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So GO and Invite!

So GO and Invite!


Week 3 Takeaway

Signs Part 2: Water to Wine and Cleansing the Temple Compared and Contrasted

Week 3: John Chapter 2, Part 2


credit: goodsalt.com

credit: goodsalt.com

ESV  John 2:12 After this he went down to Capernaum, with his mother and his brothers and his disciples, and they stayed there for a few days.

13 The Passover of the Jews was at hand, and Jesus went up to Jerusalem.

14 In the temple he found those who were selling oxen and sheep and pigeons, and the money-changers sitting there.

Malachi 3:1 “Behold, I send my messenger, and he will prepare the way before me. And the Lord whom you seek will suddenly come to his temple; and the messenger of the covenant in whom you delight, behold, he is coming, says the LORD of hosts.

15 And making a whip of cords, he drove them all out of the temple, with the sheep and oxen. And he poured out the coins of the money-changers and overturned their tables.

16 And he told those who sold the pigeons, “Take these things away; do not make my Father’s house a house of trade.”

Isaiah 56:7 these I will bring to my holy mountain, and make them joyful in my house of prayer; their burnt offerings and their sacrifices will be accepted on my altar; for my house shall be called a house of prayer for all peoples.”

17 His disciples remembered that it was written, “Zeal for your house will consume me.”

Psalm 69:9 For zeal for your house has consumed me, and the reproaches of those who reproach you have fallen on me.

18 So the Jews said to him, “What sign do you show us for doing these things?”

19 Jesus answered them, “Destroy this temple, and in three days I will raise it up.”

20 The Jews then said, “It has taken forty-six years to build this temple, and will you raise it up in three days?”

21 But he was speaking about the temple of his body.

22 When therefore he was raised from the dead, his disciples remembered that he had said this, and they believed the Scripture and the word that Jesus had spoken.

NET  Acts 10:40 but God raised him up on the third day and caused him to be seen,

ESV  1 Corinthians 15:4 that he was buried, that he was raised on the third day in accordance with the Scriptures,

John 20:16 Jesus said to her, “Mary.” She turned and said to him in Aramaic, “Rabboni!” (which means Teacher). [Mary’s and Jesus’ post-resurrection meeting here]

John the Poet

Scripture includes poetry. God is a poet. (Anyone having marveled at a sunrise or sunset must know that this is true.) The Psalms are poems; The poetry of Psalms is Scripture.

2 Timothy 3:16 All Scripture is breathed out by God and profitable for teaching, for reproof, for correction, and for training in righteousness,

John’s prologue, verses 1-5, though prose, is a most profound and beautiful poem expressing eternal truth with very few and very simple words. (John 1:1-5)

And like most poets, John uses symbolism to develop layers of meaning.

Disclaimer: To say that John is a poet does not mean that the events he describes are “poetic” only. This author believes as literally true every word that John writes. But God as poet designed events to occur which were in and of themselves symbolic of spiritual realities. This is, after all, the New Testament, where Spirit overtakes and surpasses concrete types. (We will see this spelled out in John Chapters 3 and 4.)

The Symbolism of Chapter 2

Scene 1 is about purification: the water of purification was turned into wine, which represents Christ’s blood shed for the remission of sins, i.e., for purification from sins.

  • Just as wine is better than water at a wedding, so blood is better than water for cleansing from sin.
  • The type (the literal event of Jesus’ turning the water into wine) is concrete–they drank physical wine; the reality underlying the symbols of the literal event (antitype) is spiritual.
  • The crucifixion and shedding of Christ’s blood were concrete–real blood flowed–the reality beneath these literal events is spiritual–cleansing from sins is a spiritual reality, not a concrete reality, not one that can be handled and touched.
  • Spiritual blood received by faith in Christ’s having shed his literal, physical, concrete blood is better than literal, concrete water for cleansing–purifying–the soul from sin. (Witness MacBeth’s wife trying in vain to remove her guilt by washing her hands with literal, concrete water–it didn’t work!)

John 2:6 Now there were six stone water jars there for the Jewish rites of purification

John 2:7 “Fill the jars with water,” Jesus told them. So they filled them to the brim.

 John 2:9 When the chief servant tasted the water (after it had become wine)…

John 2:4My hour has not yet come. [The hour of Christ’s crucifixion: John 17:1 …”Father, the hour has come; glorify your Son that the Son may glorify you,”]

Revelation 7:14 …They have washed their robes and made them white in the blood of the Lamb.

Hebrews 9:22 Indeed, under the law almost everything is purified with blood, and without the shedding of blood there is no forgiveness of sins.

1 John 1:7 But if we walk in the light, as he is in the light, we have fellowship with one another, and the blood of Jesus his Son cleanses us from all sin.

Scene 2 is also about purification: Jesus chased out from the temple the money changers and the sellers of sacrificial animals. The problem, as much as doing business in God’s house of prayer, was that these merchants were cheating the people right and left, overcharging and selling for large profits. (Matthew 21:13) And one thing extremely clear from the Old Testament is that God loves his poor people.

 Isaiah 58:5 Is such the fast that I choose, a day for a person to humble himself? Is it to bow down his head like a reed, and to spread sackcloth and ashes under him? Will you call this a fast, and a day acceptable to the LORD? 6 “Is not this the fast that I choose: to loose the bonds of wickedness, to undo the straps of the yoke, to let the oppressed go free, and to break every yoke? 7 Is it not to share your bread with the hungry and bring the homeless poor into your house; when you see the naked, to cover him, and not to hide yourself from your own flesh?

Jesus came and “purified” his Father’s temple.

Water to Wine and Cleansing the Temple Side by Side: Their Symbols Compared and Contrasted

1. Cleansing occurs in both scenes.

Scene 1 is an inward cleansing of heart and mind received by drinking the blood of the Lamb through faith.

Scene 2 is an outward cleansing of God’s temple which Jesus accomplished by rejecting and casting out the impure elements of sinful theft fueled by monetary greed.

2. The two cleansings result in opposite effects for those involved.

In Scene 1 drinking the blood of the Lamb (symbolized by the wine that Jesus created) results in joy, festivity, happiness, celebration, and fellowship of family and friends.

In Scene 2 the sin of hardened hearts (repeatedly and willfully stealing from the poor under the excuse of religion) results in shame, confusion, anger, bitterness, and exclusion from the temple, which symbolizes Christ himself.

3. The two cleansings sum up the Gospel message of salvation vs judgment.

— Gospel message of salvation

John 3:16 “For God so loved the world, that he gave his only Son, that whoever believes in him should not perish but have eternal life. 17 For God did not send his Son into the world to condemn the world, but in order that the world might be saved through him. 18 Whoever believes in him is not condemned, but whoever does not believe is condemned already, because he has not believed in the name of the only Son of God.

— Gospel message of judgment

John 5:22 The Father judges no one, but has given all judgment to the Son,

John 12:31 Now is the judgment of this world; now will the ruler of this world be cast out.

John 12:48 The one who rejects me and does not receive my words has a judge; the word that I have spoken will judge him on the last day.


ESV  John 20:31 … these are written so that you may believe that Jesus is the Christ, the Son of God, and that by believing you may have life in his name.

  • Christ is Son of God
  • Our appropriate response is belief
  • Belief yields LIFE in his name

A Kind of Belief  That Yields No Permanent Beneficial Outcome

John continues writing…

John 2:23 Now when he was in Jerusalem at the Passover Feast, many believed in his name when they saw the signs that he was doing.

24 But Jesus on his part did not entrust himself to them, because he knew all people

25 and needed no one to bear witness about man, for he himself knew what was in man.

Later in John, we see people like these–those who follow Jesus because of his miracles only–turning back when the teaching becomes too costly (difficult) for them to accept.

John 6:66 After this many of his disciples turned back and no longer walked with him. [Read the entire context here and an even broader context here.]

John 6:36 But I said to you that you have seen me and yet do not believe. 37 All that the Father gives me will come to me, and whoever comes to me I will never cast out. 38 For I have come down from heaven, not to do my own will but the will of him who sent me. 39 And this is the will of him who sent me, that I should lose nothing of all that he has given me, but raise it up on the last day. 40 For this is the will of my Father, that everyone who looks on the Son and believes in him should have eternal life, and I will raise him up on the last day.”

Can we see how the verses above, which come later in John, relate to the two scenes in Chapter 2? John foreshadows the rest of his gospel in his simple recounting of Jesus’ changing water to wine  and the cleansing of the temple (Scene 1 and Scene 2), which, inspired by the Holy Spirit, he places side by side at the outset of Christ’s public ministry.



What about me? Is my heart’s desire the joyfully glad cleansing of Scene 1–drinking the wine of Christ and joining the festive wedding celebration–

–or do I prefer the cleansing of Scene 2–being cast out by Christ, away from him and all his people, away from the wedding feast?

New Testament Scripture teaches very clearly that I will be cleansed by Christ. Which shall it be? The joyful cleansing of salvation? Or the painful cleansing by exclusion that comes with judgment?

 Revelation 20:12 And I saw the dead, great and small, standing before the throne, and books were opened. Then another book was opened, which is the book of life. And the dead were judged by what was written in the books, according to what they had done. 13 And the sea gave up the dead who were in it, Death and Hades gave up the dead who were in them, and they were judged, each one of them, according to what they had done. 14 Then Death and Hades were thrown into the lake of fire. This is the second death, the lake of fire. 15 And if anyone’s name was not found written in the book of life, he was thrown into the lake of fire.

The verses above were written by John, the same John who wrote the Gospel of John. And so we see by John’s theme in his gospel (John 20:31 … these are written so that you may believe that Jesus is the Christ, the Son of God, and that by believing you may have life in his name) that he is very much an evangelist at heart. He wants us to believe, to find life, and to be spared from the judgment of Jesus Christ upon all people who reject the living wine–the blood of his life sacrificed on the cross–which alone leads to eternal life.

This is what the Bible teaches, and I verify that the life in Christ that John teaches is true. I have not yet witnessed the final judgment–no one has because it hasn’t happened yet. And if the one is true–life in Jesus–why would the Bible be lying about the other?

What about you? As seen in chapter 1, Jesus hears your thoughts even now. And this is the promise he extends to the whole world:

Joel 2:32 And it shall come to pass that everyone who calls on the name of the LORD shall be saved. For in Mount Zion and in Jerusalem there shall be those who escape, as the LORD has said, and among the survivors shall be those whom the LORD calls.

Acts 2:21 And it shall come to pass that everyone who calls upon the name of the Lord shall be saved.’

Romans 10:13 For “everyone who calls on the name of the Lord will be saved.”

What about you? What about now? Call out to the Lord and be saved!


Link to the Outline of the Gospel of John

Signs Part 1: Turning Water into Wine


Week 3: John Chapter 2, Part 1

First Sign: Water to Wine 2:1-11

                                         What is a sign-text                                               ?

…a miracle viewed as a proof of divine authority and majesty…

…a physical illustration of a spiritual principle…

…the sign points away from itself to the One who performed it…

(Hendriksen, 117)

The First Sign in the Gospel of John


ESV  John 2:1 On the third day there was a wedding at Cana in Galilee, and the mother of Jesus was there.  2 Jesus also was invited to the wedding with his disciples.  3 When the wine ran out, the mother of Jesus said to him, “They have no wine.”  4 And Jesus said to her, “Woman, what does this have to do with me? My hour has not yet come.”  5 His mother said to the servants, “Do whatever he tells you.”  6 Now there were six stone water jars there for the Jewish rites of purification, each holding twenty or thirty gallons.  7 Jesus said to the servants, “Fill the jars with water.” And they filled them up to the brim.  8 And he said to them, “Now draw some out and take it to the master of the feast.” So they took it.  9 When the master of the feast tasted the water now become wine, and did not know where it came from (though the servants who had drawn the water knew), the master of the feast called the bridegroom  10 and said to him, “Everyone serves the good wine first, and when people have drunk freely, then the poor wine. But you have kept the good wine until now.”  11 This, the first of his signs, Jesus did at Cana in Galilee, and manifested his glory. And his disciples believed in him.

At a literal level, what Jesus did at the wedding was IMPOSSIBLE. This points to Jesus’ special powers.

Why does this miracles constitute a SIGN?

Water in the New Testament symbolizes the Word of God.

ESV  Ephesians 5:25 Husbands, love your wives, as Christ loved the church and gave himself up for her, 26 that he might sanctify her, having cleansed her by the washing of water with the word,

Christ is called the living Word of God.

John 1:1 In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God.

 14 And the Word became flesh and dwelt among us, and we have seen his glory, glory as of the only Son from the Father, full of grace and truth.

Wine in the New Testament symbolizes the blood of Christ shed on the cross as an atonement for sin.

Matthew 26:27 And he took a cup, and when he had given thanks he gave it to them, saying, “Drink of it, all of you, 28 for this is my blood of the covenant, which is poured out for many for the forgiveness of sins.

The physical wine itself pales in comparison to the realization that here is a man who shows himself to have great power and love, by his working of a supernatural feat to bless the guests at the wedding, including the bridegroom and his bride.


ESV  John 2:11 This, the first of his signs, Jesus did at Cana in Galilee, and manifested his glory. And his disciples believed in him.

This first sign shows that Jesus is the master of both QUALITY (he is the best wine) and QUANTITY (100-150 gallons is lots of wine!!) (Hendriksen, 119)

He can also CHANGE PHYSICAL SUBSTANCES, making him to be God!



Why Signs?

Jesus is the Light of men. This Light shines in the darkness, and the darkness just can’t put it out.

We all know from taking photos that too much light destroys color and detail–everything becomes a burned out white. Our eyes themselves can’t function when the light is too bright. Christ’s light (the light of God himself) would blind us if we saw it unfiltered.

A Sign Miracle is a toning down of the exposure of Christ’s light.

The Miracle Signs illuminate Christ to our understanding without overexposing our human minds to a blinding light.

John’s writing places all else but Christ in background tones of shadows while at the same time painting Christ in vivid, detailed colors.

Christ himself is a “Sign” that points to God as love.






Outline of the Gospel of John

Weekly Links to Gems from the Gospel of John

Week 1: Visual Summary of Prologue of John 1:1-5 (Link to Week 1 Visual Summary)

Week 1: Word of God John 1:1-5 (Link to Week 1 Word of God)

Week 1: Prologue of John 1:1-18 (Link to Week 1 Outline of Prologue)

Week 2: John the Baptist, Jesus, and the First Disciples (Link to Week 2)

Week 3 Part 1: First Sign–Water to Wine (Link to Week 3 Part 1)

Week 3 Part 2: Cleansing of the Temple (Link to Week 3 Part 2)

Week 3 Takeaway Poster: So GO and Invite! (Link to Poster)

Week 4 New Birth–Its Necessity and Joy: John 3:1-21 and John 4:1-42 (Link to Week 4 New Birth)

Week 4 Concrete to Spiritual: How Jesus Changes the Old Testament to the New (Link to Week 4 Concrete to Spiritual)

Week 4 God’s Sliding Scale of Grace in Christ: No Virtue Will Get You In! No Defect Will Keep You Out! (Link to Week 4 God’s Sliding Scale of Grace)

Week 5 Second Sign–Healing the Nobleman’s Son (Link to Week 5)

Week 5 Third Sign–Healing a Paralyzed Man (Link to Week 5 Part 2)

Week 6 Jesus’ Discourse Following his Healing of the Paralyzed Man (Link to Week 6 Part 1)

Week 6 Fourth and Fifth Signs–Feeding 5,000 and Walking on Water (Link to Week 6 Part 2)

Week 7 Bread of Life Discourse (Link to Week 7 Part 1: Jesus’ “I Am” Statements)

Week 7 Jesus Sent by God and Endorsed by Him (Link to Week 7 Part 2: Sent and Endorsed)

Week 7 Impossibility of Faith without God (Link to Week 7 Part 3)

Week 7 Spiritual Replaces Concrete: John Continues Developing This Theme (Link to Week 7 Part 4)

Week 8 How Love and Knowledge Interact (Link to Week 8 Part 1)

Week 8 Jesus Confronts his Enemies with the Truth of Salvation (Link to Week 8 Part 2)

Week 9 Sixth Sign–Jesus Gives Vision to a Man Born Blind (Link to Week 9

Week 10 Jesus’ Seven “I Am” Statements in John (Link to Week 10 “I Am’s”)

Week 10 Jesus the Good Shepherd (Link to Week 10 The Good Shepherd)

Week 10 Jesus and the Father Are One (Link to Week 10 I and the Father Are One)

Week 11 Synthesis of Christ the Son of God and Christ the Human Being: Raising Lazarus from the Dead (Link to Week 11 Raising Lazarus)

Week 12 The Triumphal Entry (Link to Week 12 The Triumphal Entry)

Week 13 The Final Meal (Link to Week 13 The Final Dinner)

Week 14 Final Discourse: Comfort (Link to Week 14 Final Discourse: Comfort)

Week 15 Final Discourse: Admonition (Link to Week 15 Final Discourse: Admonition)

Week 16 Final Discourse: Prediction (Link to Week 16 Final Discourse: Prediction)

Week 17 High Priestly Prayer: A Petition for Fellowship in Glory Among Father, Son, and All Believers in Christ (Link to Week 17 High Priestly Prayer)

Week 18 Jesus’ Arrest, Trial, Crucifixion and Burial (Link to Week 18, Chapters 18-19)

Week 19 Resurrection, Conclusion, and Final Scenes (Link to Week 19, Chapters 20-21)


Outline of the Book of John

I. Christ’s Identity

  • Christ the Eternal Word 1:1-12
  • Christ the Incarnate Word 1:13-18
  • Prologue Summarized 1:18

II. Presentation of Christ as the Son of God (1:9-12:50)

A. John the Baptist testifies of Christ 1:19-36

B. Jesus calls his first disciples 1:37-50

1. Jesus fulfills Jacob’s vision of a Ladder between Heaven and Earth 1:51

C. First Sign: water to wine 2:1-11

D. Cleansing the Temple 2:12-22

1. Jesus does not entrust himself to the people who saw his miracles 2:23-25

E. Explaining the necessity of the new birth to Nicodemus John 3:1-21

F. Explaining the desirability of the new birth to the woman at the well John 4:1-42

1. Jesus’ omniscience demonstrates that he is the Son of God

G. Second Sign: Jesus heals a nobleman’s son from a great distance John 4:46-54

H. Third Sign: Jesus heals a man paralyzed for 38 years and endures and defends against the attacks of his critics John 5:1-47

I. Fourth Sign: Jesus feeds 5,000 men plus women and children from a single lunch John 6:1-15

J. Fifth Sign: Jesus walks on water John 6:16-21

K. Jesus further explains the difference between concrete/spiritual in relation to himself, the living bread from heaven (see also Nicodemus and the Woman at the Well) John 6:22-71

1. “I Am” statements in John 6

2. Jesus sent and endorsed by God

3. Jesus declares the impossibility of faith without God

4. Galilee as a whole rejects the Son of God

5. Some of his disciples walk away

6. Peter confesses Christ as the Holy One of God

7. One of the twelve will betray him.

L. Back to Judea for the Feast of Tabernacles: Jesus Confronts His Enemies (chapters 7 and 8)

M. Sixth Sign: Jesus Gives Sight to a Man Born Blind John 9

N. Jesus Is the Good Shepherd Who Enters Legitimately by the Door (10:1-21)

O. Jesus says, “I and the Father are one.” His enemies pick up stones to stone him, and also try to arrest him. This is the end of the later Judean Ministry. (10:22-42)

P. Christ’s Identity Revisited: the Eternal Word and the Incarnate Word Demonstrated in the Raising of Lazarus from the Dead (John 11:1-12:11)

Q. The Great Stir Caused by the Raising of Lazarus from the Dead Flows into the Triumphal Entry. Ultimately, the Crowd in General Again Rejects Jesus (John 12:11-50)

III. Instruction to the Twelve by the Son of God: The New Commandment of Love (13:1-17:26)

A. The Last Supper as related by John (13:1-38)

1. Washing the Disciples’ Feet (1-17)

2. Announcement of Judas’ Betrayal (18-30)

3. Comfort and Instruction (31-35)

4. Prophesying of Peter’s Denial (36-38)

B. Final Discourse

1. Words of Comfort (Chapter 14)

2. Words of Admonition (Chapter 15)

3. Words of Prediction (Chapter 16)

IV. Jesus’ High Priestly Prayer (Chapter 17)

V. Suffering of Christ as the Son of God and Son of Man (18:1-20:31)

A. Arrest in the Garden (Chapter 18)

B. Trial (Chapters 18-19)

C. Crucifixion and Death (Chapter 19)

D. Burial (Chapter 19)

VI. The Resurrection of Jesus Christ from the Grave (Chapter 20)

A. As witnessed by Mary (20:1-2, 11-18)

B. As witnessed by Peter and John (20:3-10)

C. As witnessed by the disciples as a group excluding Thomas (20:19-24)

D. As witnessed by the disciples as a group including Thomas (20:24-29)

E. John’s conclusion of his gospel and stated purpose for writing (20:30-31)

VII. Epilogue: the Continuing Work of the Son of God (21:1-25)

A. The third resurrection appearance to a group of disciples (21:1-14)

B. Peter’s reinstatement and prophesy of the manner of his death (21:14-19)

C. What about John? (21:20-23)

D. Statement of John’s credibility as witness (21:24)

E. Last word concerning the greatness of Jesus Christ incarnated (21:25)

Jacob’s Ladder = Jesus Christ: Gospel of John Explains


John the Baptist, Jesus, and the First Disciples: John 1:19-51

Outline of This Presentation

I. Points of confusion concerning what the text is saying (Including Jacob’s Ladder)

II. Highlights of content

III. Personal applications


I. Points of confusion concerning what the text is saying:

I’ve read through John’s gospel many times over the course of my lengthy relationship with Christ. Below are a few questions I’ve asked as I’ve read this text.

A. John the Baptist–is he or isn’t he Elijah?

19And this is the testimony of John, when the Jews sent priests and Levites from Jerusalem to ask him, “Who are you?” 20He confessed, and did not deny, but confessed, “I am not the Christ.” 21And they asked him, “What then? Are you Elijah?” He said, “I am not.” “Are you the Prophet?” And he answered, “No.” 22So they said to him, “Who are you? We need to give an answer to those who sent us. What do you say about yourself?” 23He said, “I am the voice of one crying out in the wilderness, ‘Make straighth the way of the Lord,’ as the prophet Isaiah said.”

24(Now they had been sent from the Pharisees.) 25They asked him, “Then why are you baptizing, if you are neither the Christ, nor Elijah, nor the Prophet?” 26John answered them, “I baptize with water, but among you stands one you do not know, 27even he who comes after me, the strap of whose sandal I am not worthy to untie.” 28These things took place in Bethany across the Jordan, where John was baptizing.


Verse 21: If John the Baptist is not Elijah (Malachi 4:4-6), as he states, then why does Jesus in Matthew 11:14 and Matthew 17:10-12 say that John is Elijah?

Possible Answer:

In the context of the then current expectations of the priests and Levites sent by the Jewish religious leaders in Jerusalem, John replied to their question, “No,” he was not Elijah. He was not literally and physically Elijah resurrected.

Yet Jesus states unequivocally in the Matthew 11:14 that John is Elijah, if his listeners are willing to accept that, and in Matthew 17:10-12 Jesus states to his disciples that Elijah already came in John the Baptist.

The angel that spoke prophetically to John’s father Zechariah in Luke 1:17 said that his about-to-be-born son would go ahead of Messiah in the “spirit and power of Elijah.”

So, the answer would be no to a concrete, literal, physical Elijah, and yes to a symbolic, spiritual Elijah.

As to the charge of “spiritualizing” the Old Testament, yes, the Gospel records Jesus doing that abundantly.

B. How could John the Baptist say that he “did not know” Christ?

29The next day he saw Jesus coming toward him, and said, “Behold, the Lamb of God, who takes away the sin of the world! 30This is he of whom I said, ‘After me comes a man who ranks before me, because he was before me.’ 31I myself did not know him, but for this purpose I came baptizing with water, that he might be revealed to Israel.” 32And John bore witness: “I saw the Spirit descend from heaven like a dove, and it remained on him. 33I myself did not know him, but he who sent me to baptize with water said to me, ‘He on whom you see the Spirit descend and remain, this is he who baptizes with the Holy Spirit.’ 34And I have seen and have borne witness that this is the Son of God.”


How can John say in verses 31 and 33, “I myself did not know him,” when Jesus was his relative and he recognized Messiah as early as his mother’s womb? (Luke 1:36, 39-41)

Possible Answer:

The best answer I have found comes from William Hendriksen (Hendriksen, 99, 100), who states that John did not recognize Jesus in his “quality as Messiah,” according to either the mental process of intuition and reason or the physical process of observation and experience.

John knew that this person Jesus, who came to him physically in order to be baptized, was the Messiah, the Lamb of God, and the Son of God only because the God who had commissioned him had told him that as he is baptizing, the one on whom the Spirit comes down and remains as a dove is the One.

So John received his knowledge by revelation from God.

C. Why did Nathanael respond so strongly? And what exactly is Jacob’s Ladder?

35The next day again John was standing with two of his disciples, 36and he looked at Jesus as he walked by and said, “Behold, the Lamb of God!” 37The two disciples heard him say this, and they followed Jesus. 38Jesus turned and saw them following and said to them, “What are you seeking?” And they said to him, “Rabbi” (which means Teacher), “where are you staying?” 39He said to them, “Come and you will see.” So they came and saw where he was staying, and they stayed with him that day, for it was about the tenth hour.  40One of the two who heard John speak and followed Jesus was Andrew, Simon Peter’s brother. 41He first found his own brother Simon and said to him, “We have found the Messiah” (which means Christ). 42He brought him to Jesus. Jesus looked at him and said, “You are Simon the son of John. You shall be called Cephas” (which means Peter).

43The next day Jesus decided to go to Galilee. He found Philip and said to him, “Follow me.” 44Now Philip was from Bethsaida, the city of Andrew and Peter. 45Philip found Nathanael and said to him, “We have found him of whom Moses in the Law and also the prophets wrote, Jesus of Nazareth, the son of Joseph.” 46Nathanael said to him, “Can anything good come out of Nazareth?” Philip said to him, “Come and see.” 47Jesus saw Nathanael coming toward him and said of him, “Behold, an Israelite indeed, in whom there is no deceit!” 48Nathanael said to him, “How do you know me?” Jesus answered him, “Before Philip called you, when you were under the fig tree, I saw you.” 49Nathanael answered him, “Rabbi, you are the Son of God! You are the King of Israel!” 50Jesus answered him, “Because I said to you, ‘I saw you under the fig tree,’ do you believe? You will see greater things than these.” 51And he said to him, “Truly, truly, I say to you, you will see heaven opened, and the angels of God ascending and descending on the Son of Man.”


Why was Nathaniel’s response so “over the top?” How did Nathanael get such tremendous faith and spiritual insight from Jesus’ one statement, “I saw you under the fig tree.” What am I missing?

Possible Answer:

A. The Miracle Itself

1. Jesus saw Nathanael under a particular fig tree before Philip had found him.

2. This fig tree was not present at the Jordan River where Jesus had been (:43), since he had already left there and was on his way to Galilee the next day.

3. Therefore, Jesus had supernaturally seen Nathanael in another place and another time, and this is what Nathanael realized.

4. Not only had Jesus seen Nathanael’s outward form sitting under the fig tree, he had apparently been reading his thoughts long distance as he sat there meditating.

5. Philip had called Jesus the One the Scriptures had prophesied would come, and with that context prodding him, Nathanael knew that only the Son of God could know what he had been thinking when he was miles away both in distance and time.

B. Unravelling the Significance of Jesus’ Statement about an Israelite without Guile

1. Within the context of the entire passage, Jesus has been thinking of the patriarch Jacob, who tricked (used guile) his brother out of his blessing as firstborn son.

2. The use of trickery, deceit, or guile characterized both Jacob (Genesis 30:37-43) and his posterity (Genesis 34, whole chapter about Dinah and her brothers’ trickery to vindicate their honor).

3. Nathanael understands Jesus to be assessing his character as being without guile, and agreeing with this assessment, he asks, “How do you know me?”

Jacob’s Ladder Explained

4. After Jesus’ explanation of having supernaturally seen into Nathanael’s thoughts, and after Nathanael’s exclamation of astonished, profoundly convinced faith, Jesus continues with a prophecy concerning himself, “Truly, truly, I say to you, you will see heaven opened, and the angels of God ascending and descending on the Son of Man.”

5. This statement refers to Jacob’s vision while asleep of a ladder stretching from heaven to earth and angels moving up and down, back and forth, upon (ἐπ᾽ in Greek, abbreviated form of ἐπὶ) the ladder.  (Genesis 28:11-13)

6. Jesus connects this ladder with himself, saying in verse 51 that the angels would be moving up and down on (upon) (ἐπὶ in Greek) himself. He IS the ladder in Jacob’s dream.

7. Jesus is announcing that he is the connection between earth and heaven, between man and God. Jesus is the mediator, the go-between, the way, the access to God. He stands in relation not only to Israel as Israel’s king, but also in relation to humankind in its entirety, for he is the “Son of Man,” and as such, the Savior of all mankind.


 II. Highlights of John 1:19-51


Hayford, Jack W., exec. ed. John: Living Beyond the Ordinary. Nashville: Thomas Nelson, Inc., 2009, 15-16.

Hayford, Jack W., exec. ed. John: Living Beyond the Ordinary. Nashville: Thomas Nelson, Inc., 2009, 15-16.

Pink, Arthur W. Exposition of the Gospel of John: Three Volumes Complete and Unabridged in One. Grand Rapids: The Zondervan Corporation, 1975, 73.

Pink, Arthur W. Exposition of the Gospel of John: Three Volumes Complete and Unabridged in One. Grand Rapids: The Zondervan Corporation, 1975, 73.













What was the Difference between John’s and Jesus’ Baptisms?

John’s purpose was to manifest (show out, point out, make known) Christ to Israel. It was to prepare a people for him. John prepared this people by bringing them to see and acknowledge their sin before God in the symbolic act of water baptism. By being baptized by John, they acknowledged that death was their due. They were then prepared to receive Christ as Savior dying in their place as condemned sinners.

Christian baptism is different. A Christian believer does not confess that death is his due, but he demonstrates, again symbolically, that he has already died in Christ to sin. Christian baptism signifies the Christian’s having died with Christ. And, of course, the Christian’s coming up from the water signifies resurrection with Christ.

(Based upon Pink, 59-60)


John the Baptist’s Sevenfold Witness to Christ

Pink, Arthur W. Exposition of the Gospel of John: Three Volumes Complete and Unabridged in One. Grand Rapids: The Zondervan Corporation, 1975, 61.

Pink, Arthur W. Exposition of the Gospel of John: Three Volumes Complete and Unabridged in One. Grand Rapids: The Zondervan Corporation, 1975, 61.


Why does John 1:35-42 differ from Mark 1:16-20?

One simple answer given by Arthur Pink (Pink, 62-63) is that the account in John describes these disciples’ conversion, while the account in Mark describes their call to service.


“Behold the Lamb of God”

Behold, the Lamb of God

Original artwork by Christina Wilson


Arthur Pink teaches that if we’re going to see Jesus as the “Lamb of God” (John 1:36), we must stop to “behold” him. We must quit striving in our own flesh; we must “come to the end of ourselves.” (Pink, 66)

ESV  Exodus 14:13 And Moses said to the people, “Fear not, stand firm, and see the salvation of the LORD, which he will work for you today. For the Egyptians whom you see today, you shall never see again.

As Jesus said,  “Blessed are the poor in spirit, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.” (Matthew 5:3)

God calls to saving conversion in various ways

1. by testimony of preachers: John and Andrew (John 1:35-39)

2. by testimony of friends: Andrew got Peter (John 1:40-42); Philip got Nathanael (John 1:44-46)

3. without human vehicle–directly by God: Christ got Philip (John 1:43)


III. Personal Applications

Do I know Jesus personally? Or, do I rely mostly upon my church and my pastor(s)?

1. John the Baptist, Jesus Christ, the disciples, and God himself chose not to use the vehicle of the then-current religious structure of the Jewish leaders of Jesus’ day.

2. John the Baptist taught in the wilderness, not in Jerusalem.

3. Neither John, nor Christ, nor the disciples had been educated by the Jewish leaders.

4. Why do you suppose God chose not to introduce Christ to the world through the vehicle of the Jewish religious institution of that day?

5. Have there ever been times in your life when you have had to leave the teachings of a church in order to follow Christ and his teachings?

Have I experienced the call of God upon my life? How does this affect me in specific situations I may face every day?

Jack Hayford (Hayford, 17, 20-21)points out the positive effects on one’s life of the sure knowledge of God’s calling:

1. Jesus knew his calling.

2. John the Baptist knew his calling.

3. Each of the disciples experienced their own specific call by God.

4. What about me?


Gems from John: Outline John 1:19-51

Gems from the Gospel of John

Week 2: John the Baptist’s Testimony and Jesus’ First Disciples


ESV  John 20:31 … these are written so that you may believe that Jesus is the Christ, the Son of God, and that by believing you may have life in his name.

  • Christ is Son of God
  • Our appropriate response is belief
  • Belief yields LIFE in his name

I.    John the Baptist’s witness of himself (1:19-28)

  • John’s own identity (:19-28)

II.   John Points Out Christ (:29-36)

  • Day One — to the crowd (:29-34)
  • Day Two — to his own disciples (:35-36)

III. Jesus’ First Disciples

  • Andrew and the Unnamed (who is John the Author of this Gospel) (:37-40)
  • Andrew’s brother Simon (Christ renames him “Peter”) (:41-42)
  • Philip (:44)
  • Nathanael (:45-49)

IV.  Jesus Is the Ladder between Earth and Heaven (:50-51)

Read the Full Lesson Notes Here: Jacob’s Ladder = Jesus Christ: Gospel of John Explains


Gems from John: Outline of the Prologue

Gems from the Gospel of John

Week 1: Prologue John 1:1-18


ESV  John 20:31 … these are written so that you may believe that Jesus is the Christ, the Son of God, and that by believing you may have life in his name.

  • Christ is Son of God
  • Our appropriate response is belief
  • Belief yields LIFE in his name


I. Prologue (1:1-18)

  • Christ the Eternal Word 1:1-12
  • Christ the Incarnate Word 1:13-18
  • Prologue Summarized 1:18

II. Presentation of Christ as the Son of God (1:9-12:50)

III. Instruction to the Twelve by the Son of God (13:1-17:26)

IV. Suffering of Christ as the Son of God and Son of Man (18:1-20:31)IV

V. Epilogue: the Continuing Work of the Son of God (21:1-25)


  1. Matthew: Lord Jesus is Son of David, heir to Israel’s throne, the King of the Jews
  2. Mark: Christ is Servant of Jehovah, the perfect Workman of God
  3. Luke: Christ the Savior is the Son of Man, the perfect Man
  4. John: Christ is the Son of God made flesh

The three synoptic gospels share 1) much similar material, 2) a similar chronology, and 3) a point of view that shows Jesus’ interactions as man with men. John’s material is 90% unique, and his chronology suits his own purpose, which is to demonstrate through the witness of 1) God, 2) John the Baptist, 3) his miracles, 4) his disciples, and 5) his resurrection that he is God’s unique Son, very God of very God.


  1. The Relation of Christ to Time – “In the beginning,” therefore, Eternal: 1:1.
  2. The Relation of Christ to the Godhead – “With God,” therefore, One of the Holy Trinity: 1:1.
  3. The Relation of Christ to the Holy Trinity – “God was the Word” – the Revealer: 1:1
  4. The Relation of Christ to the Universe – “All things were made by him” – the Creator: 1:3.
  5. The Relation of Christ to Men – Their “Light”: 1:4, 5
  6. The Relation of John the Baptist to Christ – “Witness” of His Deity: 1:6-9.
  7. The Reception which Christ met here: 1:10-13.
    1. “The world knew him not”: 1:10.
    2. “His own (Israel) received him not”: 1:11.
    3. A company born of God “received him”: 1:12, 13.


  1. Christ’s Incarnation – “The word became flesh” 1:14.
  2. Christ’s Earthly sojourn – “And tabernacled among us” 1:14.
  3. Christ’s Unique Glory – “As of the only Begotten”
  4. Christ’s Supreme excellency – “Preferred before” 1:15.
  5. Christ’s Divine sufficiency – “His fulness” 1:16.
  6. Christ’s Moral perfections – “Grace and truth” 1:17.
  7. Christ’s Wondrous revelation – Made known “the Father” 1:18


1) “In the beginning was the word” 1:1

a) “And the word became flesh” tells of the beginning of his human life. 1:14

2) “And the word was with God” 1:1

b) “And tabernacled among us” shows Him with men. 1:14

3) “And the word was God” 1:1

c) “Full of grace and truth,” and this tells what God is. 1:14


** In Christ God and mankind meet. Christ is the meeting place of God and people.



ESV  John 1:17 For the law was given through Moses; grace and truth came through Jesus Christ.

  1. Law addresses men as members of the old creation; Grace makes men members of a new creation.
  2. Law manifested what was in Man – sin; Grace manifests what is in God – Love.
  3. Law demanded righteousness from men; Grace brings righteousness to men.
  4. Law sentences a living man to death; Grace brings a dead man to life.
  5. Law speaks of what men must do for God; Grace tells of what Christ has done for men.
  6. Law gives a knowledge of sin; Grace puts away sin.
  7. Law brought God out to men; Grace brings men in to God.


1 – Undeceiving Light

2 – Real Light

3 – Underived Light

4 – Supereminent Light – Above ALL Others

Bibliography for Gems from John

Gingrich, F. W., BibleWorks 9 Software for Biblical Exegesis & Research. Norfolk, VA: BibleWorks, 2011

Hayford, Jack W., exec. ed. John: Living Beyond the Ordinary. Nashville: Thomas Nelson, Inc., 2009.

Hendriksen, William. New Testament Commentary: Exposition of the Gospel According to John, Two Volumes Complete in One. Grand Rapids: Baker Book House, 1953.

Pink, Arthur W. Exposition of the Gospel of John: Three Volumes Complete and Unabridged in One. Grand Rapids: The Zondervan Corporation, 1975.

Word of God


John 1:1 In the beginning was the Word,

and the Word was with God,

and the Word was God. 

2 He was in the beginning with God. 

3 All things were made through him,

and without him was not any thing made that was made. 

4 In him was life, and the life was the light of men. 

5 The light shines in the darkness,

and the darkness has not overcome it.

Jesus and the Big Bang: Prologue John 1:1-18


Jesus Christ is the Full Expression of God:

Jesus Is God the Word — John 1:1, 14

Jesus Is God the Creator — John 1:3-4, 10

Jesus Is Life and Light — John 1:4-5, 9

Jesus Is God the Savior — John 1:12, 17

Jesus Is the BIG BANG of God ! Without Jesus, God would not be known — John 1:18

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