The Gospel of John is a book of conversations.
When we think of Jesus’s earthly ministry, we may immediately think of the signs that He performed. But John’s record is focused more on what Jesus said than on what He did. After all, John begins his Gospel by telling us that the Lord is the Word (1:1).
The eternal God, the creator of the universe, was incarnated to be a man in the flesh (1:14). What would He do as a man? He talked to people!
Some people initiated conversations with Him (4:46-47); others Jesus sought out (5:6; 9:35). He spoke to people one on one (3:1-2; 4:7); He spoke to crowds (6:24-25). Sometimes He conversed privately (3:1-2); other times He taught or cried out in the temple (7:37; 8:2). And if you take a look at His miraculous deeds, you’ll see that nearly all of them were accomplished simply by…speaking (4:50; 5:8; 11:43)!
At the beginning of John chapter 2, Jesus attends a wedding with His mother and His disciples. During the celebration, the wine runs out, and Mary calls on Jesus to do something about it. He instructs the servants to fill six stone jars with water, and when they draw some of the water out, it has miraculously changed into wine.
Perhaps you’re familiar with this story. But have you ever noticed that the only witnesses of this miracle were the servants and the twelve disciples? Neither the master of the feast nor the bridegroom had any idea where the new and better wine had come from. Another curious thing is that none of the other gospels records this incident. Why does John include it in his gospel?
It’s not just a miracle, it’s a sign.
Most Christians and even many unbelievers are aware that the four Gospels at the beginning of the New Testament are biographical sketches of the life of Jesus Christ. These four books—Matthew, Mark, Luke, and John—have a fundamental similarity; they are all concerned with the life story of the same man. But why tell the same story four times?
Each of the Gospels presents Jesus Christ in a particular way:
Since we are beginning the semester by reading the Gospel of John, let’s consider John’s emphasis in more detail.
These aren’t the only reasons to read the Bible—there are many more. And the order is not particularly important, because the reason that stands out most to you may depend on your personal background and circumstances. But, here they are. We hope you’ll be encouraged to start reading!
1. For education: College is all about getting an education, right? The Bible is unquestionably the most influential book in the history of mankind (or, for the sake of avoiding argument—one of the most influential books…). For this reason alone, it follows that an educated person ought to have read the Bible. Certainly a Christian entering into adulthood would do well to read his faith’s foundational book. If for nothing else, read the King James Version for the monumental literary achievement that it is.
2. For guidance: As we struggle to make our way in the world, considering this or that major, internship, career path, relationship…at some point we all could use some good advice. Psalm 119:105 says, “Your word is a lamp to my feet / And a light to my path.” Verse 130 says, “The entrance of Your words gives light; / It gives understanding to the simple.” If the way before you seems dark and you’re groping to find your way, follow the lead of generations of believers and turn to the Word of God to direct you.
College will challenge your faith.
But you don’t have to let the college environment weaken you. Companionship with other believers and reading the Word of God are two excellent ways to strengthen your faith.
So why not do both? Join us in reading the Gospel of John in four weeks, starting Monday, August 24th. We’ll make it easy by sending you each day’s verses.
Click here to sign up.
Last week, 8 students from several different campuses participated in the Philly Christian Students Summer Internship. This was a week-long opportunity for students to spend time together in fellowship, prayer, and also practical service for the club. In the mornings, we had fellowship about topics regarding our personal relationship with the Lord, as well as our service together. In the afternoons, we visited the UPenn and Temple campuses to spread the word about Philly Christian Students. We also got to know some of the local Christian families who support our group by visiting their homes and enjoying dinner together in the evenings.
Here’s what some of our interns had to say:
The recent internship with Philly Christian Students was both enjoyable and practical. Before beginning work each day, we would sing and pray to contact the Lord. Then, throughout the day, we would practice maintaining our fellowship with Him. We learned that it is crucial to be filled with the Lord and to let Him work on us first before we can be useful to Him.
– Matt M., West Chester University
We know that college can be a very challenging environment for our Christian faith, so we want to start off the new semester right by reading the gospel of John together. Whether or not you have read the book of John before, this will strengthen your faith and help you to get to know another student believer.
Here’s what to do:
“In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God.” (John 1:1)
|We’ve been reading through The God of Abraham, Isaac & Jacob by Watchman Nee for our summer Reading Challenge. Last week we finished up Chapter 2 for Week 2 of the challenge.Check out what we’ve been enjoying below:|
How’s this for a Cyber Monday Deal?
– Justification: FREE! (Romans 3:24)
– Righteousness: FREE! (Romans 5:17)
– Grace: FREE! (Ephesians 2:8)
– Water of Life: FREE! (Revelation 21:6)
Something that I have been enjoying is that God wants to be everything to us. The Bible reveals our God as the great “I Am” meaning that everything we need, He is. If we are hungry, He is our food. If we are weak, He is our power. If we are distressed, He is our peace. In the past couple of weeks in our home gatherings we have been enjoying the verse “Come, for all things are now ready” (Luke 14:17). God puts no requirement upon us that we need to struggle or strive through our own efforts to receive Him. The Lord has already prepared everything for us. All we have to do is come to Him!
“I was so touched when I learned that God is faithful, ALL the time, to lead us to the enjoyment of Christ. For a few years, I felt very out of touch with God, because I was living in Asia and I couldn’t get past the language barrier to truly love God and fellowship with the local saints, but the Lord brought me companions who felt the same way. My faith was restored and a part of myself that I didn’t know was empty became filled to the brim! Praise the Lord that He is faithful to bring us back to Him in love!”
Vivian S., Haverford College
“I enjoyed a ministry excerpt we read during the retreat: ‘Christ has to be formed in us. This means that we have to let Christ occupy every part of our being. Christ should occupy our mind, our thinking, our consideration…For Christ to occupy us in this way means that He is making His Home in us. In Ephesians Paul prayed that Christ might make His home in our hearts. Then in Gal 4:19 he expressed his desire for Christ to be formed in us. To have Christ formed in us is to have Christ grown in us in full.’ ”
Toby C., Temple University