Tuesday, February 24, 2015

Bible Study - John 1:19-51

Well I've got this up a few weeks late for two reasons: extreme busyness, and being away on vacation for two weeks. But here it is. We looked at this passage in John in our group on January 27.

The whole passage flows as a series of interconnected narratives all starting with John the Baptist who points people to Jesus. John specifically points out Jesus to two of his own followers, one of whom is Andrew. Andrew becomes the first link in a chain that brings in his brother Simon Peter, and then two other men from their hometown, Philip and Nathanael. All in all this passage underlines the importance of inviting our family, friends, and acquaintances to come experience Jesus for themselves.

Here are a few more things to ponder:

  • This passage picks up and develops the theme of witness or testimony introduced in the prologue to the Gospel (1:8,18). What value do you place on personal testimony (either in the context of a court of law or in everyday life)?
  • How does it affect how we experience the story of Jesus' baptism to hear it as eyewitness testimony, rather than as third person narrative as it is in the other Gospels?
  • Notice that John carries out his ministry of baptism 'across the Jordan.' Read Joshua 3:1-17 in the Old Testament. What is the significance of passing through the waters of the Jordan for the people of Israel? What message might John the Baptist be giving to Israel as a nation (beyond his message to individuals)?
  • Reflect on the meaning the various titles given to Jesus in these verses: Lamb of God (1:29,36); Son of God (1:34, 49); Rabbi (1:38); Messiah (1:41); 'him about whom Moses... and the prophets wrote' (1:45); King of Israel (1:49); and Son of Man (1:51, used by Jesus himself). What do these titles say about who Jesus is? What might Jesus mean when he says the disciples will see greater thing? Might there be more to Jesus than we first think?
  • Reflect on the importance of the call to "Come and see," that appears in 1:39 and 1:46. How important is it for people to see and experience Jesus for themselves rather than just hear about him from others?
  • That being said reflect on how important it is in this passage that people like John the Baptist, Andrew and Philip told others about Jesus. Who first told you about Jesus? When did you first come and see him? And if you haven't seen or experienced Jesus yet, where might you go to meet him?

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