Father, we want to know how to worship in Spirit and in truth, leaving religious debates and empty rituals behind. Show us how to live so we fully honor You. In Jesus’ name, amen.
Read John 3-4
REMEMBER THE GOSPEL
Watch a 2-minute explanation of Why God Gave His Only Son.
By Conrad Mbewe. © Desiring God Foundation. Source: desiringGod.org. Used by permission.
John 3:1–21 The religious leaders quickly recognized that God gave authority to Jesus. How else could He perform the miracles He performed? Jesus told a prominent leader, Nicodemus, that God’s kingdom is accessible only to those who receive a new nature by God’s Spirit, to those who have been “born again.” Jesus is clear on this point: the kingdom of God—His rule and reign over His people—is mysterious, and only those whose hearts God has opened will understand how Jesus has fulfilled the Old Testament prophecies. Status and education offer no special insight, and only those who choose to follow Jesus and believe His words will see God.
By John Piper. © Desiring God Foundation. Source: desiringGod.org. Used by permission.
Read more on regeneration from the BFM
Notice how many people saw Jesus’ miracles; however, Jesus is clear that only a few actually understood and entered the kingdom He inaugurated.
John 3:22–36 The Prophet John continued to teach and baptize, which prepared the people to follow Jesus. When Jesus Himself began to teach, John started to send his disciples to follow Him, publicly endorsing Jesus as the direct voice from God. In this way, John identifies Jesus as entirely superior to any other teacher. In fact, John was the first to assert the radical claim that Jesus is God’s Son.
John 4:1–26 To avoid attention about His growing number of followers, Jesus left the religious center of Judea. Traveling throughout Israel with His disciples, He demonstrated that God is open to all who believe Him. In Samaria, He did this by talking publicly with a lower-class woman. He explained God’s kingdom to her, convincing her that He was the Messiah. This section of text provides Jesus’ first “I AM” statement in John, identifying Him as the God who revealed Himself to Abraham and Moses (Gen. 15:1,7; Ex. 3:14, Deut. 32:39).
THE JOHN FILM
Did you know that the Gospel of John film is the story of Jesus’ life as recounted in the Gospel of John, using only the words from that Gospel?
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Notice the values of God’s kingdom: people can meet Him anywhere, spiritual life is based on internal transformation rather than racial or social identity, and worship is knowing God’s truth and transformation by God’s Spirit.
John 4:27–42 After talking with Jesus, the Samaritan woman rushed to bring her whole village so they could hear and see Jesus. Meanwhile, Jesus’ disciples were scandalized by His disregard for social, racial, and gender norms. He continued to deconstruct their religious worldviews by implying God invites non-Jewish people to follow Him and by teaching the Samaritans, who believed He was the Savior and enthusiastically received His words.
John 4:43–54 Next, Jesus returned to Cana to heal the son of a city official. He healed the man’s son without even seeing or speaking to him, and the official—along with his whole family—believed in Jesus. Jesus’ miracles helped the people of Cana believe His words.
23 But the hour is coming, and is now here, when the true worshipers will worship the Father in spirit and truth, for the Father is seeking such people to worship him.
- So far in John’s Gospel, Jesus addresses people’s misconceptions about God. Think about your own culture, life, and city. What misconceptions do you or those around you have about what it means to know God? Think about unintentional biases you and those around you might have. The disciples’ ideas about social, racial, and gender norms might have prevented people from walking with God. What about you?
Choose one of the following:
- Becoming a believer is a work of God. It’s not something a person can produce in themselves. But when a person experiences spiritual re-birth and turns to follow Jesus, they gain access to His kingdom. Throughout the week, think about how you talk about the Spirit’s role in your life. Identify ways you can lead others (believers and non-believers) to ask God for faith, rather than trying to conjure up belief logically or emotionally.
- Most of the people Jesus encountered were eagerly waiting for the Messiah. How can you better understand their expectation surrounding Jesus as the “Lamb of God,” the “Messiah,” the “King of Israel,” and the “Son of God”? Choose one or two of these to briefly read about in the Old Testament. Consider using BibleGateway.com to search the phrase you choose, and skim the relevant prophetic sections.
- Fast another day this month. Try a 24-hour fast or skipping one or two meals/week. [Spiritual Disciplines]