John: Jesus the Son of God

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Jesus the Son of God

Seven miracles, the Upper room, the Supreme miracle

Background: John tells the story of Jesus around 90 AD, for ALL men
Theme: Jesus the Son of God
Outline: Seven Miracles, The Upper Room, the Supreme Miracle
Key Verse: "For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life." (John 3:16, NIV)

Also see the Gospel Study page for a 13 section series on the four Gospels. These notes incorporate the basic outline of the Bible Knowledge Commentary (Vol 2, New Testament). 


    The three 'synoptic' gospels (Matthew, Mark and Luke) see the life of Jesus from similiar views, and were written for first generation believers. John was probably written later, although completed by the end of the first century, and was written for second and third generation believers.   These believers did not actually see Jesus, and the original apostles (except for the author) had passed from the scene.  We may assume that the believers were familiar with the earlier gospels, or at least of the historical events that they relate.   This gospel was written to more fully explain the character and nature of the Son of God, Jesus, in all of his humanity and divinity. The stated purpose is in verse 20:31, "... these are written that you may believe that Jesus is the Christ, the Son of God, and that by believing you may have life in his name."  The Greek tense of the word 'believe' should be understood as, "that you may believe and continue to believe".  The book was written for believers to strengthen their faith, although an unbeliever may come to know Jesus Christ by reading it.

I. The Prologue (1:1-18)

1:1 Psalm 33:6 states, "By the word of the Lord were the heavens made, their starry host by the breath of his mouth." The first five verses teach us that Jesus was pre-existent (he existed with God before creation, and before he was born to Mary), that he was God or divine (although distinct from, 'with', God), that creation was made through or by Him, that He is the source of life, and that He reveals truth (light) to man.

1:4 Life is in Jesus, and for us to either understand or to have life fully, we must look to Him.  This gospel reveals what 'life' is all about, and the fullness of life is seen in Jesus and obtained through Him.

1:13 The new birth is not by natural descent, either to those born Jews or to children of Christians. The new birth is only by faith to those who actually believe.

II. Jesus’ Manifestation to the Nation (1:19-12:50)

6:27 Following this advice would prepare us for our mid-life crisis. When we do look back and evaluate our life to date, do we see only spoiled food? Or do we see other lives influenced for Jesus?

6:35 Bread of life: the food that is necessary for sustaining life. Only faith in Jesus will sustain true life, eternal and spiritual life.

6:43-44 Mr. Blum (BKC) interprets "I will draw all men" as "I will draw all types of men". Here is the point under debate: Does Jesus draw or call ALL MEN to himself? If he does, why don't all men respond. If he doesn't, is he by default abandoning them to eternal destruction? Many of us 'Reformed' believers reason that 'Salvation is of the Lord', and that the Lord calls or predestines us to salvation before we ever chose to accept his offer. By understanding that Jesus 'draws all men' we understand that the gospel invitation to salvation is open to every person. Others reason that the call of Jesus cannot be resisted, that all who are called or drawn are saved. Therefore, since not all men are saved, Jesus is not calling or drawing 'all men', but only some from every tribe and nation. I do not have all the answers, and how we take this verse is determined not by the grammar, but by our theological beliefs. Still, my opinion is that Jesus 'draws all men' and salvation is freely offered to all people. "Whosoever calls upon the name of the Lord shall be saved." Not all people are saved because not all people have actually heard, understood, and accepted the offer of salvation. This should bother us enough to put great effort into reaching the world with the gospel message.

7:8-9 I do not accept the ‘theological’ interpretation of Mr. Blum (BKC): that the verse means Jesus was ‘going back to the Father’. The verse is clear in stating that He was going up ‘to the feast’.

7:25-26 Mr. Blum’s observation (BKC) that the people thought Jesus should be either accepted as Messiah or locked up by the authorities is true today. We must accept or reject Him on the basis of what He claims. There is no middle ground.

7:53 If these verses were not in the original, most Protestants do not accept them as Scripture or as being in the canon. This is because inspiration is normally attributed to the original manuscripts of the text. Not all apply this principle so tightly. For instance, the verses in Deuteronomy describing Moses’ death are accepted as Scripture, even by those who regard them as additions by an author other than Moses. In this case, however, the manuscript was apparently complete and accepted before the addition. Personally, I do not teach or preach from this particular disputed text.

8:41 Mr. Blum (BKC) states, "They may have been casting aspersions on Jesus’ birth." I think it is more likely that they were defending their own birth as Jews from the line of Abraham. If they were illegitimate, they would have a father (perhaps) who was not a Jew. Genealogies were very important to the Jews.

9:2-3 This is a tremendous truth that is needed today. When a birth defect or other tragedy occurs today, even Christians often ask, "Why is God punishing me?" As Jesus taught, not every suffering is a direct result of a particular sin. This one was not for punishment or discipline, but for God’s glory.

9:28-29 In the days before Braille, every blind person was illiterate in the sense of being unable to read. I think that Mr. Blum (BKC) uses the word here in the sense of uneducated.

10:17-18  Mr. Blum (BKC) states, "The Father has a special love for Jesus because of His sacrificial obedience." This wrongly implies that Jesus earned the Father’s special love. I would rather say that the love between the Father and Son and their love for the world was expressed in the obedience of Jesus.

10:22-23 This is called the Feast of Lights because the temple lamp (menorah) was kept burning for eight days when the temple was cleansed and rededicated, although the priests only had enough pure oil for one day. This feast occurs around the same time as our Christmas.

10:28 Those who argue that we can lose our salvation point to willful sin. The question is not whether someone can snatch us out of Jesus’ hand, but whether we can ourselves walk out of His hand and run away. The larger picture of the shepherd and his sheep argues against a sheep being able to wander away beyond the retrieving and protecting reach of his shepherd (if his shepherd is God). In His care and discipline, we are brought back when we willfully or ignorantly wander.

10:31-32 We cannot accept Jesus, as many do, as only a great teacher. The Jews here understood but did not believe Jesus’ claim to be God. Either Jesus is God, or he is no good teacher but a blasphemer. Either we worship Him or reject Him. The halfway position of acknowledging Him only as a great teacher is not acceptable, it is a rejection of Him as Lord and God.

11  Let us remember a simple chronology of three events, each a week apart, to put the raising of Lazarus in the proper perspective:

    1. Raising of Lazarus
    2. Triumphal Entry (Psalm Sunday)
    3. The Resurrection (Easter Sunday)

    News of the recent raising of Lazarus added to the excitement of Psalm Sunday, and demonstrated Jesus’ power over death to prepare the disciples for the Resurrection of Jesus.

    Chapter 11 is only half-way through the book of John. Only two weeks remain of Jesus' 3 1/2 year earthly ministry.  This shows how important John thought the last two weeks were, and the central emphasis on the sacrificial death of Jesus.

11:44 Jesus had previously raised the daughter of Jairus (Mark 5:35-43) and a widow's son (Luke 7:11-17).  In this case, Lazarus had been dead four days.

11:31-32 Mary falling at Jesus’ feet was at least a show of great respect and possibly an act of worship.

12:37 This verse is closely related to the reading of Isaiah by the Ethiopian official and the testimony of Philip.

12:41 Isaiah may have seen Jesus' glory in Isaiah Chapter 6, in the vision of the LORD in the temple. If so, Isaiah said he saw Jehovah.

12:42 A fault of some who 'believed', but they still loved the praise of men more than the praise of God. They remained in the apostate Sanhedren perhaps due to peer pressure, tradition, and position.

13:1 The full extent of Jesus' love is the cross.

13:8 Washing the feet symbolized spiritual cleansing, as well as the necessity for clean feet when reclining at a meal.

13:14 Some groups literally wash feet at the time of the Lord' Table celebration. Most take this as an example, and serve one another in other ways.

13:26 Perhaps only the 'beloved disciple' heard Jesus' reply. Remember that they reclined, and were not as close to one another as we are when seated at at table.

13:31-32 Glory and glorify are used five times in this verse. Jesus' obedience and love was a great glory.

13:34 New 'kainen' indicates fresh as opposed to old meaning stale. The command to love God and neighbor was the heart of the Law and Prophets. But the command and the love are to be fresh. We can neglect our loved ones and friends, letting our love go stale.

III. Jesus’ Preparation of His Disciples (13-17)

14:6 This is an important verse to be memorized. Clearly, Christianity is an exclusive religion. It is open to all, but faith in Jesus Christ is not compatible with beliefs in competing gods or ways of enlightenment.

IV. Jesus’ Passion and Resurrection (18-20)

18:28-29 Mr. Blum (BKC) is correct in pointing out the irony in the Jewish leaders being careful to obey the ritual of not entering a Gentile lodging, while committing a far greater crime of convicting an innocent man. Much later, God would send Peter a vision to teach him to overcome this prejudice and visit Cornellius.

19:6-7 It is helpful to remember that two thieves were crucified with Jesus. What other crimes these men may have committed is not known, but crucifixion was by no means rare by modern standards.

19:31-32 This was a Jewish law, not Roman. The Romans would even leave the body on the cross (in some cases) for days after the death, showing further contempt by leaving the body exposed for scavenger birds.

19:33-34 The water and the blood are evidence against the heresy that Jesus only seemed to be present in a body. It is also evidence against the false claim that Jesus did not die but was in a faint (as claimed in "The Passover Plot").

19:40-42 While admitting the possibility that the Shroud of Turin is authentic, our faith does not rest on that uncertain evidence. The Shroud of Turin is supposedly the linen wrapping used on Jesus for his burial. It contains an image of a crucified man, perhaps caused by the miracle of the resurrection. It is best to leave the English translation as general as the Greek, allowing for a large wrapping or multiple strips of cloth. Acceptance of the Shroud of Turin as authentic is not limited to Roman Catholics.

V. The Epilogue (21)


New Testament Survey by Merrill Tenney : Highly recommend this book for a good background to the life of Jesus and the New Testament. The first half covers background, what the world was like under Roman rule and what the conditions of the Jews were. The second half gives background, outline, and introductions to each of the New Testament books (including Acts).

Bible Background Commentary (New Testament) by Craig S. Keener : Printed by InterVarsity Press, this is an excellent one-volume resource for understanding the customs and background (history, language, and geography) behind the verses of the New Testament. It is not an interpretation of the New Testament as are most commentaries, its purpose is to give background information. I highly recommend this to the serious student of Scripture, who already has a good grasp of the meaning and application of the New Testament.

Bible Knowledge Commentary (New Testament, Volume II) by the Staff of Dallas Theological Seminary : Admittedly a 'dispensational' interpretation, meaning that the authors take the book of Revelation very literally and teach that Jesus will take the Church out of the world before the 'Tribulation Period'. Although I do not agree totally with their opinions, I have found this to be a fair commentary, also explaining the views of others which the authors do not hold. If you use my notes you will receive some insight as to where the points of disagreement are. Highly recommended as the best short commentary on the market. I am easily in agreement with 98% of what this commentary teaches, and who knows if I am right about the other 2%??

Updated by Ron Miller in April 2010
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