Parables: A faithless bride, Ezekiel 16. Two eagles and a vine, Ezekiel 17. A fire, Ezekiel 20:45-49. Two sisters, Oholah and Oholibah, Ezekiel 23. What others do you find? How are these parables helpful in understanding the message of Ezekiel?
The Watchman: Ezekiel 33 spells out the responsibility of the messenger of God. Does this idea cross over to the New Testament? Are we responsible to take the message (the Gospel) to everyone?
The Shepherds and the sheep: Ezekiel 34. Sound familiar? See John 10.
The New Covenant: Ezekiel 36:22-32 has language concerning the New Covenant that would come in Jesus Christ. Why does he do this? See verse 22 and 32. Compare to Jeremiah 31:31-34.
The Valley of Dry Bones: Ezekiel 37 contains a famous passage with a graphic vision of God’s power. Restoring the nation to the land would not be sufficient – this is represented by the forming of a body. But more was necessary, for it was not yet living until the Spirit of God came. Ezekiel 37:14. Notice also the mention of the reunification of the northern and southern kingdoms, Ezekiel 37:15-28. Note how this is foretold by Jesus to the Samaritan woman, John 4, and fulfilled in Acts 8, as the Gospel goes to Samaria and the Apostles come from Jerusalem to bring the Holy Spirit to them.
Gog and Magog: Ezekiel 37-38 presents a multinational force coming against Israel for the purpose of plunder. People have struggled to identify anyone in Ezekiel’s time to fit the description. Magog, Meshech, and Tubal can be found as sons of Japheth in Genesis 10:2; 1 Chronicles 1:5. Meshech and Tubal seems to have been in Asia Minor. But it’s very unclear what that has to do with this, and who this Gog is. Most therefore think that this is yet future, since nothing like what is described has come to pass. Some spiritualize the meaning to suggest that this speaks of the persecution of the church – as the true Israel. Others have seen this a prediction of a literal attack yet future. Without solving the issue, it is clear that God protects His covenant people.
The New Temple: Recall that Ezekiel 8-11, specifically Ezekiel 11:23, is about the glory of God departing the temple. His presence however will be in the “new temple” that he shows to Ezekiel. See Ezekiel 43ff. Obviously, this has never been built, and the dimensions are such that it is impossible to work out, not to mention being nearly 50 miles square! So this vision is representative. Representative of what? Representative of God bringing orderly worship – true worship – and purity to His people forever. I believe this speaks of the church dwelling eternally with God washed clean of sin and obeying him perfectly. The New temple of the Holy Spirit is the church, 1 Corinthians 3:16, and the individual believer, 1 Corinthians 6:19. The work of this new temple – the sacrifice and offering – has been accomplished by Jesus Christ perfectly – once for all.
Faith/Believing/Life/Works: John 11:25 says, “I am the resurrection and the life. Whoever believes in me, though he die, yet shall he live.” This is a common formula for John – connecting believing (faith) to life. All who believe will be saved, but will also display the fruit of belief. See John 3:15-21, 3:36, 5:24, 6:37, 6:47, 7:38, 8:12, 14:12, 14:21, 14:24, 15:5. It is plain to see that John holds forth faith (believing) as the only qualification for salvation and eternal life, but he also makes it plain that those who truly believe will bear fruit. John 15:5-10.
The raising of Lazarus: John 11. How is Lazarus described here? How is Jesus described? What does this episode teach us about Jesus? Why did Jesus do this? (Hint: He says so.) Why did Jesus not go sooner? Why did Jesus weep? Notice in John 11:24 shows that Jesus had been teaching plainly about the resurrection. See John 11:22. Does God give Jesus everything he asks? Why? What are reasons the chief priests, the Pharisees, and the council are afraid? See John 11:48. How is their behavior foolish? What lesson is in John 11:48 that we can apply to ourselves? See also John 12:42-43.
The triumphal Entry: John 12:12-19. The crowd quotes from Psalm 118:25-26. Read Psalm 118. What else do you find there about Jesus? Psalm 118:24 is a famous verse that says, “This is the day that the Lord has made; let us rejoice and be glad in it.” Do you see now that verse 24 may be speaking about Palm Sunday in particular? John 12:15 is a quotation from Zechariah 9:9.
Jesus’ hour has come: See John 6:15. What is different here in John 12:12-15 compared to John 6:15? Refer to John 2:4, 7:6, 7:8, 7:30, 12:23, 12:27, 13:1, 16:25, 16:32, 17:1. How much did Jesus know about his mission and destiny? See also John 10:11-15.
Glory: The words glory, glorify, and glorified appear a combined 42 times in this gospel. (No, I’m not going to list them – go look.) They seem particularly focused on the Father being glorified by the Son. The very first question from the Westminster shorter catechism is, “What is the chief end of man?” The answer is, “Man’s chief end is to glorify God, and to enjoy him for ever.” Is this correct? Consider first that the church is the body of Christ. Now consider what Jesus said about His own purpose. Now see John 17:10, 21:19. Why has God saved you? Why do you live?
Washing the feet: What was Jesus teaching his disciples in John 13:1-20? In a first century Jewish home, washing feet was the job of the lowest servant.
Light and Darkness: John’s gospel speaks often of the contrast of light and darkness. The Passover meal was to be eaten immediately after sundown, so the events from John 13:1-18:27 all take place that night. As Jesus begins to speak more plainly about his betrayal and coming suffering, the disciples obviously become very distressed. What Jesus told the disciples in John 9:4, 11:10, 12:35; may make more sense now. For this reason, the purpose of the discourse in John 14-16 seems to be to encourage them. Jesus said, “Let not your hearts be troubled.” See John 14:1, 14:27, 16:22-23.
Love one another: Love has been a major theme of John. Notice in John 13:34-35, loving one another is the mark of the disciples of Jesus – a mark that should be visible to “all people.”
The Holy Spirit: Jesus said that he would send “another Helper,” John 14:16. Koine Greek has two words for “another.” One word indicated “another of a different kind,” and the other word indicated “another of the same kind.” The word for “another of the same kind” is used here. So Jesus indicates that the Helper (obviously the Holy Spirit, see John 14:25) is of the same kind as himself. Search these chapters, John 14-16, for a study of what the Holy Spirit means to believers. Throughout Jesus’ discourse on the Holy Spirit, he refers to Him with masculine pronouns, not the grammatically correct neuter pronouns he should have used. This indicates that Jesus considered the Holy Spirit a person.
The True Vine: In John 15:1-11, Jesus describes our relationship with him as being a branch of a vine. He is speaking of a grape vine. For producing grapes, the branches are trimmed back each year to the vine. New branches grow each year – and it is these branches that bear the fruit. The branch is the fruit-bear part, but what does a vine do for a branch? This is not a new idea. See Genesis 49:10-11; Psalm 80:8; Isaiah 5:1-7; Jeremiah 12:10; Ezekiel 15:2-6, 19:10-14; Hosea 10:1; Matthew 21:33-41; Romans 11:16-24.
Psalm 86 – Pray these things to the Lord as soon as you read them one by one. Tell Him about how wonderful He is, and ask Him for all the things that He desires to give to you. Can you list them here?
Psalm 87 – “This one and that one were born in her” (Zion) and “the Most High himself will establish her.” Since Jesus is the fulfillment of Zion, all believers are born there. He is the giver of life. As verse 7 says, “All my springs are in you.” Springs – bringing forth living water!
Psalm 135 – Bless the Lord with these praises. “Whatever the Lord pleases, he does.”