Digging Deeper into:
Goal: To demonstrate that Nicodemus’ questions and responses are the same as unbelievers have today.
1. Read John 2:23. Why do you think that no details are given as to the types or number of miracles done by Jesus following the episode at the temple?
2. What, if anything, is significant about Nicodemus coming to Jesus by night? If you put yourself in his position, what would motivate you to do the same thing?
3. Look at verse two: who do you think Nicodemus was referring to by the word “we”?
4. Was Nicodemus knowledge (v.2 “we know…”) of the Messiah enough to prove he was saved?
5. In verse five, Jesus says, “Except a man be born of water and the Spirit, he cannot enter the kingdom of God.” What was He talking about? How do we know that Jesus was not referring to baptism?
6. The closing verses of this section of John demonstrate the greatest truth as well as the greatest misunderstanding in Scripture: Salvation is by faith; Jesus is the only way of salvation. Read verses 14-21 and look for instances that demonstrate this confusion.
Goal: To take a deeper look at what it means to let Jesus increase, as we decrease.
1. John’s words in verse 30 are very bold and unselfish. Do you think God gave John this understanding at this exact moment when the effectiveness of his ministry was being questioned, or do you feel this is a realization he came to much earlier?
2. In the message this morning we saw that John possessed three characteristics (humility, honesty, and hope) that proved or demonstrated he was “decreasing”, and that Christ was “increasing”. What evidence do we see in verses 25-26 that his disciples had not yet reached the same spiritual place as their Rabbi?
3. Verse 25 mentions a debate or dissension between John’s disciples and “the Jews” regarding “purifying”. What/who do you think was the motivation/motivator behind the questioning?
4. Verse 29…is this verse poetic, or prophetic?
5. John (the apostle, not the Baptist) tells us at the end of the book that he wrote so that men might believe in Jesus and be saved. To show Jesus is the only way to be saved, the only One capable of saving, John presents Jesus as God. What do you see in verses 31-36 that speak of Jesus’ deity?
6. What are some practical ways we can apply the basic truth of this passage: “He must increase, but I must decrease”? How can we put this thought into practice?
Goal: To better understand some of the “tougher” portions of this passage.
1. “If” the angelic troubling was only a tradition and not “real” – what does this say about the authority and reliability of Scripture?
2. What does the response of the Jews in verse 10 say about their overall spirituality?
3. What would be some possible reasons Jesus would have to “convey” himself away after the healing occurred?
4. What “worse” thing do you suppose Jesus could have been referring to in verse 14?
5. Why (his motivation) would this man have gone to the Jews after Jesus found him in the temple?
Goal: To better understand the urgency of sharing the gospel with everyone we possibly can. To overcome our own prejudices and bring glory to God by doing so.
1. What do we know about the Pharisees from Scripture, and what problems do you think would/could arise from their hearing about the growing popularity of Jesus?
2. Again, looking at verse 1, how can we defend the omniscience (all-knowing attribute) of Christ regarding this phrase, “When therefore the Lord knew…”?
3. While we do not know what the Pharisees were up to exactly at this point, we do know that Jesus had gotten their attention and the time had come for Him to leave Judea. What are some “logical” reasons for Jesus to take the direct route to Galilee going through Samaria?
4. When they arrived at Jacob’s well, why do you supposed not a single disciple stayed with Jesus?
5. To what was Jesus ultimately referring to in verse 14?
6. Verses 31-38 are a record of Jesus speaking to His disciples and challenging them to look around them at the “fields” which are “white already to harvest”. What do you think He meant by this discourse? What was He trying to teach them?
7. What applications/lessons can we make to our lives today given the current prejudicial divisions we are facing?