Friday, November 29, 2013

Power over death

This is the outline of the lesson from 2013-10-24. We got to almost none of it.

Lazarus dies

  • READ 11:1–4
  • READ 11:5–8
  • READ 11:9–12
  • READ 11:13–16
  • SAY In verses 5–6, different translations have 2 different flows to what Jesus did:
    • Jesus loved them, but he waited.
    • Jesus loved them, so he waited.
    • ASK Which way do you think it is? (So, because he knew it would lead to greater glory for God.)
  • ASK In verse 8, what were the disciples concerned about? (Jesus being killed.)
  • ASK In verses 9–10, what’s all that about daytime, light, darkness, stumbling etc? (Jesus is the light, so going with him is the way not to stumble.)
  • ASK In verse 16, what do you think about Thomas’s attitude?

Jesus arrives

  • READ 11:17–19
  • READ 11:20–22
  • ASK Does Martha’s statement in verse 22 sound like anything else we’ve read in John’s gospel? (Sounds just like Mary in chapter 2)

Who is Jesus?

  • READ 11:23–24
  • READ 11:25–27
  • SAY The teaching of resurrection at the end of time was not something Jesus introduced that they had never heard before. After all, the Pharisees believed in it. Where did they get it? From places in the O.T. like Daniel 12:2: “And many of those who sleep in the dust of the earth shall awake, some to everlasting life, and some to shame and everlasting contempt.”
  • Jesus goes through this Q&A with Martha, and finds her belief is correct about the final resurrection and about himself. But something more spectacular is coming …
  • READ 11:28–32
  • READ 11:33–37
  • ASK In verse 33, how do your Bibles say “deeply moved in his spirit and greatly troubled”? SAY In the original language (and some English translations) it says Jesus was angry. ASK Why was he angry?
  • ASK Have you ever felt like Martha and Mary? Have you felt like Jesus let you down? Have you wondered why sickness, death, loss? SAY It is okay to feel that way.

The sign: Lazarus is raised

  • READ 11:38–40
  • READ 11:41–44
  • ASK If Jesus didn’t need to pray out loud, but it was for the benefit of the crowd, did he really need to “cry out with a loud voice” for Lazarus to come out of the grave?
  • It’s really tempting to find some kind of moral to the story. But the point is this: Jesus has authority over the grave.
  • That’s why he said in 10:17–18: “For this reason the Father loves me, because I lay down my life that I may take it up again. No one takes it from me, but I lay it down of my own accord. I have authority to lay it down, and I have authority to take it up again.”
  • This is the Jesus we believe in. This is the reason we have hope.

Thursday, November 14, 2013

Light and Blindness

Here‘s the lesson from 2013-11-10. I was really concerned to separate the (related) ideas of sins (things we do or don’t do) and sin (our condition since Genesis 3).

Sin leads to suffering (but not sins)

  • SAY Remember a few months ago when we were working our way through Job?
  • ASK What was the central idea Job’s “friends” had? (There’s a one-to-one correspondence between sin and suffering.)
  • READ 9:1–2
  • SAY Apparently, Jesus’s disciples apparently thought Job’s friends were right. But Jesus had a different idea.
  • READ 9:3–7 (Mandatory Eye Roll)
  • SAY Jesus repeats what he said in chapter 8: “I am the light of the world.”
  • ASK Why mud (or clay or whatever)? (Many commentators: Jesus is repairing a man with the substance all men were made of, Genesis 2:7 tells us it was from the “dust of the ground”; also, “Adam”, which means “man” is in Hebrew a pun on “red earth” or “red clay.”)
  • ASK If there were no sin in the world, would the man have been born blind?
  • SAY We use the word “sin” in 2 distinct ways:
    • Things we do.
      • This was the view of the disciples (and Job’s friends).
      • They wanted to connect some particular action of sin to the man’s blindness.
      • If this were true, it would be really convenient: You would know who the real sinners are.
      • Be glad this isn’t so. Consider yourself. Do you want to suffer in direct relation to your spiritual condition?
    • The condition of all humans (except Jesus) since the Fall (Genesis 3).
      • Romans 5:10 starts with “For if while we were enemies …”
      • We were enemies of God.
      • It is this natural condition of being God’s enemy that allows suffering in the world.
      • This is what Christ died to save us from.
      • Part of our charter is to exhibit God’s mercy on the suffering of people inside and outside the visible church. This recalls God’s mercy to us and to the whole world.

Divided Pharisees

  • READ 9:13–17
  • I know which group of Pharisees I’d rather be in. But I worry that I am actually in the other group.

Cowardly parents

  • READ 9:18–22
  • ASK What do you think of how the parents responded?
  • ASK Why do you think the parents were afraid? Possibilities:
    • Social position
    • Place in the economy
    • Being in church is good for business

Forcing the hand

  • READ 9:24
  • When the Pharisees said “Give glory to God,” they were essentially threatening to stone the man.
    • In Joshua 7, after the Israelites were defeated at Ai, when the man who had kept and hidden treasure from Jericho was found, Joshua told him, “Give glory to God.” Then the man confessed.
    • The leaders of the Jews were telling him, “This is really serious.”
  • READ 9:25–27
  • Did you hear the Mandatory Eye Roll?
  • READ 9:28–29
  • Where does authority come from?
  • ASK If authority comes from God’s word — as the Pharisees said (!) — why should they have paid attention to Jesus? (Because he was fulfilling prophecy.)
  • READ 9:32
  • The man understands this. If I were blind, just one of the OT scriptures I would know by heart would be Isaiah 29:18: “In that day the deaf shall hear the words of a book, and out of their gloom and darkness the eyes of the blind shall see.” SAY Giving sight to the blind was a sign of the Messiah, and the Pharisees refused to see it.

Wednesday, November 6, 2013

The Light of the World

This is the outline for the lesson from 2013-11-03. (I didn’t teach on 2013-10-27 because I was serving elsewhere.)

Woman caught in adultery

  • READ 8:2–11
  • We love this story.
  • ASK Does it matter what Jesus wrote in the sand?

Light of the world

  • Get the picture:
    • This is happening on the last day of the Feast of the Tabernacles.
    • This was one of the 3 most important holidays in Israel.
      • It was to help the people remember the Exodus, and living in tents for 40 years.
      • They built 3-sided shelters out of branches and lived in them for a week.
      • It was also foreshadowing Jesus coming: READ John 1:14. SAY (Depends on translation read) “dwelt among us” is literally “pitch his tent with us.”
      • On the last day of the feast, there was a ceremony where people gathered around 4 enormous candelabras and poured out water, recalling both the pillar of fire and the water coming out of the rock. When that happened, Jesus stood up and said …
  • READ 8:12
  • This started an argument with the Pharisees.
  • Jesus: I am the light of the world (v 12).
  • Pharisees: Your testimony is not valid (v13).
  • READ 8:14–19
  • SAY depends on translation, true vs valid — admissible as evidence.
  • ASK Why did Jesus say his testimony was valid? (His Father was backing him up.)

Lifted up

  • READ 8:28–31
  • ASK What does “lifted up” mean here? (The cross)
  • ASK What does John mean when he says “many believed in him”? Were they saved, the way we think of it? (I don’t think so. Just as in John 6 Jesus’ words about “eat my flesh” and “drink my blood” chased a lot of people away, that kind of thing is going on here.

A big “if”

(Derived from Tom Nettles)

Shallow belief can be easily dislodged.

  1. Real disciples abide in Jesus’ word. READ 8:31–32.
  2. False disciples continue to be slaves of sin. READ 8:34–36.
    • This does not mean that if you have an ongoing problem with a particular sin that you are not one of Jesus’ disciples. If you agree with God about the nature of the sin, and if you are remaining in the word — reading your Bible regularly & working to understand it — your obligation to sin — your slavery to it, is cancelled.
  3. False disciples are not spiritual children of Abraham. READ 8:39–40. ASK What are the “works” Abraham did? (READ Gen 15:6)
  4. False disciples are children of Satan. READ 8:44a. What your will is — what you want and what you decide to do — shows who your father is.
  5. False disciples dishonor Jesus, who does honor the Father. READ 8:49.

Jesus declares himself to be God

  • READ 8:56–58
  • We aren’t going to understand the Trinity. But we should try to get an arm around what is revealed. Right now, we just need to see what he was claiming.
  • Jesus has said “I am” a bunch of times already, and as we continue to go through John’s Gospel, we’ll see him say it a bunch more.
    • Sometimes he used it as in “I am the light of the world”; sometimes he used a different comparison.
    • Back in verse 24, he said it without a comparison, and they just asked “Who are you?” In verse 24, your Bible may have italics for “I am he”: Jesus was saying it here and they seem to barely notice. So he spends the rest of the chapter just getting them to this point, to get them to see who he was saying he was.
  • And when they understand it: They try to stone him. (v 59)