John 02:1 ~ 4:54 约翰福音 第二章 第一节至第四章 第五十四节

THE GOSPEL OF JOHN

Jesus’ Public Ministry

(John 2:1-4:54)


I.    Turning Water Into Wine (2:1-11)


    A.    The Sign (vv. 1-10)

1.    The Gospel of John uses the word sign rather than miracle.  Signs served as authentication for Jesus’ nature and mission.  Further, a sign points beyond itself to a major truth about God made known through Jesus Christ.  

2.    Jesus’ first miracle was at a wedding at Cana of Galilee.  During the wedding festivities, the wine ran out unexpectedly.  Not only was this an embarrassing situation for the wedding family, but it could also expose them to legal liability.  Mary informed Jesus that the wine supply had been exhausted.  At the proper time, Jesus instructed servants to fill up several stone water pots with water.  He then had them take out some water and take the water to steward, the one who was in charge of the feast.  When the steward tasted what they had brought him, he remarked that what he drank was wine, and a better quality of wine than what they had earlier.


    B.    The Meaning of the Sign (v. 11)

1.    Numbers often have a symbolic meaning in the Bible.  Seven is the number of completion, whereas the number six indicates something just short of completion.  Six water pots were used, which are connected to Jewish ritual observances.  The knowledge the Jews had of God and their relationship with Him through the Jewish law was incomplete.  One was needed to make it complete – Jesus.

2.    The water, used for purification, is replaced with wine, which would come to symbolize the blood of Christ.  The blood of Christ did indeed replace the Jewish ceremonial system in regard to the problem of sin and a holy God’s demand for righteousness.

3.    With Jesus there is full and complete revelation of God.  He brings new joy into life.  When the old life has gone flat, Jesus introduces a new joy and vitality.  


II.    Jesus Clears Out the Temple (2:12-25)


    A.    Moneychangers in the Temple

1.    This was the Passover, the time of remembering how God had delivered Israel from bondage in Egypt.  Jesus encountered individuals who were profiting from the religious festival.  He saw these merchants taking advantage of the pilgrims in Jerusalem.  Jews would travel from far away to come to Jerusalem to celebrate Passover.  Many would bring their sacrificial animals with them, but some would come to Jerusalem expecting to buy the necessary animals to make their sacrifices.  Many of the Jewish worshipers in Jerusalem at the time were poor, and maybe could only afford a turtledove as a sacrifice.  Often the people brought the money that was used in the country where they lived, so they needed to exchange it for the currency used in Judea so they could purchase their sacrifices. The moneychangers would often cheat the people in exchanging the money.

2.    Jesus saw these merchants taking advantage of the pilgrims in Jerusalem.  He was angered by what He saw and made a whip out of cords.  Jesus then overturned the tables of the moneychangers and chased them and their animals from the Temple.  He then charged the moneychangers with making the house of God a house of trade.


    B.    A New Kind of Worship

1.    What Jesus did made the Jews angry.  Their concern was not the moral issue of whether the sellers and moneychangers should have been there, but rather on what grounds Jesus took it upon Himself to chase them out.  When the Jews called for a “sign,” Jesus responded, “Destroy this temple, and in three days I will raise it up” (v. 19).  Jesus was referring to the temple of His body and the fact that He would raise from the grave three days after His death.

2.    A result of this cleansing of the Temple was that Jesus introduced a new kind of worship.  Whereas the moneychangers had substituted convenience for compassion and sacrifice for submission, Jesus showed that the Father demands sincerity and truth in worship.


III.    God’s Saving Love (3:1-21)


    A.    Nicodemus learns of the new birth (vv. 1-15)

1.    Nicodemus had everything: power, prestige, and position.  He was a member of the Sanhedrin, a council of seventy elders – a group that was most interested in following the Jewish Law precisely.  Yet, he decided to visit Jesus at night.  In spite of all he had, Nicodemus wanted to know more about Jesus’ teaching.

2.    Nicodemus opened the conversation with Jesus with a compliment by calling Him “Rabbi.”  Rabbi means “teacher.”  Although Nicodemus knew that Jesus was not formally trained, he apparently had seen that God was a part of what Jesus had been doing.

3.    Jesus got to the heart of the matter and His message: “No one can see the kingdom of God unless he is born again” (v. 3).  A surprising statement to Nicodemus!  He began to interpret it literally and questioned the possibility of being physically reborn.   Rephrasing His statement, Jesus asserted that unless one is born of both “water and the Spirit” a person cannot enter the kingdom of God.  Jesus clarified that He was speaking about a spiritual rebirth, not a physical one.



    B.    The Good News of Jesus Christ (vv. 16-21)

1.    There can be little doubt that this section of John’s Gospel is the most familiar in all of Scripture, with verse 16 serving as the most familiar single verse in all the Bible.  There is good reason, for John 3:16 presents the clearest, simplest statement of the good news of Jesus Christ.

2.    There are three aspects to the good news:

    a.    God loves us.

b.    God’s love is so great that He sent His only Son to tell the world about God’s love.

c.    Anyone who believes in God’s Son will never die but will live forever with God.

3.    Belief means far more than intellectual acceptance to the claims of Christ.  It means placing one’s life and trust in complete surrender to the One in whom we believe.


IV.    Jesus, the Discipler (3:22-36)


A.    Jesus’ Priorities

1.    When students of the life of Christ list the priorities of His ministry, many items come to mind: the miracles, the teaching of the multitudes, the Crucifixion, and the Resurrection.  But one of Jesus’ top priorities was discipling twelve men.  This required time, and He took the time to prepare these men for the time when He would no longer be visibly present (v. 22).

2.    During this time, an argument developed between some of John’s disciples and the Jewish leaders over ceremonial cleansing.  The appropriate means of achieving ceremonial cleansing of their bodies and eating utensils was of great interest to the Jewish community.  When the matter was brought to John, the question of Jesus’ ministry in relation to John’s ministry surfaced.  The loyalty of these disciples to their master, John, is evident as they allowed envy to enter into their thinking about Jesus.  John’s reply affirmed his previous testimony about Jesus.  It also provided an important insight into John’s character.


    B.    Jesus is “from above.”

1.    Knowing a teachable moment had presented itself, John informed his students that one “can receive nothing unless it has been given him from heaven” (v. 27).  John knew that he was “from the earth,” whereas Jesus, as God’s Son, was “from heaven” (v. 31).  John taught his disciples that their relation with God’s Son had eternal consequences.

2.    Those who believe in and obey Jesus have eternal life.  Those who do not believe and obey are in sin and will spend eternity separated from God.





V.    Jesus Confronts People With the Truth of Himself (4:1-54)


    A.    Jesus the Source of Life (4:1-26)

1.    Not wanting to be seen in competition with John’s ministry, Jesus returned to Galilee.  On that journey He passed through Samaria.  Most Jews went out of their way to avoid Samaria.  Samaritans were rejected by Jews primarily because of their mixed Gentile blood and their differing style of worship, which centered on Mount Gerizim.  On this mountain the Samaritans had built a temple that rivaled the Jewish temple in Jerusalem.  Samaritans insisted on worshiping at Mount Gerizim even after their temple was destroyed.

2.    However, Samaria was a part of Jesus’ ministry.  Although the division between the Jews and Samaritans was legendary, it was one that Jesus refused to recognize.

3.    Jesus’ excursion into Samaria resulted in one of the most fascinating dialogues recorded in all of Scripture.  Resting near a wall, Jesus encountered a Samaritan woman who had been living a life of habitual immorality.  Their conversation proceeded upon two levels, the spiritual and the temporal, with the woman constantly finding excuses to counter Jesus’ probing of her life.

4.    The woman’s first shock was that Jesus would even speak to her, a Samaritan woman, considering the animosity between Jews and Samaritans.  Jesus responded not to her questions but to her needs, offering her the opportunity to receive “living water” (v. 10).

5.    Here we see much regarding the intent of Jesus’ ministry, which was to bring people to a realization of the state of their life in order to lead them to repentance and a new life in Him.  In their new lives they honor and worship God in spirit and truth daily.  In His answer, Jesus freed worship from the limitations of place.  The location of worship is not important, but the object of worship is.


    B.    The Messiah’s Mission (4:27-38)

1.    When the disciples rejoined Jesus, they did not dare ask Him about His conversation with the Samaritan woman but rather inquired about His physical well-being.  Perhaps they thought hunger had deprived Him of His senses, as He should have known better than to talk with such a woman.

2.    Jesus then continued the disciples’ education, instructing them that His “food” was “to do the will of Him who sent Me and to accomplish His work” (v. 34).


    C.    Jesus as the Savior of the World (4:39-42)

1.    Jesus’ encounter with the woman at the well and her subsequent sharing of that conversation resulted in many Samaritans believing in Jesus.  After they met Jesus themselves, they believed not because of what the woman had said, but because they had come to believe themselves that “this One is indeed the Savior of the world” (v. 42).

2.    This confession of the Samaritan believers – that Jesus is the Savior – is found only here and in 1 John 4:14.  Only through Jesus is the world able to be saved, and this salvation is indeed for everyone in the world.


    D.    The Healing of the Official’s Son (4:43-54)

1.    After His time in Samaria, Jesus returned to Galilee.  There He met a royal official whose child was near death.

2.    Jesus commented how the belief of the Galileans was tied to His production of miraculous signs and wonders.  This provided an interesting contrast, for the Samaritans believed “because of His word” (v. 41), while the Jews believed because of miraculous “signs and wonders” (v. 48).  As Jesus would later say to Thomas following His resurrection, “Because you have seen Me, have you believed?  Blessed are they who did not see, and yet believed” (John 20:29).

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