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Sabbath School Lessons on John
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About the Author
Bruce N. Cameron, J.D.
is the author of these Sabbath School lesson study outlines. He is the Reed Larson Professor of Labor Law at Regent University School of Law. Professor Cameron has devoted his life to promoting the Gospel and defending believers. In addition to teaching at an overtly Christian law school, he continues his 37 year practice of law which is limited to the litigation of constitutional rights and religious freedom cases for employees. He holds an undergraduate degree from Andrews University and a Doctor of Law from Emory University School of Law.
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Lesson 3: Something Better *
Introduction: Last week we learned that God became a human and lived
with us. ( John 1:14) This God, Jesus, is not only your Creator, but
by recognizing and receiving Him into your life you can become a
child of God. ( John 1:10-13). This week John begins to take us on a
journey that will not only reveal who Jesus is, but help you to
better understand your God. John's first two stories are about wine
and violence. How does that lead us in the right direction? Let's
dive into our study and find out!
- Wedding Wine
- Read John 2:1-2. What kind of event is a wedding? (A time
- John's first story about Jesus shows Him
participating in a celebration, a party. Why?
- Notice that verse 2 tells us that Jesus and His
disciples "had also been invited." What does that
suggest to you? (This sounds so typical to me. The
parents of the couple getting married are working
over the invitation list for the wedding. They invite
their friends, and figure they should also invite
their friends' children. Jesus' mother, rather than
Jesus, is most likely the reason He was invited.)
- How did Jesus' disciples get invited? (Well, add
the friends of the children. The wedding guest
list is getting worrisomely long.)
- Read John 2:3-4. I think John has left out a little dialog
here. We have no recorded answer to Jesus' question in
verse 4. What do you think is the answer to Jesus'
question? (How about, "You twelve thirsty young men have
been making a real dent in the wine supply?")
- Even if that were true - that the "additional guests"
had been undercutting the advance planning - how
could Jesus do anything about this? (This shows us
without any doubt that Mary believed that Jesus had
powers beyond the ordinary. She hardly thought He
would go out and pick and squash some grapes.)
- Look at both the second half of John 2:4 and add verse 5.
Pretend you are standing right next to Jesus and His
mother, Mary. Has Jesus agreed to do anything to help?
(This sure sounds like "no" to me.)
- Does Jesus respond, "What do you expect Me to be able
to do?" (No. Jesus knows He can fix this problem. He
can perform a miracle. The issue is simply one of
- How do you explain Mary's instructions in verse 5?
(It does not sound like a meeting of the minds to me.
Jesus says, "no," and Mary presses Him to do
- Read John 2:6-9a. Jesus says, "no," Mary says, "I want you
to," and Jesus performs the miracle. Remember that this is
John's first miracle story. What important lesson is John
trying to teach us about Jesus? What is God trying to
teach us about Himself? (God is flexible. God works with
- Is a moral principle involved here? (No. I am not
convinced that God is flexible when it comes to
obedience to His law. He expects us to obey. But
everything else seems flexible, open to negotiation.)
- If I am right on this, why is this such an important
point for John (and God)? (Have you ever asked God
for guidance on where to live, what job to hold - and
God did not seem to answer? Without a clear answer
did you just drift without purpose? Where you live
and what you do, in most instances, is not a moral
issue. In matters like this, if you desire to do
God's will, and you do not have a clear direction
from Him, then do what you think best. If God will
work with you when He thinks "no," is the best answer
(as in the case of this wedding), He certainly will
work with you when He reveals no opinion at all.)
- Consider John 1:10&14 when you contemplate the
flexibility of God. What does this teach us about
God's flexibility? (The Word created us perfect, gave
us His law, and we failed miserably. The
uncomplicated, inflexible, correct answer to this
problem was destruction for humans. The answer of our
flexible and loving God was: Come to earth, take
human form as a peasant, live the perfect life humans
should have lived, be tortured and put to death. God
has shown the ultimate flexibility in His dealings
with us. Notice that even in this, God was very
careful to observe the requirements of His law. No
wonder John starts out with this point about how God
works with us!)
- Before we move on, notice in John 2:6 we are told that the
jars used for the newly created wine were for "ceremonial
washing." Why is that point noted in this story? Was this
just happenstance? (This gives us another hue of color for
our flexibility picture. The ceremonial washing was part
of the Mosaic law - sin is taken away by a ceremony that
results in the death of an animal. Wine, as Jesus points
out at the Last Supper, represents the shedding of His
blood. ( Matthew 26:27-29) Jesus' sacrifice fulfilled the
symbolism of the ceremony of the Mosaic law. His blood
spares us from eternal death - another reminder of God's
- Read John 2:9-10. What kind of wine did Jesus make for
this wedding? ("Choice wine.")
- What does this teach you for your life?
- Revisit John 2:6 for a minute. How much wine did Jesus
make for this wedding? (Between 120 and 180 gallons!)
- What does this teach you for your life? (No, the
answer is not drink lots of wine. It shows that God
is generous in His blessings to us.)
- Read John 2:11. What important role did this miracle play
in the work of Jesus and His disciples? (The looked at
this, and decided to put their faith in Jesus. It was both
a practical blessing to Mary and the wedding couple and it
was a spiritual blessing for the relationship between
Jesus and His disciples.)
- How about you, friend? Does this miracle help
strengthen your faith in Jesus? Does it make you
feel more encouraged about the nature of the God you
- Temple Cleaning
- Read John 2:13-16. What do you think about the second
picture of Jesus given to us by John? Is Jesus kind and
- What causes Jesus to be upset? (The text (v.16) tells
us that Jesus was very unhappy that His "Fathers'
house" had been turned into a marketplace.)
- Read Matthew 21:12-13. What does this account suggest
has Jesus upset? (This continues the same concern
about a place of prayer being turned into a
marketplace. However, it adds the information that
people are being robbed. William Barclay, in his
commentary on John (p. 110), reveals that both those
who changed the money and those who sold the animals
were ripping off the poor traveling pilgrims coming
to the Temple for Passover. There is nothing
intrinsically wrong with changing money or selling
animals. However, doing those things dishonestly and
in God's House are serious problems. Performing a
legitimate service is one thing, ripping off
travelers is quite another.)
- In our churches and our towns we encourage people to
call the police and not take matters of justice into
their own hands. Why is Jesus taking this into His
own hands? (Two reasons. First, "the authorities"
were part of the problem. The annual profit to the
Temple, according to Barclay, was so large that when
the Temple fell under the Roman attack some years
later, the Temple treasury contained millions of
dollars. Second, Jesus was the legitimate authority.
It was His Father's house that was being defiled.)
- If Jesus is standing up for the "little guy" traveler, how
does that make you feel about Him?
- Is this like the Cana wedding miracle in any way?
- Let's turn to the reactions of those who were present.
Read John 2:17-18. Compare the thoughts of the disciples
with the thoughts of the Jewish officials? (For Jesus'
disciples, it boosted their faith in His authority because
they remembered the words of Psalms 69:9 - which is a
Messianic prophecy. For the Jewish officials, they
challenged what business, what authority, Jesus had to do
- Does the Jewish officials' question seem odd to you?
Imagine you asking this question of a police officer
the next time you get pulled over for speeding. (They
asked for a miracle because Jesus said the Temple was
His "Father's house.)
- Read John 2:19-21. Is Jesus' answer responsive to the
Jewish leaders' question? (Sort of. They said, "Show us a
miracle so that we will know you have the authority to do
this." Jesus responds that He can perform the miracle of
raising the temple in three days.)
- Jesus and the Jews seem to be talking about two
different things. Are they? (Yes and no. They are
talking about stone and Jesus is talking about flesh.
However, the entire sacrificial system, of which the
Temple was the centerpiece, was all a symbol (a
prophecy, an acted-out parable)of what Jesus would do
to take away our sins. The Temple symbolized the
coming crucifixion. Jesus was the embodiment of the
Temple and He was going to fulfill all of the
purposes of the Temple when He rose after three
- Read John 2:22. What was the result of the disciples
being present during this event? (It strengthened their
faith in the Bible and Jesus' words.)
- Friend, does this second story strengthen your faith? Do
you feel more attracted to Jesus who is an indignant
defender of His Father and the poor?
- Next week: Grace Is All-Inclusive.
* Copr. 2004, Bruce N. Cameron, J.D. All scripture references are to the New International Version (NIV), copr. 1973, 1978, 1984 International Bible Society, unless otherwise noted. Quotations from the NIV are used by permission of Zondervan Bible Publishers. Suggested answers are found within parentheses. The lesson assumes the teacher uses a blackboard or some other visual aid.