This is part of the 66 in 52 Bible Journaling Challenge. Over the course of the 52 weeks in 2018, I will focus in on one verse from each book of the Bible with many others who have signed up to join me. Each wee
k I will be posting a summary page with some thought about that week’s book(s) of the Bible along with some links that may help our reflection. Click here to sign up if you want to join us at any point along the journey!
The Big Picture of John :
Over the last few weeks of reading Matthew, Mark, and Luke we’ve gotten various perspectives of primarily the same events. As we head into reading John this week we’ll hear the life of Jesus in a completely new way. Instead of thinking about the beginning of Jesus’ story at his birth, John shows us that Jesus has been around since before the beginning of the world (John 1:1). Where Matthew, Mark, and Luke tend to tell narrative stories of what Jesus did, John seems to highlight more of his character and identity as both fully God and fully man. There is also a high emphasis on the signs and miracles in John’s book. It is believed to be written much later than the other three gospels with a clearly declared purpose that readers would believe that Jesus is the Messiah, the Son of God and that we’d find life as we believe (John 20:30-31).
The “I Am”s in John:
One thing that seems to be true is that John was passionate to prove that Jesus IS God. One of the ways he did this was by using the phrase “I Am” many times throughout the book. For the Jewish readers, this would have been an obvious claim to Jesus’ as God as they would instantly recognize it as the very name for God. Back in Exodus when God was calling Moses to go rescue the people out of slavery in Egypt, Moses asks God, “If I go to the people of Israel and tell them, ‘The God of your ancestors has sent me to you.’ they will ask me, ‘
What is his name?’ Then what should I tell them?” God’s response to Moses: I AM WHO I AM. Say this to the people: I AM has sent me to you.” This was a powerful declaration of the name of God. So when Jesus shows up on the scene and starts using this phrase, people took notice. Here are some of the key places we see it in John’s Gospel:
- “…but he called out to them, ‘Don’t be afraid. I am here!'” – John 6:30
- “That is why I said that you will die in your sins; for unless you believe that I am who I claim to be, you will die in your sins.” – John 8:24
- So Jesus said, “When you have lifted up the Son of Man on the cross, then you will understand that I am he. I do nothing on my own but say only what the Father taught me. – John 8:28
- Jesus answered, “I tell you the truth, before Abraham was even born, I am!” – John 8:58 (When he said this the Jewish religious leaders even picked up rocks to try to stone him. There is no doubt in their minds Who He was claiming to be.)
- “‘I am he,’ Jesus said.”- John 18:5
- “I am the bread of life “- John 6:35, 48, 51
- “I am the light of the world” – John 8:12, 9:5
- “I am the door of the sheep” – John 10:7, 9
- “I am the good shepherd.” – John 10:11, 14
- “I am the resurrection and the life.” – John 11:25
- “I am the way, the truth, and the life.” – John 14:6
- “I am the true vine.” – John 15:1
A Few Key Verses and Possible Reflection Questions/Prayers:
Some of us are planning to read through the whole book or books each week, while others are just focusing in on one verse per book. This section of the weekly intro post might help you narrow down a verse to reflect on for the week, but you do not have to choose one of these verse, pick any section of the book you want! These are just some ideas.
- “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.” John 1:14
REFLECTION: How do you see both grace and truth played out in Jesus’ life? What does it look like to be full of both in our every day lives?
- “I am praying not only for these disciples but also for all who will ever believe in me through their message. I pray that they will all be one, just as you and I are one–as you are in me, Father, and I am in you. And may they be in us so that the world will believe you sent me. … May they experience such perfect unity that the world will know that you sent me and that you love them as much as you love me.” John 17:20-21, 23
REFLECTION: This whole section is the prayer Jesus prayed right before he died. These specific verses in essence are what God prayed for US today. He had US on his mind as he prepared to go to the cross. What are your thoughts about His prayer? Where do you see unity or disunity among God’s church today? How might unity be crucial in showing the world the love of Jesus?
- “The disciples say Jesus do many other miraculous signs in addition to the ones recorded in this book. But these are written so that you may continue to believe that Jesus is the Messiah, the Son of God, and that by believing in him you will have life by the power of his name.” John 20:30-31
REFLECTION:What are your thoughts about John’s purpose for writing the book? How do you think that shaped what He chose to put in the book?
Some Other Resources:
- The Bible Project summary video of John 1-12
- The Bible Project summary video of John 13-21
- A Pinterest board with resources and pictures for John
- The 66 in 52 Schedule and Tracking Sheet
So now it’s your turn! Pick a verse and settle in this week, or read through the whole book. If you post any picture or blogs on social media, tag them with #66in52challenge so we can all share in this journey together!