“Then Pilate said, ‘So you are a king!’ Jesus replied, ‘You say that I am a king. For this reason I was born, and for this reason I came into the world—to testify to the truth. Everyone who belongs to the truth listens to my voice.’”
Throughout the Old Testament God foretold through His prophets that a king in the line of King David was coming. He would be a great king, a powerful warrior who would bring back the greatness and the glory of the Jewish nation, bringing peace in his wake. The Jews of Jesus’ day were anticipating such a king; they did not expect their king to die! Jesus’ true identity was basically hidden except from those with eyes to see.
We have been reading John’s account of the evening preceding Jesus’ crucifixion, a more detailed version of Jesus’ words that evening than those given by the other gospel writers. At the end of last week’s study, Jesus had just finished praying for His own. We pick up the story as He approaches the Mount of Olives, where the Garden of Gethsemane is located.
Keep in mind that Jesus is the King. If possible read the entire account of Jesus’ arrest, trials, and crucifixion in one sitting in John 18:1-19:42. If you are short of time today, read the “Cliff Note” version: John 18:1-8, 12-14, 19-24, 29-40; 19:1-16.
1. In John 18:5-8 the soldiers found Jesus in the garden. When they said that they wanted Jesus of Nazareth, His answer was, “I Am.” The “he” in v. 5 was added by the translators. His answer was another I Am statement. When He gave this answer, something strange happened to the soldiers. What involuntarily reaction did they have? How do you explain this?
A major theme throughout John 18 and 19 is that of Jesus as King. Burge notes this:
From the wounded man in the garden (Malchus, meaning ‘my king’) to Jesus’ sustained discussion with Pilate, the word “king” occurs over a dozen times. Even on the cross, Pilate insists that Jesus be labeled “King of the Jews” instead of the compromising “This Man Said I am King of the Jews” (cf. 19:21). The remarkable thing from John’s perspective is that all of this is going on while the characters on his stage do not know it is going on. In a manner similar to the misunderstanding accompanying the signs and discourses, the divine revelation at work in the world in Christ cannot be perceived by the natural eye.36
2. Write down all mentions of "king” that you can find through 19:16. In light of the quote above, write down any thoughts that you have about them.
3. John presents Jesus, not as a victim, but as the one in control of the situation throughout His passion. Look at Jn. 18:4 and at the surrounding verses. How is Jesus depicted in control in the garden? What about in his trials before Annas (Jn. 18:19-23) and Pilate (Jn. 19:6-11)?
4. Responding to God: Praise Jesus once again as the great I Am, the God who delivered His people from slavery in Egypt and who was about to deliver them from their sins. Write a prayer or poem below.
5. Write a newspaper article and headlines about Jesus’ crucifixion as described by John in 19:16b-30. Be sure it includes the “who, what, where, when, why, and how” information.
6. Sharing question: Write out the thoughts and feelings you had as you read John’s account of Jesus’ passion to share with your small group.
7. Why did the Jewish rulers dislike Pilate’s inscription noting the charges against Jesus?
9. Read Isaiah 53:3-12. Hundreds of years before Jesus’ crucifixion, Isaiah predicted His death. What does his picture of Jesus’ suffering add to what you have already seen in John? What was the purpose of Jesus’ death (Is. 53:5-6, 10-12)?
Diamonds in the Word: Read the account of the passion in at least one of the other three gospels and note any differences in emphasis.
10. Responding to God: Take some time to sing a song of praise to Jesus for His death on your behalf or a song extolling Him as King. (Ideas in footnote.37)
11. Now this is a great headline and news story! As a journalist, do an “interview” with Mary Magdalene, Thomas, or Peter. Write it out below. If you don’t like that, draw a cartoon-type series of shots at the tomb! (Although the term “sign” isn’t used in the text, this is the greatest of all the signs! Put it on your chart.)
12. How did those who saw Jesus respond to His resurrection (Mary Magdalene, ten disciples, Thomas)?
13. Explain the importance of the resurrection according to 1 Cor. 15:1-19, as if you were explaining it to someone seeking after truth.
14. Sharing question: The truths that bind Christians together include belief in the Triune God, the full deity of Jesus, His humanity, His death for our sins, His resurrection, and His ultimate return. How does it feel to be part of a history of faith that extends back nearly two thousand years? Write a poem or draw a picture depicting the faith of our “fathers”.
15. Responding to God: Thank God for preserving the faith handed down from the apostles, such as John. Thank Him that they had such strong belief after the resurrection of Jesus that they were willing to die for Him. Write your prayer below.
Diamonds in the Word: Read John 21, the final chapter of the book. Feel free to read your commentaries on this chapter.
Today we will complete our study of Jesus as King; tomorrow we’ll take some time to remember what God has done in our lives through the study of John.
We have seen that John emphasizes the snapshot of Jesus as King throughout His passion narrative. Today we want to look at some other scriptural pictures of our King.
16. Read these Old Testament prophecies of the coming King and compare them with the New Testament fulfillment:
17. Responding to God: If Jesus is the ultimate King, the King of kings and the Lord of lords, He should rule all things. How much rule are you allowing Him to have in your life? Ask God to show you one area where you are ruling your own life. Perhaps it is your spending habits; maybe it is your sex life; it could be your thought life or what you read or watch; perhaps it is how you spend your time or leisure; or it could be your desire to hold onto a bad attitude. Write a prayer of confession, knowing that God promises to forgive, but He does ask you to turn from the sin.
18. Sharing question: Share what God showed you in the previous question with your small group if you are willing. Write your prayer request based on your desire to give Jesus authority in that area of your life, that His kingdom would truly come!
Tomorrow we change topics a bit; before we do, let’s go ahead and read our story.
This story is based on the truth that our King is concerned with eternity; therefore, our loyalty to His kingdom requires us to set our hearts on what is eternal and important rather than the material of the here and now. Bob Ann shares how she needs such a change of perspective every December!
Each Christmas I get in a dither that can spoil my Christmas and cause those near and dear to me to withdraw from me. In the midst of my dithers God reminds me that there is more to life and Christmas than my agenda. I need this attitude adjustment each year. Most of the time I don’t even think to pray for a change of heart until I have offended someone. Each year in my One Year Bible I read at Christmas time in I John 2 (because Christmas comes at the end of the year and I John is at the end of the New Testament) “Don’t love the world’s ways. Don’t love the world’s goods. Love of the world squeezes out love for the Father. Practically everything that goes on the in the world—wanting your own way, wanting everything for yourself, wanting to appear important—has nothing to do with the Father. It just isolates you from Him. The world and all its wanting, wanting, wanting is on the way out—but whoever does what God wants is set for eternity” (The Message). This helps me get my thoughts in the right perspective.
I hope you enjoy reviewing what God has done through the study of John today. God calls on His people to declare His praises publicly. Choose at least one answer from today’s lesson to share with your group, and mark it so that you remember to share. Consider what you might share with a larger group as well.
19. Sharing question: Review the table of contents (page 3) to remember the various snapshots of Jesus revealed in John’s gospel. Which one was most meaningful to you? Why?
20. Sharing question: Review the memory verses. Which one has the most significance in your life? Why?
21. Sharing question: What one thing has God changed in your heart or life through this study?
22. Sharing question: How has God used your small group to encourage and challenge you during this study? Think of one specific example to share with them as an encouragement to them. Or write a note to your leader or to another member of your group, thanking her for her influence in your life.
23. Sharing question: How has your love for Jesus grown through this study?
24. Responding to God: Write a prayer or poem to Him expressing your thanks for all of these things.
I pray that God has used the snapshots of Jesus revealed in the book of John to draw you closer to the King! Thank you for your faithfulness to your time with God, knowing that it is time not only well-spent, but time that is an investment in what is eternal!
What was the Sign?
How did it point to Jesus’ power & divinity?
Help focus your prayers to the bigger issues of the kingdom, knowing the coming of the kingdom is the will of God for you—“Thy kingdom come; Thy will be done on earth as it is in heaven”. Study the prayers of the New Testament and see how they involved kingdom issues: character-building in those who suffered, the glory of God in the midst of persecution, and the knowledge of Jesus in the world. Ask God for the grace to see His will as greater and better than your own. These prayers will help you submit your will to His.
Mt. 6:33-34: That I might seek God’s kingdom first in my life. (If there are monetary or physical needs involved, this is a condition necessary for God’s promise to supply to kick in.)
Jas. 1:2-4, 12: That God would use this difficulty to produce endurance, completion, and blessing in my life.
Jas. 1:17-18; 4:3: That I would trust that God gives good gifts and realize that His gifts are better than those I desire.
Eph. 1:17-21: That God would give me wisdom and the revelation of Him in the midst of this time.
Eph. 4:1-3: That I would walk worthy and show forth these qualities to others with whom I am having difficulty. (Look at the list of qualities)
Col. 1:9-12: That God would fill me with the knowledge of His will that I may walk worthy.
Col. 3:1-4: That God will give me the grace to set my mind on the things above rather than the circumstances.
Rom. 8:28-29: That I will trust that God is at work in the midst of these difficulties for my good, not for my destruction; that God will use this time to mold me more into the image of Jesus.
36 Burge, 511-512.
37Alas! And Did My Savior Bleed?; Amazing Love; Crown Him King of Kings; Hallelujah, What a Savior!; I Will Sing of My Redeemer; Jesus Paid it All; Lamb of God; O Sacred Head Now Wounded; The Old Rugged Cross; There is a Redeemer; We Will Glorify the King of Kings.