Daily Bible Studies & Sermon Notes

John 4:38-48
Pastor Steve Schell
Sunday: John 4:38
v38 (continued): In this case Jesus did not tell them who it was who previously labored among the Samaritans. Moses certainly had influenced them by writing the five books of the Torah which were the only books of the Old Testament that they considered to be Scripture, but we have no way of knowing who else He means. Yet the point of His comment is to put the miracle they were about to experience into perspective. They were going to see an enormous number of people believe in Jesus in a very short period of time, but they must not allow themselves to become proud. They must remember that they were reaping a harvest which had been planted by others and which God Himself had ripened. So the glory for the evangelization of Sychar belonged only to Him.

Monday: John 4:39-42
vs39-42: Then John described what took place during the two days they spent in Sychar. He said many believed after hearing the woman’s testimony about Jesus’ supernatural knowledge, so the city asked them to remain there as their guest. During that time many more believed after listening to Jesus preach and told the woman, “We no longer believe because of what you have been saying for we have heard [Him] for ourselves and know (see) that this man is truly the Savior of the World” (literal). Where did they get such a title for Jesus? They called Him the “Savior of the World (cosmos).” In a sense this term is larger, more inclusive than the term “Messiah.” Messiah is a title we associate with the promised “Son of David” (2Sa 7:12-17).

Tuesday: John 4:42
v42 (continued): The term “Messiah” focuses on a savior who comes to rescue Israel, and in the process the other nations are also invited to believe in Him. But the title “Savior of the World” implies that God sent His Son with the clear intent of saving people from all the nations of the world, not only those within Israel. Either the Samaritans invented the term or they used it to summarize what Jesus taught them. The most logical explanation for the origin of the title is, of course, Jesus. John doesn’t record what He taught the Samaritans, but if we recall that they considered only the five books of Moses to be authoritative (H.G.M. Williamson, “Samaritans,” New Bible Dictionary, Third Ed., 1996, p.1052), then it’s likely He drew their attention to the repeated promises concerning the nations which God made to Abraham (Ge 12:3; 18:18; 22:18; 26:4). In these, God assured Abraham that, “by your descendants (“seed,” singular) all the nations of the earth shall be blessed”(Ge 26:4). The apostle Paul used these same verses to proclaim to the Galatians that Jesus also came to save Gentiles (Ge 3:14-16). And the apostle John remembered this title many years later and said, “We have seen and testify that the Father has sent the Son [to be] the Savior of the World (cosmos)” (1Jn 4:14).

Wednesday: John 4:43
v43: This verse marks a very important transition in John’s gospel. Up until now John has been telling us about the first year of Jesus’ ministry, a season which the other three gospels omit. Matthew, Mark and Luke all pick up the narrative of Jesus’ ministry after He returns to Galilee (Mt 4:12; Mk 1:14; Lk 4:14). Having spent two days in Sychar Jesus and His disciples apparently went first to Capernaum and ministered there (Lk 4:23). It’s possible that it was from Capernaum that the Lord released the (six?) disciples to go home to their families since they had been away for almost a year. If so this helps explain why He needed to re-call some of them later on while they were fishing on the lake (Lk 5:1-11).

Thursday: John 4:44
v44: Both Matthew and Luke record that soon after Jesus returned to Galilee, He visited Nazareth, His hometown (Mt 2:23; Mk 1:9; Lk 2:51), but Luke includes a description of an ugly encounter He had there after preaching in the synagogue (Lk 4:16-30). The townspeople tried to kill Him by throwing Him off a cliff. And it was to Nazareth that Jesus spoke the statement, “A prophet has no honor in His own hometown.” John chose to not record the sad home-coming Jesus received in Nazareth, acknowledging it only indirectly by saying, “After two days He went out from there (Sychar) into Galilee for Jesus Himself witnessed that a prophet has no honor in His own hometown” (literal). In other words Jesus went back to Galilee but didn’t center His ministry in His own hometown because of the rejection He encountered there (Jn 1:11). Matthew and Luke explain that after leaving Nazareth He settled in Capernaum by the Sea of Galilee (Mt 4:13; Lk 4:31).

Friday: John 4:45-47
v45: Outside of Nazareth the people who lived in Galilee received Jesus warmly. Many had been in Jerusalem during Passover and watched Him drive the animals out of the Temple courtyard and turn over the tables of the money changers (Jn 2:13-16). And many had observed the miraculous “signs” He did during those days (Jn 2:23), so undoubtedly when they returned home they told family and friends about Him. This meant Jesus’ reputation preceded Him and created widespread anticipation everywhere He went. People were eager to hear Him preach and hoped to watch Him perform miracles. vs46-47: The town of Cana was only a few miles from Nazareth, and the road to Capernaum passed right through it. It appears Jesus stopped there to minister for a few days. It was the place where about a year earlier He had turned water into wine (Jn 2:1-11), and undoubtedly the memory of that miracle had not been forgotten. John says, “There was a certain royal official whose son was sick in Capernaum,” and when the man heard that Jesus had returned to the Galilee region he “went to Him and asked that He would come down and cure his son for he was about to die” (literal).

Saturday: John 4:48
v48: After listening to this worried father’s request we would have expected the Lord to say something encouraging to him. After all, his son was dying, so surely the Lord’s compassion would move Him to assure the man that He would heal his son. But that’s not what happened. Instead Jesus confronted him about his faith, telling him that he, along with everyone else coming for help, had no real faith at all. They only believed that a miracle was possible after they saw it happen, which actually is not faith at all, only the honest acknowledgement of a fact. As we listen to the dialogue between Jesus and the father it’s obvious that the type of faith being discussed was whether or not the Lord could perform a miracle. Apparently the man did not yet have any understanding about Jesus as the Savior. But that level of faith would soon come (v53).  

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