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Who is Jesus? Insights From His Best Friend

In the midst of the ExploreGod.com series in Austin, I have been encouraging people to look at who Jesus is as described by one of the eyewitnesses who also happened to be his best friend: the apostle named John.

In his Gospel, John writes to increase the faith of those who read it (whether seeker or long-time Christ-follower):

“Jesus performed many other signs in the presence of his disciples, which are not recorded in this book. But these are written that you may believe that Jesus is the Messiah, the Son of God, and that by believing you may have life in his name” – John 20:30-31

For a study of the Gospel of John, consider these three options:

The Seven Signs of the Gospel of John

From Bible.org: “The Book of Signs, though disclosing seven miracles, is best organized geographically. There are eight locales for the manifestation of the Son of God seen here. As Jesus enters a new locale, the twin themes of Gentile response and Jewish hostility to him increase.”

The Seven Signs show Jesus goes beyond our boundaries and include:

1. Water into wine (John 2:1-11). Jesus brings quality to life. (bonus: include John 2:12-25 for another example of Jesus’ passion for relationship over religion).

2. Healing of royal official’s son (4:46-54). Jesus demonstrates power of distance, space, and time. (bonus: include John 4:4-45 for an example of Jesus’ love for the outsider whose transformation leads others to God)

3. Healing the invalid at Bethsaida (5:1-9). Jesus demonstrates power over time (38 years of sickness ended). (bonus: include John 5:10-24 for Jesus’ interaction with those upset at him for healing on the Sabbath. Once again relationship is more important than religion).

4. Feeding the 5,000 (6:1-15). Jesus brings quantity to life.

5. Walking on Water (6:16-21, see also Matthew 14:22-33). Jesus demonstrates powerover natural law. (bonus: include John 6:22-71 to see how Jesus responded to critics who did not feel He was the only way to connect with God).

6. Healing the man born blind (9:1-7). Jesus demonstrates power over life’s struggles. (bonus: include John 9:8-41 to see how the healed man shared about his experience with Jesus in a skeptical and hostile environment).

7. Raising of Lazarus (11:1-46). Jesus demonstrates power over death. (bonus: includeJohn 11:45-54 to see how others imposed on Jesus what they wanted him to do).

Discovering an Authentic Relationship with God (John 13-17)

This conversation between Jesus and the disciples came during the Last Supper and the Prayer at Gethsemane. This is an insider’s view into those last intimate moments between Jesus and those closest to Him. These chapters cover topics such as servanthood, betrayal, faith, prayer, the Spirit of God, peace, love, intimacy, persecution, truth, new life, our relationship with the world, unity, and reaching others. (easily divided into 5 weeks – 1 chapter per week).

The Greatest Sign of All: A Journey with Jesus Through His Last Days

1. The Last Supper Conversation (John 13-14)

2. The Conversation and Prayer in the Garden (John 15-17)

3. The Betrayal (John 18:1-27)

4. The Rejection (John 18:28-19:15)

5. The Cross (John 19:16-30)

6. The Burial (John 19:31-42)

7. The Resurrection (John 20:1-21:25)

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ebryant@churchleaders.com'
Dr. Eric Michael Bryant serves with Gateway Church in Austin as the team leader for Central and South Austin and as part of the teaching team. Eric previously served at Mosaic in Los Angeles and his books include Not Like Me: A Field Guide to a Influencing a Diverse World and A Fruitful Life: Becoming Who You Were Created To Be. Eric coaches church planters and campus pastors, teaches on Post Christian Ministry, and leads a cohort for a Doctorate of Ministry in Missional Effectiveness through Bethel Seminary where he earned his Doctorate of Ministry in Entrepreneurial Leadership.