Jehovah’s Word Is Alive
Highlights From the Book of John
JOHN—“the disciple whom Jesus used to love”—is the last person to write an inspired account of Christ’s life and ministry. (John 21:20) Written about 98 C.E., the Gospel of John repeats very little of what is stated in the other three Gospels.
The apostle John wrote his Gospel with a definite objective in mind. Concerning the things that he recorded, he says: “These have been written down that you may believe that Jesus is the Christ the Son of God, and that, because of believing, you may have life by means of his name.” (John 20:31) Its message is indeed of great value to us.—Heb. 4:12.
“SEE, THE LAMB OF GOD”
Upon beholding Jesus, John the Baptizer confidently announces: “See, the Lamb of God that takes away the sin of the world!” (John 1:29) As Jesus travels through Samaria, Galilee, Judea, and the land east of the Jordan—preaching, teaching, and performing powerful works—‘many people come to him and put faith in him.’—John 10:41, 42.
One of the most outstanding miracles that Jesus performs is the resurrection of Lazarus. Many put faith in Jesus when they see a man who has been dead for four days come to life. The chief priests and the Pharisees, however, take counsel to kill Jesus. Hence, Jesus departs and goes to “the country near the wilderness, into a city called Ephraim.”—John 11:53, 54.
Scriptural Questions Answered:
1:35, 40—Who besides Andrew was the disciple standing with John the Baptizer? The narrator always refers to John the Baptizer as “John” and never identifies himself by name in his Gospel. Therefore, the unnamed disciple is evidently the Gospel writer John.
2:20—Which temple “was built in forty-six years”? The Jews were referring to the rebuilding of Zerubbabel’s temple by King Herod of Judea. According to the historian Josephus, that work began in the 18th year of Herod’s reign, or in 18/17 B.C.E. The temple sanctuary and other main structures were constructed in eight years. However, the work on the temple complex continued down to and beyond the Passover of 30 C.E., when the Jews said that it took 46 years to build it.
5:14—Is sickness the result of committing sin? Not necessarily. The man whom Jesus cured had been sick for 38 years because of inherited imperfection. (John 5:1-9) What Jesus meant was that now that the man had been shown mercy, he must follow the way of salvation and willfully sin no more lest something worse than sickness should befall him. The man could become guilty of committing an unforgivable sin, deserving of death with no resurrection.—Matt. 12:31, 32; Luke 12:10; Heb. 10:26, 27.
5:24, 25—Who are those ‘passing over from death to life’? Jesus is speaking about those who were once spiritually dead but who upon hearing his words put faith in him and discontinue walking in their sinful course. They ‘pass over from death to life’ in that the condemnation of death is lifted from them, and they are given the hope of everlasting life because of their faith in God.—1 Pet. 4:3-6.
5:26; 6:53—What does it mean to have ‘life in oneself’? For Jesus Christ, this means receiving from God two specific capabilities—the ability to give humans a fine standing with Jehovah and the power to impart life by resurrecting the dead. For Jesus’ followers, ‘having life in themselves’ means entering into the very fullness of life. Anointed Christians enter into it when they are resurrected to heavenly life. Faithful ones with an earthly hope will experience the fullness of life only after they pass the final test that will occur right after the end of the Millennial Reign of Christ.—1 Cor. 15:52, 53; Rev. 20:5, 7-10.
6:64—Did Jesus know from the time of selecting Judas Iscariot that Judas would betray him? Apparently he did not. On one occasion in the year 32 C.E., however, Jesus told his apostles: “One of you is a slanderer.” Possibly, at that point Jesus noticed in Judas Iscariot a “beginning,” or start, of a wrong course.—John 6:66-71.
Lessons for Us:
2:4. Jesus was indicating to Mary that as the baptized anointed Son of God, he must take direction from his heavenly Father. Although Jesus was just beginning his ministry, he was fully aware of the hour, or the time, for his assigned work, including his sacrificial death. Not even a close family member such as Mary could be allowed to interfere with his doing the divine will. We should serve Jehovah God with similar determination.
3:1-9. The example of Nicodemus, a ruler of the Jews, teaches us two lessons. First, Nicodemus showed humility, insight, and awareness of his own spiritual need, recognizing a lowly carpenter’s son as a teacher sent by God. Humility is needed by true Christians today. Second, Nicodemus held back from becoming a disciple while Jesus was on earth. Perhaps this was due to fear of man, attachment to his position in the Sanhedrin, or love for his riches. From this we can learn a valuable lesson: We must not allow such leanings to hold us back from ‘picking up our torture stake and continually following Jesus.’—Luke 9:23.
4:23, 24. For our worship to be acceptable to God, it must conform to the truth revealed in the pages of the Bible and it must be guided by the holy spirit.
6:44. Jehovah personally cares for us. He draws us to his Son by reaching us individually through the preaching work and by helping us to grasp and apply spiritual truths by means of His holy spirit.
11:33-36. Showing our emotions is not a sign of weakness.
‘CONTINUE FOLLOWING HIM’
As the Passover of 33 C.E. nears, Jesus returns to Bethany. On Nisan 9, he comes to Jerusalem, riding upon the colt of an ass. On Nisan 10, Jesus comes to the temple again. In answer to his prayer for his Father’s name to be glorified, a voice out of heaven says: “I both glorified it and will glorify it again.”—John 12:28.
As the Passover meal is in progress, Jesus gives his followers parting counsel and prays in their behalf. Following his arrest, trial, and impalement, Jesus is resurrected.
Scriptural Questions Answered:
14:2—How would Jesus “prepare a place” in heaven for his faithful followers? This would involve Jesus’ validating the new covenant by appearing before God and presenting to Him the value of his blood. The preparation would also include Christ’s receiving kingly power, after which the heavenly resurrection of his anointed followers would begin.—1 Thess. 4:14-17; Heb. 9:12, 24-28; 1 Pet. 1:19; Rev. 11:15.
14:16, 17; 16:7, 8, 13, 14—When referring to the helper, or the spirit of the truth, why is the pronoun “it” used at John 14:16, 17, whereas “him” and “he” are used at John 16:7, 8, 13, 14? The reason for this is strictly grammatical. In the Greek language, in which John’s Gospel was written, the word for “helper” is in the masculine gender, but the term for “spirit” is neuter. In recording Jesus’ statement, John therefore used the masculine pronoun, such as “he” or “him,” when referring to what the helper would do. The neuter pronoun “it” was employed when reference was made to what the spirit of the truth would accomplish.
19:11—Was Jesus referring to Judas Iscariot when he spoke to Pilate about the man that handed Him over? Rather than Judas or any specific individual, it seems likely that Jesus had in mind all those who shared the guilt for the sin of killing him. This included Judas, “the chief priests and the entire Sanhedrin,” and even “the crowds” that were persuaded to ask for the release of Barabbas.—Matt. 26:59-65; 27:1, 2, 20-22.
20:17—Why did Jesus tell Mary Magdalene to stop clinging to him? Mary evidently clung to Jesus because she thought that he was about to ascend to heaven and she would never see him again. To assure her that he was not yet leaving, Jesus told her to stop clinging to him but instead to go and give his disciples the news of his resurrection.
Lessons for Us:
12:36. To become “sons of light,” or light bearers, we need to gain accurate knowledge of God’s Word, the Bible. Then we must use that knowledge to draw others out of spiritual darkness into God’s light.
14:26; 16:13. Jehovah’s holy spirit serves as a teacher and remembrancer. It also operates to reveal truths. Hence, it can help us to grow in knowledge, wisdom, insight, judgment, and thinking ability. We should therefore persevere in prayer, specifically asking for that spirit.—Luke 11:5-13.
21:15, 19. Peter was asked if he loved Jesus more than “these,” that is, the fish that were before them. Jesus thus stressed the need for Peter to choose to follow him full-time instead of pursuing a fishing career. After considering the Gospel accounts, may we be strengthened in our resolve to love Jesus more than any other things that might attract us. Yes, let us wholeheartedly continue following him.
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What can we learn from the example of Nicodemus?