Simon, behold, Satan hath desired to have you, that he may sift you as wheat: But I have prayed for thee, that thy faith fail not" (Luke 22:31, 32). Now again, just before He is to die, Jesus prays for His disciples to be kept from Satan, the Evil One. He also prays for all who, in future generations, will believe on Jesus because of the witness of these faithful disciples. He was praying for you!
He prays for you constantly. "Wherefore he is able also to save them to the uttermost that come unto God by him, seeing he ever liveth to make intercession for them" (Hebrews 7:25). What a wonderful Savior we have! And, oh, how He prays for us to be one with Him, and one with each other in love! May His prayers be answered in your life and in your home today.
Later, when Jesus was praying in Gethsemane, He asked His disciples, "What could ye not watch with me one hour?" (Matthew 26:40). Do you spend time alone with Jesus each day, interceding (praying) for the lost and for His body, the Church? What a privilege to meet with Him at the "throne of grace" each day! "Let us therefore come boldly unto the throne of grace, that we may obtain mercy, and find grace
to help in time of need" (Hebrews 4:16).
LESSON 27. JESUS HAD POWER OVER HIS OWN LIFE AND DEATH
John 10:17, 18
17Therefore doth my Father love me, because I lay down my life, that I might take it again. 18No man taketh it from me, but I lay it down of myself. I have power to take it again. This commandment have I received of my Father.
4Pilate therefore went forth again, and saith unto them, Behold, I bring him forth to you, that ye may know that I find no fault in him. 5Then came Jesus forth, wearing the crown of thorns, and the purple robe. And Pilate saith unto them, Behold the man! 6When the chief priests therefore and officers saw him, they cried out, saying, Crucify him, crucify him. Pilate saith unto them, Take ye him, and crucify him: for I find no fault in him. 7The Jews answered him, We have a law, and by our law he ought to die, because he made himself the Son of God. 8When Pilate therefore heard that saying, he was the more afraid; 9And went again into the judgment hall, and saith unto Jesus, Whence art thou? But Jesus gave him no answer. 10Then saith Pilate unto him, Speakest thou not unto me? knowest thou not that I have the power to release thee? 11Jesus answered, Thou couldest have no power at all against me, except it were given thee from above: therefore he that delivered me unto thee hath the greater sin.
Could Jesus Die?
Since Jesus was truly the Son of God, was it possible for men to kill Him? No man had power over Him. Only He could choose to die and come back to life again.
Jesus said to Pilate, "...My kingdom is not of this world. If My kingdom were of this world, My servants would fight, so that I should not be delivered to the Jews..." (John 18:36). Jesus allowed Himself to be arrested by the Jews. When He was arrested, He said, "Or do you think that I cannot now pray to My Father, and He will provide Me with more that twelve legions of angels? How then could the Scriptures be fulfilled, that it must happen thus?" (Matthew 26:53, 54). The angels who ministered to Jesus as He prayed in the garden could have destroyed the soldiers who arrested Him. But Jesus knew God's purpose which was revealed in the Scriptures.
Jesus Himself had said, "The Son of Man must suffer many things, and be rejected by the elders and chief priests and scribes, and be killed, and be raised the third day" (Luke 9:22). You see, Jesus died because it was God's plan from before the beginning of the world (Revelation 13:8).
It was God's wonderful plan that Jesus would conquer death! "Inasmuch then as the children have partaken of flesh and blood, He Himself likewise shared in the same, that through death He might destroy him who had the power of death, that is, the devil, and release those who through fear of death were all their lifetime subject to bondage" (Hebrews 2:14, 15). Do you fear death? Jesus died to deliver you! Yes, Jesus chose to lay down His life for you!
LESSON 28. JESUS IS CRUCIFIED AND BURIED
John 19:17, 18, 30-37
17And He, bearing His cross, went out to a place called the Place of a Skull, which is called in Hebrew, Golgotha, 18where they crucified Him, and two others with Him, one on either side, and Jesus in the center. 30So when Jesus had received the sour wine, He said, "It is finished!" And bowing His head, He gave up His spirit. 31Therefore, because it was the Preparation Day, that the bodies should not remain on the cross on the Sabbath (for that Sabbath was a high day), the Jews asked Pilate that their legs might be broken, and that they might be taken away. 32Then the soldiers came and broke the legs of the first and of the other who was crucified with Him. 33But when they came to Jesus and saw that He was already dead, they did not break His legs. 34But one of the soldiers pierced His side with a spear, and immediately blood and water came out. 35And he who has seen has testified, and his testimony is true; and he knows that he is telling the truth, so that you may believe. 36For these things were done that the Scripture should be fulfilled, "Not one of His bones shall be broken." 37And again another Scripture says, "They shall look on Him whom they pierced."
40Then they took the body of Jesus, and bound it in strips of linen with the spices, as the custom of the Jews is to bury. 41Now in the place where He was crucified there was a garden, and in the garden a new tomb in which no one had yet been laid. 42So there they laid Jesus, because of the Jews' Preparation Day, for the tomb was nearby.
Christ's Death Was No Accident
The key to understanding the Bible is to realize that all the Scriptures center around Christ. "And beginning at Moses and all the Prophets, He expounded to them in all the Scriptures the things concerning Himself" (Luke 24:27). Jesus knew that "all things must be fulfilled which were written in the Law of Moses and the Prophets and the Psalms concerning Me" (Luke 24:44b). "And He opened their understanding, that they might comprehend the Scriptures. Then He said to them, ‘Thus it is written, and thus it was necessary for the Christ to suffer and to rise from the dead the third day, and that repentance and remission of sins should be preached in His name to all nations, beginning at Jerusalem'" (Luke 24: 45-47).
How wonderful God's plan is! If you have a Bible, study the Scriptures below to see how God told the world His plan in the Old Testament Scriptures and how Jesus fulfilled that plan completely. (These are only a very few of the 300 prophecies concerning Jesus' first coming.)
Satan took God's creation hostage, but God had a rescue plan all worked out, and that rescue plan worked! All who want to be rescued can be delivered from Satan's bondage now!
LESSON 29. JESUS RISES FROM THE DEAD
1On the first day of the week Mary Magdalene came to the tomb early, while it was still dark, and saw that the stone had been taken away from the tomb. 2Then she ran and came to Simon Peter, and to the other disciple, whom Jesus loved, and said to them, "They have taken away the Lord out of the tomb, and we do not know where they have laid Him." 3Peter therefore went out, and the other disciple, and were going to the tomb. 4So they both ran together, and the other disciple outran Peter and came to the tomb first. 5And he, stooping down and looking in, saw the linen cloths lying there; yet he did not go in. 6Then Simon Peter came, following him, and went into the tomb; and he saw the linen cloths lying there, 7and the handkerchief that had been around His head, not lying with the linen cloths, but folded together in a place by itself. 8Then the other disciple, who came to the tomb first, went in also; and he saw and believed. 9For as yet they did not know the Scripture, that He must rise again from the dead.
Why the Resurrection Is So Important
Job asked the question long ago, "If a man dies, shall he live again?" (Job 14:14a). This was his glad answer: "For I know that my Redeemer lives, and He shall stand at last on the earth; and after my skin is destroyed, this I know, that in my flesh I shall see God" (Job 19:25, 26). Yes, because He lives, we will live also (John 14:19).
"For though He was crucified in weakness, yet He lives by the power of God. For we also are weak in Him, but we shall live with Him by the power of God toward you" (2 Corinthians 13:4).
The whole gospel message was summarized by Paul in two verses: "For I delivered to you first of all that which I also received: that Christ died for our sins according to the Scriptures, and that He was buried, and that He rose again the third day according to the Scriptures" (1 Corinthians 15:3, 4). If it were not for the resurrection of Jesus Christ, we would have nothing to preach. We would have no hope. We would still be living in our sins and doomed to death. But, praise God, Jesus is alive, and He can live in you! "But if the Spirit of Him who raised Jesus from the dead dwells in you, He who raised Christ from the dead will also give life to your mortal bodies through His Spirit who dwells in you" (Romans 8:11).
Now We Must Live for Him
"For the love of Christ constrains us, because we judge thus: that if One died for all, then all died; and He died for all, that those who live should live no longer for themselves, but for Him who died for them and rose again" (2 Corinthians 5:14, 15). We were dead in our sins when Christ died for us; now we are alive to God. We are new creations in Him. We must not live this new life for ourselves, but for Him! You do not belong to yourself now. "For you were bought at a price; therefore glorify God in your body and in your spirit, which are God's" (1 Corinthians 6:20).
LESSON 30. JESUS APPEARS TO MARY
11But Mary stood outside by the tomb weeping, and as she wept she stooped down and looked into the tomb. 12And she saw two angels in white sitting, one at the head and the other at the feet, where the body of Jesus had lain. 13Then they said to her, "Woman, why are you weeping?" She said to them, "Because they have taken away my Lord, and I do not know where they have laid Him." 14Now when she had said this, she turned around and saw Jesus standing there, and did not know that it was Jesus. 15Jesus said to her, "Woman, why are you weeping? Whom are you seeking?" She, supposing Him to be the gardener, said to Him, "Sir, if You have carried Him away, tell me where You have laid Him, and I will take Him away." 16Jesus said to her, "Mary!" She turned and said to Him, "Rabboni!" (which is to say, Teacher). 17Jesus said to her, "Do not cling to Me, for I have not yet ascended to My Father; but go to My brethren and say to them, ‘I am ascending to My Father and your Father, and to My God and your God.'"
How Jesus Respects Women
In both the hours of darkest tragedy and the hours of brightest joy, Jesus showed respect for women. During the agony of His crucifixion, Jesus tenderly spoke to His mother and gave her into the care of His beloved disciple, John (John 19:26, 27). Now, in the triumph of His resurrection, He chose to appear first to a woman—another Mary.
Godly women, who trust in God and wear the ornament of a meek and quiet spirit are "precious in the sight of God" (1 Peter 3:4b). When God made man in His own image, He created male and female as a perfect whole to mirror His likeness (Genesis 1:27). In spiritual things, God gives both women and men the same opportunity to come to Chirst and receive the same inheritance. "By which have been given to us exceedingly great and precious promises, that through these you may be partakers of the divine nature" (2 Peter 1:4a). "There is neither male nor female; for you are all one in Christ Jesus" (Galatians 3:28b).
God honors women so much that He commanded husbands to love their wives just as Christ loved the Church and gave His very life for it (Ephesians 5:25). "So husbands ought to love their own wives as their own bodies; he who loves his wife loves himself" (Ephesians 5:28). God loves perfect union and harmony between husband and wife. He hates divorce. "For the Lord God of Israel says that He hates divorce," (Malachi 2:16a). "Fulfill my joy by being like-minded, having the same love, being of one accord, of one mind. Let nothing be done through selfish ambition or conceit, but in lowliness of mind let each esteem others better than himself" (Philippians 2:2, 3).
LESSON 31. JESUS APPEARS TO HIS DISCIPLES
19Then, the same day at evening, being the first day of the week, when the doors were shut where the disciples were assembled, for fear of the Jews, Jesus came and stood in the midst, and said to them, "Peace be with you." 20Now when He had said this, He showed them His hands and His side. Then the disciples were glad when they saw the Lord. 21Then Jesus said to them again, "Peace to you! As the Father has sent Me, I also send you." 22And when He had said this, He breathed on them, and said to them, "Receive the Holy Spirit."
LESSON 32. A DOUBTING DISCIPLE BELIEVES
24But Thomas, called Didymus, one of the twelve, was not with them when Jesus came. 25The other disciples therefore said to him, "We have seen the Lord." But he said to them, "Unless I see in His hands the print of the nails, and put my finger into the print of the nails, and put my hand into His side, I will not believe."
26And after eight days His disciples were again inside, and Thomas with them. Jesus came, the doors being shut, and stood in the midst, and said, "Peace to you!" 27Then He said to Thomas, "Reach your finger here, and look at My hands; and reach your hand here, and put it into My side. Do not be unbelieving, but believing." 28And Thomas answered and said to Him, "My Lord and my God!"
A Special Blessing
Jesus says you have a special blessing if you believe on Him even when you have not seen Him with your eyes. Today we know Jesus by His Spirit who lives in us. We also know Him by the words He speaks to us through the Bible.
One day we shall see Him. "We know that when He is revealed, we shall be like Him, for we shall see Him as He is" (1 John 3:2b). "Blessed are the pure in heart, for they shall see God" (Matthew 5:8). "Behold, He is coming with clouds, and every eye will see Him, and they also who pierced Him. And all the tribes of the earth will mourn because of Him" (Revelation 1:7a). When you see Jesus, will you be glad or sad? If Jesus is your Lord and God, as He was for Thomas, you will be so glad!
LESSON 33. JESUS HAS POWER TO PROVIDE
John 21:2-6; 9-12; 15-17
2Simon Peter, Thomas called Didymus, Nathanael of Cana in Galilee, the sons of Zebedee, and two others of His disciples were together. 3Simon Peter said to them, "I am going fishing." They said to him, "We are going with you also." They went out and immediately got into the boat, and that night they caught nothing. 4But when the morning had now come, Jesus stood on the shore; yet the disciples did not know that it was Jesus. 5Then Jesus said to them, "Children, have you any food?" They answered Him, "No." 6And He said to them, "Cast the net on the right side of the boat, and you will find some." So they cast, and now they were not able to draw it in because of the multitude of fish.
9Then, as soon as they had come to land, they saw a fire of coals there, and fish laid on it, and bread. 10Jesus said to them, "Bring some of the fish which you have just caught." 11Simon Peter went up and dragged the net to land, full of large fish, one hundred and fifty-three; and although there were so many, the net was not broken. 12Jesus said to them, "Come and eat....
15So when they had eaten breakfast, Jesus said to Simon Peter, "Simon, son of Jonah, do you love Me more than these?" He said to Him, "Yes, Lord; You know that I love You." He said to him, "Feed My lambs." 16He said to him again a second time, "Simon, son of Jonah, do you love Me?" He said to Him, "Yes, Lord; You know that I love You." He said to him, "Tend My sheep." 17He said to him the third time, "Simon, son of Jonah, do you love Me?" Peter was grieved because He said to him the third time, "Do you love Me?" And he said to Him, "Lord, You know all things; You know that I love You." Jesus said to him, "Feed My sheep."
Come and Dine
What a beautiful picture of Jesus giving an invitation to breakfast! Jesus guided his disciples to the place of abundant provision. Are you hungry and thirsty for righteousness? Jesus said, "Blessed are those who hunger and thirst for righteousness, for they shall be filled" (Matthew 5:6).
Come into His presence each morning for a spiritual breakfast, feeding on His Word, which satisfies the soul. The Lord, your God, who has led you out of bondage, says to you, "Open your mouth wide, and I will fill it" (Psalm 81:10b).
If you belong to Christ, you have another beautiful invitation to "come and dine." Before Jesus returns to this earth as KING OF KINGS and LORD OF LORDS, His eternal union with all believers will be celebrated with a marriage supper.
John records, "‘Let us be glad and rejoice and give Him glory, for the marriage of the Lamb has come, and His wife has made herself ready.' And to her it was granted to be arrayed in fine linen, clean and bright, for the fine linen is the righteous acts of the saints" (Revelation 19:7, 8). Are you ready for that supper call? Remember, we cannot wear our own righteousness. In God's sight, "all our righteousnesses are like filthy rags" (Isaiah 64:6). Jesus Himself is the only garment of righteousness that makes us acceptable for that wonderful marriage feast. "For He made Him who knew no sin to be sin for us, that we might become the righteousness of God in Him" (2 Corinthians 5:21). What a wonderful exchange: He took our sin and gave us His righteousness!
Feed My Sheep
After Jesus has fed you, He wants you to feed others. Have you been fed in your soul by studying this Bible Study on John? Then you must share with others what God has taught you. "Shepherd the flock of God which is among you,...being examples to the flock" (1 Peter 5:2a, 3b). We can bless others by sharing God's Word with them and being an example to them. "Teaching them to observe all things that I have commanded you; and lo, I am with you always" (Matthew 28:20a).
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