The invitation from Christ is: "Come and see, follow me."Through our study of John’s Gospel, we will discover the life altering stories that invite us to follow Christ as disciples.
Experience the magnificent passages in John including the “I am” statements and stories only told in John's gospel including Nicodemus, Mary Magdalene and the raising of Lazarus.
- Come and See (John 1–2) – Monday 16th November
- How Is It Possible? (John 3–4) – Monday 23rd November
- Taste for Yourself (John 5–6) – Monday 30th November
- To Believe or Not to Believe (John 7–8) – Monday 7th December
- Are We Blind? (John 9–10) – Monday 14th December
- I Couldn’t Believe My Eyes! (John 11–12) – Monday 4th January
- Would You Believe It? (John 13–14) – Monday 11th January
- What Time Is It? (John 15–16) – Monday 18th January
- Look Out! (John 17–18) – Monday 25th January
- Believing Without Seeing (John 19–20) – Monday 1st February
- Do You See Him? (John 21)- Monday 8th February
If you are interested in being part of the Disciple course please let me know. The evenings will begin at 7.15pm and take place at the Triangle Community Methodist Church.
If there is enough interest I will run a second course, probably on a Monday morning. The books have to come from the USA so the deadline for letting me know if you want to do the course is Sunday 11th October.
The cost of the course book is approximately £10 (depending on conversion rates) and you can either pay for the books when they arrive or pay £1 each week.
John Chapters 3 & 4 by Jamie Blatchley.
I used ‘Commentary On The Gospels’ by Cooper Abrams for assistance.
Nicodemus was a Pharisee and a ruler of the Jews, which is significant when we think about how he humbled himself before Jesus. He is only mentioned in the New Testament by the Apostle John. The first time he is mentioned is in Chapter 3, when he came by night inquiring as to who was Jesus. The second time John mentions him is when Jesus was in the Temple court addressing the people during the Feast of the Tabernacles. Several of the Sanhedrin were sent to bring Jesus before them, but was so awed by His words they did not comply. Nicodemus defended Jesus and was himself accused of being a Galilean. The Galileans were looked down on by the self-righteous religious leaders of Jerusalem. (John 7:50-52) The last time John mentions Nicodemus is after the crucifixion when he brought spices needed to embalm the body of Jesus. Many conclude that his actions show that he became a believer.
Nicodemus came to Jesus at night so as not to be seen by the other Pharisees and Jews. The dark is also symbolic as John is making us aware of how Nicodemus was ‘in the dark’ before hearing what Jesus had to say to him, and only when he truly understands Jesus’s teaching would he come ‘into the light’.
Nicodemus, being a Pharisee, knew the Old Testament scriptures and that Daniel and the prophets had prophesied the coming of the Messiah. Many scholars believe that Nicodemus was sincerely seeking to find out who Jesus was for himself even though he was doing so secretly. There is no suggestion then, or anywhere else in the New Testament, that this was a trap to catch Jesus out.
John, in mentioning this event, is continuing to present the evidence that Jesus was the Messiah. There could be no better witness to the miracles of Jesus Christ than a religious Pharisee. The Pharisee's standing as a man of character and one who could be trusted was impeccable. To suggest to a Pharisee that he did not fully understand heavenly things, indeed that he didn’t even understand earthly things was very dangerous as this could land him in serious trouble. However, it is significant to note that Nicodemus did not scold Jesus for being blasphemous or for going against the religious law.
It is my belief that this encounter is not only included to show that even some of the most powerful and influential people in Jerusalem were ready to believe in Jesus, but also to show that if someone of Nicodemus’s standing was ready to seek and to question Jesus. This reassures us that it is ok for us to question and to seek answers from Jesus. His words are confusing and it is logical that at first we see his words “Very truly I tell you, no one can see the kingdom of God unless they are born again” as an earthly flesh and bones experience. It is only by studying his words can we realise that he means ‘the spiritual body’ rather than ‘the physical body’. This is represented in baptism and confirmation and was given the ultimate demonstration when Jesus died and then was resurrected before ascending into heaven.
The meeting at the well is, I believe, included to show that Jesus also showed his true self to someone as completely opposite to Nicodemus. She is from a tribe that Jews should not be talking to and she is a woman, and therefore someone Jesus should not be seen talking to. Futhermore, although he makes it clear that he is aware that the man she lies with is not her husband, he talks to her almost as an equal instead of condemning her as you might expect a Jew to do to a Samaritan.
So, two contrasting episodes in the early ministry of Jesus which John uses to show the vastly different types of people Jesus was seeking out in order to spell out his message as well as the vastly different types of people he came into contact with in the course of his ministry. I think it is significant that although Nicodemus recognises that Jesus is special and may even be The Messiah that the prophets foretold, he fails to really grasp what Jesus is telling him. It takes a woman from an outcast tribe to truly understand what Jesus is telling her.
John Chapters 5 & 6 by Jamie Blatchley
“Do you want to be healed?” duh – of course I want to be healed, what a stupid question. But then why did the disabled man then begin to defend himself by explaining why he had been there for 38 years and hadn’t been healed yet. He looked beyond the initial meaning of the question and saw that what Jesus really meant was ‘do you REALLY want to be healed?’, ‘do you understand the consequences of being healed?, can you handle being an able bodied man? The true meaning of this question is seen in a later statement (John 5:14) “Don’t return to a life of sinning or something worse might happen” – don’t abuse/misuse the freedoms you have been given by being cured.
In Chapter 6 Jesus feeds the 5000 (or 4000 in Matthew’s Gospel). It is thought by some people that this number only refers to the male adults and that there may have been many women and children present too, pushing the number to a possible 10000+
In studying what people think about this story I came across these thoughts from https://www.jesus-is-lord.com/john6pt2.htm
Now Jesus breaks it all the way down in these verses. These greedy people were only concerned with having their bellies full so he spoke to them on that level. He basically told them, "Your fathers ate manna and they are DEAD. I am the living bread, eat me and YOU WILL LIVE FOREVER. My body is the bread I will give for the life of the world." What did he mean by eat me? Remember he told them that the work of God was to BELIEVE on Jesus. To believe is to accept, internalize, and absorb--which is what eating is--taking in an outside substance, food inside of you. But unlike physical bread which is eaten and cast out through the digestive system, the spiritual bread, the word of God, is eaten/internalized through belief and never cast out. It remains inside of us. In verse 58, Jesus explains that when we eat him it is "NOT as your fathers did eat manna and are dead". It is not the same kind of eating. It is INTERNALIZING, ACCEPTING, BELIEVING HIM.
On the surface it would seem that the feeding of all those people would be sign enough for everyone who witnessed it to believe in Jesus as The Messiah, The Son Of God. However, Jesus is well aware that all those witnesses did not jet truly believe and rebuked all those who came to him for more bread by saying “You’ve come looking for me not because you saw God in my actions but because I fed you – and for free” He then tells them “Don’t waste your energy striving for perishable food like that. Work for the food that sticks with you, food that nourishes your lasting life, food the Son of Man provides. He and what he does are guaranteed by God the Father to last.”
Don’t worry if any of these signs or even if any of Jesus’s responses seem a little hard to get your head around. Even those who were with him during his 33 years as a mortal on earth struggled to grasp the enormity of who and what he was/is.
Gospel of John – Chapters 7 & 8
Week Four of The ‘Invitation To John’ Disciple Course
It seems that in John 8 rather than being actively against Jesus they are disappointed that this man appears to actually be the Messiah! The Jewish people had hoped & prayed for a king on a horse leading an army. Instead they got this man who walked everywhere and they were less than impressed. By denying Jesus and ultimately putting him to death the Jewish people were venting their frustration and even their anger, not only at Jesus for making what many people thought were blasphemous claims, but also at God for not sending them the saviour that they wanted.
The analogy of the court of law is to suggest that it is ‘his word against the word of the Jewish leaders’. His detractors want him to prove himself more, but Jesus says ‘If you truly believed in God you would know in your heart who I am’. This follows on from last earlier chapters where Jesus admonishes the Pharisees saying ‘you claim to understand the words of your prophets so well, but when the person they spoke of is standing in front of you, you cannot see me’. In doing this Jesus neatly turns the tables on his accusers, showing that they don’t understand the scriptures half as well as they claim to do.
In an attempt to catch Jesus out and trap him a sinful woman is brought forward. Instead of condemning her in front of everyone, Jesus says “the sinless amongst you, go first and throw the stone”. Instead of doing so, those who had brought the woman forward slink away as though cowed with guilt by Jesus’ accusation that they are no better than the sinful woman. However, the woman does not get off altogether. Yes, Jesus does forgive the woman (without her asking him to do so) but he does so with the caveat “do not sin again”. This is another example of Jesus saying that ‘although I can forgive in the name of the Father, this does not give you the freedom to go and behave exactly as you did before’. Instead, use this freedom to live a life that God would approve of and which is to the glory of God.