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An Interpretive Outline of the Gospel According to John, Part 3

III. Jesus is Christ the Prophet (2:1-11:54)
[Seven Signs that Jesus is God’s Anointed Prophet]

A. The Prophet is introduced (2:1 – 4:54)

  1. Jesus at a Wedding Feast (in Cana of Galilee) (2:1-11)
    [Sign #1: Jesus has power over physical substance – water turned to wine]

    1. Mary, Jesus, and His disciples invited to a wedding feast (2:1-2)
    2. The supply of wine (2:3-4)
      1. Mary tells Jesus about the lack of wine (2:3)
      2. Jesus tells Mary to keep confidential what He does – it was not yet His hour (2:4)
    3. SIGN: Jesus turns pure water into the best wine (2:5-7)
      1. Mary tells waiting servants to assist Jesus (2:5)
      2. Jesus tells waiting servants to fill six stone water vessels (2:6-7)
    4. The head steward of the wedding feast appraises the wine (2:8-10)
      1. Jesus tells waiting servants to draw and carry the liquid to the head steward of the feast (2:8)
      2. The head steward praises the bridegroom for saving the best wine until the end (2:9-10)
    5. COMMENTARY [by the narrator (John the apostle)]: This first sign displays Jesus’ glory and His disciples believed (2:11)
    6. LOCATION: Mary, Jesus, His brothers, His disciples retire to Capernaum for a short time (2:12)
  2. Jesus clears the temple in Jerusalem at the [first] Passover feast (2:13-25)
    [Other unidentified signs]

    1. LOCATION: Jesus goes up to Jerusalem at Passover time (2:13)
    2. Jesus clears the religious merchandisers from the temple area (2:14-17)
      1. Jesus discovers merchandisers in sacrifices and short-changers of money in the temple area (2:14)
      2. Jesus drives out the merchandise of sacrificial animals and the money of the short-changers (2:15)
      3. Jesus declares the temple His Father’s house, not a house of merchandise (2:16)
      4. Jesus disciples relate this incident to the prophecy of the Messiah’s zeal for God’s house (2:17)
    3. Jesus replaces the temple (2:18-22)
      1. The ruling Jews question Jesus’ authority, seeking a sign (2:18)
      2. Jesus predicts they will destroy the temple (of His body), and He will raise it in three days (2:19)
      3. The ruling Jews do not understand Jesus’ reference and mock Jesus (2:20)
      4. COMMENTARY: Jesus was speaking of the temple of His body (2:21)
      5. COMMENTARY: His disciples would recall this after His resurrection (2:22)
    4. COMMENTARY: Jesus and those who believe the signs (2:23-25)
      1. Jesus was performing signs at the Passover feast (compare 3:2) and many believed in His Name (2:23)
      2. Jesus did not entrust Himself to such superficial believers (2:24)
      3. Jesus knew the fickle and treacherous nature of man (2:25)
  3. Nicodemus interviews Jesus (3:1-21)
    1. Nicodemus is introduced (3:1-2)

      1. Nicodemus, a ruler of the Jews, comes at night to speak with Jesus (3:1-2a)
      2. Nicodemus declares the he believes Jesus is a teacher from God because of the signs (3:2b)
    2. Jesus instructs Nicodemus in the kingdom of God (3:3-12)
      1. Jesus declares that a second birth is a necessary pre-condition to genuinely perceiving and taking notice of the kingdom of God [mere observance and believing of outward signs is not enough for genuine faith] (3:3)
      2. Nicodemus explains that he cannot understand Jesus’ words in terms of the outward physical world (3:4)
      3. Jesus expands His declaration (3:5-8)
        1. One must be born first of water (naturally in the flesh) then of spirit (supernaturally by the Spirit) as a necessary pre-condition to entering the kingdom of God (3:5-7)
        2. Like the wind, the birth by the Spirit cannot be detected by outward phenomena, but can only be detected by its resultant effects (3:8)
      4. Nicodemus asks Jesus to explain how these things can happen (3:9)
      5. Jesus expands further (3:10-15)
        1. Jesus chastises Nicodemus for being a teacher while not knowing these things (3:10)
        2. Jesus rebukes the ruling Jews for not receiving the plural testimony [of the Father, Son, and Spirit?] (3:11)
        3. If the ruling Jews cannot believe even the earthly signs and doctrine, how shall they believe the heavenly doctrine (3:12)
        4. Jesus descended from heaven and must be lifted up like the healing brazen serpent to give eternal life to everyone who genuinely believes in Him (3:13-15) [or this may belong with the Commentary following]
    3. COMMENTARY (or possibly a discourse by Jesus): Jesus is the Light which exposes men’s deeds (3:16-21)
      1. The spiritual birth – resulting in eternal life, entrance into the kingdom of God, and genuine belief in the Son of God – is God’s program for bringing about the salvation of the world (not just of adherents to the Jewish religion) (3:16-17)
      2. The test of light which tests the nature of men’s faith (3:18-21)
        1. Men who love darkness and will not come to the light stand condemned (3:18b-20)
        2. Men who love truth come to the light and are not condemned (3:18a, 21)
    4. LOCATION: Jesus and His disciples come to the Judean wilderness (3:22a)
  4. The relationship between Jesus and John [the Baptist] (3:22b-4:3)
    1. John [the Baptist] testifies to the authority of Jesus’ ministry (3:25-30)

      1. Jesus and John [the Baptist] both baptizing in Judea (3:22b-24)
      2. A dispute about purification arose between John’s [the Baptist’s] disciples and ruling Jews (3:25)
      3. They asked John [the Baptist] to resolve this dispute regarding the baptism of Jesus (3:26)
      4. John [the Baptist, an Aaronide priest] testifies that the authority for Jesus [a Melchizedekan priest] performing ceremonial purification by baptism comes from heaven (3:27)
      5. John explains that Jesus’ mission and ministry must supersede John’s [the Baptist’s] (3:28-30)
    2. COMMENTARY (or possibly a discourse by John the Baptist, cf. 3:16-21): Jesus is the Witness from heaven (3:31-36)
      1. Jesus is from heaven and testifies to heavenly things (3:31-32a)
      2. He who receives Jesus’ testimony certifies that He speaks the oracles of God (3:33-34)
      3. The Father has given all authority (including judgment) to the Son (3:35)
        1. He who believes has eternal life (3:36a)
        2. He who does not obey remains under God’s wrath (3:36b)
    3. Jesus (through His disciples) was baptizing more than John [the Baptist] (4:1b-2)
    4. LOCATION: Jesus leaves Judea for Galilee to avoid the Pharisees (4:1a,3)
  5. Samaritans receive Jesus in Sychar (4:5-42)
    1. The Samaritan setting

      1. LOCATION: Jesus required that they pass by way of Samaria (4:4)
      2. Jesus became wearied so He rested about noon at Jacob’s fountain near Sychar (4:5-6)
    2. Jesus speaks privately with a Samaritan woman (4:7-26)
      1. Jesus describes flowing water

        1. Jesus asks a Samaritan woman for a drink (4:7-8)
        2. The woman questions why Jesus, a Jew, would ask a drink from a Samaritan woman (4:9)
        3. Jesus suggests that if the woman knew Jesus, then she would in return have asked Him for a drink of flowing water (4:10)
        4. The woman asks about the source of this flowing water, and (mockingly) suggests Jesus is no greater than Jacob whose well it is (4:11-12)
        5. Jesus describes the flowing water which quenches thirst and becomes a fountain of eternal life (4:13-14)
      2. Jesus reveals the woman’s past life (4:15-19)
        1. The woman asks for this flowing water, understanding it in rather a material sense (4:15)
        2. Jesus tests the woman by asking her to call her husband [contrast the serpent, who tempted the woman with food apart from her husband] (4:16)
        3. The woman truthfully confesses she has no husband (4:17a)
        4. Jesus elaborates upon the woman’s confession (4:17-18)
      3. Jesus reveals true worship (4:19-24)
        1. The woman acknowledges Jesus is a prophet, so she asks him to settle the question where to worship (4:19-20)
        2. Jesus declares that the Jews are outwardly correct as far as that goes (4:(21-)22)
        3. Jesus reveals that the time has come for the Father to seek only true spiritual worshipers without consideration of location (4:21,23-24)
      4. Jesus reveals Himself to be the Messiah (4:25-26)
        1. The woman points out that the Messiah is the one who should announce all these things (4:25)
        2. Jesus confesses to her that He is the Messiah (4:26)
    3. The harvest of Samaritans (4:27-38)
      1. The woman tells other citizens (4:27-30)

        1. The disciples return and are dumbfounded to find Jesus speaking with a woman (4:27)
        2. The woman leaves without water (in haste) and returns to the city of Sychar (4:28)
        3. The woman tells the men of the city her experience with one who may be the Christ (4:29)
        4. The men leave to come to Jesus (4:30)
      2. Jesus teaches His disciples about the harvest (4:31-38)
        1. The disciples solicit Jesus to eat (4:31)
        2. Jesus declares he has food they have no experience of (4:32)
        3. The disciples confront one another as to who may have brought Jesus food (4:33)
        4. Jesus explains the nature of a spiritual harvest – some sow, others reap (4:34-38)
      3. The harvest of Sychar comes – Jesus is the Savior of the World (4:39-42)
        1. Many Samaritans believed on the woman’s testimony, so they implored Jesus to stay and He stayed two days (4:39-40)
        2. Because of Jesus’ discourse, many more believed that He is the savior of the world (not just of adherents to the Jewish religion) (4:41-42)
  6. The superficial faith of Galileans (4:43-45)
    1. LOCATION: After two days, Jesus departs from Sychar (4:43)
    2. Jesus testifies that a prophet has no honor in his own country (4:44)
    3. Jesus is superficially received at Galilee by those who saw His miracles at the Passover (4:45)
  7. A Gentile from Capernaum receives Jesus in Cana of Galilee (4:46-54)
    [Sign #2: Jesus has power over deadly fever – His power is extended to a Gentile]

    1. LOCATION: Jesus returns to Cana (4:46a)
    2. Jesus Heals the Son of a Royal Gentile Official (at Capernaum in Galilee) (4:46b-54)
      1. A Gentile royal-officer seeks Jesus to come heal his son (4:46b-47)
      2. Jesus declares that the Galilean people believe only because of signs and wonders (4:48)
      3. The Gentile royal-officer believes implicitly in Jesus’ power and leaves, seeing nothing [contrast the Galileans who have to see signs to believe] (4:49-50)
      4. SIGN: the Gentile royal-officer returns to Capernaum and finds his implicit faith justified (4:51-53)
    3. COMMENTARY: This is the second sign in Galilee (4:54)
  8. To be continued with
    III. B. The Prophet is Rejected (5:1-11:54)

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