Wednesday, October 23, 2013

It’s not about the bread, it’s about the Bread

This is the outline for the lesson I taught on 2013-10-20. We mostly skipped the section on The Water, but other than that it was pretty much according to plan. As it says in the notes, there was no way to get through the whole chapter in 30–35 minutes. And I did’t bring up the stuff Jesus says about election at all.


This is one of the most important chapters in the whole Bible. This is where Jesus starts dividing people (“bringing a sword”) by his declaration of who he is. When he proclaimed the Gospel to the people who enjoyed the miracle, some “disciples” turned away.

There’s no way we can get through all of it.

The miracle of the bread

  • ASK What good is a sign if you don’t read it?
  • READ 6:1–6
  • READ 6:7 (200 deniarii would be 8 months wages for a common laborer.)
  • READ 6:8–10
  • READ 6:11 (As much as they wanted.)
  • READ 6:12–14
  • SAY The people saw the sign, but they didn’t read it. They didn’t realize it pointed to Jesus. To show this, READ 6:15.

The water

  • Jesus went up the mountain to be alone, and he sent the disciples ahead to Capernaum.
  • READ 6:18–19
  • They were afraid when they saw Jesus.
  • READ 6:20–21
  • When he spoke, they were glad.
  • This was a sign for the disciples, and if we’re disciples, it can be a sign for us.
    • When the sea is rough, the creator of the sea can come to us.
    • When he makes his presence known, be glad and let him into your boat.

The sign of the Bread

  • The people get into boats to chase Jesus down.
  • READ 6:25–26
  • Why did they go looking for him? (Free food!)
  • READ 6:27 What did Jesus tell them? (Physical food is temporary.)
  • READ 6:28–29
  • … And then they ask for a sign: READ6:30–31
  • And they hold up manna as the example!
  • SAY It’s easy to critisize: But they still didn’t get it.
  • SAY This is not the first time someone in John’s Gospel didn’t get the point:
    • Nicodemus: “born again/born from above”
    • Woman at the well: Where is this water?
    • Now these people with the bread. So Jesus explains it to them:
  • READ 6:32–33
  • READ 6:34 Yeah! We want that!
  • So Jesus explains the metaphor:
  • READ 6:35–37
  • SAY Here at last is our great Savior: Everyone who comes to him is saved by him, and is kept by him. READ 6:39–40

Tuesday, October 15, 2013

The Healing

This is the outline for the lesson of 2013-10-13 on John 5. We spent a lot of time discussing the issue of John 5:3b–4 not being in some bibles, added in a footnote in some, bracketed in some, just there in some. We will have to revisit this issue in John 8. Most of the stuff in the middle got skipped (due to time constraints), and I finished up listing the 4 witnesses from the last section.

The healing

  • READ 5:1–5
  • READ 5:6–9
  • Point out that v.3b–4 is not in the oldest manuscripts, and there are reasons to believe it was added later to explain v.7. Mention book: Cold Case Christianity by J. Warner Wallace (regarding reliability of the Bible).
  • SAY If others got to the water before this man, there must have been other people there. ASK (Uncomfortable question) Why did Jesus bypass all the others?
  • READ 5:10–14
  • Things we can learn so far:
    • Jesus went where the need was.
    • He met the need.
    • We can do the same.
    • We are nice, middle-class Americans in nice, middle-class houses. It’s tempting to say the needs are “over there.”
    • But our neighbors have needs, too.

The sign

  • SAY It appears Jesus left the man with the miracle. But in John’s gospel, the miracles Jesus performs aren’t just wonders, they are signs. ASK Where is the sign in all this?
  • READ 5:15-18
  • The sign was for the leaders of the Jews (Pharisees & Saducees), not for the man who was healed.
  • This is the beginning of the opposition to Jesus from the Jewish leaders who would eventually ask for his execution.

Jesus’ authority

  • Jesus tells the leaders that they are right about him: He is claiming to be equal with God.
  • READ 5:19–24
  • Back in verse 14, Jesus told the man he healed to “stop sinning.” But here he tells what is required for eternal life:
    • Hear the Gospel.
    • Believe it’s true.
    • READ Romans 10:14

The 4 witnesses to Jesus

  • John the Baptist: READ 5:33–35
  • The works (miracles -> signs): READ 5:36
  • The word of the Father (at Jesus’ baptism, at the transfiguration): READ 5:37–38
  • The Old Testament: READ 5:39, 45–47. Mention book: Jesus On Every Page by David Murray

Monday, October 7, 2013

Increasing belief

This is the outline of the adult lesson I taught on 2013-10-06 on the last part of John 4. I stuck pretty close to the outline this time.

The Samaritans

  • READ 4:39–42
  • They believed because of her testimony …
  • then they believed because they heard the word from the Word themselves.
  • This is the way it should work:
    1. Your testimony may be enough for people to believe in Jesus in some measure.
    2. But it doesn’t stop there. People must encounter Jesus in his Word for themselves.
    3. Which brings me to one of my primary goals for the class: To get each of us to interact with Jesus as he is revealed in the Bible.
      • Not some flight of fancy based on our feelings about him, but …
      • … interacting with the text inspired by the Holy Spirit.
      • This comes from my conviction that the Bible is the only place to get the truth about God.
  • ASK What does the phrase Savior of the world mean?
  • ASK Who did Jesus talk to in Chapter 3? (Nicodemus)
  • ASK Who did Jesus spend time with in the first part of Chapter 4? (Samaritans)

The official’s son

  • READ 4:45–48
  • ASK Why did the people of Galilee welcome him? (Signs & wonders)
  • ASK What were they missing? (the signs were there to point to Jesus.)
  • SAY One of the problems in modern English is the word you. In English, it’s both singular and plural. (It would be much simpler if everyone were a Southerner and said you for singular and y’all for plural.) In verse 48, when Jesus says “Unless you see signs and wonders you will not believe,” he is (in Greek) saying y’all both times. ASK Why? (He’s not rebuking the official’s request, but commenting on the Galileans generally.)
  • About the official: He worked for Herod the Tetrarch, a cultural Jew who worked for the Romans as a governor over 4 cities or regions. I.e., this official was either a Roman soldier or a civil servant.
  • READ 4:49
  • Now we find out what the official thinks: “All this is interesting, but come heal my son.” He insists on keeping to the point.
  • READ 4:50
  • The man believed enough to go.
  • READ 4:51–53
  • When he got the news that confirmed his son’s healing, it seems emphatic: he himself believed.
  • SAY Before he got confirmation, he believed the miracle. But after he got confirmation, he believed the sign.
  • Increasing belief
  • The spread of the Gospel:
    • ASK What kind of person was Nicodemus? (Jew)
    • ASK What kind of person was the woman at the well? (Samaritan)
    • ASK What kind of person was this official? (Gentile)
    • Does this sound familiar? READ Acts 1:8