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Come, Follow Me — New Testament Study and Teaching Helps
Lesson 7, February 6 — 12
John 2–4 — “Ye Must Be Born Again”

John 2:1-11 The Wedding at Cana

As noted previously, 93% of the Gospel of John is exclusive (not found in the other three Gospels), therefore this lesson will not cite nor cross-reference to Matthew, Mark, nor Luke.

In John 2, Jesus and his disciples are “called” or invited to a marriage. We do not know whose wedding it was or what relationship, if any, Jesus’s family had to the bride and groom (some have thought it may have been a close family member, as Jesus’s mother Mary appears to have some responsibility; see verses 3-5; note also that the Greek for “Woman” does not express any disrespect on Jesus’s part).

Read verses 1-11, noting the following:

  • The Joseph Smith Translation for verse 4 states that Jesus’s actual statement to His mother was, “What wilt thou have me to do for thee? That will I do…”
  • The six stone waterpots were “two or three firkins apiece” (verse 6), which would be about 18 to 27 gallons each, for a total of about 108 to 162 gallons.
  • Wine is a symbol of Jesus’s blood (D&C 20:79), which He offered “to the brim” (John 2:7). Indeed, His was an “infinite” atonement offering (see 2 Nephi 9:7; 25:16; Alma 34:10).
  • Verse 11 states that “This beginning of miracles” showed Jesus’s “glory” (or His divine nature), and the JST changes the end of the verse to “and the faith of his disciples was strengthened in him.” This small change from “and his disciples believed on him” is a significant difference, for it affirms that “Miracles do not produce faith, but strong faith is developed by obedience…. Although miracles often confirm one’s faith” (LDS Bible Dictionary, “Faith”).
  • In this miracle, Jesus Christ demonstrates that He can take that which is common or the “worse” (verse 10) and turn it into something “good” or even make it “holy.” He also fulfills this role in our lives.
  • Verse 12 tells us that Jesus then went to Capernaum, with His mother and His disciples and “his brethren,” apparently referring to other sons of Joseph and Mary.

John 2:13-22 Jesus Cleanses the Temple

After being in Capernaum “not many days” (verse 12), Jesus went “up” (in elevation; but south by direction) to Jerusalem for the first Passover since beginning His formal ministry (verse 13). This is the setting for what may be considered a surprising occurrence. Read Joh 2:13-17:

  • Jesus found profiteers in the temple courtyards (not in the temple proper) selling the obligatory animals and birds that worshipers must offer, but could not conveniently bring with them in their travels to Jerusalem. Additionally, the rabbis and priests had decreed that all transactions must be in “temple coin,” rather than that of the various visitors’ nationalities, which usually featured images of “pagan” rulers. The sellers and exchangers had turned the temple precincts into a marketplace, full of dishonest, cheating transactions, taking easy but unfair advantage of helpless pilgrims.
  • Remember, the oxen, sheep, and doves were simply place-holders for the true, ultimate sacrifice to be made by Jesus Christ, just a few years away (see Alma 34:9-10, 13-14).
  • The Savior, who often received but seldom backlashed against criticism and maltreatment directed at Him, could not countenance this extreme disrespect of His Father and His house. Read again John 2:16-17, noting that verse 17 is the quote and fulfillment of the prophecy in Psalm 69:9.
  • Now read John 2:18-22. What question did the Jews ask Jesus in verse 18? What was His answer in verse 19? Verses 20-21 demonstrate the typical inability of the Jewish religious leadership to comprehend Jesus’s teachings (or their unwillingness to accept His sayings; thus pretending not to understand).

We are not perfect as Jesus was, but consider this: Are there times in our lives when we can and should appropriately express disagreement or opposition to the behavior or words of others? What does it mean for each of us to defend the Church and kingdom of God and its teachings and practices?

John 2:23; 3:1-21 Jesus Teaches Nicodemus about Being Born Again

John 2:23 tells us that in Jerusalem, “many believed in his name, when they saw the miracles which he did.” But is this true conversion? Note that in verse 24 we are told that Jesus “knew all men” and thus what was in all men, and He would have known that some or many still needed to come to true conversion.

This leads to a profound conversation between Jesus and Nicodemus, who was a Pharisee and a member of the Jewish Sanhedrin:

  • Read John 3:1-8. What do you think of Nicodemus? What impresses you in Jesus’s teachings? Do you think that at this point Nicodemus was converted to the gospel of Jesus Christ?
  • Note that three times Jesus said, “verily, verily” (verses 3, 5, 11), punctuating His words with emphatic testimony of their truth.
  • What evidence is there in your life that makes you feel that you have been spiritually “born again”?
  • Identify some of the choice gospel truths found in verses 5, 14-17.
  • Can you repeat John 3:16 from memory? This verse can be considered the key message and theme of the Bible and of the gospel of Jesus Christ (see also 1 Nephi 11:21-22).
  • What can you conclude from Jesus’s teachings in verses 18-21?
  • Do you “do truth” and “come to the light”? (verse 21). What does this mean? Are you pleased with your level of belief, faith, conversion?

John 3:26-30, 35-36 John the Baptist Again Bears Witness of Christ

Do you share your witness of Jesus Christ and His restored gospel? In these verses, Jesus leaves Jerusalem and travels north again, into Judea. Read these verses and highlight what impresses you about John the Baptist. Note the great humility and purity of John the Baptist in verses 29-30; seeking no attention for himself but guiding his own followers to the Savior. We too—in any influence we may have with others—are to share and invite them, helping them come unto Christ. How did John the Baptist conclude this episode, in verses 35-36?

John 4:3-30, 39-42 The Samaritan Woman at the Well

What does “living water” mean to you? In this chapter, Jesus continued north toward Galilee, entering the city of Sychar, of Samaria, populated by descendants of intermarriage (some seven centuries before) between Assyrian conquerors and Israelites who were left behind. The Samaritans had their own version of worship and a limited version of the scriptures. There was such great animosity between the Jews and Samaritans of Jesus’s day, that most travelers from Judea to Galilee chose a longer route, avoiding Samaria and its people. But Jesus traveled directly into Samaria, creating a dramatic and consequential interaction.

  • Read John 4:5-26. What do you learn? What do you love in these verses?
  • Jesus was “wearied” (verse 4), showing that even though He was God, He made Himself subject to the vicissitudes of mortality—and eventually to all things.
  • The JST for the first line of verse 24 has this wording: “For unto such hath God promised his Spirit.”

Continue by reading verses 27-30, 39-42:

  • Jesus testified to the woman at the well (verse 26); she testified to the men of the city (verse 29); and many of the Samaritans believed, plus even more after Jesus taught them (verses 39, 41-42). This looks like true conversion.
  • To what do you trace your testimony of Jesus Christ as the Messiah and Savior of the world? Were other people integral in the growth of your conversion? Do you share your testimony and beliefs with others?

John 4:43-53 Jesus Heals the Nobleman’s Son

After two days in Samaria, Jesus continued into Galilee but did not make a stop in Nazareth (the reason for this is explained in verse 44). Instead, He went again to Cana:

  • Read verse 45. Why did the Galileans “receive” Jesus? Is this true conversion?
  • Read verses 46-53 about the nobleman (a royal official and perhaps a gentile) from Capernaum (about 20 miles from Cana).
  • How did Jesus “test” or teach the nobleman, in verse 48? What was his response, in verse 49? (Note that he begged Jesus to come to Capernaum, not imagining that the Savior could heal His son without being present.)
  • What impresses you about the nobleman? Note that in verse 50, he professed his faith and then the miracle followed.
  • What does verse 53 say about the nobleman and “his whole house”?
  • In your view, what is a converted disciple of Jesus Christ like?

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