Bible Study 3 – John 2:1-22

Read John 2:1-12. Running out of wine was not just inconvenient, but a social disaster and disgrace. The family would have to live with the shame of it for a long time to come; bride and groom might regard it as bad luck on their married life. What is Jesus’ first response when his mother asks him to do something about this crisis (v.4)?

What might have motivated Jesus to act despite the fact that he believed his “time hadn’t come yet?

The Old Testament commonly compares God to a bridegroom and Israel to his bride. John’s readers would thus recognize a wedding as a foretaste of the great heavenly wedding feast in store for God’s people (Revelation 21:2). The water jars, used for Jewish purification rites, are a sign that God is doing a new thing from within the old Jewish system, bringing purification to Israel and the world in a whole new way

How does the image of a wedding help us understand what’s in store for God’s people?

The word John uses for “clue” is sign (v.11). He is setting up a series of signposts to take us through his story. They are moments when, to people who watch with a least a little faith, the angels are going up and coming down at the place where Jesus is. They are moments when heaven is opened, when the transforming power of God’s love bursts in to the present world.

How is this sign at the wedding an example of the transforming power of God’s love?

The transformation from water to wine is of course meant by John to signify the effect that Jesus can have on people’s lives. Where do we see Jesus’ transforming power at work in our world today?

Read John 2:13-25. The temple was the beating heart of Judaism. It was the center of worship and music, of politics and society, of national celebration and mourning. It was the place where Israel’s God, YHWH, had promised to live in the midst of his people. What do Jesus’ words and actions tell us about what the temple had become (vv. 15-16)?

When the Judeans ask Jesus what he thinks he’s up to and request some kind of sign to show them what it all means, how does he respond?

As so often John ends with a hint as to how people should respond If you see the signs that Jesus is doing, then trust him. Believe in him. Jesus, after all, is the one who knows us through and through.

At this point in your encounters with Jesus through John’s Gospel, what is your response to him and his signs?

Questions for John 1:19-51

Read John 1:19-51.

One of the many points to ponder about the strange character of John the Baptist is the way in which all Christina preacher are called to same attitude that John had. We don’t preach ourselves as Paul said, but we preach Jesus Christ as Lord, and ourselves as your servants for his sake (2 Cor 4:5). Or, as John put it, “I’m only a voice.”

How might we follow the example of John the Baptist in our own lives?

Nathanael comes from Cana (John tells us this in 21:2), can’t believe that anything good would come out of the rival village, Nazareth, a short distance up the hill (v.46).

What kinds of prejudices prevent people from seeking Jesus today?

Are there any ordinary people—like Andrew, Simon Peter, Nathanael or the unmade disciple—in your life that you might consider inviting to “come and see” Jesus so that they too might experience what it’s like for heaven and earth to be opened to each other right before their eyes? If so, what kind of “come and see” invitation might you make?

If you had to describe a kind of “sign” you are as a Christian, what kind of words or pictures would be on your sign?  What evidence of God would people see what they look at you? Describe yourself in the space below or drawn a sign that represents you:

 

Write a prayer to God about the kind of sign He wants you to be. Ask God for the strength to stand (like a signpost) to be the kind of witness God can work in and through to bring others to Jesus.

Questions for John 1:1-18

Read John 1:1-18. The first words of John’s Gospel—“In the Beginning”—echo the opening of the start of Genesis, the first book in the Old Testament: “In the beginning, God created the heavens and the earth.” Why does John begin his story of Jesus with his reference to the story of creation?

In the Old Testament, God regularly acts by means of his “word.” What he says, happens—in Genesis itself, and regularly thereafter. “By the word of the LORD the heavens were made” (Psalm 33:6). God’s word is the one thing that will last, even though people and plants wither and die (Isaiah 40:6-8). God’s word will go out of his mouth and bring life, healing and hope to Israel and the whole creation (Isaiah 55:10-11)

How does the Old Testament Background help us understand what John is trying to tell us about the “Word [who] became flesh” (v. 14)?

The theme of this passage: If you want to know who the true God is, look long and hard at Jesus. How does our understanding of God get off track when we try to think about who he is apart from Jesus?

Perhaps the most exciting thing about this opening passage is that we’re in it too: “To anyone who did accept him” (v. 12)—that means anyone at all, then and now. You don’t have to be born into a particular family or part of the world. God wants people from everywhere to be born in a new way, born into the family he began through Jesus and which has since spread through the world. Anyone can become a “child of God” in this sense, a sense which goes beyond all the fact that all humans are special in God’s sight. Something can happen to people in this life which causes them to become new people, people who (as v.12 says) “believe in his name.”

How does believing in the name of Jesus transform someone’s life that he or she becomes a new person?

Who is someone you can pray for and to simply share that they can become a child of God through His Son, Jesus Christ?