Build Day 10 Building Restoration: Digging Deeper

Digging Deeper Days

Finding the original intent of Scripture and making good application to our everyday lives as we become equipped to correctly handle the Word of Truth!

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The Questions

1) How is John’s gospel different from the other three gospels?

2) Why does John go back to “the beginning”? (verses 1-2)

3) Why didn’t the people recognize Jesus? (verses 10-12)

John 1:1-18

1 In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. 2 He was with God in the beginning. 3 All things were created through him, and apart from him not one thing was created that has been created. 4 In him was life, and that life was the light of men. 5 That light shines in the darkness, and yet the darkness did not overcome it.

6 There was a man sent from God whose name was John. 7 He came as a witness to testify about the light, so that all might believe through him. 8 He was not the light, but he came to testify about the light. 9 The true light that gives light to everyone was coming into the world.

10 He was in the world, and the world was created through him, and yet the world did not recognize him. 11 He came to his own, and his own people did not receive him. 12 But to all who did receive him, he gave them the right to be children of God, to those who believe in his name, thirteen who were born, not of natural descent, or of the will of the flesh, or of the will of man, but of God.

14 The Word became flesh and dwelt among us. We observed his glory, the glory as the one and only Son from the Father, full of grace and truth. 15 (John testified concerning him and exclaimed, “This was the one of whom I said, ‘The one coming after me ranks ahead of me, because he existed before me.’”) 16 Indeed, we have all received grace upon grace from his fullness, 17 for the law was given through Moses; grace and truth came through Jesus Christ. 18 No one has ever seen God. The one and only Son, who is himself God and is at the Father’s side—he has revealed him.

Original Intent

1) How is John’s gospel different from the other three gospels?
The gospels (eye-witness accounts of Jesus’ earthly life) of Matthew, Mark, and Luke all begin with historical or genealogical elements. They each write with different purposes and unique audiences in mind, whether mainly for Jews or Gentiles. John wrote his account much later than the other writers, perhaps even decades after the other authors had composed their narratives and had been widely circulated amongst believers. John, on the other hand, completely foregoes the historical and genealogical narrative hitting directly at the bullseye explanation, “Jesus is indeed the Son of God” by intentionally going all the way back to the beginning of time. While he does record various miracles, he doesn’t include as many as the synoptic (meaning, similar) gospels. The miracles he focuses on are those that fully show Christ’s Deity as fully God and fully man. John’s narrative also focuses on Christ’s personal interactions and conversations to a greater degree than the other three accounts in order to emphasize God’s divinity along with His humanity. Jesus possessed all authority to perform miracles no one else could, while also truly seeing those He encountered as real, individual people in desperate need of a Savior.

2) Why does John go back to “the beginning”? (verses 1-2)
These first eighteen verses of John are considered the prologue of John’s gospel according to Bible scholars and commentaries. A prologue’s purpose is to set the stage for the following narrative. When John references “the beginning”, he doesn’t mean the beginning of Jesus’ physical life, as in His birth, because Jesus is timeless as He is fully divine. To emphasize this reality, John returns to the Beginning of Time itself at Creation in Genesis, even using the same language as the opening words of Genesis, “In the beginning, God created the heavens and the earth.” (Genesis 1:1) When John states that “all things were created through Him (Jesus)”, he places the Lord Jesus Christ as co-existent and co-equal with God the Father before the universe began. John references Christ as the Light of the World (verses 5 and 9), not inferring that Christ was the created light as in Genesis 1:3-5, but in order to re-emphasize Isaiah’s Old Testament prophecy centuries prior. “The people walking in darkness have seen a great light; a light has dawned on those living in the land of darkness.” (Isaiah 9:2) John was declaring this prophesied Light had come, and it was Jesus, God Himself in human form! His purpose? To overcome the darkness of sin, death, and Satan’s rule.

3) Why didn’t the people recognize Jesus? (verses 10-12)
The world in general didn’t recognize Jesus as the Messiah because they were steeped in sin and honestly didn’t want a Savior, at least not one who demanded their full surrender of sin and self. (Matthew 16:1-12, 24-25) Quite plainly, they didn’t recognize their need for a Savior, as they were so puffed up on self-righteousness and self-declared “good works”. (Matthew 23:27-28) Jesus’ own people, the Palestinian Jews of the first century, also didn’t recognize Him as the long-awaited promised Rescuer. (verse 11) He was born of humble beginnings in obscurity and raised as the son of a carpenter. (Matthew 13:55) Although the Jews were desperate for someone to overthrow the Roman government and release them from bondage, they didn’t think a carpenter’s son fit the description. They wanted someone to come storming into town with an army powerful enough to overthrow Rome’s rule. Jesus knew He would not be welcome in His own town because He wasn’t this kind of King. (John 12:37, Acts 1:6) This was such a significant reality that each gospel writer records Jesus’ words on this! (John 4:44, Luke 4:24, Matthew 13:57, Mark 6:4) Jesus’ kingdom was otherworldly and His purposes went far beyond rescuing a small nation during a single point in the history of mankind. (Acts 1:7-8) Isaiah even prophesied of Israel’s unbelief centuries before Jesus came in the flesh. (Isaiah 53:1)

Everyday Application

1) How is John’s gospel different from the other three gospels?
It is helpful to learn the historical and genealogical background of Jesus, it even strengthens our faith to understand Jesus as a real historical figure, but of far greater importance is discovering the reality that He is exactly who He claims as God in the flesh. Because of the miracles and conversations included in John, his account is an excellent “first book” of the Bible to read as it well-acquaints us with Jesus. While Matthew, Mark, and Luke also firmly believed Jesus to be the Messiah, therefore divine, the Holy Spirit led John’s writing to emphasize Christ’s divinity through the scenes of everyday life. Knowing that Jesus is both Lord of eternity and a deeply personal Savior, where do you see Him pursuing you? If you don’t see Him, ask Him to show you; He loves to answer these prayers for His desire is for us to know Him even as we are fully known and loved. (1 Corinthians 13:12) 

2) Why does John go back to “the beginning”? (verses 1-2)
It is critically important to understand John’s foundational assertions that Jesus Christ is the Eternal God. Christ existed as deity before His humanity appeared as a babe in Bethlehem. The author of Hebrews describes Jesus as “the same yesterday, today and forever.(Hebrews 13:8) Jesus was and is and will forever be. Later, John records Jesus’ own description of Himself, “I am the Alpha and the Omega, the first and the last, the beginning and the end.” (Revelation 22:13) John ties together “God at creation” of the world with “God at the prologue of the new creation” yet to come when Christ ushers in the new heavens and the new earth. Those who believe in Jesus now on earth, are crafted into new creations because of the Holy Spirit living inside them; this is a “new birth” and the old has passed away. (2 Corinthians 5:17) This newness now, for those who trust Christ for rescue from sin, will one day be made complete when Christ makes all things new as He returns to take His Bride (the Church) Home to glory, dwelling forever with Him! (Revelation 21:1-2) This new life becomes ours when we repent of our sin and trust Christ for eternal salvation. Herein, He adopts us as His child who will live with Him for all eternity. (Romans 8:15-17) If Jesus has always been divinely God, while also perfectly relating with us in our humanity, the implications for our everyday lives are incredible! Every moment of every day is pregnant with opportunities to encounter the God who is always near and never changing. The God who offered Himself on our behalf, took the punishment for our sin, and then rose victoriously, is ready right now to sling an arm around our shoulder and offer us the fullness of Himself. (verse 16)

3) Why didn’t the people recognize Jesus? (verses 10-12)
Today, many are still steeped in sin’s deception just as the first century Jews and Gentiles; they do not recognize their need of a Savior or are even aware of their encounters with God as He pursues their hearts. In the time of Jesus, many people rejected Jesus and were repulsed by Him because He spent time with those most would consider unworthy of an esteemed Rabbi’s attention. The unclean, the less than, the infirm, and the mentally ill, these are the ones who garnered Jesus’ tender attention. Jesus was most definitely not Messiah material in the minds of the Jews. Christ came to love the “least of these”, not out of duty, but because all have been created in God’s image. (Genesis 1:27) Who are those we may deem “less than”? The person you cannot stand to be around, the relationally broken, the mentally unstable, the disabled, those whose lifestyle is different than yours, or those wearing a different skin color than you? Even on difficult days, even as we choose to act contrary to the law of Love that God directs us to follow, God still chooses to love us. All of us have sinned and fallen short of God’s standard of righteousness (Romans 3:23), even so, Christ died for us while we were still sinners (Romans 5:8). This is why God “became flesh and dwelt among us” (verse 14), to show His own love for us. His presence dwelt in the Tabernacle in the wilderness and His presence robed itself in flesh and lived among those in the first century, and His spirit lives with us when we surrender our hearts to Him. He still seeks a relationship with us today!

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Digging Deeper is for Everyone!

1) Take this passage (or any other passage).
2) Read it, and the verses around it,
several times
3) Write down your questions
as you think of them.
4) Ask specific culture related questions and be ready to dig around for your answers. Google them, use www.studylight.org, or look them up in a study Bible and read the footnotes (click on the little letters next to a word and it will show you
other related verses!). (www.esvbible.org)
5) Check your applications with other trusted Christians that you are in community with and embrace the fullness of God
in your everyday!

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Why Dig Deeper?

Finding the original meaning is a huge deal when we study Scripture and can make all the difference in our understanding as we apply God’s truths to our everyday lives.

In our modern-day relationships, we want people to understand our original intention as we communicate; how much more so between God and humanity?!

Here’s a little bit more on why we take Digging Deeper so seriously.

Study Tools

We love getting help while we study and www.studylight.org is one of many excellent resources, providing the original Hebrew (Old Testament) or Greek (New Testament) with an English translation.

Want to know more about a specific word in a verse? Click on “Strong’s Interlinear Bible” then click the word you’d like to study. Discover “origin”, “definition” and hear the original pronunciation – That Is Awesome!

Want more background? Click “Study Tools”, then pick a few commentaries to read their scholarly approach, keeping in mind that just because a commentary says it, doesn’t mean it’s true. (just like the internet :-))

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