A Guide to Reading the Gospel of John
A Wedding Feast (John 1:1-12)
Jesus and His disciples are invited to a wedding. Jesus performs His first miracle, or sign, there, and His disciples come to believe in Him.
Significance of the Wedding Feast
It would have been natural for Jesus to spend time alone with His disciples as He began to train them. But He takes them to a wedding. Consider the significance of this by reading about Jesus’ teaching that the Kingdom of God is like a wedding feast, a covenant relationship (Matthew 22). Read also Revelation 19:6-19 about God’s people in heaven attending the Wedding Feast of the Lamb
Why do you think Jesus took them to a wedding in Cana of Galilee as He was beginning to train them as His disciples?
Notice that Jesus did not participate in the religious activities of the wedding. He is in the background.
Why do you think Jesus performed this first miracle of changing water into wine? What does this mean for us today? Remember that all of Jesus’ miracles are signs pointing to a truth about God.
Cleansing of the Temple (2:13-25)
It is important to note that the other 3 Gospels place this story of the cleansing of the temple at the end of their books, but John places it in the beginning. But the issue is the same: Conflict with Satan. The other 3 Gospels show Jesus confronting Satan first in the wilderness; but in the Gospel of John, Jesus confronts Satan first in the one place where most people would think evil did not exist — in the temple!
Jesus challenges Satan not only in the wilderness but also in the temple of God, where Satan and his evil powers were firmly entrenched!
Consider the significance of John’s placing Jesus’ first challenge to Satan in the temple!
What was the original purpose of the temple? How were the people abusing this purpose? Jesus was attacking the religious leaders’ attitude towards God!
Read Ezekiel 47:1-12 and Revelation 22:1-5 to understand the importance of the River of Life flowing out from the temple to heal the nations. As you read through the Gospel of John, you will find that Jesus speaks of the river of life flowing out of the inner life of His believers. (See especially John 7:38-39)
How does this relate to the importance of Jesus cleansing the temple as His first act of confronting the religious establishment of His day? Note that the prophet Malachi prophesied that the Lord whom everyone was seeking would “suddenly come to His temple” . . . but who can endure the day of His coming?” (Malachi 3:1-2)
In what ways do you think the events of John chapter 2 are important for understanding the Gospel of John?
I am extremely grateful that you have this inspiring teaching available to all of us. I am studying along every posting you are making and journaling my answers to your proposed questions above. Thank you again for helping me to learn more about Jesus each and everyday. It will take me eternity to get to know God and whom He has sent, I am step closer today thank to you and your examples.
Myong, you and Young are wonderful Bible students and teachers. I remember long ago when you were at Harvard and MIT, how you taught the Bible and influenced the lives of so many students there. Please keep studying, and please share things you learn. We may not all be Bible scholars, but as George MacDonald says, we must all become “Christ scholars.” That is what I also would like to be. Blessings to you.