John, the worthy disciple of Jesus – Part – II

  1. What is the principal message of the prologue to this gospel?  1:1-18.  Bruce, p. 28.

The prologue to this gospel introduces us to who Jesus is and explains that all forms of life emanates from him. God had sent His son, Jesus Christ, amongst us, so that we would repent for our sins. Jesus came to mend the broken bridge between God and mankind due to all the sins committed by mankind. But His arrival was not taken well by all. He was rejected, beaten and thrashed [He came to that which was his own, but his own did not receive him. (NIV BIBLE- JOHN 1:11)]. Even though the world and everything in it had been created by and through Him, His own created men didn’t accept Him. But all those who accepted Him and submitted to Him and repented, has been redeemed. They became His children. While Moses taught us how to live righteously, forgiveness and blessings came from Jesus Christ. At the heart of the gospel is Jesus’ true identity, the son of God and the light to every mankind. It sets the theme of the entire gospel, which is to give a closer look at who Jesus was, a divine, timeless being, who was there at the beginning when everything was created [“In the beginning was the Word…” (NIV BIBLE- JOHN 1:1)] and is now and forever shall be.


  1. Compare verse 1 to Genesis 1:1.

In both Genesis 1:1 and John 1:1, we learn about creation and the beginning of everything. In Genesis 1:1, we learn that it was through God all things were created, starting from the heaven to the sun and moon and various forms of life present on earth. In John 1:1, we learn that before the creation of everything, there was “the word”, his son- Jesus Christ, who resided among man to redeem them of their sins. We learn that Jesus was there with God from before the beginning of everything. Both the verses tell us about the stories of origin and creation in this world. In both the verses, God is said to be the creator of light, that overpowered darkness, both in the world as well as in our hearts. In both, the creation comes in existence by God’s words. However, in Genesis 1, we learn how God created everything, while in John 1, we see how God sent His son to redeem His creations that has gone astray.


  1. What is meant by “the Word” (Greek: logos) of verse 1-3, and how is it connected to Christ? Bruce, pp. 29-31(cf. Colossians 1:16; Hebrews 1:2).

“The Word” refers to the words of God- his promises to us, his warnings, his blessings, everything. And all of these are incarnated in Jesus Christ, his son, whom he sent to Earth to redeem the sins of men. Jesus is a part of God. So, “the word”, here, refers to Jesus Christ. The verse 1-3 shows that Jesus is timeless. He was there before the beginning of creation, in the past, in the present and will be in the future. Jesus Christ is God’s way of communicating with us. Jesus told us about God and his words. All the prophesies and revelations revealed to the prophets have been personified in Jesus. All the testimonies by the prophets about God’s word of the coming of a Messiah has been made into flesh in Jesus Christ. Everything in this world and beyond has been made by God’s words and that word in personified into his son, Jesus Christ. Thus, Jesus was there with God before, during and after every creation. There is nothing in existence that has not been made without God’s words, and therefore, there is nothing that has not been made through Jesus Christ. Thus, “the Word” refers to Jesus Christ.


  1. The relation God/Word in the prologue corresponds to what relation in the later discourses? Bruce, p. 33.

The relation of God/Word in the prologue corresponds to the relation of Father and son in the later discourses. From the relation of God and Word, we learn that the word was part of God and is God and was there with God before the beginning of everything. The word became flesh and came to the world as Jesus Christ. Jesus Christ is the son of God, who came to the world to suffer for men’s evil doings.


  1. Give the double meaning of “The life was the light of men.” 1:4. Bruce, p. 33.

Light represents all good and pure things, whereas darkness represents evil things. In the presence of light, we can differentiate darkness. So, we can make good from evil. Similarly, through Jesus, we received our life and thus, with Jesus within our hearts, we can differentiate between good and evil. We learn to realise our sins and repent for it. Again, without life, a man is dead. There is nothing in him, let alone light or darkness. So, life is an essential requirement for a man. Jesus Christ is the spring from which all life emanates. Because without him, there would be no existence of men or any form of life in this world. Also, without Jesus, our lives would bear no meaning. It would be like a corpse, which has no sense of being alive or dead. Evil and sins would rule us and everything would be in chaos. But with Jesus in our lives, we learn to embrace the life that has been gifted to us and try to make the most use of it.


  1. John the Baptist came to bear witness of what? 1:6-8.

John the Baptist came before to bear the witness of the coming of “the light” or the Messiah, Jesus Christ. John the Baptist, himself, was not the light, which would bring men out of the darkness and the evil-groped world. But he came to prepare the world to welcome Jesus, the son of God, the actual “light”, that would remove all barriers from the eyes of men so that they would be able to see their mistakes. John the Baptist came before Jesus, to preach about Him, so that men would accept Jesus and listen to him and realise their sins and repent for them.


  1. Define “world” as used three times in verse 10. Bruce, p. 36.

In the phrase, “he was in the world,” refers to Jesus being born into this world. It refers to the time when God sent his only son, Jesus Christ, to this world to live among men. “and though the world was made through him,” refers to the fact that the world and everything in it had been created by Him. We see Jesus as the creator. And “the world did not recognise him.”, refers to the population of the world who did not accept and receive him with their open hearts. This “world” implies the people who tortured him and did not believe in his words.


  1. Explain “he came unto his own” and “his own did not receive him” in verse 11. Bruce, p.37.

God sent his only son, Jesus Christ, to this world to mend the bond that had been broken between men and God, due to every kind of sins that men divulged into without any sign of remorse or guilt. We have learnt in the very beginning of the gospel that Jesus was there with God since the very beginning and through him everything was made. We learn that mankind is a creation of God. So, in that sense, men belonged to Jesus. They are his creations. They are his own people. But these people did not receive him well. They did not believe in Him and his words. They mocked and tested and tortured him. Jesus came to this world so that people would realise their sins and repent for them. But instead, the people tortured and killed him.


  1. What is involved in the expression “believe on his name” in verse 12?

Those people who believed in Jesus Christ being the son of God and believed his words, became his children. To have “believed in his name” means to accept him for who he is and his teachings. To believe in his name means to give up all evil and nefarious ways to select the path of righteousness and always stay in the glory of God.


  1. What is Docetism and what does the Evangelist say to oppose it? 1:14.  Bruce, p. 39.

According to Docetism, Christ was not born in a human form and there was no bodily existence of him, and thus, there was no actual bodily suffering. However, the Evangelist believe that Christ was born in human flesh and blood and dwelt among men, “The word became flesh and made his dwelling among us.” (NIV BIBLE- JOHN 1:14). According to the Evangelist, God’s words was personified into Jesus, who was sent to suffer for our sins, so that we may repent and be saved.


  1. How does verse 14 defeat the doctrine of Arius? Bruce, p. 40.

The doctrine of Arius postulated that the Son of Gd did not exist since eternity. But he was begotten within a time frame by God to serve a purpose. But according to verse 14, the word of God existed along with God since forever and that word took the form of man to reside amongst them and bring them closer to God.


  1. Explain the term “only begotten.” 1:14.   Bruce, p. 41.

The term “only begotten” refers to the idea that of being uniquely birthed of/by. In the passage, it refers to the fact that the glory of Jesus was only possible because he was the true son of God, who was the epitome of truth and glory.


  1. In what sense is “the Jews” of verse 19 used? Bruce, p. 46.

In verse 19, “the Jews” are the Jewish religious and political leaders, who wanted to check the authenticity of John the Baptist. They doubted the subjects preached by John the Baptist and with an insincere effort, tried to undermine John the Baptist’s status and dismiss him.


  1. What traits of John the Baptist reminded the Jews of Elijah? 1:21 (cf. 2 Kings 1:8; Mark l:6; 9:13; Luke 1:17).

According to 2 Kings 1:8 and Mark 1:6, both Elijah and John the Baptist, respectively, wore a clothing that had a leather belt around their waist. Both Elijah and John the Baptist were treated wrongly by the people to whom they were preaching. According to Luke 1:17, just like Elijah, John the Baptist would also preach to the people how to lead a righteous life. His teachings would make the people turn away from evil and disobedience and lead a God-centered life. Just like Elijah, John the Baptist would carry the good news of the coming of the Messiah, and prepare the people to welcome him with their open hearts. These were the traits of John the Baptist that were similar to Elijah and reminded the Jews of him.


  1. John the Baptist refers to which prophecy concerning his mission? 1:22-23. Bruce, pp. 48f.

John the Baptist refers to the prophecy of the coming of the Messiah. His mission in this prophecy was to clear the road for the Messiah, so that people would listen to him and accept his words. John the Baptist’s mission was to prepare the hearts of the people so that they could welcome Him gracefully.


  1. Who were the Pharisees, and how did they differ from the Sadducees? 1:24 (cf. Acts 23: 6-8). Bruce, pp. 49f.

The Pharisees are the group of people who believed in resurrection from death and the existence of angels, spirits and other such supernatural beings. Whereas, the Sadducees are the group that believed in neither of these two things. They did not even believe in afterlife and thus rejected the entire notion of eternal punishment or blessing. The Sadducees mostly belonged to the aristocratic families. Whereas, the Pharisees had a more humble background.


  1. What demonstrated the humility of John the Baptist? 1:26-27.

John the Baptist’s humility is shown in the fact that even though he is elder to Jesus, being born before him, he acclaims the fact that Jesus is the son of God, who has a more higher purpose to serve in earth. He told the people that one person among them was so worthy and valuable that John was not even worthy to untie the straps of Jesus’ sandals, putting himself in the lowest of all ranks.


  1. With what opening statement did John the Baptist introduce Jesus? 1:29.

John the Baptist introduces Jesus as the lamb of God and the one who would remove all sins from the face of the earth. A lamb is the most innocent, gentle and purest of all animals. A lamb also represents a sacrificial animal. John the Baptist proclaimed Jesus to be the “Lamb of God” (NIV BIBLE- JOHN 1:29) because Jesus was the most humble and pure person in this world. And also, He would be sacrificed to redeem the sins of people.


  1. What sign demonstrated to John that Jesus was “he that baptizes in the Holy Spirit?” 1:33.

John the Baptist didn’t personally know who Jesus was. But he had been told that the person on whom the Spirit would come down and remain over,would be the one “who will baptise with the Holy Spirit.” (NIV BIBLE- JOHN 1:33).


  1. Who was Cephas and who brought him to Jesus? Explain the meaning of the name. 1:41-2. Bruce, p. 58.

Cephas or Simon, was a Jewish fisherman and the brother of Andrew and the son of John. When Andrew heard about Jesus from John the Baptist and followed Jesus, brought Cephas to Jesus. Jesus said that Simon would be called Cephas or Peter, which meant”rock”.


  1. In verse 47, to what Old Testament event does “In whom there is no deceit” refer? (cf. Genesis 27:35f.). Bruce, p. 60.

In chapter 27 of Genesis, we learn how Jacob deceived his father, Issac, to get the blessings meant for his older brother, Esau. Issac asked his first born son, Esau, to bring him food that he would hunt and some wine and then he would bless him. But Esau’s younger brother, Jacob, along with his mother, Rebekah, duped Issac by making him believe that he was Esau by wearing Esau’s clothes and covering his hands and neck with goatskin to resemble his hairy body, in order to gain the blessings that Issac had meant to give Esau.


  1. Which two Messianic titles did Nathanael apply to Jesus? 1:49. Bruce, p. 61.

The two Messianic titles applied by Nathanael for Jesus were- “the Son of God” and “the King of Israel”.


  1. Explain Jesus’ promise that the disciples will see “the angels of God ascending and descending upon the Son of man.” 1:51. Bruce, p. 62.

By this promise, Jesus is telling the disciples that in the future they will find various miracles happening and they must believe in those. The imagery means that the doors of the heaven will be open and the angels will be busy bringing to and fro new messages or miracles. It means that the bond between heaven and earth will be active again, through Jesus Christ, after they have remained severed for a long time.


  1. What was the setting for Jesus’ first sign? What happened there?  2:1-11.  Bruce, p. 70.

At a wedding at Cana in Galilee, the hosts ran out of wine. His mother informed him of this issue. But Jesus said that his time to reveal himself or his power had not yet come. But out of respect for his mother, he complied to help them. Jesus asked the servants to fill the six stone jars with water and turned them into the best wine one had ever drunk.


  1. List and define four New Testament words that refer to Jesus’ “mighty works.” 2:11. Bruce,p. 72.

The four words are-

  1. Miracle- events or outcomes that are held to be supernatural in origin and brings about fortunate outcomes.
  2. Manifest- something that can be perceived by the senses.
  3. Glory- overwhelming splendour.
  4. Disciples- ardent followers or learners of a teacher.


  1. Which city became Jesus’ headquarters during the Galilean ministry? Where was it located? 2:12.  Bruce,  p. 73.

Capernaum became Jesus’ headquarters during the Galilean ministry. It was located in Israel, on the northern shores of the Sea of Galilee.


  1. How many Passovers are mentioned in the Fourth Gospel, and what does that suggest aboutthe duration of Jesus’ ministry? 2:13.  Bruce, p. 73.

The Fourth Gospel mentions three Passovers. This suggests that Jesus’ ministry continued for three years before he was tortured and later, crucified.


  1. Explain the presence of oxen, sheep, doves, and money-changers in the temple. 2:14.  Bruce, p. 74.

At the temple courts, people were selling oxen, sheep, doves to the people who wanted to offer sacrifices to God. Also, there were money-changers present who were carrying on trade inside the temple. These people had converted God’s house into a place of business. They had defiled the sanctity of God’s place.


  1. Jesus accused those selling animals and the money-changers of what? How does that compare with the reason given by the other Gospel writers?   2:16. (cf. Mark 11:17).

Jesus accused those selling animals and money-changers of defiling God’s house and making it a market place. It is a place of worship. But in that place they were conducting business by which instead of helping people, they were mostly duping the people.

Other Gospel writers reasoned that the temple was a place of prayers and the people had turned it into a den of robbers, where evil works take place.


  1. Find the word “antanaclasis” in a dictionary. Explain how this figure of speech is seen in Jesus’ words “destroy this temple.” 2:19 (cf. Matt. 26:61; Mark 8:31; 9:31).

The word “antanaclasis” refers to repeatedly using same words and/or phrases, whose meaning changes each time. In Matthew 26:61, the phrase has been used by two witnesses in the sense that Jesus had said he would destroy the temple of God and build it back in three days. They meant to incriminate Jesus by saying that Jesus spoke blasphemous words. But in Mark 8:31 and 9:31, Jesus said these words to mean that he would be killed and then after three days, he would be resurrected from death. According to this, his body was a temple of God because in his body and mind, God resided. The people will torture and mock and crucify him. But three days later, he will rise from the dead.


  1. Discuss whether the disciples understood the prophecy of his resurrection at the time he spoke these words. 2:22.

When Jesus spoke these words in the chapter 2 of the fourth Gospel, his disciples were not grown or mature enough in spirit to have understood the inner meaning of the prophecy regarding his resurrections. They had not yet received the valuable lessons from Christ that would later help them to grow in the glory of God. And it was later, when he actually resurrected, they they recalled this prophecy.


  1. Who was Nicodemus? What did Jesus tell him he must do to enter the kingdom of heaven?  3:1-5  (cf. John 7:50f; 19:39).

Nicodemus was a Pharisee and “a member of the Jewish Ruling Council” (NIV BIBLE- JOHN 3:1). Jesus said to him that no one could go to heaven unless they have been born again. By this, he meant being reborn spiritually, i.e., his spirit must be cleansed of all evil and impure substances.


  1. Discuss the expression “born of water and spirit.” 3:5. Bruce, pp. 84f.

Being born of water meant to be born of natural process out of the womb of a mother. And being born of spirit means to be reborn again by the grace of the Holy Spirit, by which his mind and soul would be cleansed of every resident evil. Being born of spirit means to have accepted the teachings of Jesus Christ and having faith in him. It is through that faith and repentance that men will receive salvation.


  1. “Even so must the Son of man be lifted up” refers specifically to what event? How are they similar? How are they different? 3:14.  (cf. Numbers 21: 5-9).

In the Old Testament, in the Book of Numbers, the city of disobedient people were afflicted with poisonous snakes and were only saved when Moses, through God, lifted up an image of snake and when people looked at them were cured. In the phrase 3:14 of the fourth gospel, it is said that people will be saved from eternal damnation because Jesus suffered for us all on the Cross and when we look at him and believe in him, we will be saved. In both the aspects, they are similar in the sense that people needed to believe in God and his glory to be saved. But the difference is that in John 3:14, it is through Jesus’ actual physical presence that men would believe. In the event of Moses, people had to believe in a sign, which was beyond their understanding. But Jesus lived and ate and died among us.


  1. Discuss the meaning of the famous Golden Text. 3:16.

God had created the world and everything in it that men might thrive in it happily and in abundance. But men started to grow apart from God and divulge in all kinds of evil and nefarious activities, which moved them farther and farther away from God. He sent prophets and warnings at several times in history. But people didn’t give any heed to those warnings. But God is faithful and a forgiving father. He gave mankind another chance to redeem themselves by sending his only son, Jesus Christ, to the world, so that he could reside among men and help them change themselves. But men had hardened their hearts so much that they could neither recognise him nor did they welcome him. But those who opened their hearts to Jesus and accepted his teachings and believed in his words and repented for their sins, will be forgiven on the day of judgement. They might have to undergo several difficulties in life to uphold the teachings of Jesus, but they will be in God’s grace and have eternal life.


  1. The terms “judge” and “judgment” appear to have several meanings in the Bible. How are they used in 3:17-18?

Jesus came to this world not to judge, but to save mankind from eternal damnation. Those who would believe in him would be saved on the judgement day. But those who will not believe in him and his words and go on in their path of evil, will face judgement. From these verses, we learn that when Jesus came and suffered for our sins, he didn’t judge anyone. Because everyone is given the chance to change. But those who will not change and return to the path of righteousness, would have to face the judgement, resulting in eternal damnation.


  1. Why would Jesus say that men (people) love darkness more than the light? What does that mean? 3:19.

Darkness suggests evil deeds and thoughts. Men had their hands so deep in the pool of evil doings that they felt guilty to face the light, which stands for truth and honesty. Darkness has hardened the souls of men that they are no more able to open their hearts to welcome the refreshing light. Moreover, anything evil is easy to peruse. Because any virtuous deed needs hard work and perseverance. But evil things are more tempting due to their easy nature.


  1. Who is “the friend of the bridegroom” of verse 29, and what does that mean?

“The friend of the bridegroom” of verse 29 is referred to John the Baptist, who waited eagerly for the coming of the Christ. As per ritual, the friend of the bridegroom makes all arrangement for a smooth marriage ceremony. similarly, John the Baptist made all arrangements before Jesus Christ actually arrived. He tried to warm the hearts of the people to welcome Jesus Christ in all his glory.


  1. Look up the word “hyperbole” in a dictionary. In what sense might this figure of speech apply to the writer’s words in 3:32? Bruce, p. 96.

Hyperbole refers to the over-emphasising any fact. In this verse, it is said that Jesus told us about his testimonies but none of us believed him. In fact, there were many people who did believe him and his testimonies and followed him with all their heart and soul. So, the verse is over-emphasised to explain the fact there were certain group of people who did not believe in Jesus and his teachings.


  1. Explain “he gives not the Spirit by measure” in this context. 3:34. Bruce, p. 97.

In the Old Testament, it has been seen that some people had received the Spirit of God for a certain period only and not limitless. But Jesus has the Spirit of God forever. It is because Jesus CHrist is the son of God and also a part of God himself, that the God’s Spirit is present in him continuously.


  1. What is the relationship of “believe” and “obey” in verse 36? Bruce, p. 98.

In verse 36, the author of the Fourth Gospel intends to say that those who believed in the teachings of Jesus, will receive the gift of eternal life. But those who will not accept and believe in Jesus will face eternal damnation. Believing and obeying may not always go hand in hand. A person may not believe in someone, but due to any kind of pressure, needs to obey the other person. But in this case, if a person doesn’t believe in Jesus, obeying all his teachings would bring about the same result. It is because, through the teachings and words of Jesus Christ, we grow as individuals and learn to live a righteous and worthy life. And those who believe in Jesus Christ, automatically obeys the teachings propounded by him because there is nothing in his teachings that may contradict otherwise.


  1. The concept of the “wrath of God” is controversial. Write a paragraph explaining how you understand that.

The wrath of God refers to the anger of God and the destruction that ensued along with. one might consider the wrath of God to be a frightful incident. And it has been in the Old Testament, where we find God’s anger burning cities and killing people of hunger and thirst. But then again, we find God giving numerous chances to his people to accept their sins and repent for them. But we realise as we dive deep into the Bible that God’s wrath and his deliverance of justice is at par with the sins that men have committed. God is very patient. He gave multiple choices to the people to accept their sins. But instead of owning it, they continued committing more sins and widening the gap between them and God. But just like our parents who punish us when we commit any sin, similarly, God reprimands his children while giving ample space to grow and repent. Without these reprimands, children tend to go astray and commit more sins. So, his wrath is justified to keep his children in the right path. Moreover, we cannot say God is a punishing or avenging Father, because he gave up his son to mankind so that men might return to their path of righteousness. But men crucified his son and yet, God has given them ample chances to repent for their sins. So, his wrath is justified in the sense that it is his way towards ultimate good.


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