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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 41 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 2: Jesus is the Best *
Introduction: If you were writing an account about the life of Jesus,
how would you begin? Most people would begin chronologically: with
His birth. Others might start with His most exciting miracle and then
tell how Jesus came to that point. Still others might begin with the
cross, and with that introduction go back and tell His entire story.
John does none of these things. Let's jump into our study of his
gospel to find out how John introduces us to the greatest story ever
- "In the Beginning"
- Read John 1:1-2. What do we learn about "the Word" in
these verses? (The Word was present in the beginning. The
Word is unique in that He was both "with" God and at the
same time was God.)
- How does this work: how can a person be "with"
someone and at the same time be that someone? For
example, "Jim was with Bob and was Bob." (John
introduces us to the concept of the Trinity right at
the very beginning. It is the mystery that Three
(Father, Son and Holy Spirit) can at the same time be
- In my example I used two ordinary names (Jim and
Bob). "Word" is not the name of a person. Why does
John use the noun "Word" for a Member of the Godhead?
(Words convey an idea. They represent something. Our
lesson (Sunday) points out that the ancient Greeks
had this generalized belief that "logos" (word) was a
deity which both created and sustained life. Merrill
Tenney's book on John tells us (p.62) that "logos"
referred to the "controlling Reason of the universe."
It conveyed the concept of "that ultimate
Intelligence, Reason, or Will that is called God.")
- Using the term "logos" rang a familiar bell with the
Greeks. What familiar bell is rung in your mind when
John starts out "In the beginning?" (This sounds like
- Read John 1:3. At the same time compare Genesis 1:1 with
John 1:1-3. What catches your attention in this
comparison? (They are covering the same subject. It seems
that John is a commentary or fuller description of Genesis
- What does John 1:1 teach us about Genesis 1:1? (That
this "Word" was both with and was God during the
- Read and compare Genesis 1:3 and John 1:3-4. What catches
your attention about this comparison? (They are both
speaking about light. Again, John is tracking the concepts
of Genesis 1. He tells us that the Word is light.)
- Remember we learned last week that John wrote his gospel
last and we considered John's thinking as he was inspired
to write. Why do you think John decided to start his
gospel in much the same way that Moses started Genesis?
- What concepts did God want us to learn through these
inspired writings? (In Genesis we learn that our God
is our Creator. This teaches us an important lesson
about our relationship to God. In John we learn more
about the identity of our God: that the Word is our
- As we will see in the balance of this chapter, John
identifies Jesus as the Word. Why does John begin his
account of Jesus with the Creation? (In the introduction I
speculated that most people, given the task of writing the
story of Jesus, would begin chronologically - with Jesus'
birth. John takes the same approach. However, John tells
us that the story of Jesus goes back a long time before
Jesus' birth as a human. John begins the story of Jesus
at the beginning of our time. He begins it with our birth
- the birth of humans.
- Let's look at John 1:4 again. John has used two words to
describe Jesus: Word and light. What do you think John is
trying to teach us by using those words? (Light reveals.
Words describe. Jesus came to open our understanding of
- Notice verse 4 also teaches us that life was in Jesus
and Jesus' life is our light.
- How is Jesus life? (Right out of the gate John
makes the point that Jesus was both our Creator
God and the One who could give us life again.
The hope of life again is "light" for our life.
As we learned last week from John 20:31,
teaching us this is the goal of John's gospel.)
- How are life and light related? (The Bible often
refers to God and right living as "light," and
Satan and wrong living as "darkness." (For
example, see John 3:19-21.) Jesus came to bring
us life by teaching us about righteousness. He
came to reveal the "God side" of things.)
- Read John 1:5. In John's story about Jesus, he makes this
remarkable statement by the fifth verse. What concept is
John introducing us to in his account of Jesus' life?
- Is John suggesting that Jesus' life work was not a
complete success? (Jesus' purpose, at least in part,
was to eliminate darkness in the life of humans by
the light of His own life. John is saying that sinful
humans didn't get it. We did not understand. I think
John is saying, "I want to help you to understand
this. I'm writing this account so that you will `get
- Read John 1:6-9, 29. Who is this John? Is it the writer of
this account? (No. This is John the Baptist. We get a
fuller picture of John the Baptist in John 1:15-36. Since
we will not be studying most of this account of the
Baptist, I recommend that you read it on your own.)
- Why do you think John introduces us to John the
Baptist now? (Remember John has started this theme
"you didn't get it?" John is telling us that heaven
was working hard to help us to get it. Heaven sent an
advance witness to Jesus. Our lesson (Thursday)
reveals that in Jesus' day John the Baptist and Moses
were the "two greatest human figures." John is
telling us that Heaven sent this great messenger to
announce the coming of Jesus.)
- Comprehending the Light
- Read John 1:10-13. How would you say that John feels about
the fact that the world did not recognize Jesus as the
Messiah? (Verses 10-11 show that John believes this is a
great irony. Those who certainly should have recognized
and received Jesus did not.)
- Was the failure to recognize and receive Jesus
universal? (By no means! Verse 12 tells us that some
- What is the result of recognizing and receiving
Jesus? (You become a child of God.)
- What does it take to recognize and receive Jesus?
What must we do to become a child of God? (This is a
very important message: if you believe in Jesus, if
you receive Him into your life, you are given the
right to become a child of God.)
- Read John 1:14. What has the Word done? What does this
mean to us? (God took a human form and came to live with
us. The concept boggles the mind!)
- How does John say can we know this is true? (He says
that he has seen this glorious thing: God in human
- What does the "One and Only" mean? (Jesus is an "only
child." The battle between light and darkness is
centered on our little planet.)
- Read John 1:15-18. Let's focus in verse 17. Have we seen
this parallel between Moses and Jesus before? (Yes, John
begins his gospel just as Moses begins Genesis. Moses
gives us the story of the Creation and the Law. John gives
us the fuller revelation through Jesus.)
- What does verse 18 tell us about seeing God? (No one
has seen God. But, God the Father is revealed through
Jesus. If you want to know what God is like, then
learn about Jesus.)
- Friend, would you like to know God better? Would you like
to have a deeper understanding of the Mastermind of the
Universe? Would you like to separate yourself from the
darkness that does not understand? If so, John invites you
to take this journey with him to learn more about our God.
Will you continue with me on this quest?
- Next Week: Something Better.
* 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.