Day 9 (Wed, Aug 13, 2014)

Questions for and about Jesus

40 verses total; 38 for understanding: John 3:1-36; Matthew 4:12; Mark 1:14; Luke 3:19-20

Brief description of action taking place or point being made

26. Nicodemus meets Jesus at night in John 3:1-21
27. Disciples baptize many in Judea in John 3:22-24
28. Disciples ask John about Jesus in John 3:25-36
29. Herod imprisons John the Baptist in Matthew 4:12; Mark 1:14; Luke 3:19-20

Devotions (optional reading)

Questions

1. What is your favorite verse or set of verses? Why?
2. Did you learn anything from the reading or find anything particularly cool? What?
3. Was there anything unclear in the passage that you have questions about? What are they?

After Completing the Bible Reading

Broader outline of each section of passage

John 3:1-21. A Pharisee named Nicodemus and religious leader comes to Jesus privately to ask him genuine questions, not to trap him like the other religious leaders. Jesus tells him that just as he was born physically, he needs to be born spiritually. This is done through faith in Jesus. If one does not believe, one is in a state of condemnation. But Jesus does not want anyone to be condemned — he came into the world to save.

John 3:22-24. Both John the Baptist (with his disciples) and Jesus (with his disciples) are baptizing in Judea.

John 3:25-36. John the Baptist’s disciples ask him about Jesus. John testifies that Jesus is the Christ and that John greatly rejoices that Jesus’ ministry is growing. John is aware that his own time is limited, but that his time on earth was successful, since Jesus’ ministry is growing.

Matthew 4:12; Mark 1:14; Luke 3:19-20. John the Baptist is arrested by Herod. When Jesus hears that, he leaves Judea and goes to Galilee, proclaiming the Gospel.

My favorite passage and other random thoughts

I really didn’t like this verse very much up until recently, not because the verse is bad, but because everybody seemed to quote it, and it seemed so overused that it lost its meaning. But I’m over it… John 3:16 is my favorite in today’s reading: “‘For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life'” (NIV).

I like that it lays out God’s motivation and the radical step He had to take as a result, and does it so succinctly: God was and is so incredibly in love with each one of us that He couldn’t stand the fact that we were separated from Him (the word perish probably refers to the fact that after we die, we would be separated from God, and at the same time, experienced that separation while living on earth). So He did the unthinkable, sending His Son, a very part of Himself, Jesus, into the world, knowing full well that to complete the task, Jesus was going to have to be brutally murdered and for a short-time, separated from His Father.

I like that this lays out the step that we need to take to get this eternal life, and end the unbearable separation from God: believe in Jesus. It says in the book of James that even demons believe in Jesus, and shudder. So this belief is more than just a belief that He is historically true, or that He is even the Son of God. Demons know those things. This kind of belief requires us to walk with and follow Jesus. It is commitment like the pig, rather than the chicken: the pig providing bacon for breakfast costs him everything, the chicken providing an egg gets to go on with life as normal. It is a belief that we have to choose Him as the one who is in charge of our lives each and every day.

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