Loving Leads to Doing — John 21:1-8

That disciple whom Jesus loved said to Peter, “It is the Lord!” When Simon Peter heard that it was the Lord, he put on some clothes, for he was naked, and jumped into the sea (John 21:7).

When Bible students think of the Apostle Peter, three or four events usually come to mind. He was the first disciple to confess that Jesus of Nazareth was the long-expected Messiah, and Jesus blessed him. On the night the Romans arrested Jesus, in his effort to defend Jesus, Peter cut off the right ear of Malchus, a servant of the high priest, so Jesus healed Malchus. Then, unhappily, during Jesus’ trial, three times Peter denied that he knew Jesus, as Jesus had foretold. But Jesus loved Peter as He did all His disciples, so He began the process of restoring Peter to the apostleship He had planned for him. After Jesus’ death, burial, and resurrection, before Jesus appeared to any of the other disciples, He first appeared to Peter. We do not know anything about their conversation, but Jesus totally transformed Peter. Peter came to love Jesus so much that the moment he learned Jesus was on the shore of the Sea of Galilee he alone jumped in the water and swam and wadded 100 yards to see Him. Then, when Jesus asked His disciples to bring Him some of the fish they had caught, Peter was the one who jumped up immediately to obey Jesus. As Peter confessed His love for Jesus, Jesus commissioned Peter three times to care for His people. Despite Peter’s previous misunderstandings and sins, after Jesus forgave him, Peter sought every opportunity to be with Jesus and the first to obey Him.

Thinking Further

1.  What reasons might Jesus have had for telling His disciples to go to Galilee where He would meet them? See Mark 16:7.

2. Who among the disciples seems to be a natural leader? Can you give one or more examples?

3. Why do you think the disciples went fishing?

4. What do you think the disciples learned from their fishing experiences with Jesus?

5. How do you think John knew that it was the Lord?

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Commentary and Lesson
by L.G. Parkhurst, Jr.

Begin A Study of the Letters of John

Three Gifts That Changed The World — John 20:19-25

Jesus said to them again, “Peace be with you. As the Father has sent me, so I send you.” When he had said this, he breathed on them and said to them, “Receive the Holy Spirit” (John 20:21-22).

On the first day of the week, Jesus rose from the dead and appeared to His disciples as they hid behind locked doors, afraid they might be arrested, tried, and crucified too. Jesus showed them His side and His hands, and then He gave them three gifts. First, Jesus gave them His peace. His peace is not as the world gives, peace that is only a temporary pause in hostilities. Jesus gives peace that can quiet a violent storm or calm a trembling heart. Second, Jesus gave them a new purpose. He sent them out to do as He did. Third, Jesus gave them the Holy Spirit. As their Advocate and Comforter, the Holy Spirit would remain with them and in them forever, just as He does today in the life of everyone who trusts in Jesus. After Jesus ascended into heaven, the Holy Spirit remained with His disciples and they came to know Him better. Because they came to know the Holy Spirit, just as they came to know Jesus, they rejoiced when the Holy Spirit clothed them with power from on high and filled them on the Day of Pentecost just as Jesus promised (see Luke 24:49; Acts 1:8; ). Just as the Father had sent Jesus in Holy Spirit power, Jesus sent His disciples in the power of the Holy Spirit to proclaim boldly the good news about Jesus and His love. Furthermore, Peter proclaimed that the Holy Spirit would remain in everyone who repented and believed in Jesus (Acts 2:38-39).

Thinking Further

1. . How many disciples saw Jesus on Resurrection Sunday?

2. How did Jesus get into the locked house?

3. What did Jesus show His disciples?

4. What blessings did Jesus give His disciples?

5. How did Jesus give His most important gift to His disciples?

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by L.G. Parkhurst, Jr.

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His Family Knows His Voice — John 20:11-18

Jesus said to her, “Mary!” She turned and said to him in Hebrew, “Rabbouni!” (which means Teacher) (John 20:16).

Prior to Jesus’ resurrection, His followers called Jesus, “Rabbi,” a title for human teachers. In some Jewish writings, the Jews addressed God as “Rabbouni,” the Teacher title reserved for God alone. Mary called Jesus “Rabbouni,” a title used only once in the Bible. When Mary heard Jesus’ voice and  saw Him looking at her by the tomb, she addressed Him as “Rabbouni,” as God, as her Divine Teacher.

 The Psalmists applied the title “Shepherd” to God. In Psalm 23:1, David prayed, “The LORD is my Shepherd, I shall not want.” In Psalm 80:1, Asaph prayed, “Give ear, O Shepherd of Israel, you who lead Joseph like a flock! You who are enthroned upon the cherubim, shine forth.” In John 10:11 and John 10:14, Jesus again applied the divine name for God,  “I AM,” to himself when He declared, “I am the Good Shepherd. The Good Shepherd lays down his life for the sheep” and “I am the Good Shepherd. I know my own and my own know me.” In John 10:27, Jesus explained, “My sheep hear my voice. I know them, and they follow (obey) me.” Jesus knew Mary and she knew Jesus by His voice. When Mary heard Jesus, her Shepherd, call her “Mary,” she knew that Jesus, her “Rabbouni,” her Teacher, had spoken. When Jesus talked with Mary, for the first time He called His disciples “His brothers;” then,  Jesus told Mary to tell them, “I am ascending to my Father and your Father, to my God and your God.” Mary obeyed Jesus and told them, “I have seen the Lord” (John 20:17,18). Jesus’ brothers and sisters still know His voice.

Thinking Further

1. After Peter and John returned home, why do you think Mary Magdalene remained weeping at Jesus’ tomb?

2. Why do you think Mary was unafraid when she saw the two angels dressed in white inside Jesus’ tomb?

3. Why do you think Mary did not recognize Jesus but thought he was the gardener? When did she recognize Him?

4. How did Mary address Jesus? Why do you think the title she used was important to her, and is important to all believers in Jesus?

5. What reason did Jesus give her for not allowing her to hold on to Him?

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by L.G. Parkhurst, Jr.

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July 4, 2021

The Evidence In The Tomb — John 20:1-10

So Mary Magdalene ran and went to Simon Peter and the other disciple, the one whom Jesus loved, and said to them, ‘They have taken the Lord out of the tomb, and we do not know where they have laid him” (John 20:2).

After Jesus’ friends took His lifeless body down from the cross and laid it in a tomb, they never expected to see Jesus alive on Earth again. They lost all hope, forgot His teachings about rising from the dead, and feared even more the enemies who crucified their Lord. Since Jesus’ disciples required convincing physical proof before they would believe that Jesus was alive again, their former hardheadedness is another good reason to believe that Jesus rose from the dead. When Mary Magdalene visited Jesus’ tomb and found His body gone, she assumed that someone had removed it; perhaps His enemies, who would bring more defilement and dishonor to His body. When Peter and the beloved disciple, most probably John, rushed to investigate, they saw Jesus’ grave clothes, but His body was gone. Who would defile themselves by removing a dead body from a tomb after first removing the grave wrappings? No one would. They did not know what could have happened to Jesus’ body, nor did they “understand the scripture that he must rise from the dead” (John 20:9). In order for Jesus’ disciples to believe that He lived again, Jesus had to meet them and convince them personally. Therefore, Jesus miraculously appeared in their midst. He spoke words of assurance to them. He showed them the healed marks in His nail-pierced hands and spear-riven side. Only after they saw Jesus alive and well, did they believe and rejoice that He had risen from the dead (John 20:11-31).

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July 4, 2021

Buried Like A King — John 19:28-42

Nicodemus, who had at first come to Jesus by night, also came, bringing a mixture of myrrh and aloes, weighing about a hundred pounds
(John 19:39).

Jesus died the day before the Sabbath, and according to the law His body needed to be removed from the cross before nightfall on Friday. Jesus gave up His spirit with enough time for Joseph of Arimathea to ask Pilate for permission to take Jesus’ body down from the cross and for Nicodemus to bring a hundred pounds of spices to a new tomb that had never been used. In John 12:32-33, Jesus prophesied, and John explained, “‘And I, when I am lifted up from the earth, will draw all people to myself.’ He said this to indicate the kind of death he was to die.” Joseph and Nicodemus were wealthy men who were secret disciples of Jesus. Joseph and Nicodemus were also respected members of the Jewish Council. After Jesus died on the cross, both were still so drawn to Jesus that everyone soon learned they wanted to honor Jesus as the King of the Jews. They did not know that Jesus would rise again, but they hurriedly made certain that after His death He would be buried as a king. Joseph provided an expensive new garden tomb with a stone that could securely close the entrance. Nicodemus provided a hundred pounds of spices, an amount provided only for the wealthiest and most important religious and political leaders. By doing so, they were some of the first to be drawn more closely to Jesus after the Romans lifted Him up on a cross. Pilate crucified Jesus as a king and Joseph and Nicodemus buried Him as the King that God sent to save the world.

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July 4, 2021

Everyone Is Important to God — John 19:17-27

Many of the Jews read this inscription, because the place where Jesus was crucified was near the city; and it was written in Hebrew, in Latin, and in Greek (John 19:20)

The Bible shows how God sometimes uses people who do not know Him to tell the truth about Him. God did no harm to Pilate and Pilate did no harm to himself when he put a placard on Jesus’ cross that read: “Jesus of Nazareth, the King of the Jews.” Pilate might have done so with impure motives; that is, to insult the chief priests who wanted Jesus crucified, but God used it for good. From that day forward Pilate might have thought a great deal about what he wrote, for the chief priests wanted him to change the placard to read: “This man said, I am King of the Jews,” but Pilate refused. Throughout history Christians have been tempted to change the meaning of what they read in the Bible, but most refuse. God used Pilate to show how He wanted the truth about Jesus proclaimed to everyone, not just one nation or religion, for He inspired Pilate to write the truth in Hebrew (the official language of the Jews), in Latin (the official language of the Romans), and in Greek (the universal language at that time, which made it possible for people of all races to talk to one another). When Pilate used the three most widely known languages on the placard, God showed that He loved and wanted to help people of all languages, nations, and races by the death and resurrection of His Son. Many people saw the placard about Jesus, and when they returned to Jerusalem, they told others about Jesus—everyone is important to God.   

Thinking Further

1. In 8 to 10 words, how might you improve on this truth that Pilate put on the cross of Jesus: “Jesus of Nazareth, the King of the Jews”?

2. What does it mean to you today when you think about Pilate’s inscription written in Hebrew, in Latin, and in Greek?

3. What is one way John shows that the Bible is important and Jesus’ coming the way He did is important?

4. Who stood near the cross of Jesus? What do you think their presence meant to and did for Jesus?

5. As He hanged on the cross, in what ways did Jesus show His love?

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Where Loving Wealth Can Lead — John 19:8-16

They cried out, “Away with him! Away with him! Crucify him!” Pilate asked them, “Shall I crucify your King?” The chief priests answered, “We have no king but the emperor” (John 19:15)

Though Pilate did not know the full meaning of what he said when he presented Jesus to the chief priests, he announced, “Here is your King!” Jesus was their true King, the Messiah that in the Bible God promised to send. In reply, the chief priests demanded Jesus’ crucifixion, and declared they had no king but the Roman Emperor. They spoke a partial truth. Long before Jesus began teaching the truth about God, the chief priests had turned from serving God to serving money; so, to increase their wealth, they helped the Romans. Money had become their king. Their actions proved the truth of Jesus’ words: “No one can serve two masters; for a slave will either hate the one and love the other, or be devoted to the one and despise the other. You cannot serve God and wealth” (Matthew 6:24). Because Pilate and the chief priests did not love and serve God, they served what they loved — money. They lived in fear of losing what they loved and served. They feared losing the powerful positions that led to their wealth. Pilate feared losing his position as a Roman governor if he did not do what the chief priests demanded, for they would report him to the emperor. The chief priests feared losing their powerful positions and increasing wealth if Jesus took their place as Messiah and King. Because they loved and served money, they came to hate and fear God and Jesus. They served whoever promised them wealth, and they feared whoever threatened to take it from them.

Thinking Further

1. Why do you think Pilate was “more afraid than ever”?

2. Why do you think Jesus refused to answer Pilate?

3. Why do you think Jesus finally chose to answer Pilate?

4. What did the Jews (the chief priests and the police) cry out when Pilate tried to release Jesus?

5. When Pilate asked them, “Shall I crucify your King?” what did the chief priests say and what did that reveal about their relationship with God?

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Commentary and Lesson
by L.G. Parkhurst, Jr.

How Jesus Had to Die — John 19:1-7

When the chief priests and the police saw Jesus, they shouted, “Crucify him! Crucify him!” Pilate said to them, “Take him yourselves and crucify him; I find no case against him” (John 19:6)

Pilate, the Roman governor, declared three times that he found no criminal case against Jesus. If Jesus had broken any Roman laws, the chief priests would surely have added these specific legal charges against Jesus. Perhaps Pilate hoped that after they saw Jesus severely flogged and bloodied that would satisfy His accusers. However, having failed at least twice to stone Jesus to death (see John 8:58-59 and John 10:31-33), the religious authorities were so intent on murdering Jesus they shouted back to Pilate, “Crucify him!” The Jewish law dictated specifically how to convict someone of a crime and how to punish them. A legal trial must have at least two witnesses who saw or heard the crime. The witnesses knew that God would punish them if they lied to convict someone of a crime. Jesus’ trial before the chief priests and council was illegal. But unknowingly, the priests fulfilled Biblical prophecy. The King of the Jews was to be hanged from a tree and die. The Romans hanged criminals from a wooden cross (a tree). Quoting Deuteronomy 21:23, the Apostle Paul explained in Galatians 3:13: “Christ redeemed us from the curse of the law by becoming a curse for us—for it is written, ‘Cursed is everyone who hangs on a tree.’” The prophets foretold the method of Jesus’ execution; still, those who hated Jesus bore responsibility for their thoughts and actions. Before or after the Romans destroyed Jerusalem, God punished those who conducted an illegal trial of Jesus and told Pilate, “We have no king but the emperor.”

Thinking Further

1. What did Pilate tell the Roman soldiers to do to Jesus? What did they do to Jesus?

2. What did the Roman soldiers call Jesus? How were they wrong when they spoke the truth?

3. What did Pilate tell the Jews after he brought Jesus out to the religious leaders? How did Jesus look when Pilate brought Him out?

4. What did the religious leaders want done with Jesus and why?

5. Who had Jesus claimed to be that infuriated the chief priests?

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Commentary and Lesson
by L.G. Parkhurst, Jr.

God’s Love Offers Hope — Jonah 3 — May 30, 2021

English Standard Version

Jonah 3:1-10 ESV Easy-Print Commentary

Jonah 3:1-10 ESV Easy-Print Large Print Commentary

English Standard Version and Student Study Handout for Jonah 3:1-10

King James Version

Jonah 3:1-10 KJV Easy-Print Commentary

Jonah 3:1-10 KJV Easy-Print Large Print Commentary

King James Version and Student Study Handout for Jonah 3:1-10

New American Standard Bible

Jonah 3:1-10 NASB Easy-Print Commentary

Jonah 3:1-10 NASB Easy-Print Large Print Commentary

New American Standard Bible and Student Study Handout for Jonah 3:1-10

New International Version

Jonah 3:1-10 NIV Easy-Print Commentary

Jonah 3:1-10 NIV Easy-Print Large Print Commentary

New International Version and Student Study Handout for Jonah 3:1-10

New Revised Standard Version

Jonah 3:1-10 NRSV Easy-Print Commentary

Jonah 3:1-10 NRSV Easy-Print Large Print Commentary

New Revised Standard Version and Student Study Handout for Jonah 3:1-10

Audio Edition NIV Commentary

Audio Edition Jonah 3:1-10

Teacher Study Hints for Thinking Further

Teacher Study Hints for Jonah 3:1-10

Teacher Study Hints for Jonah 3:1-10 Large Print

Crossword Puzzle with Answer Key

Jonah 3:1-10

True and False Review Test with Answer Key

Jonah 3:1-10

Word Search International Bible Lesson Puzzle

Jonah 3:1-10

International Bible Lesson

“When God saw what they did and how they turned from their evil ways,
he relented and did not bring on them the destruction he had threatened”

(Jonah 3:10).

Warnings of Destruction Offer Hope

Warnings of Destruction Offer Hope (Large Print)

Warnings of Destruction Offer Hope (Bulletin Size)

Application — Five Takeaways from the Bible Lesson

Jonah 3:1-10

Jonah 3:1-10 (Large Print)

Praying Through the International Bible Lesson

Praying Through Jonah 3:1-10

Praying Through Jonah 3:1-10 (Large Print)

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by L.G. Parkhurst, Jr.

Preaching to Exiles in Babylon — Ezekiel 18

Ezekiel 18:1-13, 31-32

English Standard Version

Ezekiel 18:1-13, 31-32 ESV Commentary

Ezekiel 18:1-13, 31-32 ESV Large Print Commentary

English Standard Version and Student Study Handout for Ezekiel 18:1-13, 31-32

King James Version

Ezekiel 18:1-13, 31-32 KJV Commentary

Ezekiel 18:1-13, 31-32 KJV Large Print Commentary

King James Version and Student Study Handout for Ezekiel 18:1-13, 31-32

New American Standard Bible

Ezekiel 18:1-13, 31-32 NASB Commentary

Ezekiel 18:1-13, 31-32 NASB Large Print Commentary

New American Standard Bible and Student Study Handout for Ezekiel 18:1-13, 31-32

New International Version

Ezekiel 18:1-13, 31-32 NIV Commentary

Ezekiel 18:1-13, 31-32 NIV Large Print Commentary

New International Version and Student Study Handout for Ezekiel 18:1-13, 31-32

New Revised Standard Version

Ezekiel 18:1-13, 31-32 NRSV Commentary

Ezekiel 18:1-13, 31-32 NRSV Large Print Commentary

New Revised Standard Version and Student Study Handout for Ezekiel 18:1-13, 31-32

Audio Edition with New International Version

Audio Edition Ezekiel 18:1-13, 31-32 NIV Commentary

Teacher Study Hints for Thinking Further

Teacher Study Hints for Ezekiel 18:1-13, 31-32

Teacher Study Hints for Ezekiel 18:1-13, 31-32 Large Print

Crossword Puzzle with Answer Key

Ezekiel 18:1-13, 31-32

True and False Review Test with Answer Key

Ezekiel 18:1-13, 31-323

Word Search International Bible Lesson Puzzle

Ezekiel 18:1-13, 31-32
An Educational Take Home Review and Handout using Key Bible Lesson Words.

International Bible Lesson

“Rid yourselves of all the offenses you have committed,
and get a new heart and a new spirit.
Why will you die, people of Israel?”

(Ezekiel 18:31—NIV).

Why Will You Die?

Why Will You Die? (Large Print)

Why Will You Die? (Bulletin Size)

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