THE GOSPEL OF. John. New International Version

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1 THE GOSPEL OF John New International Version

2 THE GOSPEL OF John New International Version

3 This edition of the NIV Gospel of John is published by The Good Book Company for A Passion for Life A Passion for Life/The Good Book Company 2013 The Good Book Company Blenheim House, 1 Blenheim Road, Epsom, Surrey KT19 9AP Tel: International: +44 (0) ISBN: ISBN (pack of 20): Bible text taken from the Holy Bible, New International Version Anglicised. Copyright 1979, 1984, 2011 by Biblica. Used by permission of Hodder & Stoughton Publishers, a division of Hachette UK. All rights reserved. Printed in the UK. 2

4 Read this first! The Christian faith is first and foremost about a person Jesus Christ. Many people know a few things about Christianity and some people know some things about Christians but the star attraction of Christianity is not really Christian activity, or even Christian people. It is Jesus. Jesus says that if we follow him, he will give us life to the full. That is, we will be able to live life in this world in a whole new dimension. But, more than that, we will also have the guarantee of life beyond this world in God s perfect future world. Jesus offers this life as a gift. It is free of charge. This is quite simply the best news in the world! This book is one of the authorised eye-witness accounts of Jesus life and teaching. It was written by John, the closest of all of Jesus disciples. John is described as the one whom Jesus loved. He was with Jesus from the beginning; he saw and heard all that Jesus did and said. Jesus gave John the special job of recording his words and work for us. John himself came to the conclusion that Jesus offers us life to the full. His aim in writing this book is so that we come to believe in Jesus and share in the gift of life. This edition of John s Gospel has been produced by a group of ordinary Christian believers from churches across the United Kingdom. We have found that what Jesus offers to give us is quite simply the best news in the world. We would love you to discover this too! We really hope you might be prepared to read this book with an open heart and mind. You may be surprised by what you discover 3

5 Some practical suggestions: Read it slowly You can read through John s account in under three hours. But to benefit most from what John is showing us about Jesus, it is better to read it slowly. There is a reading plan on the opposite page. Why not take one section per day and spend some time chewing over what you have read. Read it thoughtfully John tells us at the end of his account (page 58, Chapter 20 verses 30-31) that he has recorded these particular works and words of Jesus so that we might believe that Jesus is who he says he is and have life in his name. Rather than speeding through the account, why not take more time and think carefully about each incident and section of teaching? You will notice that John has recorded many specific miracles (or signs), and the teaching that comes before and after the signs tells us how we are meant to understand them. Pay particular attention to these explanations. Read it responsively John wants us to do something with what we read. This isn t simply a stack of information. This is the account of a person. Jesus doesn t want us just to know about him. He wants us to know him personally, so that we have life to the full. All through the account we will find Jesus telling us how we should respond rightly he also tells us how not to respond. As you read, think carefully what you are learning about Jesus and how he does (and does not) want you to respond. There is a section at the back What do I do next? on page 61. This section seeks to summarise what a response to Jesus might look like. Best of all, however, why not think carefully about how Jesus wants you to respond at the end of each reading? Read it prayerfully John wrote his account because he had discovered life to the full through knowing Jesus. Wherever you are on your personal spiritual journey, God wants to help you understand what you are reading. In fact, he promises to help us if we ask him. So why not say a prayer to God before you read and ask him to help you understand and respond rightly. 4

6 Lord God, please help me as I read John s book about Jesus. Help me to understand who Jesus is and what Jesus is telling me about himself and about me. Help me to hear what you have to say to me. Help me to respond rightly to what I am discovering. Please show me how I can have the full life that Jesus is offering me. Amen Reading plan: John in 36 days Day 1: John 1:1-18 Day 2: John 1:19-51 Day 3: John 2:1-22 Day 4: John 2:23 3:21 Day 5: John 3:22-36 Day 6: John 4:1-24 Day 7: John 4:25-54 Day 8: John 5:1-29 Day 9: John 5:30-47 Day 10: John 6:1-39 Day 11: John 6:40-71 Day 12: John 7:1-24 Day 13: John 7:25-53 Day 14: John 8:1-30 Day 15: John 8:31-59 Day 16: John 9:1-41 Day 17: John 10:1-21 Day 18: John 10:22-42 Day 19: John 11:1-44 Day 20: John 11:45 12:11 Day 21: John 12:12-50 Day 22: John 13:1-30 Day 23: John 13:31 14:4 Day 24: John 14:5-31 Day 25: John 15:1-17 Day 26: John 15:18 16:4 Day 27: John 16:5-33 Day 28: John 17:1-26 Day 29: John 18:1-14 Day 30: John 18:15-27 Day 31: John 18:28 19:16 Day 32: John 19:17-37 Day 33: John 19:38 20:18 Day 34: John 20:19-31 Day 35: John 21:1-14 Day 36: John 21:15-25 A note about chapters and verses Throughout this book you will see some large numbers and some smaller numbers. The larger numbers are chapters that John has been split into. The smaller numbers are the verses that make up each chapter. They weren t in the original, but have been added later to help us find our way around. We often use a kind of shorthand so that John chapter 3 and verse 16 will be written as John 3 v 16 or sometimes as John 3:16. 5

7 People, places and ideas in John s Gospel Abraham: the ancestor of the people of Israel. Annas: Caiaphas father-in-law. Baptism: a ceremony involving water, which symbolises washing away sin and making a fresh start. Caiaphas: the most senior priest, the High Priest. Christ: the title for God s specially chosen King. It simply means chosen one. Elijah: one of the greatest prophets of the Old Testament. God promised that before he visited his world he would send another prophet like Elijah. The Feast of Booths: annual feast when Israelites remembered the rescue from Egypt. Good Shepherd: another name for God s chosen King. God accused the kings of Israel of being bad shepherds. He promised that he would send a Good Shepherd to lead his people. The Holy Spirit: God. He lives inside everyone who has decided to follow Jesus. Israel: the nation descended from Abraham, and the geographical land which God promised to give to Abraham. Jerusalem: the capital city of Israel. John the Baptist: not the same as John, the author of this book. John the Baptist was Jesus cousin. He was sent by God to prepare the way for Jesus. Judea: the region in Israel in which Jerusalem was situated. The Law: refers to the first five books of the Old Testament (Genesis to Deuteronomy) but also to the rules and commands to God s people, Israel. Levites: a group of people who helped the priests to take care of the temple. Messiah: another name for Christ. Moses: the greatest of the prophets of the Old Testament. He received the Ten Commandments from God. Nazareth / Galilee / Cana: places in the far north of Israel distant from Jerusalem. Manna in the wilderness: after God rescued Israel from Egypt they wandered in the desert for 40 years. God fed them on manna, a type of bread. The Passover Feast: the main religious festival for the Jews when they remembered that God rescued them from slavery in Egypt. He rescued them through the sacrifice of a lamb. Hence the Passover lamb. Pilate: the Roman Governor who ruled at the time Jesus was put to death. Priests: the people who served at the temple in Jerusalem. The Prophet: another name for God s promised ruler, who would be a prophet like Moses. Resurrection: not just Jesus own resurrection, but also the final day at the end world history when God has promised to raise everyone from the dead and judge us. Samaria: an area between Judea and Galilee populated with a mix of nationalities and religions. Samaritans were despised by Jews for their ethnic and religious impurity. The serpent in the wilderness: refers to a time when God rescued Israel from his own judgment through raising up a bronze snake on a pole. Son of God: a title referring to the Christ. The Son of Man: one of the most exalted titles for God s king in the Old Testament. It speaks of God s king as lord and judge of all people. The Temple: the Jewish place of worship in Jerusalem, where Jews would come to worship God, celebrate his festivals, and offer sacrifices to God. The Vine: God s people, Israel, are described as his vine. The term is usually used negatively in the Old Testament. But God promises to raise up a good vine. The Word: is a title John uses to speak about Jesus before he was born. 6

8 Introduction The first chapter of John s account is an introduction. We meet the Word (another name for Jesus) in eternity and Jesus in history. The Word became flesh 1In the be gin ning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. 2 He was with God in the be gin ning. 3 Through him all things were made; with out him noth ing was made that has been made. 4 In him was life, and that life was the light of all man kind. 5 The light shines in the dark ness, and the dark ness has not over come a it. 6 There was a man sent from God whose name was John. 7 He came as a wit ness to tes ti fy con cern ing that light, so that through him all might be lieve. 8 He him self was not the light; he came only as a wit ness to the light. 9 The true light that gives light to ev ery one was com ing into the world. 10 He was in the world, and though the world was made through him, the world did not rec og nise him. 11 He came to that which was his own, but his own did not re ceive him. 12 Yet to all who did re ceive him, to those who be lieved in his name, he gave the right to be come chil dren of God 13 chil dren born not of nat u ral de scent, nor of hu man de ci sion or a hus band s will, but born of God. 14 The Word be came flesh and made his dwell ing among us. We have seen his glo ry, the glo ry of the one and only Son, who came from the Fa ther, full of grace and truth. 15 (John tes ti fied con cern ing him. He cried out, say ing, This is the one I spoke about when I said, He who comes af ter me has sur passed me be cause he was be fore me. ) 16 Out of his full ness we have all re ceived grace in place of grace al ready giv en. 17 For the law was giv en through Mo ses; grace and truth came through Jesus Christ. 18 No one has ever seen God, but the one and only a 5 Or understood 7

9 Son, who is him self God and b is in the clos est re la tion ship with the Fa ther, has made him known. John the Baptist denies being the Messiah 19 Now this was John s tes ti mo ny when the Jew ish lead ers c in Jeru sa lem sent priests and Le vites to ask him who he was. 20 He did not fail to con fess, but con fessed free ly, I am not the Mes si ah. 21 They asked him, Then who are you? Are you Eli jah? He said, I am not. Are you the Proph et? He an swered, No. 22 Fi nal ly they said, Who are you? Give us an an swer to take back to those who sent us. What do you say about your self? 23 John re plied in the words of Isa iah the proph et, I am the voice of one call ing in the wil der ness, Make straight the way for the Lord. d 24 Now the Phar i sees who had been sent 25 questioned him, Why then do you bap tise if you are not the Mes si ah, nor Eli jah, nor the Proph et? 26 I bap tise with e wa ter, John re plied, but among you stands one you do not know. 27 He is the one who comes af ter me, the straps of whose san dals I am not wor thy to un tie. 28 This all hap pened at Beth a ny on the oth er side of the Jor dan, where John was baptising. John testifies about Jesus 29 The next day John saw Jesus com ing to wards him and said, Look, the Lamb of God, who takes away the sin of the world! 30 This is the one I meant when I said, A man who comes af ter me has sur passed me be cause he was be fore me. 31 I my self did not know him, but the rea son I came bap tis ing with wa ter was that he might be re vealed to Is ra el. 32 Then John gave this tes ti mo ny: I saw the Spir it come down from heav en as a dove and re main on him. 33 And I my self did not 8 b 18 Some manuscripts but the only Son, who c 19 The Greek term traditionally translated the Jews (hoi Ioudaioi) refers here and elsewhere in John s Gospel to those Jewish leaders who opposed Jesus; also in 5:10, 15, 16; 7:1, 11, 13; 9:22; 18:14, 28, 36; 19:7, 12, 31, 38; 20:19. d 23 Isaiah 40:3 e 26 Or in; also in verses 31 and 33 (twice)

10 53 Then the fa ther re al ised that this was the ex act time at which Jesus had said to him, Your son will live. So he and his whole household believed. 54 This was the sec ond sign Jesus per formed af ter com ing from Judea to Galilee. Part Two John 5:1 10:42 This section of John s account shows us what Jesus work is. Chapter 5 verse 24 is the summary verse. He has come to give life to those who believe. This life begins now and stretches beyond this world. Those who believe will not face God s judgment. The chapters that follow show us why some people will not respond rightly to Jesus even though he keeps on holding out the offer of life to them. The healing at the pool 5Some time lat er, Jesus went up to Jeru sa lem for one of the Jewish festivals. 2 Now there is in Je ru sa lem near the Sheep Gate a pool, which in Ar a ma ic is called Be thes da a and which is surrounded by five covered colonnades. 3 Here a great num ber of dis abled peo ple used to lie the blind, the lame, the par a lysed. [4] b 5 One who was there had been an in val id for thir ty eight years. 6 When Jesus saw him ly ing there and learned that he had been in this con di tion for a long time, he asked him, Do you want to get well? 7 Sir, the in val id re plied, I have no one to help me into the pool when the wa ter is stirred. While I am try ing to get in, someone else goes down ahead of me. 8 Then Jesus said to him, Get up! Pick up your mat and walk. 9 At once the man was cured; he picked up his mat and walked. The day on which this took place was a Sab bath, 10 and so the a 2 Some manuscripts Bethzatha; other manuscripts Bethsaida b 3,4 Some manuscripts include here, wholly or in part, paralysed and they waited for the moving of the waters. 4 From time to time an angel of the Lord would come down and stir up the waters. The first one into the pool after each such disturbance would be cured of whatever disease they had. 17

11 Part Three John 11:1 20:31 This section of John s account shows us how Jesus will give us life. The outside parts of the section (chapters and 18 20) speak of Jesus death and of the life he has come to bring through his resurrection. He conquers death by his death. He gives life to us through his death. The inside section (chapters 13 17) show us what it will look like to enjoy life with Jesus in this world. The death of Lazarus Now a man named Laz a rus was ill. He was from Beth a ny, 11 the vil lage of Mary and her sis ter Mar tha. 2 (This Mary, whose broth er Laz a rus now lay ill, was the same one who poured per fume on the Lord and wiped his feet with her hair.) 3 So the sis ters sent word to Jesus, Lord, the one you love is ill. 4 When he heard this, Jesus said, This ill ness will not end in death. No, it is for God s glo ry so that God s Son may be glorified through it. 5 Now Jesus loved Mar tha and her sis ter and Lazarus. 6 So when he heard that Laz a rus was ill, he stayed where he was two more days, 7 and then he said to his dis ci ples, Let us go back to Ju dea. 8 But Rab bi, they said, a short while ago the Jews there tried to stone you, and yet you are go ing back? 9 Jesus an swered, Are there not twelve hours of day light? Anyone who walks in the day time will not stum ble, for they see by this world s light. 10 It is when a per son walks at night that they stum ble, for they have no light. 11 Af ter he had said this, he went on to tell them, Our friend Laz a rus has fall en asleep; but I am go ing there to wake him up. 12 His dis ci ples re plied, Lord, if he sleeps, he will get bet ter. 13 Jesus had been speak ing of his death, but his dis ciples thought he meant natural sleep. 14 So then he told them plain ly, Laz a rus is dead, 15 and for your 35

12 Conclusion John 21:1-25 The final chapter of John s account shows Jesus appearing to his disciples and re-commissioning them to serve him by teaching (feeding) his people. Jesus and the miraculous catch of fish Afterwards Jesus appeared again to his disciples, by 21 the Sea of Gal i lee. a It hap pened this way: 2 Simon Peter, Thomas (also known as Didymus b ), Na than a el from Cana in Gali lee, the sons of Zeb e dee, and two oth er dis ci ples were to geth er. 3 I m go ing out to fish, Si mon Pe ter told them, and they said, We ll go with you. So they went out and got into the boat, but that night they caught noth ing. 4 Ear ly in the morn ing, Jesus stood on the shore, but the disci ples did not re al ise that it was Jesus. 5 He called out to them, Friends, haven t you any fish? No, they an swered. 6 He said, Throw your net on the right side of the boat and you will find some. When they did, they were un able to haul the net in be cause of the large num ber of fish. 7 Then the dis ci ple whom Jesus loved said to Pe ter, It is the Lord! As soon as Si mon Pe ter heard him say, It is the Lord, he wrapped his out er gar ment round him (for he had tak en it off) and jumped into the wa ter. 8 The oth er dis ci ples fol lowed in the boat, tow ing the net full of fish, for they were not far from shore, about a hundred metres. 9 When they land ed, they saw a fire of burn ing coals there with fish on it, and some bread. 10 Jesus said to them, Bring some of the fish you have just caught. 11 So Si mon Pe ter climbed back into the boat and dragged the net ashore. It was full of large fish, 153, but even with so many the net was not torn. 12 Jesus said to them, Come and have break fast. None of the dis ciples dared ask him, Who are you? They knew it was the Lord. 13 Jesus came, took the bread and gave it to them, and did the a 1 Greek Tiberias b 2 Thomas (Aramaic) and Didymus (Greek) both mean twin. 59

13 same with the fish. 14 This was now the third time Jesus ap peared to his dis ciples af ter he was raised from the dead. Jesus reinstates Peter 15 When they had fin ished eat ing, Jesus said to Si mon Pe ter, Si mon son of John, do you love me more than these? Yes, Lord, he said, you know that I love you. Jesus said, Feed my lambs. 16 Again Jesus said, Si mon son of John, do you love me? He an swered, Yes, Lord, you know that I love you. Jesus said, Take care of my sheep. 17 The third time he said to him, Si mon son of John, do you love me? Pe ter was hurt be cause Jesus asked him the third time, Do you love me? He said, Lord, you know all things; you know that I love you. Jesus said, Feed my sheep. 18 Very tru ly I tell you, when you were youn ger you dressed your self and went where you want ed; but when you are old you will stretch out your hands, and someone else will dress you and lead you where you do not want to go. 19 Jesus said this to in di cate the kind of death by which Pe ter would glo ri fy God. Then he said to him, Fol low me! 20 Pe ter turned and saw that the dis ci ple whom Jesus loved was fol low ing them. (This was the one who had leaned back against Jesus at the sup per and had said, Lord, who is go ing to betray you? ) 21 When Pe ter saw him, he asked, Lord, what about him? 22 Jesus an swered, If I want him to re main alive un til I re turn, what is that to you? You must fol low me. 23 Be cause of this, the ru mour spread among the be liev ers that this dis ci ple would not die. But Jesus did not say that he would not die; he only said, If I want him to re main alive un til I re turn, what is that to you? 24 This is the dis ci ple who tes ti fies to these things and who wrote them down. We know that his tes ti mo ny is true. 25 Jesus did many oth er things as well. If ev ery one of them were writ ten down, I sup pose that even the whole world would not have room for the books that would be writ ten. 60

14 What do I do next? Right at the beginning of John s account he tells us what Jesus offers: Yet to all who did receive him, to those who believed in his name, he gave the right to become children of God. John 1:12 Jesus offers us the opportunity to become part of God s family. This is what life to the full is really all about being a child of God with him as our Father, and safe in his family for ever. That phrase the right to speaks of the absolute and confident authority of Jesus to make this offer to us. John tells us that this comes free of charge: he gave. It is a gift and it comes to us not because of what we do, but because of who Jesus is and what he has done for us. This really is life to the full the best news in the world! So what is needed if I am to become a child of God? Here are three simple steps to follow: 1. Admit I need to admit that I am not naturally one of God s children. Do you remember Nicodemus back in chapter 3? This dedicated, religious rabbi had to learn from Jesus that his religion could not make him part of God s family Very truly I tell you, no one can see the kingdom of God unless they are born again (3:3). Jesus went on to explain that the way we treat Jesus shows us that we don t naturally belong to God s family. He is God s Son, he is the light, but as Jesus said: This is the verdict: light has come into the world, but people loved darkness instead of light because their deeds were evil (3:19). We each need to admit to God that we have failed to treat Jesus as we ought to have done. I am not naturally part of his family. 2. Believe John 1:12 tells us that family membership comes to all who did receive him, to those who believed in his name. The promise of inclusion in God s family is quite literally for anyone who trusts in Jesus and receives him. The following 20 chapters of John s account are dedicated to giving us many reasons to do just that! So much so that in 20:31 John can say: These are written that you may believe that Jesus is the Messiah, the Son of God, and that by believing you may have life in his name. 61

15 John has certainly made the case. He has shown us: the works of Jesus, his signs the words of Jesus, his teaching the word of God, his promises for centuries before Jesus came the witness of Jesus disciples. Jesus has claimed to be nothing less than God himself in human flesh: I and the Father are one (10:30). His resurrection from the dead is the final proof that he really is who he says he is God himself! Lord and King! Thomas eventually responds rightly: My Lord and my God (20:28). This makes the death of Jesus on the cross all the more remarkable. Jesus is God but he came to die on the cross for us. Perhaps the most famous sentence in John s account is this: 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. John 3:16 Jesus came into the world to die on the cross. His death carried God s judgment for our sin Jesus was being punished for us. This is how he enables people like you and me to become part of God s family. To use Jesus own words: Whoever hears my word and believes him who sent me has eternal life and will not be judged but has crossed over from death to life. (John 5:24). As we trust Jesus for who he is and what he did on the cross, we will never be judged by God for anything we have done wrong. We have already crossed over from spiritual death to spiritual life. All because God loved us and sent Jesus to die on the cross for us. Jesus cried out on the cross: It is finished!. This was a cry of completion. He had finished paying for the sins of the whole world. In response to the question: how can family membership in God s family possibly be available to a person like me? Jesus says because God loves you and because I died to wash away your sins! 3. Receive In 1:12 John says: To all who did receive him The great news is that Jesus promise is for free (he gave) and for anyone (to all). Remember the Samaritan woman from chapter 4? You could not imagine a more unlikely candidate! She had already had five husbands. She was not married to her latest man. She was ethnically, religiously and morally impure. Yet Jesus welcomed her. He will welcome you too if you will receive him. As you ask Jesus to come into your heart he will enter in the person of his Holy Spirit. On the basis of Jesus finished payment on the cross, he will wash away your sins and make you a member of God s family. 62

16 A prayer If you are ready to take these three steps, then here is a prayer you can use to ask God to make you a member of his family through Jesus: Admit: Father in heaven, I admit that I have not treated you or your Son, Jesus, as I should. I have failed to live in your world with you as my Lord. I have said and done things that displease you. Most of all I have tried to keep you out of my life and run my life without you. I am sorry. Believe: Father in heaven, I believe that Jesus is who he says he is. He is my rightful Lord and God. I believe that Jesus did what he came to do. His death on the cross took your judgment for my sins. Thank you. Receive: Father in heaven, I receive Jesus into my life as my Lord and God, and as my Saviour, who died for my sins. Thank you for his offer of life to the full. Please help me now, as a new family member, to grow to live for you and please you in everything I do. Amen. If you prayed sincerely, then be sure that God has heard you. God promises to welcome into his family anyone who comes to him: Yet to all who did receive him, to those who believed in his name, he gave the right to become children of God. So what happens next? Jesus describes himself as the Good Shepherd. My sheep listen to my voice; I know them, and they follow me. I give them eternal life, and they shall never perish; no one will snatch them out of my hand. John 10:27-28 The key to being and growing as a family member (or a member of the flock!) is to feed and to follow. Feeding simply means listening to Jesus teaching in the Bible. That s what you ve already been doing as you have read through John s Gospel. Now it would be good to find another Christian perhaps the person who gave you this book and ask them to introduce you to a church where Jesus words in the Bible are taught clearly. That way you will be fed even as you seek to feed yourself by reading the Bible. But those who feed must also follow. So you need to start acting on what you are learning about Jesus. Ask him to show you how he wants you to live. Ask him what he wants you to do with your life, so that you can live like a true family member. And what a promise the Good Shepherd makes to everyone who feeds and follows: No one will snatch them out of my hand. As you seek to do this, you will find that following the Good Shepherd really is life to the full! 63

17 palestine in the time of Jesus The Great Sea (Mediterranean Sea) Capernaum Tiberias Cana Nazareth GALILEE Aenon (Salim) Bethsaida Sychar SAMARIA Ephraim Jerusalem Bethlehem Bethany JUDEA km 64

18 THE GOSPEL OF John You are holding a truly remarkable book. It tells the extraordinary life story of the most influential man who ever lived Jesus Christ. It s a story that is both heartwarming and shocking. It s a story that people died to record and preserve so that you can hold it in your hands now and read it. It s a story that has changed the lives of countless people around the world and throughout history. Read this book to rediscover who Jesus is and the offer he makes to all of us: to come and experience new life through him. ISBN

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