John

John

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by John MacArthur
     
 

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These study guides, part of a 16-volume set from noted Bible scholar John MacArthur, take readers on a journey through biblical texts to discover what lies beneath the surface, focusing on meaning and context, and then reflecting on the explored passage or concept. With probing questions that guideSee more details below

Overview

These study guides, part of a 16-volume set from noted Bible scholar John MacArthur, take readers on a journey through biblical texts to discover what lies beneath the surface, focusing on meaning and context, and then reflecting on the explored passage or concept. With probing questions that guide

Product Details

ISBN-13:
9781418587253
Publisher:
Nelson, Thomas, Inc.
Publication date:
11/05/2000
Series:
MacArthur Bible Studies
Sold by:
THOMAS NELSON
Format:
NOOK Book
Pages:
36
Sales rank:
209,166
File size:
0 MB

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John

Jesusâ"the Word, the Messiah, the Son of God


By John MacArthur

Thomas Nelson

Copyright © 2007 John F. MacArthur, Jr.
All rights reserved.
ISBN: 978-1-4185-8725-3



CHAPTER 1

The Incarnation of the Son of God

John 1:1–18


Drawing Near

Many opinions abound about who Jesus is. What are some of the more common ideas about the identity of Jesus held today that come to mind?

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Who do you believe Jesus is? Why?

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The Context

This rich theological passage constitutes what is known as the prologue to John's Gospel. It introduces many of the major themes that John will address, especially the main theme that "Jesus is the Christ, the Son of God" (vv. 12–14; cf. 20:31). Several key words repeated throughout the Gospel (for example, life, light, witness, glory) appear here for the first time. The remainder of the Gospel develops the theme of the prologue as to how the eternal "Word" of God, Jesus the Messiah and Son of God, became flesh and ministered among people so that all who believe in Him would be saved.

Although John wrote the prologue with the simplest vocabulary in the New Testament, the truths that the prologue conveys are the most profound. The prologue features six basic truths about Christ as the Son of God:

* The eternal Christ (vv. 1–3)

* The incarnate Christ (vv. 4–5)

* The forerunner of Christ (vv. 6–8)

* The unrecognized Christ (vv. 9–11)—that is, His rejection

* The omnipotent Christ (vv. 12–13)

* The glorious Christ (vv. 14–18)—that is, His deity John 1:1–18


As you begin, ask God to open the spiritual eyes of your heart to the truth He wants you to see in this lesson.


Keys to the Text

Incarnation: A theological term for the coming of God's Son into the world as a human being. The term itself is not used in the Bible, but it is based on clear references in the New Testament to Jesus as a person "in the flesh." The Greek construction of the term "the Word" used in the Gospel of John emphasizes that the Word had all the essence or attributes of deity, i.e., Jesus the Messiah was fully God. Although in His incarnation Christ became fully man, He took only the outward appearance of sinful flesh, because He was completely without sin (Heb. 4:15). To know Jesus is to know God. This constant emphasis on Jesus as God incarnate is unmistakably clear in this Gospel.


Life, Light, Darkness: John introduces the reader to contrasting themes that occur throughout the Gospel. "Life" and "light" are qualities of the Word that are shared not only among the Godhead, but also by those who respond to the gospel message regarding Jesus Christ. John uses the word "life" about thirty-six times in his Gospel, far more than any other New Testament book. It refers not only in a broad sense to physical and temporal life that the Son imparted to the created world as the agent of creation, but especially to spiritual and eternal life imparted as a gift through belief in Him.

In Scripture, "light" and "darkness" are familiar symbols. John uses the term "darkness" fourteen times (eight in the Gospel and six in 1 John) out of its seventeen occurrences in the New Testament, making it almost an exclusive Johannine word. Intellectually, light refers to biblical truth while darkness refers to error or falsehood. Morally, light refers to holiness or purity while darkness refers to sin or wrongdoing.


Unleashing the Text

Read 1:1–18, noting the key words and definitions next to the passage.

in the beginning (v. 1)—In an absolute sense, this phrase refers to the beginning of the space-time universe.

the Word (v. 1)—The Greek term is logos, and in extrabiblical, philosophical literature it stood for impersonal wisdom, rational principle, or divine reason; here John imbued the concept with personality.

the Word was with God (v. 1)—The Word, as the Second Person of the Trinity, was in intimate fellowship with God the Father throughout all eternity.

the Word was God (v. 1)—The Word had all the essence or attributes of deity; that is, Jesus the Messiah was (and is) fully God.

all things were made through Him (v. 3)—Jesus Christ was God the Father's agent in creation.

the true Light ... coming into the world (v. 9)—better rendered "the true Light which, coming into the world, gives light to every man"

His own ... His own (v. 11)—in the first case, a reference to humanity in general; in the latter instance, a reference to the Jewish nation

as many as received Him ... to those who believe in His name (v. 12)—To receive Him who is the Word of God means to acknowledge His claims, place one's faith in Him, and thereby yield allegiance to Him.

the Word became flesh (v. 14)—The word "became" emphasizes the eternal, uncreated Christ taking on humanity at a specific point in space-time history.

dwelt (v. 14)—literally, "pitched a tabernacle/tent"; a reference to the Old Testament tabernacle where God met with Israel before the temple was built


John 1:1–18 (NKJV)

1 In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God.

2 He was in the beginning with God.

3 All things were made through Him, and without Him nothing was made that was made.

4 In Him was life, and the life was the light of men.

5 And the light shines in the darkness, and the darkness did not comprehend it.

6 There was a man sent from God, whose name was John.

7 This man came for a witness, to bear witness of the Light, that all through him might believe.

8 He was not that Light, but was sent to bear witness of that Light.

9 That was the true Light which gives light to every man coming into the world.

10 He was in the world, and the world was made through Him, and the world did not know Him.

11 He came to His own, and His own did not receive Him.

12 But as many as received Him, to them He gave the right to become children of God, to those who believe in His name:

13 who were born, not of blood, nor of the will of the flesh, nor of the will of man, but of God.

14 And the Word became flesh and dwelt among us, and we beheld His glory, the glory as of the only begotten of the Father, full of grace and truth.

15 John bore witness of Him and cried out, saying, "This was He of whom I said, 'He who comes after me is preferred before me, for He was before me.' "

16 And of His fullness we have all received, and grace for grace.

17 For the law was given through Moses, but grace and truth came through Jesus Christ.

18 No one has seen God at any time. The only begotten Son, who is in the bosom of the Father, He has declared Him.


1) What descriptions (titles and terms) does John use to introduce the person of Jesus Christ?

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2) What was John the Baptist's role? Why is he significant?

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3) According to John, how was the arrival of Christ into the New Testament world different from the coming of the law into the Old Testament world?

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(Verses to consider: Rom. 3:19–20; Gal. 3:10–14)


Going Deeper

To gain a fuller picture of the uniqueness and deity of Christ, read the related passage of Colossians 1:13–20.


Exploring the Meaning

4) What does the Bible mean when it refers to darkness? To light?

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(Verses to consider: Ps. 119:105; Prov. 6:23; Rom. 13:11–14; 1 Thess. 5:4–7; 1 John 1:5–7)

5) What is significant about the fact that Christ is the source of light and life (v. 4)?

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(Verses to consider: John 8:12; 9:5; 10:28; 11:25–26; 14:6)

6) What profound truth is expressed in John 1:14? What are the implications of this for your life?

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(Verses to consider: Exod. 25:8; 33:7, 11)


Truth for Today

There have been many false views of Jesus throughout history, from noble example to political revolutionary. Yet to imagine a Jesus who was not the Savior is as foolish as to imagine a Shakespeare who was not a writer, or a Rembrandt who was not a painter. His name is Jesus, not because He is our example, guide, leader, or friend, though He is all of those things. His name is Jesus because He is our Savior.


Reflecting on the Text

C. S. Lewis wrote: "I am trying here to prevent anyone saying the really foolish thing that people often say about [Christ]: 'I'm ready to accept Jesus as a great moral teacher, but I don't accept His claim to be God.' That is the one thing we must not say. A man who was merely a man and said the sort of things Jesus said would not be a great moral teacher. He would either be a lunatic—on a level with the man who says he is a poached egg—or else he would be the Devil of Hell. You must make your choice. Either this man was, and is, the Son of God: or else a madman or something worse. You can shut Him up for a fool; you can spit at Him and kill Him as a demon; or you can fall at His feet and call Him Lord and God. But let us not come up with any patronizing nonsense about His being a great moral teacher. He has not left that open to us. He did not intend to." (Mere Christianity, New York: Macmillan Publishing Company, 1960, pp. 40–41)

7) Based on John's prologue, how would you answer the person who claimed that Jesus was just a good man or a wise teacher?

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8) Describe the time in your life when you "received" Christ, or believed in His name.

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9) Which of your friends and neighbors need to know the grace and truth that come only through Jesus Christ? Pray for these friends this week.

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Personal Response

Write out additional reflections, questions you may have, or a prayer.

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CHAPTER 2

The Presentation of the Son of God

John 1:19–2:25


Drawing Near

What aspects of Jesus' identity mean the most to you right now? Why?

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What aspects of Jesus' identity do you have questions about?

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Ask God to give you deeper insight into Jesus' identity as you begin this study.

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The Context

Following his deeply theological prologue, John introduces the first of many witnesses to prove that Jesus is the Messiah and Son of God. This is the main theme of his Gospel (20:31). First we see John the Baptist giving testimony on three different days to three different audiences. These events took place in AD 26–27, just a few months after John's baptism of Jesus. Next we find the record of Jesus' first public miracle—changing water into wine at a wedding in Cana of Galilee. This astounding sign was another powerful witness (the first of eight confirming miracles chosen by John) that pointed unmistakably to Jesus' deity. Finally, John's account of Jesus cleansing the temple in righteous indignation was added proof of Christ's deity and messiahship. The incident demonstrated Jesus' passion for God's house to be honored and His promised power of resurrection.


Keys to the Text

Son of God: There are two basic events in relation to which Jesus Christ is Son—His virgin birth and His resurrection. He was not a son until He was born into this world through the virgin birth. In describing one of the predictions of this birth, Luke says, "And the angel answered and said to her, 'The Holy Spirit will come upon you, and the power of the Most High will overshadow you; and for that reason the holy offspring shall be called the Son of God'" (Luke 1:35 NKJV). The sonship of Christ is inextricably connected with His incarnation. Only after Christ's incarnation did God say, "This is My Son" (Luke 3:22 NKJV).

His sonship came to full bloom in His resurrection. This deep truth Paul makes clear in the book of Romans: "Concerning His Son, who was born of a descendant of David according to the flesh, who was declared the Son of God with power by the resurrection from the dead, according to the spirit of holiness, Jesus Christ our Lord" (Rom. 1:3–4 NJKV). He became a Son at birth; He was declared to be a Son in resurrection.


Messiah: The one anointed by God and empowered by God's Spirit to deliver His people and establish His kingdom. In Jewish thought, the Messiah would be the king of the Jews, a political leader who would defeat their enemies and bring in a golden era of peace and prosperity. In Christian thought, the term Messiah refers to Jesus' role as a spiritual deliverer, setting His people free from sin and death. The word Messiah comes from a Hebrew term that means "anointed one." Its Greek counterpart is Christos, from which the word Christ comes. (Nelson's New Illustrated Bible Dictionary)


(Continues...)

Excerpted from John by John MacArthur. Copyright © 2007 John F. MacArthur, Jr.. Excerpted by permission of Thomas Nelson.
All rights reserved. No part of this excerpt may be reproduced or reprinted without permission in writing from the publisher.
Excerpts are provided by Dial-A-Book Inc. solely for the personal use of visitors to this web site.

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