Cite two reasons that Jesus left Judea. 4:1-3 (cf. Mark 1:14). Bruce, p. 100.
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Jesus left Judea for Galilee for two reasons. First, the province was a foothold of the Pharisees who Christ often condemned for their hypocrisy, and therefore, they were filled with malice against him. Although he was not afraid to die, early persecution would have hampered his ministry, so he chose to leave Judea to a safer country – Galilee. Second, in Mark 1:14 we learn that Jesus had heard of John’s imprisonment. His return to Galilee, therefore, was to begin the Galilean ministry with the believers John had baptized.
Explain how Jesus could have been “making and baptizing” disciples, yet He “himself baptized not, but his disciples?” 4:1-2. Bruce, pp. 100f.
In John 4:2, Jesus did not baptize new converts, but his disciples did. He bestowed the honor on his disciples to conduct baptism, while he concentrated on a nobler cause, preaching. Thus, he gave them the power to administer sacraments to believers. Further, it might not have been appropriate for Jesus to baptize in his name, as this action would make some believers feel more valued than others. Christ’s baptism would later come in the form of the Holy Spirit after his ascent to heaven.
Why did strict Jews avoid travel through Samaria? 4:4,9. Bruce, p. 103.
Pious Jews could not pass through Samaria on their way to Galilee because they abhorred Samaritans (John 4:9). From the conversation between Jesus and the Samaritan woman, the two groups could not associate, probably because Samaritans were considered an outcast race – they were of mixed heritage and held heretical beliefs. More important, their dispute was about the place of worship: the ancestral mountain or Jerusalem. Because of this controversy, Jews could not travel through Samaria – a land where a rival temple was built.
Did Jesus use his conversation with the Samaritan woman about drinking water from Jacob’s well to teach what lesson? 4:6-14. Bruce, p. 104.
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Jesus teaches the lesson of his Messianic status through his conversation with the woman at Jacob’s well. He displays his love for outcasts and transcends racial pride and Jewish traditions by talking to the woman. Starting with “Will you give me a drink” (John 1:7) to quench his thirst, Jesus reveals his identity as the “gift of God” and the source of the “living water” (John 1:10). He extends his love, mercy, forgiveness, and grace to those weighed down by sin as the Samaritan woman was.
Evaluate Bruce’s explanation of “living water.” 4:10,14. Bruce, pp. 104f.
Bruce explains that the “living water” that Jesus refers to (John 1:10) symbolizes life engendered by the Spirit. It reflects a physical restoration and cleansing from sin. In the Old Testament (Isaiah 4:4), God is the giver of this purifying water. In John 4:14, the living water gives eternal life, which, according to Bruce, denotes spiritual vivification after cleansing sins. It points to the life-giving nature of the Spirit to believers.
How did Jesus know about the Samaritan woman’s personal life? 4:16-18 (cf. John 2:25).
Jesus knew about the Samaritan woman’s immorality through divine revelation. John 2:25 says, “He did not need man’s testimony about man, for he knew what was in a man”. Thus, Jesus being God had foreknowledge of the woman’s marital problems and the fact that she had been married five times, which is why she labeled him a prophet.
Why had the Samaritans built their temple on Mt. Gerizim? 4:20. Bruce, pp. 108f.
Because of the Samaritans’ mixed heritage, fundamental Jews were considered an inferior race and despised them. Due to this animosity, they could not travel to Jerusalem to worship at the temple as per Jewish traditions. They erected a rival sanctuary at Mt. Gerizim to continue to give sacrifices to God. The Samaritans also considered this mountain a holy place, as it was where Abraham offered to sacrifice Isaac according to the Old Testament account. They erected a temple here because the “ancestors worshipped on this mountain” (John 4:20).
Explain what Jesus might have meant by “worship in spirit and truth.” 4:24. Bruce, pp. 110f.
Jesus’ revelation that worshippers shall the Father in “spirit and truth” (John 4:24) implies that worship is not about the temple and outward forms, but it is all about God. The phrase means that true worship is not tied to physical places. Rather, it is an inward, spiritual event, not an outward expression of faith. True worship can only be conducted via the Holy Spirit. Additionally, worshipping ‘in truth’ means giving sincere adoration to God as revealed in the scriptures.
Comment on Jesus’ words in verses 25-26. Bruce, p. 111.
Jesus replies to the Samaritan woman that he is the anticipated Messiah who would explain everything to them. However, Christ does not openly reveal that he is the expected redeemer to the Jews, as this would have led many people to consider him an earthly leader, not the Savior. This view becomes clear when the Samaritan woman calls Jesus a prophet (John 4:19). Throughout the scriptures, Christ refers to himself as the ‘Son of man’, which can be understood to mean the Messiah explained in John 4:25-26.
What spiritual work did Jesus have in mind in speaking of “sowing and reaping?” 4:35-38. Bruce, pp. 114f.
Jesus used the parable of “sowing and reaping” to symbolize the winning of souls to Christ (John 4:37). After the encounter at the well, the Samaritan woman returned to Samaria and told the inhabitants of Christ. A multitude sought to meet him. Therefore, these people were ‘ripe’ for harvest into the kingdom. The disciples could reap these souls (new believers) courtesy of the sowing efforts of the woman.
Who said, “We know that this is indeed the Savior of the world?” and how did this belief come about? 4:42.
The Samaritan believers, after staying with Jesus for two days, were convinced that Christ is “indeed the Savior of the world” (John 4:42). The belief came about after the woman’s testimony drew people to Jesus. His words, not miracles, led to the revelation that Christ is the Messiah of the world, and as a result, a spiritual reawakening occurred.
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Tell about the second sign Jesus performed at Cana. 4:46ff.
Jesus had returned to Cana – a place where he did the miracle of changing water into wine – when he met a wealthy man whose son was dying at Capernaum. Despite his wealth and noble status, he still needed help out of his situation. Typical of Galileans, he sought Jesus’ miracle to heal his son by visiting the boy at his sickbed. However, Christ told the nobleman that the boy would be cured. Upon inquiring about the time his son recovered, the nobleman knew Jesus had healed him at the instant he declared healing on him. Because of this second sign at Cana, the rich man’s household converted, depicting him as a sign-seeker.
What feature in Jesus’ healing the noblemans son is shown by verses 52-53?
Jesus’ healing of the official’s son establishes him as the Savior, not a miracle worker. The nobleman believed without seeing a sign when Jesus told him to go home. John 4:52-53 confirms that the boy was cured at the exact time Jesus declared his recovery. As a result, his faith in Christ was reestablished. He then believed that Jesus was the Savior and his household was saved. These scriptures show that divine intervention involves faith in Christ.
Verses 3b-4 are not included in some modern versions. Explain why. Bruce, p. 122.
Verse 5:3b-4 gives a likely background to the reason crippled people gathered at the Sheep Gate pool. It explains that an angel would descend from heaven and touch the waters. The first individual to dip his body in the pool would be cured. While some earlier Bible versions, e.g., the King James Version, include this verse, modern translations exclude it because it seems to diminish the power of Christ’s miraculous healings and it does not augur well with the nature of biblical miracles. Some theologians indicate that this scripture is not accurate and it relates to ancient superstitions.
Discuss whether Jesus healed people because of their faith, or to create faith. 5:7-9.
The passage on the healing of a man who had been an invalid for thirty-eight years shows that Jesus’ miracles were not dependent upon an individual’s level of faith. When Christ asked him, “Do you want to be made well?” (John 5:6) he did not respond in the affirmative; instead, he gives a complaint. Nevertheless, Jesus declares healing to him: “Stand up, take your mat and walk” (John 5:8). It appears that the man at this point did not seem to have faith in Christ. Later, when the Jewish authorities ask him who healed him, he submits that he does not know. Therefore, Jesus did miracles to unbelievers (the disabled, lame, blind, etc.) to create faith.
In the Fourth Gospel, what is the first example of open hostility to Jesus? 5:10,16. Bruce, p. 124.
The healing of the invalid at a pool called Bethzatha aroused open hostility to Jesus. The Jewish authorities on learning that Christ had healed a disabled man on a Sabbath sought to persecute him for his ‘sin’ (John 5:16). They also displayed hostility towards Jesus for “making himself equal to God” (John 5:18) after he said that his healing ministry was the work of the Father. This miracle marked the beginning of hatred and malice by the religious authorities against Christ.
How many categories of work not to be done on the sabbath did Jewish tradition specify? Bruce p. 125.
Jewish traditions forbade all work on Sabbath, as stated in the Torah. Specifically, activities such as lighting a flame and plowing were prohibited on this day. The Talmudic literature listed thirty-nine categories of work that violated the Sabbath rest. The rabbis enacted laws against performing tabernacle activities and business operations as they contravened the observance of this day.
What does the writer imply about sin and sickness? What challenges could you offer? 5:14. Bruce p. 126.
The writer implies that sin and sickness are connected. When Jesus met the man he had healed in the temple, he tells him to sin no more (John 5:14). The writer suggests that Christ’s words appear to indicate that the man’s disability was due to his sin or bad personal choices. I would challenge the author on two grounds. First, when healing a blind man Jesus says that the sickness was not a result of his or his parents’ transgressions (John 9:3). From this verse, not all afflictions are due to one’s sin. Second, sickness may be due to the first sin by Adam and Eve that condemned humanity to suffer and die.
Show how Jesus’ words of verse 17 relate to the Jews’ charge that he broke the sabbath command. 5:16.
In verse 17, Jesus seems to negate the Sabbath when he says, “My Father is working until now, and I, too, am working”. His defense against the Sabbath-breaking claims seemed like an abrogation of the obligation to observe the seventh day. To his accusers, the words, “working until now”, were a confession by Christ that he had broken the Sabbath law. Since they were observers of God’s day of rest from creative work, Jesus’ pronouncement justified their Sabbath-breaking charge against him.
What was the primary reason that the Jews from this time sought to kill Jesus? 5:18.
John 5:18 gives the primary reason why the Jews sought to kill Jesus. He had broken the Sabbath law by healing a disabled man on the seventh day. Christ also claimed to be a deity when he said, “My Father is always working, and I, too, am working” (John 5:17). These two actions seemed to stir the anger of the Jewish leaders who plotted to kill Christ.
What tremendous claim does Jesus make in 5:19-24? Bruce, pp. 127f.
Jesus makes a daring claim when he affirms his deity as the Son of God to the religious leaders. In John 5:19, he declares, “I can do nothing apart from what my Father is doing”, emphasizing his deity status. In the subsequent verses, he lays out his divine working relationship with the Father – power to give life and judge. He states his purpose and the consequences of failing to honor him.
Does Jesus suggest that eternal life only begins after the Great Resurrection? 5:21, 25, 28-29.
Yes, Jesus talks of the great resurrection where the dead will “hear His voice and come forth” (John 5:29). He teaches that a time is coming when all those who have died shall be raised for judgment. Subsequently, the dead in Christ shall receive eternal life, while the wicked shall be condemned to everlasting punishment.
What four things does this Gospel list which establish a divine relationship between God and Christ. 5:19-23.
John 5:19-23 identifies four things that affirm the divine relationship between God and Jesus. First, Christ declares that the Son cannot do anything independent of the Father. He is dependent on God. Second, Jesus receives complete revelation from his Father. In verse 20, he declares that God loves him and shows him all things – an indication of an eternal relationship. Third, Jesus states that God will show him “even greater things than these” (John 5:20). This verse shows that Christ’s miracles are meant to reveal his identity as the Messiah. Fourth, the Father has entrusted the Son the power to give life and to judge.
Explain “the dead” of verse 25 and “all that are in the tombs” of verses 28-29. Bruce, pp. 131, 133.
In verse 25, “the dead” refers to those devoid of the spirit. These people will hear Jesus’ teachings and accept him before receiving the Holy Spirit. Verse 28-29 talks about those who experience physical death. Those in the tombs shall hear his voice and be resurrected to face judgment. Believers shall receive eternal life and the sinners will get everlasting condemnation.
List the five witnesses to Christ’s deity. 5:33, 36, 37, 39, 46.
Five people bore witness to Christ’s deity. The first person is John who testified about Jesus before his coming (John 5:33). The second one is the works that God entrusted Christ to finish. Third, the Father also testifies of Jesus as His Son – through a voice from heaven. Fourth, scriptures also point to Christ’s coming and ministry. The prophecies in the word of God talk about him and his divine purpose. Fifth, Moses is also a witness since he wrote about him.
Explain verse 39. See Bruce, footnote 28, p. 141.
In verse 39, Jesus admits that the Jews’ had not received enlightenment on his Messianic status despite searching the scriptures every day. For if they did, they would believe that he was the Savior prophesied in the Old Testament and turn to him. Although Jesus was the fulfillment of the prophecies about the coming of Christ, the Jews could not realize and admit this fact. The scriptures testified of him and his work but the Jewish people could not recognize him.
Why would most of the Jews be more inclined to follow a false Messiah than Jesus? 5:43.
Jesus came in his Father’s name but the Jews could not accept him (John 5:43). He was sent with the authority to do God’s blessed will. However, the Jewish nation could not believe he was the Christ talked of in the prophecies. Instead, the Jews chose to follow false Messiahs because they came on their own accord, were boastful, and used flattery words. Their gullibility was due to their love for earthly praise and glory.
Describe and comment about a prominent pseudo-Messiah who led a disastrous revolt. Bruce, p. 138.
Bar Kochba (135 A.D.) was a pseudo-Messiah who led a bloody revolt against Roman control. The insurrectionist, whose name meant the Son of the Star referred to in the Old Testament, had the backing of Rabbi Akiva. He convinced a large proportion of the Jews to stage an uprising against Roman domination. Thousands of his followers died during this revolt. Most of them were covered with scrolls before being set ablaze. This event showed that the Jewish authorities (Sanhedrin) could not tell a true Messiah from a false one.
How can a disposition of heart prevent belief? 5:44 (cf. I Corinthians 2:14).
The main impediment to the salvation of the Jewish leaders was their ego, vanity, and self-praise. As such, they could not acknowledge Christ as the Savior because if they did, they would lose favor in the sight of the population. They would rather lose their souls than give up their status. Thus, dispositions of the heart can impede discernment of the things of the spirit and faith in Christ.
To what text in the Hebrew Bible (Old Testament) does Jesus likely refer to in verse 46?
In verse 46, Jesus declares to the Jews that Moses wrote about him. He might have referred to all Deuteronomy 18:15, which says, “The Lord your God will raise up a Prophet like me from your midst, from your brethren”. This text and other Mosaic writings point to the coming of the Messiah. They are meant to bring the Jewish nation and other people to Jesus. The Jews trusted the Law but could not accept the Messiah referred to in these texts.
Which miracle (sign), other than the resurrection, is recorded in all four Gospels? 6:5 ff. Bruce, p. 143.
The miracle mentioned in John 6:5 is the feeding of five thousand men with five loaves of bread and two fish. This great sign appears in all four gospel accounts. Christ also taught and cured the sick among the multitude that came to him (Matthew 14:14; Mark 6:34; Luke 9:1).
Describe the place where the feeding the 5,000 took place. 6:1.
The feeding of 5,000 men occurred right by the Sea of Galilee, which was also called the Sea of Tiberias (John 6:1). Jesus had withdrawn with his disciples a secluded place called Bethsaida when a great multitude learned of his presence and followed him. The area was probably a hill overlooking the sea because verse 3 declares that Christ “went up a mountain” after the boat docked on the shores.
What caused the need for food for the multitude? 6:5-7 (cf. Matthew 14:14-16, Mark 6:34f.).
Jesus had taught and cured the sick in the multitude that followed him earlier in the day (Matthew 14:14; Mark 6:34). Thus, the people were hungry and needed food having spent the entire daytime with him. As dusk was approaching the disciples suggested that Christ sends the people away into the nearby villages to purchase bread (Mark 6:36). They had no sufficient food to feed the multitude.
Where did Jesus find a basic food resource? 6:8-9.
The basic food resource came from a lad who had “five barley loaves and two small fish” (John 6:8). Andrew, Jesus’ disciple, spotted the boy with these items in the multitude. However, he noted that the food would not be adequate to feed the masses.
In this incident, how did Jesus demonstrate the principle of orderliness? 6:10 (cf. Mark 6:39-40) Bruce, p. 144.
Jesus told his disciples to make the people sit down on the grass before feeding them. The crowd was organized in units of 50 and 100 to maintain order and avoid disruptions. The principle of orderliness is seen in how Christ required that the people be sat down before he could feed them.
What does the term “eucharist” mean and how did it come to be used in the Christian tradition? 6:11. Bruce, p. 145.
The term ‘eucharist’ means thanksgiving or being grateful for Providence. In John 6:11, Jesus took the loaves of bread and fish and gave thanks before they were distributed to the people. Following the example of Jesus, early Christians began to pray for their food before consuming it in line with Jewish traditions.
How does Jesus teach a lesson about frugality? 6:13. Bruce, p. 145.
Jesus told the disciples to “Gather up the fragments that remain, so nothing is lost” (John 6:12). The leftovers filled 12 baskets. By requiring the disciples to collect what is left after the feast, Christ teaches a valuable lesson: we should be careful and diligent in how we spend the things God has given us. He did not let the leftovers go to waste but saved them for later use.
In what way was an earthly kingdom different from the one Jesus came to establish? 6:15.
In verse 15, Jesus discerned that the Jews upon learning that he was sent by God wanted to make him a king over them and stage a revolt against the Romans. However, he withdrew to the mountain alone. The Jews believed that God would establish an earthly government for them to rival the Roman Empire. However, Christ came to set up a spiritual kingdom. This revelation came to his followers on the day of Pentecost and the great commission that saw the spread of the gospel throughout the earth.
Why were the disciples afraid when they saw Jesus walking on the water during the storm? 6:19 (cf. Mark 6:49). Bruce, p. 148.
The disciples were filled with fear when they saw Jesus walking on water towards their boat (John 6:19). They were afraid because they thought he was a ghost (Mark 6:49). They perceived Jesus as a supernatural being who could control nature.
What is the likely meaning of “it is I” (ego eimi)? 6:20. Bruce, p. 148.
Jesus called out to his disciples saying, “It is I” (John 6:20). They were filled with fear, experiencing a storm and seeing a ‘ghost’ walking on water. From this context, the statement ‘ego eimi’ may be an expression of Christ’s status as the Savior of the world. It may be an image of Jesus’ salvation from physical or spiritual death.
Did Jesus accuse the multitude of following him for what purpose? 6:26.
In John 6:26, Jesus accuses the Jews of following not because of the miracles he did, but for bodily gratification. They missed the spiritual meaning of Christ’s feeding of 5,000 men. Instead, they followed him because they wanted Jesus to continue fending for them. However, Christ intended to meet their spiritual needs and draw them into His kingdom through his miracles.
Contrast the two types of food mentioned by Jesus. 6:27. Bruce, p. 150.
Jesus mentions two kinds of food in verse 27: one that perishes and another that he gives, which endures forever. The difference between the two lies in their physicality versus eternity. The food that perishes includes material things that people worked to acquire. The next one is the spiritual nourishment that gives everlasting life. He told the multitude to labor for the second type of food as opposed to acquiring material wealth.
Why did the Jews demand a sign greater than that of feeding the 5,000? 6:30-31. Bruce, 151.
The Jews demanded a greater miracle than the feeding of the multitude because they were not contented with the loaves and fish. They wanted another sign that could make them believe in him. They quoted scripture to convince Jesus to do the same miracle of causing manna to fall from heaven. However, Christ corrects them when he points out that the bread Moses gave was perishable, unlike what he offers.
List the seven “I am” passages in the Fourth Gospel. (6:48; 8:12; 10:7,9; 10:11,14; 11:25; 14:6; 15:1,5).
The statement, “I am” appears seven times in the book of John. They include “I am the bread of life” (John 6:48), “I am the light of the world” (8:12), “I am the gate” (10:7, 9), “I am the good shepherd” (10:11, 14), “I am the resurrection and the life” (11:25, “I am the way and the truth and the life” (14:6), and “I am the true vine” (15:1, 5).
What is the Father’s Will as suggested in verses 38, 39, and 40?
The Father’s Will is that Jesus should lose nothing of what he has been given (6:39). Instead, he should raise it during the resurrection day. Further, the Father desires that all those who see the Son should believe in him to acquire everlasting life and be raised in the last day (6:40). These verses affirm that Christ came by the authority of the father and those who accept him will be resurrected into eternity on the last day.
Do independent research to determine how many times the words in verse 39 for “last day” (in Greek) occur in the New Testament.
The words, ‘last days’ appears nine times in the New Covenant. They occur in Pauline’s letters, including first Timothy where Paul uses ‘later times’ to warn the Jewish nation of imminent judgment. The phrase is also used in the gospel of John and the books of Jude, James, and Peter.
Verses 44-45 speak of how God draws people unto himself. How might Christians differ on their interpretation of that (see also I Thessalonians 2:13; 2 Thessalonians 2:14).
Divergent interpretations of John 6: 44-45 may arise because of the view that works beget faith in Christ. From this text, it is clear that God draws people into salvation. Calvinists may interpret this grace to mean that the Father can only convict those destined to be saved. However, the verses demonstrate that God has not condemned anyone, He is not partial, and does not coerce people to join his kingdom. Instead, He has given everybody the free will to make a choice.
Explain the phrase “He who eats my flesh and drinks my blood.” 6:52-55. Bruce, pp. 159 f.
The words, “He who eats my flesh and drinks my blood” (John 6:53), are a figure of speech emphasizing Christ’s Messianic status. He declares to the Jews that he is the giver of everlasting life (bread) found in the spirit (blood). He tells them that those who desire physical gratification have no life in them. Christ abides in the body of the believers.
What words show that Jesus’ mission was universal? 6:51.
Jesus’ words that; “the bread that I shall give is my flesh, which I shall give for the life of the world” demonstrates that His ministry was universal (John 6:51). He refers to himself as the Savior of all nations, not just the Israelites. Those who take this bread shall qualify to be called children of God.
How might the Lord’s Supper (Communion) be implied in this discourse? Bruce, p. 161.
Jesus tells the gathering, “He who eats my flesh and drinks my blood abides in me and I in him” (John 6:56). This statement implies a Holy Communion that takes place when believers participate in the Eucharist. It foretells the Lord’s Supper that would come in the last days of Christ on earth where he tells his disciples to commemorate the sacrament in remembrance of him.
In what respect were the words of Jesus a “hard saying?” 6:60.
Jesus’ words were a “hard saying” to the Jews (John 6:63) because he used them figuratively, not literary. However, the multitude was annoyed for they did not understand the spiritual meaning implied. Alternatively, they could not accept what he said. He had in verse 59 declared that whoever eats His flesh and drinks His blood receives eternal life. A literal interpretation of these words made the audience so upset.
“Where he was before” of verse 62 implies what? Bruce, p. 163.
Jesus perceived that the people were offended by his words. They were expecting an earthly king but Jesus came to establish a spiritual kingdom. The words “where he was before” (John 6:62) implies his ascension to heaven after finishing the work that the Father sent him to do. He was referring to the time he shall be lifted into the clouds before their eyes.
According to verse 63, how do the “words” of Jesus pertain to the possession of “life?” Bruce, p. 163.
In verse 63, Jesus clarifies that all the words he made earlier were to do with the spiritual life, not the physical dimension. His statements demonstrate that the Spirit is the giver of life. Those who focus on the things of the flesh shall gain nothing. However, believers who keep God’s Word shall receive the everlasting spiritual life. Thus, eternal life only occurs in the Spirit, not in the flesh.
What did many disciples do after hearing Jesus’ discourse on the Bread of Life? 6:66.
After hearing Jesus’ words about Him being the ‘Bread of Life’, most disciples withdrew and never conversed with Him anymore (John 6:66). It shows that Christ’s words were difficult to understand or accept because He spoke the truth. Therefore, they chose to engage him no more and left Him alone.
What did Peter confess? 6:68-69. How do his words here differ from a similar confession in Matthew 16:16?
In John 6:68, Peter confessed that Jesus is the Lord who has the word of eternal life. He further indicates that the disciples have come to believe that He is Christ, the Son of the living God (6:69). In contrast, Matthew 16:16, leaves out the words – “Lord, to whom shall we go to?” (6:68). Further, the phrase, “You have the words of eternal life”, (6:68) is omitted in Matthew’s account.