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You’re invited to experience the great claims of Jesus like never before. This video series is filled with rich visual and audio imagery, designed to draw out the meaning of Jesus’ famous “I am” statements in the Gospel according to John. After each film, a short teaching video will show how those statements are more than just historical facts, but calls to believe and to act.
Streetlights Bible is a team of “Digital Scribes” mobilizing Missional Creatives to translate and teach God’s Word so all people can understand and know Jesus Christ. To discover more about the Streetlights team, their mission, and how you can partner with them, click here. To download the Streetlights app, click here for iPhone or here for Android.
Jesus is often portrayed as a happy, go-lucky teacher who made people feel good. But in John 8, two little words almost got Jesus stoned by an angry crowd. Jesus was drawing the lines of identity between himself and the crowd. First off, he outright told the crowd they were slaves to sin. In fact, he called out all humanity as being slaves. “Everyone who sins is a slave to sin.” Sin means doing or thinking something that goes against God and his perfect character. Even more so, ‘being sinful’ means someone whose whole being is rebellious against God and misses the mark of pleasing Him. Then, he drops a bomb of thought about his identity.
Jesus knew the Jews trusted their family tree to be right with God. They considered that their sin was covered. Jesus offends them with the truth, but he does it in love. Essentially he says, “Look, I know your background, but by the way you are trying to kill me, you show who your real father is – the Devil.” This situation all leads up to one of the most famous statements in Scripture.
Jesus says, “I AM.”
Jesus knowing full well that they banked on their historic family tree for right standing with God claims to be God with these sacred words. He identifies himself as God in front of their face. Keep in mind, they’re looking at a 30-something-year-old adult claiming to know God in heaven and to be greater and older than their forefather Abraham. His claim was an offense to their worldview. He claimed to be divine. In that instance, he was declaring to be the eternal God of all creation, both fully human and fully God. So how did they respond? They responded with wanting him and his message gone.
How would you respond?
Many ideas float around about who Jesus is. The Book of John accounts in detail what He claimed to be and what he did while on earth. I encourage you to wrestle with his “I AM” statements. Wrestle with the real Jesus and how it (He) impacts your view of the world. He confronted the crowds in His day and still does in ours.
Some believed Him. Some rejected him. Who do you believe he is?
If you were starving, to what extreme would you go to eat and have a satisfied stomach? Our stomachs can drive our decisions, our feeling, and our schedules. Jesus understood that we as humans have an impulse to survive and live off food. The stomach is made for food and food was made for the stomach. It’s an essential and powerful picture of our dependence on something for survival. In the John chapter 6, Jesus paints a picture of who he is, what we need and how he was the answer for our need. Everyone has two stomachs, and both must be fed.
Jesus sprung a new idea on this crowd. You have two stomachs with two different needs that are similar, but one is more important, even more so than physically eating! If you don’t eat food, you die. In the same way, if you don’t have food for your spiritual stomach (which Jesus is using here as a metaphor to himself) then you also will starve and die eternally. Now, this is a different concept to almost anyone. He knew a need they had which they didn’t even know they had. Their deeper need was to eat eternal food to give them life forever. He points them to himself as the eternal Bread that fully satisfies a person’s spiritual stomach forever.
Any baby understands picking up food and putting it in their mouth. But how about this eternal food of Jesus? If Jesus says we have to eat eternally to never be hungry or thirsty again – how do you do this? Believe in Him. “Believing is eating.” When it comes to Jesus Christ, believing is internally ‘eating Jesus’ claims of being the Savior who can give you the food to live forever. Only God is eternal. No human can give this gift. Jesus was also implying that if you reject Him as the food of eternal life, you will die. Jesus showed them His identity as the Savior who came to feed our deeper hunger for eternal life.
Are there other sources of “food” that you are looking to give you eternal life and satisfaction beside Jesus?
If so, what are they and do you think they will satisfy you in this life and after?
Do you think Jesus can quench your thirst and satisfy your deepest hunger?
In the video we just saw, the light displayed its brilliance in dark, dilapidated places. By its nature, light has many powerful functions. It reveals things hidden in darkness. Light leads the way out of dark situations. Light brings knowledge of what is in front of us. Light shows you what is truly there. Without the sun, a light bulb or another source of light, we would be lost and confused.
In a similar way, Jesus knew the spiritual darkness in the world. Adultery. Deceit. Murder. Sin. Corruption. He saw it firsthand. And now as the Son of God come to earth, he was right in the middle of all its ugliness. All the ugliness that still exists today.
What was Jesus’ response to this darkness? In John 8, Jesus declares himself to be the Light of the world that illuminates the way for us to follow – a way out of our darkness and sin. He is the light that shows us how to have a perfect relationship with God.
I have to expound on this for a second. When I was 15, I knew much about Jesus and church, but I wanted dark things–selfish desires of all sorts. Every taste darkened my life and my perspective of living. I was like both the adulterous woman wanting pleasure and the self-righteous Pharisees thinking, “There are people worse than me; I’m not so evil.” I was in the darkness and didn’t even know it. It wasn’t until I surrendered to Jesus and recognized that I needed a light to show me God that I started following his way, His Word and living by His Spirit. Sin’s control started having less of a grip on me, and I learned to walk with His light in my life. It exposed the dark things inside of me and helped me to grow in God’s truth and not my dark desires, thoughts, and actions. I still struggled with sin, but the darkness didn’t blind me completely anymore. Like Jesus said to the adulterous women, because of Him I could “Go and sin no more.” Joy and hope filled me. My dark life changed. I was done living in the shadows.
Would you describe your life as full of darkness or light?
Jesus describes human beings to be like sheep. A good modern-day metaphor for us being like sheep is childhood. As kids, we need a home, guidance, and protection. Children can easily wander off without guidance. You ever been there? I have a million stories. In John 10, Jesus is breaking down the fact that we are like sheep needing to follow His voice and receive the care of an authentic certified Shepherd to get home. Through this picture, he emphasizes our need to know who to follow and who not to follow.
We all have many voices telling us what to believe and acting as our spiritual guides to God. Jesus draws a line in between himself and all other teachers. He makes the point that outside of a True Shepherd’s care that we are in danger. What danger? Simply put, a life lived outside of God’s guidance can equal a deceived life here on earth and one that won’t lead to an everlasting life with God after death. This picture may seem weird to us in our modern-day context, but don’t worry, even the crowds around Jesus were confused.
Thankfully Jesus doesn’t stop his illustration. He continues in John 10 to speak specifically about Himself being the Gate to eternal safety with God. There is no other way to enter into God’s care without knowing and trusting in Jesus. So, who are the thieves and robbers he speaks about? The thieves are anyone else who came before or after Jesus claiming that they were the Middle Man or the “Gate” between God and man. The thieves could be other religions, false saviors, or a “let me get mine” culture deceiving you into not believing in Jesus as the only Gate to enter into God’s family. So how do we go through this Gate, Jesus? Learn who he is, what he did on earth for you and why he did it. Then, trust Him for his claim – He is the Gate to know God.
Visualize getting home, walking through the gate, and being safe from harm under the care of a Good Shepherd and Father. This is a picture of Paradise. Jesus is gathering up his kids like sheep from all streets, neighborhoods, and backgrounds.
Have you heard him calling you home to know God?
Would you entertain a conversation with Jesus if he was talking right in front of you? When he was here on this earth, He spoke to sick beggars, prideful pastors, grieving sisters, prostitutes, 12 misfit disciples – all with personal stories, baggage, and backgrounds. All of these characters are relatable to you and me in some way. That’s why when Jesus talks about being a Good Shepherd in John 10, I feel like he is talking directly to me.
Two points stand out. First, Jesus states, there is no Shepherd like him who would sacrifice his own life for the people he cares for. He proved His devotion to us by dying on a cross on our behalf. He is not like a hired worker who only protects the sheep for money. That goes beyond solely having a job. That is proof of his love.
Do you see similarities between yourself and a sheep needing a Shepherd?
No other religion expresses a personal Savior God coming to take care of humanity in documented history. Again, this claim is not just for the characters in the story for but for us. Jesus states, “I have other sheep, too, that are not in this sheepfold. I must bring them also. They will listen to my voice, and there will be one flock with one shepherd.”
Secondly, Jesus proves he has the power to accomplish the job he has. He has the power to die for us and take his life back up again to defeat our spiritual enemies of sin and the Devil. Because of his love, he gave up his life and was then raised from a grave to overcome sin and death. Jesus documented this fact in human history as recorded in the Bible so we would know Him and come under His care for our life now and after we die.
Like the girl ran to God and His Word in the Streetlights video, Jesus calls us to come to him. You know Jesus’ voice by hearing his message about himself in His Word and by deciding whether you accept him as a Good Shepherd or not. You can run to him. He desires to be your Good Shepherd and care for your soul.
Do you believe you have spiritual enemies or not? Who or what are they?
How does Jesus’ claim of being a Good Shepherd for humanity relate to his actions on the cross and his Resurrection?
I sat staring at a broken man’s body in a hospital room, corrupted by years of alcoholism and a simple thought repeated in my mind; “It’s one thing to argue about whether or not Jesus’ death and resurrection are real when you are in a coffee shop. It’s another thing when you are looking death in its face and don’t have an answer.” Death demands an answer. No one can argue it’s power over our lives.
When on earth, Jesus confronted death’s ugly face on various occasions. While he did still weep and lament over death’s toll on his dear friend Lazarus, he did not end his response to death with just empathy and mourning. He answered death’s demand with a scandalous, convincing claim.
In John Chapter 11, did you notice what Jesus’ spoke about himself? He claimed that he had power over death itself. He allowed the sad situation with Lazarus to bring God in heaven praise through His miraculous actions to help people believe that Jesus was not just a good friend, not just a man, but God himself. Who else could raise a dead corpse to life? Don’t miss what he states after the “I AM the Resurrection and the Life” claim. He commands us to believe in him, and we can have the same hope when facing death. He displayed this power through his recently deceased friend Lazarus. Soon Jesus was going to be killed on a cross, and this event with Lazarus foreshadowed that he would also raise himself up from a grave. He is the answer to death’s demand.
What is your answer to death’s demand?
How will you argue with death when it, in whatever form, comes knocking on your temporary body and demands an answer? Jesus had compassion on his friends in their difficult trail. He has the same love for you and me and compassionately took our eternal death on the cross and answered death’s demand over us for eternity. He wants you to know a life-giving relationship with Him as your Savior and friend. He wants you to have hope in a world full of death that He will also raise anyone who believes in Him when you or this world passes away. For the follower of Jesus Christ, we are given a solid answer through Jesus for death’s demands.
We typically like to think we’re not influenced by the messages of other people. In reality, we are deeply affected by what we take in. It could be videos on YouTube, a friend’s opinion or a song we play on repeat. The question is, are all messages good for us? Are all messages true? Specifically, in regards to the topics of God and how to live life, who has the right answers? Let’s get Jesus’ take on this idea from John Chapter 14.
Before Jesus called him, Peter was a guy who fished for a living. His life had changed dramatically after that call. Now after leaving everything, Jesus was talking to Him about going back to heaven and leaving the disciples. Anxiety filled his heart. The disciples of Jesus were all young men. Although they grew up in a different time, they were swimming in messages and propaganda just like us today. Which way was right? I can imagine questions like, “Jesus, why are you leaving us here alone is this confusing and crazy world?” Or “I thought I was supposed to follow YOU?! Now you’re leaving us? They must have felt abandoned. I would have responded just like Thomas. “Lord, what are you talking about? I don’t know how to get to heaven!”
Jesus shows real care and guidance for his disciples though. He knows our hearts can get incredibly confused. He first reassures them. “Don’t let your hearts be troubled. Trust in God, and trust also in me.” Secondly, he gives them hope of His return; “When everything is ready, I will come and get you, so that you will always be with me where I am.” And thirdly, he gives them God given instructions based on His Divine identity. “I am the way, the truth, and the life. No one can come to the Father except through me.”
Jesus answers the deepest questions humankind has explored for all of history. Is there a God? Who is He? How can we know Him and live forever? Like a troubled young man or woman in a dark room hearing a million different voices and not knowing who or what to follow; Jesus boldly claims that He is the only true way to know and be with God. Trust in Him and don’t go on living with a confused and troubled heart.
Do you believe Jesus is the way, truth and life? Have you put your trust in Him?
I confess I am a city dweller inside and out. Concrete is in my veins. It’s easy for me to forget the process that takes place to produce what I love and eat so quickly – fruit. We all know that fruit isn’t produced from out of thin air, but we love it without question. Take away elements like soil, water, sun, and a gardener’s touch, and we don’t experience the beautiful results. In John 15, Jesus’ breaks down how people and God are like these agricultural elements in the Garden of life.
From the get-go in verse 1, Jesus makes a strong claim about his identity. Jesus is the sprawling grapevine producing fruit and God in Heaven is the Gardener overseeing the Garden of Humanity. The Gardener gives care and direction, cutting off bad parts (called pruning) from the Vine and nurturing the good parts to bring out the best quality fruit from its branches. “To prune” means to cut off parts of a plant that suck away the nutrition that plants need to produce fruit or vegetables. Once the bad parts are cut off, more nutrition can flow in to help the good branches be more fruitful.
Jesus says his Gospel message gives life, prunes and purifies us so we don’t live like dead branches. Jesus stresses the word “abide or remain” to His disciples and us. But what does that mean? Think of it this way; God sent Jesus to the world as his instrument to connect dead branches to the life-giving Gardener. The opposite is true as well. If a branch – you or me – is not connected to Jesus by a trust in Him, we are dead with no life in us. We may look like a branch on the outside and breathe like a living human, but in our spirit, we are dead.
Jesus is the Vine offering new life to dead branches. What comes from being in Jesus is a fruitful life here on earth too. Most people don’t want to waste their life. We want it to count for this life and beyond. In the same way, every Gardener wants to have a garden that produces good fruit. Jesus connects the two concepts here for us. If you want your life to be fruitful and please God, it can only happen through connecting yourself in faith to the life of Jesus the True Vine.
Are you connected to the True Vine? Is your life bearing fruit? Receive God’s love today, allow Him to prune what is not bearing fruit in your life.