The world began with God calling light out of darkness. Generations after humanity plunged into the greater darkness of sin, God sent an even greater light to illuminate the hearts of mankind. Jesus is the revelation and embodiment of God’s heart towards his people—love, truth, sacrifice, pursuit. In the Gospel of John, we discover unique insights into both the humanity and divinity of Christ, accounts of his life that arrest our hearts and challenge our faith. Pray that the Holy Spirit would stir us towards growth as we study this profound exploration of faith and spiritual life.
In this first chapter, John presents the foundational truths of his Gospel. Jesus is God revealed to humanity as Creator, Light, and Life—presented to all, rejected by most, and received by some. As his children, we should align ourselves with Jesus’ light and live as his witnesses in a dark world.
As John the Baptist takes the stage, we are prepared for the reality that Jesus will not meet his people’s expectations of the Messiah. But although he will not free them from Roman oppression, his mission is far greater—to free them from death by overcoming the barrier of sin and creating a pathway to God.
In this passage, Jesus performs his first miracle. In doing so, he reveals his power and glory as he cares for both his mother and the bridegroom. While the disciples are moved to belief by this display, many are not, hardening their hearts. We also must each contend in our own hearts—who is Jesus to us?
When Jesus enters the Temple, he exerts his authority, driving out all distractions and corruption. As the true Temple, he is our access to God, the place where intercession is made, and the sacrifice that makes reconciliation possible.
In this passage, Jesus has a conversation with Nicodemus, a Pharisee who recognizes the work God is doing through Jesus. Instead of offering Nicodemus explanations that align with his interpretation of Scripture, Jesus lovingly and directly deconstructs Nicodemus’ identity and worldview by presenting himself as the true source of eternal life. By revealing God’s radical love for the whole world and his intention to save it, not judge it, Jesus calls Nicodemus, and us, to open our hands and receive him as the provider of abundant life.
As Jesus’ ministry eclipses John the Baptist and his followers, John rejoices. His clarity around who Jesus is and his own supporting role free him from any bitterness or envy. We also should be able to receive with gladness both what God gives us and what he doesn’t, secure in who God has made us to be and our part in advancing his Kingdom.
Jesus’ encounter with the Samaritan woman is a beautiful picture of how he engages us in our brokenness. Although his exposure of her shame is painful, he leads her in love towards faith and healing. As a result, her story compels many in her community to follow Christ.
Although Jesus is welcome in Galilee, he is not honored. Most are interested only in Jesus’ ability to perform and meet their agenda. However, an official whose son is deathly ill models a humble dependence on Jesus. In the same way, God often uses suffering in our lives to show us our need for him and bring us to faith.
Jesus creates tension for the Jewish leaders when he heals a man on the Sabbath. As he exposes their desire for control and power, Jesus presents himself as God’s Son. Not only is he equal with God, he has authority to judge and power over life and death.
The crowd following Jesus grows; however, they seek his power to fulfill their own agenda. In contrast, the disciples simply want to be with Jesus, and they are willing to work alongside him and wait for him. We also must be willing to receive Jesus as he offers himself, and we can rest in the truth that he has come to give us life.
On the heels of his miraculous feeding of the five thousand, Jesus skillfully uncovers the crowd’s agenda and brings them to a point of decision. Are they willing to believe he is the Bread of Life from God who offers eternal life? We likewise must choose if we are willing to trust Jesus more than we trust ourselves.
During the Festival of Tents, a significant week in the Jewish calendar, Jesus seizes the celebratory moment to preach in Jerusalem, offering himself as living water. The crowds, amazed at his teaching, are divided on whether Jesus is a fraud, a good man, or the Son of God. Today we also must decide who we believe Jesus to be, and recognize that our belief is fueled by our need, or thirst, for him.
The more clearly Jesus claims to be God, the more tension escalates between him and the religious leaders. In this passage, Jesus reveals and offers himself as the light of the world—the only source of true life. All must decide if they will follow Jesus as he offers himself or despise him for disrupting their darkness.
Jesus answers questions of his identity by clearly claiming equality with God, and because his audience feels entitled and privileged, they respond in anger. We also like to create our own standards of merit. However, it is only when we feel the weight of our brokenness that we see our need for Jesus to set us free from the power of sin.
In this passage, John contrasts a man born blind with the Pharisees. Because the Pharisees refuse to entertain any view of the world other than their own, they are blind to who Jesus is. However, the man born blind acts in courage with very little information, and his faith allows him to see and worship Jesus for who he is.
As the Good Shepherd, Jesus has an intimate connection with his sheep—they know his voice, follow him, and trust him. Trusting Jesus’ direction is not always easy, but we can rest in the truth that he has already sacrificed himself for us.
In this passage, the Jews continue to reject Jesus. His claim to be the Son of God is too disruptive—they refuse to accept the truth of his identity. As Jesus reveals and offers himself to us, we will also face watershed moments where we must choose to either accept or reject him.
At Lazarus’ tomb, Jesus joins our lament—identifying with our grief and anger at the brokenness of the world. However, he embodies the truth that death is fleeting and life is eternal. Jesus came into this world and lived under its brokenness in order to provide us a way out through faith in his life, death, and resurrection.
The response to Jesus becomes increasingly polarized—some hail him as Messiah, while others plot his death. Those who worship him truly respond like Mary, with extravagant sacrifice and loyalty, unafraid of shame and willing to follow him anywhere.
As the Gospel of John turns towards Jesus’ death, both doom and glory pervade the narrative. Jesus grapples with the suffering and wrath he knows will come, yet he has utmost trust in his Father to bring life from death on a scale we cannot even imagine.
In this moment, Jesus astonishes his disciples in an act that is both defining and transformative. By washing their feet, he paints a picture of the gospel and creates a paradigm for them to live by. When we deplete ourselves to serve others, something changes in us, and God blesses us.
At the last supper, Jesus shows extraordinary grace to the man who will betray him. Judas has the opportunity to accept Jesus’ offering, but he hardens his heart. While Peter will also fail, his heart is with Jesus, and redemption will prevail.
As Jesus prepares his disciples for his death, he makes an extraordinary promise. While the disciples may not understand what lies ahead, they can rest in the fact that because they know Jesus, they don’t have to be weighed down by the unknown.
With death just around the corner, Jesus uses his remaining moments to encourage his disciples. His statements about leaving have caused confusion and panic, but Jesus meets them in their fear by promising his everlasting divine presence through the Holy Spirit. The Spirit provides them, and us, a close and constant connection with God—teaching us, leading us in truth, and fueling peace-filled lives marked by loving obedience.
In this passage, Jesus uses the image of a fruitful vine to explain what it looks like to have a vibrant, intimate relationship with the Father. Through obedience, sacrificial love, and the work of the Holy Spirit, we can live fruitful lives and find abiding joy.
This passage challenges our tendency to politicize our faith as triumphant over the world. Instead, Jesus tells us to love one another, expect opposition, and embrace the cross when it is given to us. We are not called to fix the brokenness of the world, but to bear humble witness to Jesus’ work in our lives.
As the disciples face the loss of Jesus, he assures them something better is coming. The Holy Spirit will live in them—providing conviction, clarity, guidance, and discernment. As believers, we can also rejoice in the comfort of God’s presence in our hearts.
As Jesus continues to prepare his disciples for the future, he is clear that this world holds trials and sorrow. However, the reality of his Kingship reframes their experience. We also can have hope that in Christ, there is peace and joy that outweighs any sadness.
After revealing himself as the Son of God during his earthly ministry, Jesus enters a new era of functioning as our priest and advocate—he represents us to the Father. In this passage, Jesus prays that he would glorify the Father, and he intercedes for all who will follow him.
After encouraging his disciples, Jesus walks with them to the grove of olive trees, where he knows he will be betrayed. When Judas and the Roman guards arrive, Jesus willingly steps forward to drink the cup of suffering the Father has prepared for him, embarking on a path toward death that will usher in a new spiritual kingdom.
As Jesus resolutely steps forward into suffering, prepared to embrace the cross for us, Peter remains in the shadows, confused and afraid. However, we can be encouraged that Jesus has made a way for those who fail him most personally to be restored and confess his name with joy.
Because the Jewish leaders don’t want the responsibility of executing Jesus, they pressure Pilate to solve their problem. The entire situation is fraught and chaotic, yet God is orchestrating forces of evil to bring about the greatest good.
This passage is thick with irony—the man in power has no power, and the man in chains is innocent, sovereign, and silent. While it may seem that Satan’s schemes are prevailing, God is in control, and nothing can thwart his purposes.
John gives an eyewitness account of Jesus' death so that we might believe in the power of the risen Christ. And while the event is both tragic and chaotic, God is sovereign over every moment, orchestrating all things towards his good purposes.
In the beginning the Word already existed. The Word was with God, and the Word was God.
WEEK 1: The Word Became Flesh
WEEK 2: Messiah Proclaimed
WEEK 3: Messiah Revealed
WEEK 4: The True Temple
WEEK 5: Deconstructed by Love
WEEK 6: John the Baptist
WEEK 7: The Samaritan Woman
WEEK 8: Finding Jesus
WEEK 9: Jesus Heals on the Sabbath
WEEK 10: Receiving Jesus
WEEK 11: Bread from Heaven
WEEK 12: Are You Thirsty?
WEEK 13: Light of the World
WEEK 14: Set Free
WEEK 15: Eyes of Faith
WEEK 16: The Good Shepherd
WEEK 17: A Watershed Moment
WEEK 18: The Resurrection of Lazarus
WEEK 19: Anointed and Triumphant
WEEK 20: The Hour Has Come
WEEK 21: The Highest Love in the Lowest Act
WEEK 22: Grace, Betrayal, and Denial
WEEK 23: The Way, the Truth, and the Life
WEEK 24: God in Us
WEEK 25: Obey, Love, Abide
WEEK 26: Hated by the World
WEEK 27: The Work of the Holy Spirit
WEEK 28: Sorrow Turned to Joy
WEEK 29: Our Priest and Advocate
WEEK 30: A Bigger Battle
WEEK 31: Embracing the Cross
WEEK 32: On Trial for Us
WEEK 33: Innocent, Sovereign, Silent
These daily readings will help prepare you for the upcoming teaching you will hear this weekend at Grace Church. These passages will create some context for the sermon by showing you Scriptures the teacher might be quoting and some passages that contain related ideas. Our hope is that as you follow this reading plan, it will help you become more defined and directed by Scripture.