INTRODUCTION

When someone is exploring Christianity, or right after they become a Christian, they are often encouraged to read the Gospel of John. Within these pages, the life and ministry of Jesus are put on display. In 21 chapters, one can get a good grasp of who Jesus is and what exactly He came to do.

In this study, we’ll be examining the first 11 chapters, which look at the public ministry of Jesus. In it, we will see Him perform seven miracles and the stories of others come to a saving knowledge in Christ. It is our hope and prayer that though our time in this book together, those who know Christ will have their relationship strengthened, and those who are seeking, would come a point of belief in that He is who He says He is.

 

This guide has been specifically prepared with you in mind. It will help Life Groups grow deeper together in relationship with God and one another.

Each week, there are conversation starters to help get things rolling, followed by questions for discussion based on the text. Each week wraps up with personal applications and things to pray for to help you grow spiritually.

We realize you may not be able to get to every question. Pick the ones that would best work for your group. Obviously, you are more than welcome to pull in other resources, or highlights from the sermons each week. Our hope is that by participating in this study, you will have a firmer grasp on the Scriptures and a stronger connection with Christ.

While each of the Gospels share the view that Jesus is the promised Messiah of the Old Testament, each one takes a different approach in revealing how Jesus has come to bring about salvation. The Gospels of Matthew, Mark, and Luke are often referred to as the Synoptic Gospels, as they regularly mirror each other in their account of Jesus’ life and ministry, all telling the story of Jesus from the earth up. Yet, the Gospel of John offers a completely different perspective, telling the story from heaven down. From the get-go, John emphasizes that Jesus has been sent from God. Matthew focuses on showing Jesus is the Jewish Messiah; Mark focuses on Jesus ushering in the Kingdom of God; Luke emphasizes Jesus welcoming the outsider; and John stresses Jesus is the eternal Son of God.
The most likely author of this gospel account is the apostle John, the son of Zebedee. John would have been an eyewitness to many of the events that took place within this book, thus giving him the authority to write. John was a close friend of Jesus (John 13:32; 19:26; 20:2; 21:20). External evidence from church history also supports this claim.
Of the four Gospels written, the Gospel of John was most likely the one that was written last. The Gospel of John could have been written anytime between 55-95 A.D. It was most likely written between 70-85 A.D., considering the other letters in the New Testament written by John.
Believe
The word believe appears 98 times within the book. It never simply prescribes one to a mere intellectual assent to a fact, but calls one to experience a personal response, commitment, and trust. Throughout the Gospel, notions such as receiving (John 1:12) obeying (John 3:36) and abiding (John 15:1-10) are all connected to this belief.

Miracles/Signs
While the synoptic Gospels refer to the miracles of Jesus as such, John describes them as signs. John is driving home the point that when we see Jesus perform a “sign” or “miracle”, the purpose is to point us to something much greater. These accounts are included to encourage us to look past what is on the surface and see what it says about the person of Jesus.

Eternal Life
Littered throughout the entire Gospel, Jesus is pictured as the one who brings about eternal life for all those who believe in Him. See 1:4; 3:15–16, 36; 4:14, 36; 5:24, 26, 39–40; 6:27, 33, 35, 40, 47–48, 51, 53–54, 68; 8:12; 10:10, 25, 28; 11:25; 12:25, 50; 14:6; 17:2–3; 20:31.

“I Am” Statements
See 4:26; 6:20; 8:24, 28; 13:19; 18:5, 6, 8.

In the Synoptic Gospels (Matthew, Mark, and Luke), you often see Jesus referring to and teaching about the Kingdom of God. Yet, within the Gospel of John, the teachings of Jesus that are most emphasized are those where He is speaking about Himself. John is disclosing Jesus’ true identity with wonderful imagery to incite a response from the hearer (and reader). This finds its pinnacle in John 8, when Jesus simply states, “I am”–communicating His divine nature, as God has previously described Himself (such as in Exodus 3:13-14).

Purpose of John
Fortunately for us, John leaves no doubt about the intention of his writing. He simply states that the purpose for his writing is that you may believe (John 20:30-31). The Gospel of John captures the life, teaching, and ministry of Jesus to bring the reader to a point of salvific belief in Jesus.

I. Prologue (1:1-18).

II. Jesus discloses Himself as the Messiah in word and deed (1:19-12:50).

a. The initial call of the disciples and John the Baptist’s ministry (1:19-2:11).

b. Jesus begins His ministry in Jerusalem, Judea, Samaria, and to Gentiles (2:12-4:45).

c. Opposition towards Jesus, His ministry, and miracles (5:1-7:52).

d. Opposition grows and confrontation climaxes (8:12-10:42).

e. Passover and new life (11-12:19).

f. The rejection of Jesus by the Jews (12:20-50).
III. Jesus’ passion and final words. Jesus discloses Himself as the Messiah in the cross and exaltation (13-20).

a. Jesus’ final hours and instructions (13-16).

b. Jesus’ high priestly prayer (17).

c. The betrayal, arrest, trial, death, and burial of Jesus (18-19).

d. The resurrection of Jesus and commissioning of the disciples (20:1-29).

e. The reason and purpose of the Gospel of John (20:30-31).

IV. Epilogue (21)

a. The call on Peter and John’s lives (21).

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