Some have called the Gospel of John the greatest book in the world. More copies of this book have been printed than any other book of the Bible. Thousands of people have come to know the Lord through reading John's gospel. The most familiar and famous verse of Scripture is found in this book: JOHN 3:16. The Gospel of John is so wonderfully simple and so clearly reveals how a person can have eternal life. Because of this, when people ask where they should begin reading the Bible they should be told to start with John. On the other hand, John's gospel is so deep and rich with truth that the oldest believer will not grow tired of reading its pages. All of God's Word is precious, but the Gospel of John has a very special place in the hearts of true believers.
John, the human author, was one of the twelve disciples and also the brother of J____________ (Matthew 10:2). He is called the disciple "W__________ J____________ L____________" (John 13:23; 21:20). John personally witnessed most of the things he wrote about in this gospel and he was actually there when these events took place. What are we told about the things that John has written in this Book (see John 19:35 and 21:24)? ___________________________________________________________________ Are there other things that John could have written about the Lord (John 21:25)? _______ The Gospel of John is only ______ chapters in length. John could have written many more things about the Christ whom he knew so well.
Why did John write this Gospel? Why did he carefully record some of the things that Jesus said and did in this Book? In John 20:31 John tells us exactly why he wrote this Gospel: "But these (things) are ____________________, that ye might __________________ that Jesus is the _________________ (the Messiah, the promised Saviour-King), the _________ of God; and that __________________________ ye might have ____________ through His Name." God wants men, women, boys and girls to BELIEVE on His Son, and those who do believe will have LIFE. Is this similar to what Jesus said in John 6:47? _________
- 1A. THE WORD (John 1:1-18).
- 2A. THE WITNESS (John 1:19-51).
1B. John the Baptist (John 1:19-34).
2B. Andrew tells Peter (John 1:35-42).
3B. Philip tells Nathanael (John 1:43-51).
3A. THE FIRST MIRACLE OF JESUS (John 2:1-12).
4A. THE ZEAL OF THE LORD JESUS (John 2:13-17).
5A. THE SIGN OF HIS DEATH AND RESURRECTION (John 2:18-22).
In the very first verse of John's Gospel we are introduced to a Person who is called "THE WORD." How many times does this expression ("THE WORD") occur in verse 1? _________ Can you find another verse in Chapter 1 where this Person is called "THE WORD"? ____________________
Who Is THE WORD? The first 18 verses of Chapter 1 describe this Person. Let us see what these verses tell us about the identity of the Person who is called "THE WORD."
Verse 1 --"the Word was God." See John 5:18.
Verse 3 --"All things were _____________ by Him." See verse 10.
Verse 4 --"In Him was ___________." See John 14:6.
Verse 9 --This Person "was the true __________________." See John 8:12.
Verse 11-- He was rejected by His own people (see John 19:15-16).
Verse 14-"the Word was made (became) ________________." He became a man!
Verse 14--He is the only begotten of the Father (see verse 18).
Verse 17--In this verse THE WORD is clearly identified. HE IS NO ONE OTHER THAN
After reading John 1:1-18 it must be concluded that these verses are
speaking about the Person of Jesus Christ. In fact, the entire Gospel of John is about
this Person--His mission, His ministry, His miracles and His mighty work of redemption.
Ideas are expressed by words. When people communicate they usually communicate by using words, either spoken or written. The next time you want to tell your parents something, try doing it without using words! See if you can communicate to them without using any words, written or spoken. It is not very easy! Even the sign language that deaf people use is WORD communication because the different signs stand for different words or letters.
God wants to communicate to men. God wants to reveal Himself to men. God could have done this in different ways. He could have spoken to us directly from heaven. He could have sent angels to communicate to us. But God chose the very best way: HE SENT HIS SON! Jesus Christ is the clear communication of God. Jesus Christ is GOD'S WORD TO US! Jesus Christ made it possible for man to see and know what God is really like (compare John 1:18 and John 14:8-9). In these last days God hath "spoken to us by _______ _________" (Hebrews 1:2). This is why He is called THE WORD.
There are actually two main ways in which God has communicated Himself to men: 1) God has communicated Himself through the living WORD OF GOD, Jesus Christ. 2) God has communicated Himself through the written WORD OF GOD, the Bible (the 66 Books).
There are many people who believe that Jesus was a great teacher or a godly prophet or even the best man that ever lived. But the Gospel of John makes it very clear that Jesus was not just a man. The last 4 words in John 1:1 say "________ ____________ ________ _________" He was WITH GOD and He WAS GOD (John 1:1).
How can a Person be WITH GOD and also BE GOD? You can be WITH YOUR FRIEND, but you cannot BE YOUR FRIEND. How could Jesus both be with God and be God? To understand this we need to remember that God is a TRINITY (one God in 3 Persons):
1) Jesus, the Son of God, was with God the Father (compare John 17:5).
2) Jesus is God. He is God the Son.
One God in three Persons! Our little minds cannot fully understand this, but God wants us to believe His Word even when we do not understand it! Finite minds will never fully understand an infinite God!
The fact that Jesus Christ is God is also seen in John 1:3-- "All things were ____________ by Him." JESUS CHRIST IS THE CREATOR OF ALL THINGS (see also Colossians 1:16; Ephesians 3:9; Hebrews 1:2 and John 1:10). Only God can create! Everything that you can see, touch or feel was made by Jesus Christ. He even made the very wood that was used to construct the manger on which He was laid or the cross upon which He died!
Jesus Christ's creative power is seen in the first miracle that He ever performed (John 2:1-11). Jesus told the servants to fill 6 waterpots with water (John 2:6-7). A "firkin" was equal to about 10 gallons. Two firkins would be about 20 gallons and three firkins would be about 30 gallons. Let's assume that each waterpot contained about 25 gallons. How many waterpots were there altogether (John 2:6)? _______ How many total gallons would all of these waterpots contain? ________
By His creative power Jesus Christ instantly transformed 150 gallons of water into wine (John 2:9)! It was this same Jesus Christ who made man out of dust (Genesis 2:7) and who made woman out of man (Genesis 2:21-22) and who made all things out of nothing (Hebrews 11:3)! Jesus Christ is the all-powerful Creator!
Did the Lord Jesus Create Alcoholic Wine in John 2?
In John chapter 2 the Lord changed the water into the fruit of the vine. He took the water and made it into exceptional wine [see John 2:10 where the ruler of the feast recognized that the wine Jesus provided was superior to the original wedding wine].
To say that the wine of John 2 was fermented or alcoholic wine creates some problems. Those who hold this view would be saying that the Lord Jesus, after the guests had drunken all of the alcoholic wine, performed a miracle of making well over 100 gallons of alcoholic wine for these same people who had already consumed all the wine that was there originally. Is this consistent with the character of our God? It is this consistent with WHO HE IS and HOW HE ACTS?
It is more reasonable to assume that the WINE Jesus created on this occasion was sweet, refreshing, unfermented grape juice. Why would the Lord produce between 120 and 160 gallons of alcoholic wine for the wedding party and guests? To say such a thing presents an enormous moral problem. How could the sinless Son of God provide such a large quantity of intoxicating wine for the use of those gathered together for this occasion? Would He not then be encouraging and promoting drunkenness? Perish the thought! On the contrary, the Lord Jesus, the Creator, provided these people with the freshest, sweetest, most refreshing juice of the grape that they had ever tasted.
"And saith unto him, Every man at the beginning doth set forth good wine; and when men have well drunk, then that which is worse: but thou hast kept the good wine until now" (John 2:10). The Lord created the very best fruit of the vine. It was the best grape juice man had ever tasted, fresh from the Creator Himself. When God made the fruit of the vine, He made it very, very good. When Christ performed this miracle, it was as if the best grapes, the sweetest grapes in all the world were freshly squeezed. Patton describes the miracle of Christ in this way: "Christ, by supernatural and superhuman rapidity, produced that marvelous conversion of water into the 'pure blood of the grape' which, by His own established law of nature, takes place annually through a series of months, as the vine draws up the water from the earth, and transmutes it into the pure and unfermented juice found in the rich, ripe clusters on the vine" (Bible Wines or the Laws of Fermentation, by William Patton, page 75).
The term wine in the Bible can refer to either fermented or unfermented grape juice, depending on the context and other factors. In John 2 the generic word "WINE" is used, but it most probably, for the reasons given above, refers to unfermented juice. The Lord Jesus changed the water into very good wine. The purpose of the wedding was not for everyone to get drunk. It was a time to be thoughtful and thankful and sober and joyful. WINE in the Bible is a symbol of JOY. Israel had no JOY, but the Lord Jesus had come to bring them JOY. He was the JOY of God and the JOY of the world. The Lord Jesus was able to take their dreary lives and change them. God created the vine in the first place. The juice created by Christ was the best grape juice ever, as if it were freshly squeezed from the grape vines of the garden of Eden. Christ made perfect juice, but not fermented juice. He did not make leavened juice.
The fact that Jesus Christ is God is also seen in John 1:15. In this verse John the Baptist says two things that seem to contradict each other: 1. He comes after me. 2. He was before me. How could Someone come after John the Baptist and also come before him? Let's think this through:
Jesus was born in Bethlehem about 6 months after John the Baptist was born. We learn this in Luke 1:36. When Mary learned that she would have a child, Elizabeth was already 6 months pregnant with John. Also Jesus began His public ministry after John started his. This means that John started preaching before Jesus did. So as far as His birthday and the beginning of His public ministry, Jesus came after John!
The life of Jesus did not begin with His birth in Bethlehem! Jesus existed long before John the Baptist was even born! Jesus existed long before __________________________ (John 8:58)! In fact, Jesus existed long before Adam was even born! "In the ______________________ was the Word" (John 1:1 and 1:2). Jesus Christ even existed before there was any world or universe (see John 17:5). Jesus Christ is the ETERNAL SON OF GOD!
The ETERNAL GOD became a man: "And the Word was made (became) ______________ and dwelt among us" (John l:14). Jesus Christ has not always been man. John 1:14 teaches us that he BECAME (was made) a MAN. The Son of God became flesh! He was born of the virgin Mary and He became a member of the human race. He possessed a true human body made of flesh and blood and bones. The wonderful truth of John 1:14 was once explained to a group of Indians in a way that they could understand: Jesus came down from heaven and pitched His tent right next to mine. Yes, the Word became flesh and DWELT AMONG US!
A caterpillar becomes a butterfly. When we say it becomes a butterfly we are saying that there was a time when it was not a butterfly. When we say that the Son of God became a man, we are saying that there was a time when He was not a man. He has always been God. He became a man over 2000 years ago. He is the GOD-MAN!
We have a special word to describe when God became a man. It is the word "INCARNATION." This word means "to come in the flesh." It means that Christ came in the flesh, took on a human body and became a real man. Every true believer is able to say, "I confess and I believe that Jesus Christ has come in the __________________ (1 John 4:2).
There are three ways in which people can come into this world:
CREATION--this is how
Adam and Eve
came into the world. The creation of Adam and Eve required a special miracle of God.
PROCREATION--this is God bringing
children into the world through parents by natural birth. This is the normal way God
brings people into the world. This is how you came into the world.
INCARNATION--this is how Christ came into the world. This also required a special miracle of God--the virgin birth. See Luke 1:35. God became a man without ceasing to be God. He is fully God and fully man.
The Gospel of John makes it very clear that Jesus was a real man. How do
the following verses show that Jesus was really a man?
John 2:3 _______________________________________________________________
John 4:6 _______________________________________________________________
John 4:7 and 19:28 _______________________________________________________
John 11:35 _____________________________________________________________
John 19:30,33 ___________________________________________________________
Why did Christ come into the world (1 Timothy 1:15)? _______________________________________________ To save sinners Christ must die for sinners! In John 1:29 we learn that Christ is "the ____________ of God which taketh away the ________ of the world." The sacrificial Lamb must be slain! The Saviour must die for sinners! Apart from the death of Christ there can be no salvation!
There are many things that God cannot do. He cannot lie. He cannot sin. He cannot change. He cannot be unfair. There is something else that God cannot do: GOD CANNOT DIE! God is eternal. God lives forever! God is not subject to death (He is immortal--1 Timothy 1:17). In order to die, God must become a man! God cannot die, but God became a man and died in the cross to save us from our sins. Jesus Christ, the God-man, could die and He did die for us!
In John chapter 2 Jesus spoke of His death and resurrection. First He
showed His hatred for sin by driving out the money changers (John 2:13-17). The temple was
meant to be a place of prayer and worship, but these men were there just to make money
for themselves. Then in John 2:19 Jesus made an interesting statement. Was He talking
about the temple that was in Jerusalem or was He talking about another temple (John
2:20-21) ______________________________________________ According to Jesus, this temple
(His body) would be destroyed (DEATH ON THE CROSS) but in three days it would be raised
(RESURRECTION FROM THE DEAD). Did this happen just as Jesus said it would (John 2:22)?
Jesus Christ was born a Jew. As a man He was a descendant of Abraham and David (Matthew 1:1). He came into this world as Israel's Messiah and King, but did the Jewish people RECEIVE HIM or REJECT HIM (John 1:11)? ___________________________________ Although some Jews did believe in Jesus (such as John the writer of this book), the great majority of Jews did not. He was rejected by His own people. As we study the Gospel of John in these lessons we will see again and again how the Jewish people rejected Him. Instead of crowning Him as their King they said, "We have no ___________ but Caesar" (John 19:15). The King of the Jews was finally put on a cross to die.
God gives every person the opportunity to receive or reject Jesus Christ and He promises that all those who receive Christ will become CHILDREN OF GOD: "But as many as __________________ Him, to them gave He power to become the sons (children) of _______, even to them that believe on His Name" (John 1:12).
THE SINNER MUST CHOOSE:
Receive Christ and believe on Him
Reject Christ and refuse to believe on Him
Have you received Jesus Christ as your Saviour and Lord? The word "BELIEVE" is one of the key words in the Gospel of John. It occurs about 99 times in this book. It is found in John 1:12 and we will find this word again and again as we study through John's Gospel. What does it mean to believe? In John 1:12 the words BELIEVE and RECEIVE go together.
Perhaps an illustration might help. To believe about something or someone is not the same as believing in someone or something. Betty has been very sick. The Doctor came to see Betty and gave her some medicine, promising that the medicine would make her well. Betty believes the medicine will make her well. Does that make Betty well? _______ Betty is sure that this medicine is just what she needs. She believes that the pills in the bottle are the cure for her sickness. Does this faith make her well? _____ What must Betty do before she will get well? Obviously, she must personally RECEIVE the pills into her sick body! She must personally take the medicine.
God says that everyone is sick with sin (Jeremiah17:9). Jesus Christ is the ONLY CURE for the sickness of sin (compare John 1:29--no one else can take away sin!). Have you personally received Jesus Christ as your Saviour and Lord? Have you asked Him to come into your life and SAVE YOU (Revelation 3:20)? Remember, to not receive Him is to reject Him!
After a person has RECEIVED Jesus Christ, it is then his responsibility to be HIS WITNESS. What is a witness? John the Baptist was an excellent example of what a WITNESS really is: "There was a man sent from God, whose name was ______________. The same came for a _________________ to bear witness of the Light" (John 1:6-7). A WITNESS is like an ARROW! John the Baptist was an arrow that pointed clearly to Jesus:
Remember, an arrow always points away from itself. An arrow does not want to be seen. An arrow wants you to look at what it is pointing to. John wanted people to look at Jesus Christ! John was like a SIGNPOST pointing to Jesus and saying, "HERE HE IS!" Was John the Light or did John point to the Light (John 1:8)? __________________________________________________ Was John the Christ (the Messiah) or did John point to the Christ (John 1:20,23, 26,27)? __________________________________________________
In John 1:29 and John 1:36 John used the word "BEHOLD." This word points out something to which the speaker wants to draw attention. John was saying, "HERE HE IS! THIS IS HE (verse 30)! HE'S THE ONE!" John did not go around saying, "LOOK EVERYBODY, HERE I AM!" No, instead he said, "LOOK EVERYBODY, HERE HE IS! HE IS THE LAMB OF GOD WHO WILL SAVE US FROM OUR SINS!"
What should you do if a person comes to you seeking salvation? Can you save this person? _____ Can you forgive his sins? Can you get this person to heaven? _____ But there is something very important that you can do: YOU CAN POINT THEM TO THE ONE WHO CAN SAVE AND FORGIVE AND GET THEM TO HEAVEN! A witness is one who points people to Jesus Christ, the only Saviour. Does Christ want us to be His witnesses (Acts 1:8)? _______
The great eternal God became a man so that He could provide salvation for sinful men! Have you made this Saviour your Saviour? Have you received Him and believed on His Name (John 1:12)? Those who are saved want to share what they have found with others. This is exactly what Andrew did in John 1:35-42. Can you find the verse where Andrew goes to someone else and says, "WE HAVE FOUND THE MESSIAH"? _____________________ Andrew brought his own brother, Simon Peter, to the Lord (verse 42). Philip did the same thing Andrew did (see John 1:43-45). Can you find the verse where Philip goes to someone else and says, "WE HAVE FOUND HIM!" ? ______________
When Philip told Nathanael that he had found the Messiah, Jesus of Nazareth (John 1:45), Nathanael answered, "Can there any ____________ thing come out of ___________________________?" (John 1:46). Nathanael was a Jewish man who had a knowledge of the Old Testament Scriptures. He did not know of any Old Testament passage which said that the Messiah (Israel's promised Saviour-King) would come from the city of Nazareth. He may have even been thinking of the great prophecy in Micah 5:2 which said that Israel's King must come out of Bethlehem. Of course Nathanael did not realize that "Jesus of Nazareth" was indeed born in Bethlehem! Nazareth was the city where the Lord Jesus grew up, but it was not His birth city (see Luke 2:4).
Nathanael left his fig tree and followed Philip. Notice the very first thing that Jesus said to Nathanael: "Behold an Israelite indeed, in whom is no _______________" (John 1:47). The word "GUILE" means "deceit, trickery." Jesus was saying that Nathanael was not a deceitful person. He was not a "tricky" person like the Jacob we read about in the Old Testament: "Thy brother came with subtlety (GUILE, TRICKERY) and hath taken away thy blessing" (Genesis 27:35). Nathanael had an honest and sincere heart. He was one of the Jews of his day that was waiting expectantly for the coming of the promised Messiah.
But how did Jesus know what kind of a person Nathanael was? In John 1:48 Nathanael asked, "Whence knowest thou me?" In other words, "How do You know all about me?" The answer that Jesus gave was even more startling: "Before that Philip called thee, when thou wast under the _______ tree, I _______ thee" (John 1:48). Jesus saw Nathanael even though Jesus was not there! Nathanael was amazed to hear Jesus describe the very scene where he had just been! Even before Philip spoke to Nathanael, Jesus knew all about this man!
Nathanael was now convinced that this "Jesus of Nazareth" was no ordinary man. He must be the promised Messiah that Nathanael had been waiting and looking for: "Thou art the __________ of __________; Thou art the __________________ of Israel" (John 1:49).
Nathanael caught a glimpse of the greatness of Jesus Christ! But Jesus went on to say, "NATHANAEL, YOU HAVE SEEN SOMETHING GREAT, BUT YOU WILL SEE GREATER THINGS IN THE FUTURE" (compare John 1:50). Jesus then turned and spoke to all His followers and said, "Verily, Verily, I say unto you (plural, all of you), Hereafter ye (plural) shall see heaven ____________ and the ________________ of God ascending and descending upon the Son of _________ " (John 1:51).
These words of Jesus must have reminded Nathanael of the story of Jacob's ladder found in Genesis 28:10-17. Jacob dreamed of a ladder which reached from earth to heaven with the angels ascending (going up) and descending (going down) on it (Genesis 28:12). In John 1:51 we find out WHO this Ladder really is: "the angels of God ascending and descending upon the ___________ of _____________." Jesus Christ is the true Ladder! He is the true LINK between heaven and earth. "No man cometh unto the _______________ but by ______" (John 14:6). He is the perfect MEDIATOR (GO BETWEEN) who is able to bring sinful man to a holy God (1 Timothy 2:5). The heavens were opened for God to reach man and man to reach God. What ladder are you trusting in to get you to heaven, to the Heavenly Father?
After Jacob had his dream he marveled that God had come down to earth to be present among men: "Surely the ___________ is in this place; and I knew it not. And he was afraid, and said, How dreadful is this place! This is none other but the ___________ of God" (Genesis 28:16-17). This is what the Gospel of John is all about! God has come down from heaven to dwell among men (John 1:14)!
When will the heavens be open and when will the angels be seen with Christ and when will people really understand that Jesus is the true KING OF ISRAEL (read John 1:51)? At the first coming of Christ, God came to earth to dwell among men, but He was rejected as King and crucified. At the second coming, Jesus Christ will come to earth in a spectacular way, in power and great glory (Matthew 24:30). See Daniel 7:13-14, a passage which Nathanael was probably very familiar with. See also what Jesus said in Matthew 26:64 and see 2 Thessalonians 1:7. The Jesus of Nazareth that Nathanael saw was the One who had humbled Himself and had become poor and lowly so that He could save sinful men (2 Cor. 8:9). The Jesus of Nazareth that Nathanael will see in the future will be the mighty KING OF KINGS AND LORD OF LORDS.
Nathanael probably became one of the twelve disciples of Jesus. His other name was probably "BARTHOLOMEW" (see Matthew 10:3). In the other gospels the names of Philip and Bartholomew are always mentioned together which makes good sense if Bartholomew is the same person as Nathanael. For more information on Nathanael, see our study entitled, THE TWELVE DISCIPLES.
Those who have truly found Christ want others to find Him also. Today we cannot bring people to Jesus in quite the same way as Andrew and Philip did. Jesus is no longer on the earth. But we can bring people to the Bible, and through the pages of the Bible they can find Christ. In the next lesson we will be studying John Chapter 3 which will help us to better understand what Jesus taught about salvation and being born again. The better we understand God's Word, the better we will be able to help others!