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Highlights for the Reading of the Bible: John

Highlights From the Book of John


Highlights for the Reading of the Bible: John

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HIGHLIGHTS FROM THE BOOK OF JOHN


*** si pp. 195-198 Bible Book Number 43—John ***

CONTENTS OF JOHN

10 Prologue: Introducing “the Word” (1:1-18). With beauteous simplicity, John states that in the beginning “the Word was with God,” that life itself was by means of him, that he became “the light of men,” and that John (the Baptizer) bore witness about him. (1:1, 4) The light was in the world, but the world did not know him. Those who did receive him became God’s children, being born from God. Just as the Law was given through Moses, so “the undeserved kindness and the truth came to be through Jesus Christ.”—1:17.
11 Presenting “the Lamb of God” to men (1:19-51). John the Baptizer confesses he is not the Christ but says there is one coming behind him, and the lace of that one’s sandal he is not worthy to untie. The next day, as Jesus comes toward him, John identifies him as “the Lamb of God that takes away the sin of the world.” (1:27, 29) Next, he introduces two of his disciples to Jesus, and one of these, Andrew, brings his brother Peter to Jesus. Philip and Nathanael also accept Jesus as ‘the Son of God, the King of Israel.’—1:49.
12 Jesus’ miracles prove he is “the Holy One of God” (2:1–6:71). Jesus performs his first miracle in Cana of Galilee, turning water into the best of wine at a wedding feast. This is “the beginning of his signs, . . . and his disciples put their faith in him.” (2:11) Jesus goes up to Jerusalem for the Passover. Finding peddlers and money changers in the temple, he takes a whip and drives them out with such vigor that his disciples recognize the fulfillment of the prophecy: “The zeal for your house will eat me up.” (John 2:17; Ps. 69:9) He predicts that the temple of his own body will be broken down and raised up again in three days.
13 The fearful Nicodemus comes to Jesus at night. He confesses that Jesus is sent from God, and Jesus tells him that one must be born from water and spirit to enter the Kingdom of God. Believing in the Son of man from heaven is necessary for life. “For God loved the world so much that he gave his only-begotten Son, in order that everyone exercising faith in him might not be destroyed but have everlasting life.” (John 3:16) The light that has come into the world is in conflict with darkness, “but he that does what is true comes to the light,” concludes Jesus. John the Baptizer then learns of Jesus’ activity in Judea and declares that while he himself is not the Christ, yet “the friend of the bridegroom . . . has a great deal of joy on account of the voice of the bridegroom.” (3:21, 29) Jesus must now increase, and John decrease.
14 Jesus sets out again for Galilee. On the way, dust-laden and “tired out from the journey,” he sits down to rest at Jacob’s fountain in Sychar, while his disciples are off buying food in the city. (4:6) It is midday, the sixth hour. A Samaritan woman approaches to draw water, and Jesus asks for a drink. Then, weary though he is, he begins to speak to her about the real “water” that truly refreshes, imparting everlasting life to those who worship God “with spirit and truth.” The disciples return and urge him to eat, and he declares: “My food is for me to do the will of him that sent me and to finish his work.” He spends two more days in the area, so that many of the Samaritans come to believe that “this man is for a certainty the savior of the world.” (4:24, 34, 42) On reaching Cana of Galilee, Jesus heals a nobleman’s son without even going near his bedside.
15 Jesus goes up again to Jerusalem for the Jews’ festival. He heals a sick man on the Sabbath, and this raises a great storm of criticism. Jesus counters: “My Father has kept working until now, and I keep working.” (5:17) The Jewish leaders now claim that Jesus has added blasphemy, that of making himself equal to God, to the crime of Sabbath-breaking. Jesus answers that the Son cannot do a single thing of his own initiative but is entirely dependent on the Father. He makes the marvelous statement that “all those in the memorial tombs will hear his voice and come out” to a resurrection. But to his faithless audience, Jesus says: “How can you believe, when you are accepting glory from one another and you are not seeking the glory that is from the only God?”—5:28, 29, 44.
16 When Jesus miraculously feeds 5,000 men with five loaves and two small fishes, the crowd consider seizing him and making him king, but he withdraws into a mountain. Later, he reproves them for going after “the food that perishes.” Rather, they should work “for the food that remains for life everlasting.” He points out that exercising faith in him as the Son is the partaking of the bread of life, and he adds: “Unless you eat the flesh of the Son of man and drink his blood, you have no life in yourselves.” Many of his disciples are offended at this and leave him. Jesus asks the 12: “You do not want to go also, do you?” and Peter replies: “Lord, whom shall we go away to? You have sayings of everlasting life; and we have believed and come to know that you are the Holy One of God.” (6:27, 53, 67-69) However, Jesus, knowing that Judas will betray him, says that one of them is a slanderer.
17 “The light” conflicts with darkness (7:1–12:50). Jesus goes up secretly to Jerusalem and appears halfway through the Festival of Tabernacles, teaching openly in the temple. The people argue about whether he is really the Christ. Jesus tells them: “I have not come of my own initiative, but he that sent me is real, . . . and that One sent me forth.” On another occasion he cries out to the crowd: “If anyone is thirsty, let him come to me and drink.” Officers who are sent to arrest Jesus return empty-handed and report to the priests: “Never has another man spoken like this.” Infuriated, the Pharisees answer that none of the rulers have believed, nor is any prophet to be raised up out of Galilee.—7:28, 29, 37, 46.
18 In a further speech, Jesus says: “I am the light of the world.” To the malicious charges that he is a false witness, that he has been born out of wedlock, and that he is a Samaritan and demon-possessed, Jesus forcefully replies: “If I glorify myself, my glory is nothing. It is my Father that glorifies me.” When he declares, “Before Abraham came into existence, I have been,” the Jews make another abortive attempt on his life. (8:12, 54, 58) Frustrated, they later question a man whose sight Jesus has miraculously restored, and they throw the man out.
19 Again Jesus speaks to the Jews, this time concerning the fine shepherd, who calls his sheep by name and who surrenders his soul in behalf of the sheep ‘that they might have life in abundance.’ He says: “I have other sheep, which are not of this fold; those also I must bring, and they will listen to my voice, and they will become one flock, one shepherd.” (10:10, 16) He tells the Jews that no one can snatch the sheep out of the hand of his Father, and he says that he and his Father are one. Again they seek to stone him to death. In answer to their charge of blasphemy, he reminds them that in the book of Psalms, certain mighty ones of earth are referred to as “gods,” whereas he has referred to himself as God’s Son. (Ps. 82:6) He urges them at least to believe his works.—John 10:34.
20 From Bethany near Jerusalem comes news that Lazarus, brother of Mary and Martha, is ill. By the time Jesus arrives there, Lazarus is dead and already four days in the tomb. Jesus performs the stupendous miracle of recalling Lazarus to life, causing many to put faith in Jesus. This precipitates a special meeting of the Sanhedrin, where the high priest, Caiaphas, is compelled to prophesy that Jesus is destined to die for the nation. As the chief priests and Pharisees take counsel to kill him, Jesus retires temporarily from the public scene.
21 Six days before the Passover, Jesus comes again to Bethany on his way to Jerusalem, and he is entertained by Lazarus’ household. Then, the day after the Sabbath, on Nisan 9, seated upon a young ass, he makes an entry into Jerusalem amid the acclamations of a great crowd; and the Pharisees say to one another: “You are getting absolutely nowhere. See! The world has gone after him.” By the illustration of a grain of wheat, Jesus intimates that he must be planted in death in order for fruitage to be produced for everlasting life. He calls on his Father to glorify His name, and a voice is heard from heaven: “I both glorified it and will glorify it again.” Jesus urges his hearers to avoid the darkness and to walk in the light, yes, to become “sons of light.” As the forces of darkness close in on him, he makes a strong public appeal for the people to put faith in him ‘as a light that has come into the world.’—12:19, 28, 36, 46.
22 Jesus’ parting counsel to the faithful apostles (13:1–16:33). While the evening meal of the Passover with the 12 is in progress, Jesus rises and, removing his outer garments, takes a towel and foot basin and proceeds to wash the feet of his disciples. Peter protests, but Jesus tells him he too must have his feet washed. Jesus admonishes the disciples to follow his pattern of humility, for “a slave is not greater than his master.” He speaks of the betrayer and then dismisses Judas. After Judas goes out, Jesus begins to speak intimately with the others. “I am giving you a new commandment, that you love one another; just as I have loved you, that you also love one another. By this all will know that you are my disciples, if you have love among yourselves.”—13:16, 34, 35.
23 Jesus speaks wonderful words of comfort for his followers in this critical hour. They must exercise faith in God and also in him. In his Father’s house, there are many abodes, and he will come again and receive them home to himself. “I am the way and the truth and the life,” says Jesus. “No one comes to the Father except through me.” Comfortingly he tells his followers that by exercising faith, they will do greater works than he and that he will grant whatever they ask in his name, in order that his Father may be glorified. He promises them another helper, “the spirit of the truth,” which will teach them all things and bring back to their minds all that he has told them. They should rejoice that he is going away to his Father, for, says Jesus, “the Father is greater than I am.”—14:6, 17, 28.
24 Jesus speaks of himself as the true vine and his Father as the cultivator. He urges them to remain in union with him, saying: “My Father is glorified in this, that you keep bearing much fruit and prove yourselves my disciples.” (15:8) And how may their joy become full? By loving one another just as he has loved them. He calls them friends. What a precious relationship! The world will hate them as it has hated him, and it will persecute them, but Jesus will send the helper to bear witness about him and to guide his disciples into all truth. Their present grief will give way to rejoicing when he sees them again, and no one will take their joy from them. Consoling are his words: “The Father himself has affection for you, because you have had affection for me and have believed that I came out as the Father’s representative.” Yes, they will be scattered, but, says Jesus, “I have said these things to you that by means of me you may have peace. In the world you will have tribulation, but take courage! I have conquered the world.”—16:27, 33.
25 Jesus’ prayer in behalf of his disciples (17:1-26). In prayer Jesus acknowledges to his Father: “This means everlasting life, their taking in knowledge of you, the only true God, and of the one whom you sent forth, Jesus Christ.” Having finished his assigned work on earth, Jesus now asks to be glorified alongside his Father with the glory he had before the world was. He has made the Father’s name manifest to his disciples and asks the Father to watch over them ‘on account of His own name.’ He requests the Father, not that they be taken out of the world, but to keep them from the wicked one and to sanctify them by His word of truth. Jesus broadens out his prayer to embrace all those who will yet exercise faith through hearing the word of these disciples, “in order that they may all be one, just as you, Father, are in union with me and I am in union with you, that they also may be in union with us, in order that the world may believe that you sent me forth.” He asks that these also may share with him in his heavenly glory, for he has made the Father’s name known to them, that His love may abide in them.—17:3, 11, 21.
26 Christ tried and impaled (18:1–19:42). Jesus and his disciples go now to a garden across the Kidron Valley. It is here that Judas appears with a soldier band and betrays Jesus, who mildly submits. However, Peter defends him with a sword and is reproved: “The cup that the Father has given me, should I not by all means drink it?” (18:11) Jesus is then led away bound to Annas, the father-in-law of Caiaphas, the high priest. John and Peter follow closely, and John gets them access to the courtyard of the high priest, where Peter three times denies knowing Christ. Jesus is first questioned by Annas and then brought before Caiaphas. Afterward, Jesus is brought before Roman governor Pilate, with the Jews clamoring for the death sentence.
27 To Pilate’s question, “Are you a king?” Jesus replies: “You yourself are saying that I am a king. For this I have been born, and for this I have come into the world, that I should bear witness to the truth.” (18:37) Pilate, finding no real evidence against Jesus, offers to release him, as it was the custom to free some prisoner at the Passover, but the Jews call for the robber Barabbas instead. Pilate has Jesus scourged, and again he tries to release him, but the Jews cry: “Impale him! Impale him! . . . because he made himself God’s son.” When Pilate tells Jesus he has authority to impale him, Jesus answers: “You would have no authority at all against me unless it had been granted to you from above.” Again the Jews cry out: “Take him away! Take him away! Impale him! . . . We have no king but Caesar.” At this, Pilate hands him over to be impaled.—19:6, 7, 11, 15.
28 Jesus is taken away “to the so-called Skull Place, which is called Golgotha in Hebrew,” and is impaled between two others. Above him Pilate fastens the title “Jesus the Nazarene the King of the Jews,” written in Hebrew, Latin, and Greek, for all to see and understand. (19:17, 19) Jesus entrusts his mother to the care of John and, after receiving some sour wine, exclaims: “It has been accomplished!” Then he bows his head and expires. (19:30) In fulfillment of the prophecies, the executional squad casts lots for his garments, refrains from breaking his legs, and jabs his side with a spear. (John 19:24, 32-37; Ps. 22:18; 34:20; 22:17; Zech. 12:10) Afterward, Joseph of Arimathea and Nicodemus prepare the body for burial and place it in a new memorial tomb located nearby.
29 Appearances of the resurrected Christ (20:1–21:25). John’s array of evidence as to the Christ concludes on the happy note of the resurrection. Mary Magdalene finds the tomb empty, and Peter and another disciple (John) run there but see only the bandages and headcloth remaining. Mary, who has remained near the tomb, speaks with two angels and finally, as she thinks, with the gardener. When he answers, “Mary!” she immediately recognizes him to be Jesus. Next, Jesus manifests himself to his disciples behind locked doors, and he tells them of the power they will receive through holy spirit. Afterward, Thomas, who was not present, refuses to believe, but eight days later Jesus again appears and gives him the proof, at which Thomas exclaims: “My Lord and my God!” (20:16, 28) Days later Jesus again meets his disciples, at the Sea of Tiberias; he provides them a miraculous catch of fish and then breakfasts with them. Three times he asks Peter whether he loves him. As Peter insists that he does, Jesus says pointedly: “Feed my lambs,” “Shepherd my little sheep,” “Feed my little sheep.” Then he foretells by what sort of death Peter will glorify God. Peter asks about John, and Jesus says: “If it is my will for him to remain until I come, of what concern is that to you?”—21:15-17, 22.

*** it-2 p. 92 John, Good News According to ***

HIGHLIGHTS OF JOHN

The apostle John’s account of the life of Jesus, highlighting the theme that Jesus is the Christ the Son of God, by means of whom eternal life is possible
Written about 98 C.E., more than 30 years after the last of the other three Gospels and 65 years after the death of Jesus
The Word becomes flesh and is identified as the Lamb of God, God’s Son, and the Christ (1:1-51)
The Word, who was in the beginning with God, resides among men but is rejected by his people; those who accept him are given authority to become God’s children
John the Baptizer testifies that Jesus is God’s Son and the Lamb of God that takes away the sin of the world
Andrew and then others become convinced that Jesus is the Christ
Jesus’ miracles and preaching demonstrate that he is the Christ, through whom eternal life is attainable (2:1–6:71)

Jesus turns water into wine in Cana

He tells Nicodemus that God sent His only-begotten Son so that faithful ones may have everlasting life
He speaks to a Samaritan woman about the spiritual water that imparts everlasting life, and he identifies himself as the Christ
Jesus performs healing miracles; the Jews object when a healing takes place on the Sabbath, and they want to kill him
Proclaiming that those who believe him have everlasting life, Jesus foretells the resurrection of all in the memorial tombs
He miraculously feeds about 5,000 men; when the crowd wants to make him king, he withdraws; when the people keep following him, he identifies himself as the bread that came down from heaven and tells them they will have to eat his flesh and drink his blood if they want everlasting life

Hostility to the Son of God intensifies (7:1–12:50)

Jesus boldly preaches in temple area although the chief priests and the Pharisees are seeking to seize him
Jesus announces that he is the light of the world and that the truth can make his listeners free, but they try to stone him
On the Sabbath, Jesus heals a man who was born blind; the Pharisees are furious
Jesus identifies himself as the fine shepherd, explaining that his sheep listen to his voice; the Jews again try to stone him
The resurrection of Lazarus fills the Jewish religious leaders with fear; they determine that both Jesus and Lazarus must die
Jesus rides into Jerusalem and is hailed as King by the crowd but not by the Pharisees

At the final Passover, Jesus gives parting counsel to his followers (13:1–17:26)

He washes their feet to teach humility and gives “a new commandment,” that they should love one another as he loved them
He identifies himself as the way, the truth, and the life; he promises to send the holy spirit to his disciples after his departure
To bear fruit, his followers must remain at one with him, the true vine; but they will be persecuted
Jesus prays for his followers and reports to his Father that he has finished the work assigned to him, making His name manifest

Jesus is arrested, rejected by Jewish nation, and impaled (18:1–19:42)

In Gethsemane, Jesus is arrested; he is led before Annas, Caiaphas, and then Pilate
He tells Pilate that His kingdom is no part of this world
When Pilate’s efforts to release him are frustrated, Jesus is impaled and dies
Joseph of Arimathea and Nicodemus care for his burial
Evidence of resurrection of Jesus concludes John’s proof that this one really is the Christ (20:1–21:25)
Jesus is seen by Mary Magdalene, then by the rest of the disciples, including Thomas
In Galilee, he performs one final miracle, providing a miraculous catch of fish, and then he gives the commission: “Feed my little sheep”

*** w08 4/15 p. 30 - p. 32 Highlights From the Book of John ***

Jehovah’s Word Is Alive

Highlights From the Book of John

JOHN—“the disciple whom Jesus used to love”—is the last person to write an inspired account of Christ’s life and ministry. (John 21:20) Written about 98 C.E., the Gospel of John repeats very little of what is stated in the other three Gospels.
The apostle John wrote his Gospel with a definite objective in mind. Concerning the things that he recorded, he says: “These have been written down that you may believe that Jesus is the Christ the Son of God, and that, because of believing, you may have life by means of his name.” (John 20:31) Its message is indeed of great value to us.—Heb. 4:12.

“SEE, THE LAMB OF GOD”

(John 1:1–11:54)

Upon beholding Jesus, John the Baptizer confidently announces: “See, the Lamb of God that takes away the sin of the world!” (John 1:29) As Jesus travels through Samaria, Galilee, Judea, and the land east of the Jordan—preaching, teaching, and performing powerful works—‘many people come to him and put faith in him.’—John 10:41, 42.
One of the most outstanding miracles that Jesus performs is the resurrection of Lazarus. Many put faith in Jesus when they see a man who has been dead for four days come to life. The chief priests and the Pharisees, however, take counsel to kill Jesus. Hence, Jesus departs and goes to “the country near the wilderness, into a city called Ephraim.”—John 11:53, 54.

Scriptural Questions Answered:

1:35, 40—Who besides Andrew was the disciple standing with John the Baptizer? The narrator always refers to John the Baptizer as “John” and never identifies himself by name in his Gospel. Therefore, the unnamed disciple is evidently the Gospel writer John.
2:20—Which temple “was built in forty-six years”? The Jews were referring to the rebuilding of Zerubbabel’s temple by King Herod of Judea. According to the historian Josephus, that work began in the 18th year of Herod’s reign, or in 18/17 B.C.E. The temple sanctuary and other main structures were constructed in eight years. However, the work on the temple complex continued down to and beyond the Passover of 30 C.E., when the Jews said that it took 46 years to build it.
5:14—Is sickness the result of committing sin? Not necessarily. The man whom Jesus cured had been sick for 38 years because of inherited imperfection. (John 5:1-9) What Jesus meant was that now that the man had been shown mercy, he must follow the way of salvation and willfully sin no more lest something worse than sickness should befall him. The man could become guilty of committing an unforgivable sin, deserving of death with no resurrection.—Matt. 12:31, 32; Luke 12:10; Heb. 10:26, 27.
5:24, 25—Who are those ‘passing over from death to life’? Jesus is speaking about those who were once spiritually dead but who upon hearing his words put faith in him and discontinue walking in their sinful course. They ‘pass over from death to life’ in that the condemnation of death is lifted from them, and they are given the hope of everlasting life because of their faith in God.—1 Pet. 4:3-6.
5:26; 6:53—What does it mean to have ‘life in oneself’? For Jesus Christ, this means receiving from God two specific capabilities—the ability to give humans a fine standing with Jehovah and the power to impart life by resurrecting the dead. For Jesus’ followers, ‘having life in themselves’ means entering into the very fullness of life. Anointed Christians enter into it when they are resurrected to heavenly life. Faithful ones with an earthly hope will experience the fullness of life only after they pass the final test that will occur right after the end of the Millennial Reign of Christ.—1 Cor. 15:52, 53; Rev. 20:5, 7-10.
6:64—Did Jesus know from the time of selecting Judas Iscariot that Judas would betray him? Apparently he did not. On one occasion in the year 32 C.E., however, Jesus told his apostles: “One of you is a slanderer.” Possibly, at that point Jesus noticed in Judas Iscariot a “beginning,” or start, of a wrong course.—John 6:66-71.

Lessons for Us:

2:4. Jesus was indicating to Mary that as the baptized anointed Son of God, he must take direction from his heavenly Father. Although Jesus was just beginning his ministry, he was fully aware of the hour, or the time, for his assigned work, including his sacrificial death. Not even a close family member such as Mary could be allowed to interfere with his doing the divine will. We should serve Jehovah God with similar determination.
3:1-9. The example of Nicodemus, a ruler of the Jews, teaches us two lessons. First, Nicodemus showed humility, insight, and awareness of his own spiritual need, recognizing a lowly carpenter’s son as a teacher sent by God. Humility is needed by true Christians today. Second, Nicodemus held back from becoming a disciple while Jesus was on earth. Perhaps this was due to fear of man, attachment to his position in the Sanhedrin, or love for his riches. From this we can learn a valuable lesson: We must not allow such leanings to hold us back from ‘picking up our torture stake and continually following Jesus.’—Luke 9:23.
4:23, 24. For our worship to be acceptable to God, it must conform to the truth revealed in the pages of the Bible and it must be guided by the holy spirit.
6:27. To work for “the food that remains for life everlasting” is to put forth effort to satisfy our spiritual need. Happy we are when we do this.—Matt. 5:3.
6:44. Jehovah personally cares for us. He draws us to his Son by reaching us individually through the preaching work and by helping us to grasp and apply spiritual truths by means of His holy spirit.
11:33-36. Showing our emotions is not a sign of weakness.

‘CONTINUE FOLLOWING HIM’

(John 11:55–21:25)

As the Passover of 33 C.E. nears, Jesus returns to Bethany. On Nisan 9, he comes to Jerusalem, riding upon the colt of an ass. On Nisan 10, Jesus comes to the temple again. In answer to his prayer for his Father’s name to be glorified, a voice out of heaven says: “I both glorified it and will glorify it again.”—John 12:28.
As the Passover meal is in progress, Jesus gives his followers parting counsel and prays in their behalf. Following his arrest, trial, and impalement, Jesus is resurrected.

Scriptural Questions Answered:

14:2—How would Jesus “prepare a place” in heaven for his faithful followers? This would involve Jesus’ validating the new covenant by appearing before God and presenting to Him the value of his blood. The preparation would also include Christ’s receiving kingly power, after which the heavenly resurrection of his anointed followers would begin.—1 Thess. 4:14-17; Heb. 9:12, 24-28; 1 Pet. 1:19; Rev. 11:15.
14:16, 17; 16:7, 8, 13, 14—When referring to the helper, or the spirit of the truth, why is the pronoun “it” used at John 14:16, 17, whereas “him” and “he” are used at John 16:7, 8, 13, 14? The reason for this is strictly grammatical. In the Greek language, in which John’s Gospel was written, the word for “helper” is in the masculine gender, but the term for “spirit” is neuter. In recording Jesus’ statement, John therefore used the masculine pronoun, such as “he” or “him,” when referring to what the helper would do. The neuter pronoun “it” was employed when reference was made to what the spirit of the truth would accomplish.
19:11—Was Jesus referring to Judas Iscariot when he spoke to Pilate about the man that handed Him over? Rather than Judas or any specific individual, it seems likely that Jesus had in mind all those who shared the guilt for the sin of killing him. This included Judas, “the chief priests and the entire Sanhedrin,” and even “the crowds” that were persuaded to ask for the release of Barabbas.—Matt. 26:59-65; 27:1, 2, 20-22.
20:17—Why did Jesus tell Mary Magdalene to stop clinging to him? Mary evidently clung to Jesus because she thought that he was about to ascend to heaven and she would never see him again. To assure her that he was not yet leaving, Jesus told her to stop clinging to him but instead to go and give his disciples the news of his resurrection.

Lessons for Us:

12:36. To become “sons of light,” or light bearers, we need to gain accurate knowledge of God’s Word, the Bible. Then we must use that knowledge to draw others out of spiritual darkness into God’s light.
14:6. There is no way we can have God’s approval except through Jesus Christ. Only by exercising faith in Jesus and following his example can we draw close to Jehovah.—1 Pet. 2:21.
14:15, 21, 23, 24; 15:10. Obedience to the divine will helps us to remain in God’s love and in the love of his Son.—1 John 5:3.
14:26; 16:13. Jehovah’s holy spirit serves as a teacher and remembrancer. It also operates to reveal truths. Hence, it can help us to grow in knowledge, wisdom, insight, judgment, and thinking ability. We should therefore persevere in prayer, specifically asking for that spirit.—Luke 11:5-13.
21:15, 19. Peter was asked if he loved Jesus more than “these,” that is, the fish that were before them. Jesus thus stressed the need for Peter to choose to follow him full-time instead of pursuing a fishing career. After considering the Gospel accounts, may we be strengthened in our resolve to love Jesus more than any other things that might attract us. Yes, let us wholeheartedly continue following him.

[Picture on page 31]

What can we learn from the example of Nicodemus?


*** w90 3/15 pp. 24-25 Gems From John’s Gospel ***

Gems From John’s Gospel

JEHOVAH’S spirit inspired the aged apostle John to pen a moving account of Jesus Christ’s life and ministry. This Gospel was written in or near Ephesus about 98 C.E. But what is the nature of the account? And what are some of the gems it contains?
Largely Supplementary
John was selective, repeating little that Matthew, Mark, and Luke wrote. Indeed, his eyewitness account is largely supplementary in that over 90 percent of it covers matters not mentioned in the other Gospels. For instance, he alone tells us of Jesus’ prehuman existence and that “the Word became flesh.” (1:1-14) While the other Gospel writers say that Jesus cleansed the temple at the end of his ministry, John says that Christ also did so at its start. (2:13-17) The aged apostle alone tells us about certain miracles performed by Jesus, such as the changing of water into wine, the raising of dead Lazarus, and the miraculous catch of fish after His resurrection.—2:1-11; 11:38-44; 21:4-14.
All the Gospel writers tell how Jesus instituted the Memorial of his death, but only John shows that Christ gave the apostles a lesson in humility by washing their feet on that night. Moreover, John alone records the heart-to-heart talks Jesus gave and the prayer he offered in their behalf at that time.—13:1–17:26.
In this Gospel, the name John refers to the Baptizer, the writer calling himself ‘the disciple Jesus loved.’ (13:23) The apostle surely loved Jesus, and our own love for Christ is enhanced when John portrays him as the Word, the bread of life, the light of the world, the Fine Shepherd, the way, the truth, and the life. (1:1-3, 14; 6:35; 8:12; 10:11; 14:6) This serves John’s stated purpose: “These [things] have been written down that you may believe that Jesus is the Christ the Son of God, and that, because of believing, you may have life by means of his name.”—20:31.

Humility and Joy

John’s Gospel introduces Jesus as the Word and sin-atoning Lamb and cites miracles proving Him to be “the Holy One of God.” (1:1–9:41) Among other things, the account highlights the humility and joy of John the Baptizer. He was Christ’s forerunner but said: “The lace of [his] sandal I am not worthy to untie.” (1:27) Sandals were tied by means of leather thongs, or laces. A slave might untie the laces of another person’s sandals and carry them for him, as this was a menial duty. John the Baptizer thus expressed humility and awareness of his insignificance in comparison with his Master. A fine lesson, for only the humble are suited for service to Jehovah and his Messianic King!—Psalm 138:6; Proverbs 21:4.
Instead of proudly resenting Jesus, John the Baptizer said: “The friend of the bridegroom, when he stands and hears him, has a great deal of joy on account of the voice of the bridegroom. Therefore this joy of mine has been made full.” (3:29) As the groom’s representative, the friend of the bridegroom made marriage negotiations, sometimes arranging the espousal and delivering gifts to the bride and the bride-price to her father. This deputy had reason to be glad when his duty was fulfilled. Similarly, John rejoiced in bringing Jesus together with the first members of His bride. (Revelation 21:2, 9) As the services of the friend of the bridegroom lasted only a short time, so John’s work soon ended. He kept decreasing, while Jesus went on increasing.—John 3:30.

Jesus’ Regard for People

At a well near the city of Sychar, Jesus told a Samaritan woman about symbolic water that imparts eternal life. When his disciples arrived, “they began to wonder because he was speaking with a woman.” (4:27) Why such a reaction? Well, the Jews despised the Samaritans and had no dealings with them. (4:9; 8:48) It was also uncommon for a Jewish teacher to talk with a woman in public. But Jesus’ compassionate regard for people moved him to give this witness, and because of it, residents of the city “began coming to him.”—4:28-30.
Regard for people moved Jesus to say: “If anyone is thirsty, let him come to me and drink.” (7:37) Evidently, he thus alluded to a custom added to the eight-day Festival of Booths. Each morning for seven days, a priest drew water from the pool of Siloam and poured it out at the temple’s altar. Among other things, this was said to represent the outpouring of the spirit. Beginning at Pentecost 33 C.E., God’s spirit impelled Jesus’ followers to take life-giving waters to people earth wide. Only from Jehovah, “the source of living water,” through Christ can anyone receive eternal life.—Jeremiah 2:13; Isaiah 12:3; John 17:3.

The Fine Shepherd Cares!

Jesus’ regard for people is evident in his role as the Fine Shepherd who cares for his sheeplike followers. Even as his death approached, Jesus gave his disciples loving counsel and prayed in their behalf. (10:1–17:26) Unlike a thief or a plunderer, he enters a sheepfold through the door. (10:1-5) A sheepfold was an enclosure in which sheep were kept for overnight protection from thieves and predatory animals. It had stone walls, perhaps with thorny branches on top, and an entryway tended by a doorkeeper.
The flocks of several shepherds might be kept in the same sheepfold, but the sheep responded only to the voice of their respective shepherd. In his book Manners and Customs of Bible Lands, Fred H. Wight says: “When it becomes necessary to separate several flocks of sheep, one shepherd after another will stand up and call out: ‘Tahhoo! Tahhoo!’ or a similar call of his own choosing. The sheep lift up their heads, and after a general scramble, begin following each one his own shepherd. They are thoroughly familiar with their own shepherd’s tone of voice. Strangers have often used the same call, but their attempts to get the sheep to follow them always fail.” Interestingly, Jesus said: “My sheep listen to my voice, and I know them, and they follow me. And I give them everlasting life.” (10:27, 28) Both the “little flock” and the “other sheep” respond to Jesus’ voice, follow his lead, and enjoy his tender care.—Luke 12:32; John 10:16.

God’s Ever-Faithful Son

Christ was ever faithful to God and exemplary as a loving shepherd throughout his earthly life. His compassion was also manifested in post-resurrection appearances. It was compassionate regard for others that then moved Jesus to urge Peter to feed His sheep.—18:1–21:25.
As a victim of impalement, Jesus set us the prime example of faithfulness unto death. One ignominy he underwent in fulfillment of prophecy was that soldiers ‘apportioned his garments among themselves.’ (Psalm 22:18) They cast lots to determine who would get his fine inner garment (Greek, khi•ton′), woven without a seam. (19:23, 24) Such a tunic might be woven of wool or linen in a single piece and could be white or of varied colors. Often sleeveless, it was worn next to the skin and reached to the knees or even the ankles. Of course, Jesus was not materialistic, but he did wear such a garment of good quality, his seamless tunic.
During one of Jesus’ post-resurrection appearances, he greeted his disciples with the words: “May you have peace.” (20:19) Among the Jews, this was a common salutation. (Matthew 10:12, 13) For many, the use of such words may have meant little. But not so with Jesus, for earlier he had told his followers: “I leave you peace, I give you my peace.” (John 14:27) The peace that Jesus gave his disciples was based on their faith in him as God’s Son and served to calm their hearts and minds.
Similarly, we can enjoy “the peace of God.” May we cherish this incomparable tranquillity resulting from a close relationship with Jehovah through his beloved Son.—Philippians 4:6, 7.

[Picture Credit Line on page 25]

Pictorial Archive (Near Eastern History) Est.


*** w90 15/3 pp. 24-25 Jóias do evangelho de João ***

Jóias do evangelho de João

O ESPÍRITO de Jeová moveu o idoso apóstolo João a fazer um registro comovente da vida e do ministério de Jesus Cristo. Esse Evangelho foi escrito por volta de 98 EC em Éfeso ou perto dali. Mas qual é a natureza do relato? E quais são algumas das jóias que contém?
Grandemente Suplementar
João foi seletivo, repetindo pouco do que Mateus, Marcos e Lucas escreveram. Deveras, seu relato de testemunha ocular é grandemente suplementar, a ponto de mais de 90 por cento abranger matéria não mencionada nos outros Evangelhos. Por exemplo, só ele nos fala sobre a existência pré-humana de Jesus e que “a Palavra se tornou carne”.( 1:1-14) Ao passo que os outros evangelistas relatam que Jesus purificou o templo no fim do seu ministério, João diz que Cristo fez isso também no começo. (2:13-17) O idoso apóstolo é o único a nos falar de certos milagres realizados por Jesus, tais como transformar água em vinho, ressuscitar Lázaro e a miraculosa pesca depois de Sua ressurreição. — 2:1-11; 11:38-44; 21:4-14.
Os quatro evangelistas relatam como Jesus instituiu a Comemoração da sua morte, mas apenas João mostra que Cristo deu uma lição de humildade aos apóstolos lavando-lhes os pés naquela noite. Ademais, só João registra os discursos francos de Jesus e a oração que ele fez em favor deles naquela ocasião. — 13:1-17:26.
Nesse Evangelho, o nome João refere-se ao Batizador, sendo que o escritor chama a si mesmo de ‘o discípulo que Jesus amava’. (13:23) O apóstolo sem dúvida amava Jesus, e o nosso próprio amor por Cristo aumenta quando João o retrata como a Palavra, o pão da vida, a luz do mundo, o Pastor Excelente, o caminho, a verdade e a vida. (1:1-3, 14; 6:35; 8:12; 10:11; 14:6)Isso serve ao propósito declarado de João: ‘Estas coisas foram escritas para que creiais que Jesus é o Cristo, o Filho de Deus, e que, por crerdes, tenhais vida por meio do seu nome.’ — 20:31.

Humildade e Alegria

O Evangelho de João apresenta Jesus como a Palavra e o Cordeiro expiador de pecados e menciona milagres que provam que Ele é “o Santo de Deus”. (1:1-9:41) Entre outras coisas, o registro destaca a humildade e a alegria de João, o Batizador. Ele era o precursor de Cristo, mas disse: ‘Não sou digno de desatar o cordão de suas sandálias.’ (1:27) Amarravam-se as sandálias com cordões ou correias de couro. O escravo podia desatar os cordões das sandálias de outra pessoa e carregá-las para ela, pois era uma tarefa servil. João, o Batizador, expressou assim humildade e reconhecimento de sua insignificância em comparação com seu Mestre. Excelente lição, pois somente os humildes se qualificam para o serviço de Jeová e do seu Rei messiânico! — Salmo 138:6; Provérbios 21:4.
Em vez de orgulhosamente ressentir-se de Jesus, João, o Batizador, disse: “O amigo do noivo, estando em pé e ouvindo-o, tem muita alegria por causa da voz do noivo. Esta alegria minha, por isso, ficou completa.” (3:29) Sendo seu representante, o amigo do noivo fazia as negociações matrimoniais, às vezes fazendo os esponsais e entregando presentes à noiva e o preço de noiva ao pai dela. Este intermediário tinha motivos para sentir-se contente ao concluir sua tarefa. De modo similar, João regozijou-se em colocar Jesus em contato com os primeiros membros de Sua noiva. (Revelação [Apocalipse] 21:2, 9) Assim como os serviços do amigo do noivo só eram necessários durante pouco tempo, também a obra de João logo terminou. Ele diminuía, enquanto Jesus aumentava. — João 3:30.

O Interesse de Jesus Pelas Pessoas

Junto a um poço, perto da cidade de Sicar, Jesus falou a uma samaritana sobre a água simbólica que dá vida eterna. Quando seus discípulos chegaram, “eles começaram a admirar-se, porque (Jesus] falava com uma mulher”. (4:27) Por que reagiram assim? Bem, os Judeus detestavam os samaritanos e não se relacionavam com eles. (4:9; 8:48) Era incomum também um instrutor judeu falar em público com uma mulher. Mas o interesse compassivo de Jesus pelas pessoas moveu-o a dar esse testemunho e, em resultado disso, moradores da cidade “começaram a chegar-se a ele”. — 4:28-30.
O interesse de Jesus pelas pessoas moveu-o a dizer: “Se alguém tiver sede, venha a mim e beba.” (7:37) Evidentemente, ele fazia alusão a um costume acrescentado à Festividade das Barracas, de oito dias de duração. Toda manhã, durante sete dias, um sacerdote tirava água do reservatório de Siloé e despejava-a junto ao altar do templo. Dizia-se, entre outras coisas, que isso representava o derramamento do espírito. A partir de Pentecostes de 33 EC, o espírito de Deus impeliu os seguidores de Jesus a levar águas vitalizadoras às pessoas em toda a terra. Só se pode ganhar vida eterna da parte de Jeová, “a fonte de água viva”, mediante Cristo. — Jeremias 2:13; Isaías 12:3; João 17:3.

O Pastor Excelente Se Importa!

O interesse de Jesus pelas pessoas fica evidente no papel que desempenha qual Pastor Excelente que se importa com seus seguidores semelhantes a ovelhas. Mesmo perto da morte, Jesus deu conselhos amorosos a seus discípulos e orou em favor deles. (10:1-17:26) Dessemelhante dum ladrão ou dum saqueador, ele entra no aprisco de ovelhas pela porta. (10:1-5) O aprisco de ovelhas era um cercado dentro do qual elas eram mantidas para serem protegidas durante a noite contra ladrões e predadores. Tinha muros de pedra, talvez com o topo coberto com ramos espinhosos, e uma entrada guardada por um porteiro.
Os rebanhos de diversos pastores talvez ficassem no mesmo aprisco, mas as ovelhas respondiam apenas à voz do seu respectivo pastor. Em seu livro Manners and Customs of Bible Lands (Hábitos e Costumes das Terras Bíblicas), Fred H. Wight diz: “Quando é necessário separar diversos rebanhos de ovelhas, um pastor após outro se levanta e grita: ‘Tahhoo! Tahhoo!’ ou faz uma chamada semelhante, de sua escolha. As ovelhas levantam a cabeça e, após uma desordem geral, cada uma passa a seguir o seu próprio pastor. Estão cabalmente familiarizadas com o tom de voz do seu respectivo pastor. Estranhos muitas vezes fazem a mesma chamada, mas suas tentativas de fazer as ovelhas segui-los sempre falham.” É interessante o que Jesus disse: “Minhas ovelhas escutam a minha voz e eu as conheço, e elas me seguem. E eu lhes dou vida eterna.” (10:27, 28) Tanto o “pequeno rebanho” quanto as “outras ovelhas” respondem à voz de Jesus, seguem sua liderança e usufruem seu cuidado amoroso. — Lucas 12:32; João 10:16.

O Filho Sempre Fiel de Deus

Durante toda sua vida terrestre, Cristo sempre foi fiel a Deus e exemplar qual pastor amoroso. Sua compaixão manifestou-se também em aparições depois de sua ressurreição. Foi o interesse compassivo pelos outros que o moveu a instar com Pedro a apascentar Suas ovelhas. — 18:1-21:25.
Tendo sido pregado numa estaca, Jesus deixou-nos o melhor exemplo de fidelidade até à morte. Uma ignomínia pela qual passou em cumprimento de profecia foi os soldados ‘repartirem sua roupa entre si.’ (Salmo 22:18) Lançaram sortes para decidir quem ficaria com a sua excelente roupa interior (khi•tón, em grego), tecida sem costura. (19:23, 24) Tal túnica talvez fosse tecida de lã ou de linho, em peça inteiriça, e podia ser branca ou de cores variadas. Em geral sem mangas, era usada sobre a pele e chegava aos joelhos ou até os tornozelos. Naturalmente, Jesus não era materialista, mas usava tal roupa de boa qualidade, uma túnica sem costura.
Numa de suas aparições após a ressurreição, Jesus saudou seus discípulos com as palavras: “Haja paz convosco.” (20:19) Esse era um cumprimento comum entre os judeus. (Mateus 10:12, 13) Para muitos, o uso dessas palavras talvez tivesse pouco significado. Mas não era assim com Jesus, que dissera antes a seus seguidores: “Deixo-vos a paz, dou-vos a minha paz.” (João 14:27) A paz que Jesus deu a seus discípulos baseava-se na fé que tinham nele qual Filho de Deus e serviu para acalmar o coração e a mente deles.
Podemos igualmente usufruir “a paz de Deus”. Que apreciemos essa incomparável tranqüilidade que resulta dum íntimo relacionamento com Jeová mediante seu Filho amado. — Filipenses 4:6, 7.

[Crédito da foto na página 25]

Pictorial Archive (Near Eastern History) Est.


Source consulted or translated: Watchtower Online Library: Highlights for the Reading of the Bible: John
 

Other entries of interest:

  1. Review November – December 2012
  2. Peace for a Thousand Years—And Beyond!
  3. Historical Library Jehovah's Witnesses
  4. Respect
  5. Is the Cross a Christian Symbol?
  6. Do the Stars Affect Your Life?
  7. Bible Stories for Kids - Story 2
  8. This Is Our Spiritual Heritage
  9. Examining the Scriptures Daily 2013 online
  10. “You Know Neither the Day Nor the Hour”

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