Mark 12:28-31 (NLT)
28 One of the teachers of religious law was standing there listening to the debate. He realized that Jesus had answered well, so he asked, “Of all the commandments, which is the most important?” 29 Jesus replied, “The most important commandment is this: ‘Listen, O Israel! The Lord our God is the one and only Lord. 30 And you must love the Lord your God with all your heart, all your soul, all your mind, and all your strength.’ 31 The second is equally important: ‘Love your neighbor as yourself.’ No other commandment is greater than these.”
A. Understanding the WHY of doing what we do before the HOW TO is very important. The “WHY” question addresses motive and heart, the “HOW TO” focuses on performance. Until we understand why we love Jesus first, the how to doesn’t need to be answered. And perhaps, once we understand why, the how to will be there. Does that make sense? Off the top of your head answer this question as if a friend or child were asking: Why are we supposed to love God first?
B. This week and next we are going to do a quick survey of who Jesus is. It is highly recommended that we study Jesus on an ongoing basis. We may know facts about Him, but the gospels are like fine diamonds that reveal His many facets. Each time we meditate on His earthly life, a new facet of His beauty is revealed. How does Proverbs 2:2-5 motivate you to pray?
C. A GREAT IDEA
If you can, go to www.biblegateway.com and print out the first five chapters of the gospel of John in a translation you aren’t used to (New Living, English Revised, Amplified, etc.). They have a printer friendly version. Use those pages to study the passages for this lesson. Mark them up! Read these pages as if they were a new manuscript placed in your hands. This may seem tedious at first, but keep in mind that we are searching for treasure. We want to know the One whom we are to love with our whole being.
D. Slowly read John 1:1-14 aloud. Listen for facts about Jesus. Take your time. This fact-finding will take up our whole lesson focus for today. Don’t worry about what you don’t understand at this point. Look for new facts and pray for insight. Make a thorough list of all the facts you can find about Jesus in this passage.
Life Points . . .
- Read through your facts in an attitude of prayer. For example, “Lord Jesus, this is what Your Word says about You. You are….”
- Did you find some hidden treasure? In what ways do these facts point to WHY you would love Jesus first?
Reminder: Don’t forget the prayer challenge from Lesson Two “Wrap Up”. God loves to hear your voice.
A. We are continuing our overview of who Jesus is, building our base of reason for why we love Him. Let’s continue to search for treasure as you read John 1:15-34. Again, we are looking for facts, so take your time and pay attention to who Jesus is. Make a comprehensive list of all you learn in this passage about Jesus:
- According to this passage, what are some roles Jesus fulfills?
- John the Baptist testifies (v. 16) “From the fullness of His grace we have all received one blessing after another.” What blessings do you think John is referring to?
- John baptized with water. How does Jesus baptize?
- What is the meaning of the word baptize?
B. We will study the impact of how Jesus baptizes with the Holy Spirit in a few weeks, but for now note that John the Baptist fully understood the difference. Do you find it interesting that John B. did not know Jesus before this encounter? Share your thoughts:
Life Points . . .
- Like yesterday, review your facts about Jesus as you discuss them with Him. What is unique about Jesus?
- Look back at yesterday’s list. Meditate on who Jesus is.
- Ask God to continue to give you wisdom and understanding as you seek Him through His Word.
Now we are going to study a few snapshots of Jesus’ life on earth as we continue in the book of John. As you read these passages, remember, you are on a fact-finding mission looking for evidence of who Jesus is. As you read look intently for details regarding Him.
A. Read about Jesus in John 1:35-51. Remember, You are not looking for details of the story, you are looking for facts about Jesus. Go ahead and venture into the abstract as you discern facts about Him from the encounters. For example in v. 41, Andrew immediately went and found Simon so he could meet Jesus. This clues me in to the fact that Jesus was/is compelling. Again, ask God to give you insight and list all the facts you can find. Don’t be afraid to use adjectives (descriptive words). Take your time and really think about Him.
B. In verse 34, John calls Jesus the “Son of God.” In verse 51, Jesus calls Himself, the “Son of Man.” These are important details! Why?
Life Points . . .
- What did you learn about Jesus today?
- Do you have any new insights? What are they?
- From what you know so far, why is He worthy of your love?
- Talk to God about what you are learning.
A. Get ready for some rich nuggets about Jesus as you read John 4:1-26. Who is Jesus? Make your list below, observing all you can about Him. Remember, we are looking for descriptions of things about Jesus, about who He is, not a list about what He did.
B. What are some things that attract you about Him so far?
Life Points . . .
You are not being spoon fed this week, are you? You are doing the work and the Holy Spirit is your teacher.
- In what ways has this been difficult for you?
- In what ways has it encouraged you?
- Are you seeing Jesus differently?
- Ask Him to make the truth of who He is very personal to you.
A. This is the last day for this week of our fact-finding search on who Jesus is. You have probably discovered, this is just the beginning. Keep going. Pick any chapter in the gospels and keep that list alive—at least, make the book of John your goal.
B. The test of when you really know someone is when you can easily discern what they would think or how they would feel about certain things. Just knowing facts about a person does not lead to intimacy, however sharing life with them does. As you make your list today, look deeply into the heart of Jesus. Look at the way He lived. What did He care about? How did He handle stress?
C. Today, we are going to study most of Chapter 5. Before you begin, ask the Holy Spirit to reveal to you the deep things of Christ. He wants you to know Him. Don’t worry about what you don’t understand at this point. We are not drawing conclusions, we are simply observing who Jesus is. Make your fact list from
Wrapping Up This Week
- Read through all your lists together from Days 1-5. If you have time, write them all out on one page.
- What new insights do you have about Jesus?
- What draws you to want to know more?
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