Why John Now? The Church Now – Session Five
Why John Now? The Church Now – Session Five
This session explores the Gospel of John and looks at how Jesus calls the Church and community today to act in light of his love.

This series is designed to encourage you to read the book of John as a group or individually. It uses the wonderful commentary from David Ford – The Gospel of John, to guide us through this Gospel of abundance. Each session is designed to generate discussion after a week of reading.  There is also a video to watch each week recorded by David Ford to bring to life the main themes of the readings.  The heart behind this course is that you would become habitual re-readers of John, so that you might more deeply have relationship with Jesus.

This weeks reading plan in the book of John:

Overarching Themes

The first point and overarching theme of John is that it is a gospel of abundance, like the gift that keeps on giving.  Each time you read and re-read the gospel it offers deeper and deeper revelation of who God is and His love for each of us.  The abundance of the book of John is as John himself writes in 1:16 ‘Out of His fullness we have all received grace in place of grace already given.’

The second point is that this gospel is written in easy Greek which means it is accessible to the beginner, but it also has the capacity to go on to challenge the mature believer.  John is a teaching gospel which wants us to meet Jesus but them also abide in Him.  John teaches us to be learners, prayers and have a life of inspired loving.

The third point to understand is the structure of John .  It starts with a prologue where it gives a big framework for God and all reality. It them moves onto the ongoing drama of Jesus, which is the central part of the book.  Finally it move into the ongoing drama where we live now in the spirit and in community with each other.


Study Notes

John is a realist when talking about the community when Jesus was alive – there was betrayal, denial, endless misunderstandings, conflict etc. At the very end of the gospel there is also ‘fake news’ circulating in the church surrounding what happened to Jesus. It is also the community where the Jesus is teaching what it should look like. His love, truth, joy, learning etc are at the centre of it all.

In chapter 20: 19-23, we read Jesus appears to his disciples after his crucifixion, death and resurrection He appears to send out the disciples into the world, ‘Again Jesus said, ‘Peace be with you! As the Father has sent me, I am sending you.’ And with that he breathed on them and said, ‘Receive the Holy Spirit.’ (20: 21-22). Throughout the book of John we are prepared for the crucifixion, death and resurrection of Jesus as well as being prepared for the arrival of the Holy Spirit. Finally in this scripture at the end of the gospel, the Spirit is given! Jesus breathes his very own spirit to send out the disciples, and then so us.

By this giving of the spirit, to the disciples, means that they can be sent as Jesus was sent by his father. This can mean that a) we need to understand how Jesus was sent and who Jesus is. We are inspired to go back to the start of the gospel, re-read it and question who is Jesus, how is he being sent and how does that mean we are to be sent? b) We are sent as Jesus was sent – the little word ‘as’, is the great word of the empowerment of the Holy Spirit. We are to be inspired by the spirit of Jesus to live as Jesus did. To love as he loved. To serve as he served. Look at the example Jesus sets in Chapter 13 and the foot washing.

We are told that we a friends of Jesus, not just servants. At the heart of the understanding of what friendship is, is mutual trust and understanding of each other. The climax of this relationship, is in the final seven verses of chapter 17, where Jesus prays about a mutual indwelling in love. He speaks of his desire for us to be utterly united in love with him and the Father for the sake of the world. What a promise!

Discussion Points