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John 1:19-4:54, Part 5

by Karl Kemp  
12/03/2012 / Bible Studies

We continue with this verse-by-verse study of John 1:19-4:54 here in Part 5, starting with John 3:26.

(26) And they [John the Baptist's disciples] came to John and said to him, 'Rabbi, He who was with you beyond the Jordan [cf. John 1:28], to whom you have testified [They were referring to Jesus, to whom John the Baptist had testified (cf. John 1:6-8, 15, 19-36).], behold, He is baptizing and all are coming to Him.' [Jesus Himself wasn't baptizing in water, but His disciples were (John 4:1, 2). ((I had a footnote: This (John 3:22-26; 4:1, 2) is the only place in the Bible that mentions that Jesus (through His disciples) baptized in water in the days when He ministered on the earth, before His crucifixion, resurrection, and ascension. (We are indebted to John the apostle for this information too.) We don't have any details regarding this baptism, but it wasn't Christian baptism in the full sense - Jesus hadn't yet died, bearing our sins with the guilt and the penalties, or been resurrected, or been taken up into heaven, or received the promised life-giving, sanctifying Spirit to pour out on those who believe in Him. That earlier baptism certainly emphasized repentance (as did the baptism of John) and it certainly involved submission (in faith) to Christ to the extent the gospel of salvation had been revealed at that early time. At the time Jesus was crucified, the apostles still didn't fully understand His resurrection, His deity, etc.)) John's disciples were concerned that more people were now coming to Jesus (to hear from Him, to be healed by Him [cf. John 2:23, 3:2], to be baptized in water as disciples, etc.) than were coming to John the Baptist (cf. John 4:1). The answer of John the Baptist contained in verses 27-30 seems perfect. (I had a footnote: It seems that John's quotation of John the Baptist continues only through verse 30, and that after verse 30 John the apostle speaks to the end of chapter 3 and on into chapter 4. The NASB; NIV; and NKJV continue the quotation marks to the end of chapter 3. Most of the commentaries I have looked at prefer the viewpoint that the quotation of John the Baptist stops at verse 30. The NIV has a footnote, "Some interpreters end the quotation after verse 30.")]] (27) John [John the Baptist] answered and said, 'A man [Jesus was a "man," but He was much more than just a man; He was God the Son, who became the God-man; John the Baptist had quite a bit of insight regarding His being more than just a man (see John 1:6-8, 15, 26-36; 3:28-30).] can receive nothing unless it has been given him from heaven [cf. 1 Cor. 4:7; Heb. 5:1-10]. [[John the Baptist clearly understood that Jesus Christ was far above him, and he was fully comfortable with that fact; he wasn't competing with Jesus, or jealous of Him; he knew that he had been sent to testify of Christ and to point people to Him; John's will was to see the will of God come to pass. Apparently John even knew that his own salvation depended on Christ Jesus (cf., e.g., John 1:29, 36; Luke 1:77 [I had a footnote: The words of Luke 1:77 were part of a prophecy given by John the Baptist's father regarding God's salvation through Christ Jesus, including the fact that John the Baptist would go before the Lord to prepare His way.]).]] (28) You yourselves are my witnesses that I said, "I am not the Christ," [cf. John 1:20] but, "I have been sent ahead of Him [cf. John 1:6-8, 15, 23, 26-36]." (29) He who has the bride is the bridegroom [cf. Matt. 9:15; 25:1-13]; but the friend of the bridegroom, who stands and hears him, rejoices greatly because of the bridegroom's voice. So this joy of mine has been made full. (30) He must increase, but I must decrease. [Christ is the bridegroom. The bride of Christ is the Christian church. (Taken in the fullest sense the bride equals true Israel in her entirety, which includes all the believers from Old Testament days and all true Christians.) John the Baptist calls himself the "friend of the bridegroom," who rejoices greatly in the bridegroom and His increase/success.] (31) [As I mentioned, I believe John the apostle stopped quoting John the Baptist at the end of verse 30 and that he begins to speak here, even as he stopped quoting Jesus at the end of verse 12 and began to speak in verse 13.] He who comes from above [cf. John 3:13; 8:23] is above all, he who is of the earth is from the earth and speaks of the earth. ["He who is "of/from the earth" includes all mankind, including Adam (cf. 1 Cor. 15:47) and John the Baptist.] He who comes from heaven [cf. John 3:13] is above all. [[God the Son, who became the God-man, Christ Jesus, came from above (which is the same as His coming from heaven), having been sent by the Father (cf., e.g., John 3:17, 34). He "is above all" (which includes His having all authority in heaven and on earth - He has all authority everywhere with God the Father) in that He is deity, being God the Son, through whom all things (including all beings) were created. It is also true (and quite important) that He (the God-man) has all authority in heaven and on earth now on the basis of His having overthrown sin, Satan, and spiritual death through His mission accomplished in His incarnation, sinless life, atoning death and resurrection (cf., e.g., Matt. 28:18; Eph. 1:20-22; and Phil. 2:6-11). He earned the right to save all believers and to remove (by judgment) the devil and all who continue to follow him.]] (32) What He [God the Son, the God-man] has seen and heard, of that He testifies; and no one receives His testimony. [As John 3:11-13 show, Christ Jesus was able to testify to heavenly things along with earthly things, but most people did not receive His testimony. Verse 33 (and other verses) shows that some throughout this age do receive His testimony (cf., e.g., John 1:11, 12).] (33) He who has received His testimony has set his seal to this that God is true ["has certified that God is true" NKJV; "has certified that God is truthful" NIV]. [[Those who receive Christ Jesus and His testimony are receiving God the Father, who sent Him (cf., e.g., John 13:20), and they are demonstrating that "God [the Father] is true," because they are accepting as true (and as super-important) the things that Jesus says, which He received from the One who sent Him. In the next verse John goes on to state that Christ Jesus spoke words that came from God the Father.]] (34) For He [Christ Jesus] whom God has sent speaks the words of God [cf., e.g., John 7:16; 14:10, 24]; for He gives the Spirit without measure. [[God the Father gave the Spirit to Jesus WITHOUT MEASURE. This great anointing confirmed that Jesus was the Christ, that He had been sent from God on a very special mission, and that He spoke the words of God. Christians receive the Spirit by measure, which enables each Christian to make their individual contribution to the outworking of God's plan of salvation for the glory of God and the good of the body of Christ. Ephesians 4:7 says, "But to each one of us grace was given according to the MEASURE of Christ's gift [Christ, the Head of the church, determines the measure given to each Christian]." The apostle Paul also speaks of this measure given to each Christian in Rom. 12:3. (Romans 12:3 is discussed in some detail (in context with all of Rom. 12:1-8) in Part 5 of my "Excerpts from 'A Paper on Faith' " on this Christian article site. These verses are quite important.]] (35) The Father loves the Son [[cf., e.g., John 5:20; 15:9; 17:23, 24, 26 (The Greek verb "phileo" was used in John 5:20 ["For the Father LOVES the Son"]; the Greek verb "agapao" was used here in John 3:35 and in the other verses just cited). These Greek verbs are equivalent in meaning in these verses.]] and has given all things into His hand. [See under verse 31.] (36) He who believes in [[Greek preposition "eis." The Greek has the present participle for the verb believe with the definite article, as in John 3:15, 16; the present tense communicates the idea of continuous action; we come into union with Christ and we stay in union with Christ through believing (having faith) in Him.]] the Son has eternal life [See under John 3:3-8, 14-18]; but he who does not obey the Son will not see life [On seeing life, compare seeing the kingdom of God in John 3:3. To see life includes experiencing/participating in life as born-again/from above Christians. In John 8:51 Jesus said, "Truly, truly, I say to you, if anyone keeps My word he will never see death."], but the wrath of God abides on him." [[Believing (having faith) in the Son includes committing oneself (from the heart) to the Son and the gospel of new-covenant salvation; it includes obeying the Son. Those who do not obey the Son are not believers. They forfeit the eternal life that people can find only in the Son (cf. John 3:15). As John 3:18 says, those who reject Christ Jesus "have been condemned already." Most of the "wrath of God" is reserved for the end of this age. The ultimate wrath of God is the eternal lake of fire. Being saved from the never-ending wrath of God is a big part of what salvation in Christ is all about (cf., e.g., Rom. 5:9; 1 Thess. 1:10; and 5:9).

Many Christians in our day talk so much about the unconditional love of God that they haven't left room for the wrath of God that the Bible, very much including the New Testament, speaks so much about.]]


"Therefore when the Lord [Christ Jesus] knew that the Pharisees had heard that Jesus was making and baptizing more disciples than John [cf. John 3:22-30] (2) (although Jesus Himself was not baptizing, but His disciples were [cf. John 2:2, 22]), (3) He left Judea and went away again into Galilee. [This is the second trip north into Galilee mentioned in the Gospel of John after Jesus was baptized in water, received the Spirit, and began to gather disciples to Himself (cf. John 1:43-2:12).] (4) And He had to pass through Samaria. [[I'll quote a sentence from what D. A. Carson says here ("Gospel According to John" [Eerdmans, 1992], page 216), "Josephus...provides ample assurance not only that the antipathy between Jews and Samaritans was strong, but also that Jews passing from Judea to Galilee or back nevertheless preferred the shorter route through Samaria ("Antiquities" xx. 118; "Bel." ii. 232; "Vita" 269). ...." Carson points out that the alternative to passing through Samaria when traveling from Judea to Galilee was to cross to the east side of the Jordan River, travel north, then cross to the west side of the Jordan River.]] (5) So He came to a city of Samaria [[I'll also quote several sentences from what D. A. Carson says here (page 216), "... [After the Assyrians overthrew the northern kingdom of Israel] in 722-721 BC, they deported all the Israelites of substance and settled the land with foreigners, who intermarried with the surviving Israelites and adhered to some form of their ancient religion (2 Kings 17-18). After the exile [to Babylon by the Babylonians] Jews returning to their homeland...viewed the Samaritans not only as the children of political rebels but as racial half-breeds whose religion was tainted by various unacceptable elements (Neh. 13; cf. Jos., "Antiquities" xi 297-347, esp. 340). About 400 BC the Samaritans erected a rival temple on Mount Gerizim; toward the end of the second century BC [the Jews destroyed this temple]. This combination of events fueled religious and theological animosities. Certainly by the first century the Samaritans had developed their own religious heritage based on the Pentateuch (they did not accept the other books of the Hebrew Bible as canonical), continuing to focus their worship not on Jerusalem and its temple but on Mount Gerizim. A small number of Samaritans survives to this day."]] called Sychar [I'll quote a sentence from what F. F. Bruce says here ("Gospel of John" [Eerdmans, 1983], page 101). "[Sychar] is commonly identified with the modern village of Askar, on the slope of Mount Ebal, a mile or two north-east of Nablus and about half-a-mile north of Jacob's well."], near the parcel of ground that Jacob gave to his son Joseph [cf. Gen. 33:19; Josh. 24:32]; (6) and Jacob's well was there. So Jesus, being wearied from His journey, was sitting thus by the well. It was about the sixth hour. [[In the margin the NASB has a note, "Perhaps 6 p.m. Roman time or noon Jewish time." The most common view is that the "sixth hour" means noon, but some commentators favor 6 p.m., and I prefer that viewpoint. ((I had a footnote: Those commentators include A. T. Robertson; W. Hendricksen, B. F. Wescott, E. A. Blum (in "Bible Knowledge Commentary"), and E. G. Dobson (in "Liberty Bible Commentary"). The sixth hour in John 19:14 (when Pilate handed Jesus over to the Roman soldiers to be crucified) fits 6 a.m. much better than noon (cf. Matt. 27:45, 46; Mark 15:25, 33, 34, 37; and Luke 23:44; these times in Matthew, Mark, and Luke are "Jewish time," measured from the rising of the sun), but these times were rough approximations. See under John 1:39; 4:52 in this paper, and see under John 18:28; 19:14 in my paper on John chapters 18-20 on my internet site (and hopefully will be on this Christian article site in the near future). W. Hendricksen, A. T. Robertson, B. F. Westcott (and others) favor the so-called "Roman time" in John 1:39; 4:6, 52; and 19:14.))]] (7) There came a woman of Samaria to draw water. Jesus said to her, 'Give Me a drink.' (8) For His disciples had gone away into the city [John 4:5 shows what city John was speaking of (cf. John 4:39).] to buy food. (9) Therefore the Samaritan woman said to Him, 'How is it that You, being a Jew, ask me for a drink since I am a Samaritan woman?' (For Jews have no dealings with Samaritans. [Compare Matt. 10:5, 6; Luke 9:51-56; and John 8:48. Some commentators opt for the translation given in the margin of the NIV, "Jews do not use dishes Samaritans have used" (or an equivalent translation) instead of "Jews have no dealings with Samaritans."]) (10) Jesus answered and said to her, 'If you knew the gift of God, and who it is who says to you, "Give Me a drink" [The gift of God was new-covenant salvation through and in the Messiah/Christ, the very One who had asked her for a drink and who was now speaking with her.], you would have asked Him, and He would have given you living water [cf. Psalm 36:8, 9; Isa. 55:1; Jer. 2:13; 17:13; John 4:14; 7:37-39; Rev. 7:17; 21:6; and 22:1, 2, 17].' [[Jesus made it clear to this Samaritan woman as He continued that she could be saved by (through/in) Him. The living water refers to the life (the eternal life) of God that she could have - even though she wasn't a Jew - starting with the new birth/birth from above by the Spirit (cf., e.g., John 1:12, 13, 33; 3:3-8, 16-18, 36).]] (11) She said to Him, 'Sir, you have nothing to draw with and the well is deep [The well there today, which is widely accepted as being the well to which Jesus came, is a little more than 100 feet deep.]; where then do you get that living water? [The Samaritan woman would realize before long that Jesus wasn't speaking of living water that would come from "Jacob's well" (John 4:6) or any other literal well.] (12) You are not greater than our father Jacob [Jacob (also called Israel) was the father of the twelve tribes of Israel. "Josephus tells us that the Samaritans claimed to be descended from Joseph, through Ephraim and Manasseh ("Antiquities" xi, 341)" (Leon Morris, "Gospel of John [Eerdmans, 1971], page 262).], are you, who gave us the well, and drank of it himself and his sons and his cattle?' [This was a fair question based on what Jesus had said to the woman. Jesus, in His response, affirmed that He was much greater than Jacob.] (13) Jesus answered and said to her, 'Everyone who drinks of this water [the water in Jacob's well, or any other physical water] will thirst again; (14) but whoever drinks of the water that I will give him shall never thirst [cf. John 6:35; 7:37-39]; but the water that I will give him will become in him a well [cf. Isa. 12:3, "With joy you will draw water from the wells of salvation" NIV] of water springing up to eternal life.' [[See under verse 10. The Holy Spirit's dwelling in born again/from above Christians provides a constant supply of the life (eternal life) of God (as we walk by the Holy Spirit on a continuous basis [cf. Gal. 5:16]). As we have discussed (see under John 3:3, 5), Christians participate in the eternal life of God from the time of the new birth/birth from above, but we must wait for the end of this age to participate in (to be born into) the fullness of eternal life (when we will be glorified).]] (15) The woman said to Him, 'Sir, give me this water, so I will not be thirsty nor come all the way here to draw.' [It seems that the woman was still thinking of physical water.] (16) He said to her, 'Go, call your husband and come here.' (17) The woman answered and said, 'I have no husband.' Jesus said to her, 'You have correctly said, "I have no husband"; (18) for you have had five husbands, and the one whom you now have is not your husband; this you have said truly.' [We don't know the details regarding why the woman had had five husbands, but it is clear that she wasn't married to the man that she was living with at that time.] (19) The woman said to Him, 'Sir, I perceive that You are a prophet. [Jesus was a prophet (cf. Matt. 13:57; 21:11; Luke 7:16; 24:19; John 4:44; 6:14; 7:40; 9:17; Acts 3:22, 23; and 7:37), but He was a whole lot more than just a prophet.] (20) Our fathers [She means the fathers of the Samaritans, which they claimed included Jacob (cf. John 4:12).] worshiped in this mountain [[Jacob's well was very close to Mount Gerizim and to Mount Ebal (cf. Deut. 11:29; Josh. 8:33), but Mount Gerizim was the mountain where the Samaritans worshipped (and a small remnant of them still worship there today). ((I had a footnote: A. T. Robertson ("Word Pictures in the New Testament," Vol. 5 [Broadman Press, 1932], page 65) points out that "the Samaritans held that Abraham offered up Isaac on Gerizim."))], and you people [referring to the Jews] say that in Jerusalem is the place where men ought to worship.' [[The Jews were right on this point (as far as the old-covenant days were concerned); Jerusalem was where God had Solomon build the temple, for one thing. Note that in verse 22 Jesus says that the Jews, not the Samaritans, were right regarding salvation in general.]] (21) Jesus said to her, 'Woman, believe Me, an hour is coming when neither in this mountain [Mount Gerizim] nor in Jerusalem will you [This you is plural in the Greek, referring to the Samaritans, not that all of them would submit to Christ and new-covenant salvation.]] worship the Father. [[Jesus was speaking of the hour (time) of salvation that could not begin in a full sense until after the Lamb of God had been slain and the Spirit given (starting on the day of Pentecost); see verses 23, 24. (We cannot worship God in the fullest sense until after we are glorified and fully dwell in His presence.) The Samaritans could have salvation and begin to worship God the Father in a preliminary, very real sense from the time they submitted in faith to the Lord Jesus Christ, even before they were born of the Spirit.

Once the Lamb had been slain and the new covenant ratified in His precious blood, the sacrifice of animals for sin offerings in the temple at Jerusalem (and the need to worship God in the temple at Jerusalem) was set aside to make room for the far-superior salvation of the new-covenant.]] (22) You [This "you" is also plural in the Greek (and the following "you" in this verse), referring to the Samaritans.] worship what you do not know; we [the Jews] worship what we know, for salvation is from [or "of" with the KJV; NKJV] the Jews. [Salvation comes from God (is of God), but He chose to bring salvation to pass through Israel; through that people He gave us the Old Testament, the Messiah, the apostles, the New Testament, etc.] (23) But an hour is coming, and now is [[Although Jesus said the hour (time) "now is," the hour of which He was speaking could not come in a full sense until He had been crucified and the Spirit given (starting on the day of Pentecost). ((I had a footnote: In one sense (a preliminary sense) the hour had come in that Christ Jesus had come and was proclaiming the good news of salvation. See under verse 21. What Jesus was speaking of here will not come to pass in the ultimate sense until after we are glorified and fully caught up into the dimension of God.)) Believers could not worship the Father in (the) Spirit (verses 23, 24) before the Spirit was given (starting on the day of Pentecost).

I'll quote John 5:25, and then 16:32; the first verse uses identical wording in the Greek for the words "an hour is coming and now is" here in John 4:23, and the second verse is similar. "Truly, truly, I say to you, AN HOUR IS COMING AND NOW IS when the dead [the spiritually dead] will hear the voice of the Son of God, and those who hear will live." The dead could hear the voice of the Son of God at that time (at the time Jesus spoke these words), and they could respond to His words with faith, but they could not be born again/from above and live (with the eternal life of God) until after Jesus had been crucified and the Spirit given (starting on the day of Pentecost). "Behold AN HOUR IS COMING, AND HAS already [The NASB has the word already in italics.] COME, for you to be scattered, each to his own home, and to leave Me alone; and yet I am not alone, because the Father is with Me." What Jesus meant (in John 16:32) was that the hour had almost come - it was super imminent. Later that evening His disciples would be scattered and leave Him alone. John 16:32 confirms that these words of Jesus at the beginning of verse 23 need not be interpreted to mean that the hour had fully come for these things to come to pass, but only that they were very close at hand.]], when the true worshipers will worship the Father in spirit [[I would translate "in the Spirit." ((I had a footnote: Whether we translate "in spirit," "in Spirit" (with the NAB; and R. E. Brown, and others), or "in the Spirit" (which I prefer) here in verse 23 and toward the end of the next verse (verse 24), or not, we must recognize (I believe) that Jesus was speaking of new-covenant worship (by/in the Spirit) of born again/from above (by the Spirit) believers. George R. Beasley-Murray ("John," page 57) translates "in the Spirit" here and in verse 24.)) I believe Jesus was speaking of our being enabled to worship in (and by) the indwelling (Holy) Spirit after we are born again/from above through new-covenant salvation in Christ Jesus. ((I had another footnote: I'll quote a small part of what D. A. Carson says under John 4:23, 24 ("Gospel According to John," page 225). "...unless they are born of the Spirit, they cannot see the kingdom of God [cf. John 3:3, 5], they cannot worship God truly. This provision of the Spirit is made possible by the work of him who is the truth (14:6), and who by his glorification by way of the cross pours out the Spirit, who is called the Spirit of truth (14:17; 15:26; 16:13). ... [Our worship] must be 'in spirit and truth'...made possible by the gift of the Holy Spirit...." I'll quote a sentence from what J. H. Bernard says under verse 23 ("Gospel According to St. John" [T&T Clark, 1999 reprint], page 150). "The gift of the Spirit is a necessary preliminary to spiritual worship." And I'll quote part of what Beasley-Murray says here ("John," page 62). "Since the kingdom of God is the age of the Spirit's outpouring, true worshippers will worship the Father in virtue of the life, freedom, and power bestowed by the Spirit...." Quite a few other commentators hold this same viewpoint.)) Being born of the Spirit takes worship to a whole new level, to a higher dimension - to the dimension of God, "who is Spirit" (John 4:24).] and truth [or, "and in the truth." It is obvious that we must worship the God of truth in truth. The truth centers in Christ Jesus, who is the truth (John 14:6). It obviously wasn't acceptable for the Samaritans to continue to try to worship God with all their wrong ideas about Him and His salvation (cf. verse 22). The Jews also needed to change what they believed to some extent; they (with all true Christians) had to believe the full gospel of new-covenant salvation through and in Christ Jesus. To believe (have faith in) the truth includes living in line with the truth (by the grace of God in Christ). The truth includes God's righteousness and holiness: I'll quote Eph. 4:24, "and put on the new self [man], which in the likeness of God has been created in RIGHTEOUSNESS AND HOLINESS OF THE TRUTH [my emphasis]."]; for such people the Father seeks to be His worshipers.

We will finish this verse-by-verse study of John 1:19-4:54 in Part 6, starting with John 4:24.

Copyright by Karl Kemp Karl Kemp worked as an engineer in the space field throughout the 60s. He became a born-again Christian in 1964. He received an MA in Biblical Studies in 1972. He has been a Bible teacher for 45 years. See the website for more info on his books, papers, etc.

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