Let’s be honest.
Sometimes life happens. Schedules overflow. Sickness strikes. Busyness bombards.
No worries. Put down your pencils and simply start reading where you left off. Viola! You’re caught up. Now you can pull out your colored pencils and use the Color Method to underline and circle.
Remember that studying the Scripture is joy, not drudgery. So read. Catch up. Keep diving in.
And for today, I want to provide you with 7 Surprises in the Gospel of John to keep an eye on:
1. The concept of tabernacle-ing appears in the opening chapter of John. Jesus took up residence among us. In John 1:14, we read, “The Word became flesh and made his dwelling among us.” In the Greek, the phrase “made his dwelling” is the word (skenoo) meaning “to tabernacle”. The word suggests that Jesus is taking up residence among us in a more intimate way than how he dwelled in the tabernacle in ancient Israel.
2. The feasts set the stage for Jesus’ actions. The Feast of Unleavened Bread begins with the Passover meal and continues for seven days (Exodus 12:18–19). To prepare for the feast, Jews search their homes and remove any bits of leavened bread. This cleansing of the house is essential to preparing for the Passover. This same image of cleansing is demonstrated in Jesus’ actions in the temple (John 2:13-22)
3. A Samaritan was considered an insulting term. Samaritan is a term describing the intermarriage between the Israelites and a mix of other nationalities during the captivity by the Assyrians.
When Cyrus the Great released the captives to go back to their homelands, the Samaritans settled in Samaria (a Persian province). They set up their own place of worship on Mount Gerizim since Jews wouldn’t let them help rebuild the temple in Jerusalem. Calling a Jewish person a Samaritan was considered a hostile insult in ancient culture (John 4:1-41).
4. The imagery of God as shepherd baa’s throughout John. Some scholars believe the “sheep gate” referred to in John 5:2 (Nehemiah 3:1, 3:2; 12:39) was a small opening in the temple wall where the sheep entered and were washed before being taken into the sanctuary for sacrifice. The nearby pool became a waiting area for the sick and disabled who hoped for miraculous healing.
5. Barley was the food of the poor. In John 6:9 (the story of feeding the 5000) notes that the boy’s five loaves were made of barley, a food which was common among the poor since it had a less desirable flavor. Wealthy people preferred wheat bread, which cost at least twice as much. This suggests that it was a boy with little sacrificed to give his food to Jesus.
6. Sometimes different questions share the same answer. Jesus is questioned on where he went to school (John 7:15), where he is from (John 7:27), and where he is going (John 7:35). The irony is, the answer to all three questions is the same: heaven.
7. The setting of Jesus’s teaching matters. Jesus’ claim to be the light of the world in John 8:12 ties into the Feast of Tabernacles. Each night during the festival, large oil candles were lit. They traditionally unraveled the old garments of the priests and used the material as wicks. Many believe that Jesus’ declaration of being the light of the world was in the context of this familiar scene.
Remember that as you read and study to extend yourselves the same love and grace fills the pages of Scripture. Let’s discover the Beloved and ourselves as the Beloved together as we approach Easter.
What did you least want to read but most need to hear in today’s reading from the Gospel of Joh?
(If you have any questions post them below. We’ll be collecting and gathering responses for insight from New Testament scholar Craig Blomberg in the upcoming weeks).
Day 17: John 8:12-59 Discussion Questions:
How would you describe the demeanor or attitude of the various people in the story?
What claims does Jesus make in the following passages? John 8:19, 24, 32, 42, 44.
Which of those claims are the hardest to believe for you? The easiest? Why?
Using the Color Method, what stood out to you most from today’s reading?
What do you find most challenging about today’s reading? What do you find most comforting about today’s reading?