The Book of John for Teenagers: An Invitation to Come and See Jesus

We are excited and humbled to announce the launch of Rooted Reservoir, an online platform featuring Gospel-centered video training and Bible Study curriculum created by youth pastors, for youth pastors. Over two years in the making, this labor of love offers also features an online community for ministers and a robust bank of illustrations to use in teaching and making the story of a Jesus come alive for your youth.

What if we could spend the day with Jesus? We could see how He interacts with others, how He handles problems that arise, and listen closely to His teachings. One of the things that consistently draws me back to the texts of the four gospels is this invitation. As each page turns, you get one episode after another of the docu-series of Jesus’ life and ministry. We get to know Jesus by walking alongside Him through the eyewitness testimony of the gospel writers.

The gospel of John begins with an invitation from Phillip to Nathaniel that is naturally extended to us as the readers to “come and see” (John 1:46). Who is this Jesus? Is He who people have claimed that He is? Is He really the Savior? Did He really perform miracles? Did He really die on a Roman cross? Did He really rise from the dead? These questions and many others filled the minds of John’s first readers and are still the questions our students seek to better understand today.

As a former youth pastor, I would constantly point students who were beginning to study the Word for themselves to the book of John. This gospel offers a clear connection to the Person of Jesus through the story of Jesus. Throughout the book, we see Jesus interacting with different types of people who do not believe in or understand Him. We see the disciples’ own eyes being slowly opened to the truth that they were not following an ordinary Rabbi. We see Jesus defining Himself through the images of “I AM,” pointing to the presence and power of Yahweh in the Old Testament coming to life in the real world through Him.

Readers of John’s gospel should try to take a step back and watch the story unfold through the eyes of the disciples. These twelve unimpressive teenagers who were not only trying to figure out who they were, but also who Jesus was and how they should relate to Him. Your students are on their own spiritual journey to discover Jesus and can see themselves in the disciples if they will read with new eyes.

John is a great starting point for new believers and a place for students to strengthen their understanding of the person and work of Jesus while walking beside Him. In creating the John study for Rooted Reservoir, my hope and prayer is that your students will be invited to follow Jesus for the first time or to more closely walk with Jesus every day.

Ben Birdsong is a church and para-church student ministry veteran and currently serves as the Minister of Missions at Christ Church in Birmingham, Alabama. He is also an adjunct professor teaching children, youth, and family ministries at Birmingham Theological Seminary. Ben also helps churches with custom curriculum through Your Youth Ministry Curriculum and authors with book projects through Birdsong Innovations. Ben has bachelor’s degrees in Marketing and Human Resource Management from the University of Alabama at Birmingham, a Master of Divinity degree from Samford University’s Beeson Divinity School, and a Doctor of Ministry in Ministry to Emerging Generations from Gordon-Conwell Theological Seminary. As an author, Ben has written the devotional books Words from the Cross: 7 Statements that Will Transform Your Life, journeying through Jesus’ final moments before His death, and James: Everyday Faith. He is also a monthly contributor for parenting and family ministry content for Birmingham Christian Family magazine. Ben also wrote the John study and a portion of the Psalm study for Rooted Reservoir. Ben is married to Liz. He enjoys reading, writing, watching movies, and blogging at

More From This Author