A Guide to Reading the Gospel of John (4)
The 1st day of Jesus’ public ministry begins with John the Baptizer’s witness about himself (John 1:19-28)
John 1:6 — “There was a man sent from God, whose name was John.” This passage opens with John the Baptizer in Bethany beyond the Jordan River. His role is to prepare people for the immediate coming of the Messiah. The Jewish leadership sent priests and Levites to find out who he was and why he was baptizing. He answers all their questions with the words “I am not.”
John’s only claim is to be a voice. Read Isaiah 40:1-8 and notice the similar role John plays to that of Isaiah the prophet. John the Baptizer was the last in the line of Old Testament prophets.
John’s Witness to Jesus (John 1:29-34)
On the 2nd day of Jesus’ public ministry John bore witness to Jesus Christ. In what two ways did John introduce Jesus?
Jesus Calls 5 Disciples (John 1:35-51)
On the 3rd and 4th days Jesus begins to draw a community around Him, a core group that will carry on His ministry after His death and resurrection.
Jesus did not actually call His first 2 disciples; John the Baptizer did. One of the disciples was Andrew, but the second disciple is not named. Who do you think he is?
Andrew called his brother Simon Peter. How did these three disciples of John the Baptizer become the disciples of Jesus? John 1:35-37 Try to imagine John’s reaction when his disciples left him and began to follow Jesus.
What are the first words Jesus spoke in the Gospel of John? What were these disciples seeking? John 1:38
The use of the word “stay” in the Gospel of John is important. It is also translated as “remain,” or “abide.” The first usage is in John 1:32. The second usage is in John 1:38-39. The Greek verb “abide” in John 15 is the same word used in chapter 1, for “staying, remaining” in Jesus. What does this teach us about the main task of a disciple?
Consider Andrew and Philip’s important roles in drawing other disciples to Jesus.
What do you think is the significance of Jesus’ changing Simon’s name (meaning reed) to Peter (meaning rock)?
Jesus saw Nathanael “under the fig tree,” and Nathanael immediately confessed that Jesus is the Son of God. For the significance of the fig tree, see Micah 4:4 and Zechariah 3:10. There was a current tradition in that time that the true Israelite, when waiting for the Messiah to come, would go at times to meditate “each under his fig tree.” What do you think Nathanael was meditating on? John 1:50-51 gives us a clue. Refer to Genesis 28:10-12.
Notice the three names used for Jesus in this passage.
Son of God
King of Israel
Son of Man