103- Gospel of John Chapter 3
Nicodemus came to visit Jesus in the night. There are two possible reasons that he came in the night. One reason may have been that Nicodemus did not want to be seen with Jesus by the other Jewish leaders. Nicodemus was a Sanhedrin and also a Pharisee. As a Sanhedrin Nicodemus was one of the seventy Jewish leaders, plus the High Priest, who made decisions about certain legal matters and also ruled their religious government. The Jewish people at this time were under Roman rule but the Romans let the Jewish leaders tend to the matters specific to the Israel Nation. Jesus often had arguments with the Jewish leaders and therefore was not popular with them. It is probable that Nicodemus did not want his fellow Sanhedrin to know that he was with Jesus. Another possible reason that Nicodemus came at night is that Jewish leaders taught that the best time to study God’s Word was at night. Jesus was busy with the people during the day and Nicodemus wanting to discuss religious matters may have thought it was best to see Jesus at night.
Nicodemus recognized that there was power with Jesus, as He had preformed many signs and spoke with great authority. Apparently Nicodemus went right to the point of the conversation because Jesus answered that the Kingdom of God cannot be seen unless one is born again. This is the only reference to God’s Kingdom made in John’s gospel. God’s Kingdom is not a country that has borders and is not found in a particular place. Jesus made reference to God’s Kingdom when teaching His disciples to pray. (Matthew 6:9-13) In this prayer, known as the Lord’s Prayer, we are taught the phrase, “Your kingdom come. Your will be done, On earth as it is in heaven.” One reason we pray this is we are asking God to rule here on earth so that the people will be in obedience to Him. The Angels in Heaven obey God’s will and we desire the same here for all mankind.
The writer William Barclay said that God’s Kingdom is a society. It is a society where people do everything that pleases God. That Kingdom has already begun and is amongst us now. When we accept Jesus into our life and believe upon His name then we have become members of the society of God’s Kingdom. In the future the Kingdom of God will come completely to earth and Jesus will be the King.
Jesus told Nicodemus that there is only one way to enter the Kingdom of God and that is to be born again. When we believe in Jesus as our Lord and Savior God forgives us of our sins. The Holy Spirit then enters into our hearts and begins His regenerative work in our lives. Our spirits, which have been separated from God because of the sin in our lives, is now renewed by the Holy Spirit and thereby we have been born again. We have put off the old self and now live in the new self under the control of and led by the Holy Spirit. By this work and seal of the Holy Spirit we have become citizens of God’s Kingdom.
Nicodemus did not fully grasp what Jesus was saying as he was thinking in natural terms of the flesh. Jesus went on to say, “Truly, truly, I say to you, unless one is born of water and the Spirit he cannot enter into the kingdom of God.” There needs to be two births in life. One is of the flesh which comes from our parents. The second comes from the Holy Spirit. Jesus states that which is born of the flesh is of the flesh. Our flesh is a perishable thing and has an appointed time to die. The spirits of all mankind is eternal and the question is where is our eternal spirit going to be after the flesh dies? Jesus told Nicodemus that which is born of the Spirit is spirit. We must be born of the Holy Spirit to receive eternal life in God’s Kingdom.
Nicodemus was a teacher of the scriptures to the people and Jesus asked him how he could not understand these things that He was saying to him. Jesus caused Nicodemus to wonder if he could not understand earthly teachings then how he could understand Heavenly teachings. Being born again was a spiritual matter but is takes place here on earth. If people cannot understand this new birth here on earth then they will not be able to understand the things that will happen in Heaven.
People do not understand the teachings of Jesus today because they do not understand spiritual matters. The teachings of Jesus dealt in spiritual things. Paul addressed this in his first letter to the Corinthians in chapter 2:13-16. Once we have been baptized with the Holy Spirit He is our councilor and will teach us all things. (John 14:26) Jesus is our only connection between Heaven and earth. He descended from heaven and after His resurrection He ascended back to heaven. Jesus now lives in our spirits through the Holy Spirit.
Verses (14-15) refers back to a time when the Israelites were wondering in the desert. They were a grumbling and complaining people and God punished them by sending snakes. The snakes bit the people and many died. The people went to Moses and asked him to petition God to remove the snakes. God told Moses to place a bronze snake on top of a pole and if anyone was bitten by a snake he was to look at the bronze snake. If that person did so as God had commanded he would not die. (Numbers 21:8-9) Jesus’ reference is that if we lift Him up as the Israelites lifted up the bronze snake we shall have eternal life.
Sin is like a snakes bite, it poisons the soul of a person and ruins our lives. By God’s grace towards man He has provided away to cure man from the wages of sin. As the bronze snake was lifted up to cure the snake bit so Jesus will be lifted up on the cross to pay the price for our sin. We must look up to Jesus on the cross; we must trust His work on the cross, which was the shedding of His blood to cover the cost of our sin debt.
John 3:16 is probably the most famous verse in the bible. In a few words God has expressed the essence of what Christians believe. God had several reasons for doing this.
God sent His Son because He is fair. Because people are born with a sin nature they are going to do wrong things, they are going to transgress against God’s law. People who do bad things are deserving of punishment but God sent His Son to bear that punishment for them.
God sent His Son because He is Holy. God cannot be in the presence of sin and people are incapable to live a life without sin. God sent His Son to live a righteous life and be the perfect sacrifice in our place to pay the sin debt we all have. When we believe this we receive the righteousness of Jesus as our own. God chooses to see the righteousness of Jesus and not the sin in our lives.
The emphasis of this verse is why God did this for us. That God would send His only beloved Son to die on a cross so that we may be free of our sin in our lives. The answer is clearly stated in this verse, that God loved the world so much. Love is more than just one of God’s qualities it is the very nature of God. Everything God does is because He loves. God’s love always reaches out to His creation and to the crown of His creation, man. God’s love is not selfish and He gave the most precious thing to Him, His only beloved Son, Jesus.
God’s free gift to us is eternal life in His Kingdom. There is no way that we can earn eternal life; the only way to receive it is to believe in Jesus. Believing is more than knowing Jesus is God, even Satan knows that. (James 2:19) Believing is we must trust Jesus to rule every part of our lives completely. Jesus has a plan for our lives and we must obey Him completely. We must believe that He gives us the power to change our characters and become more like him through the power of His Spirit. We must act upon His word and walk with Jesus in faith.
Jesus did not come to judge the world but to save the lost in this world. Those who receive Him will find eternal life in His Kingdom. Most people of this world are blinded to the truth of Jesus and run from it because they do not want to be exposed to the sinfulness of their life. They reject Him and live in the lust they have for this world and care not for the world to come. Those who follow Jesus will escape the judgment of this world and those who reject Him have already been judged by their own deeds.
John the Baptist and his disciples were baptizing in the same area as Jesus and His disciples. But more people were going to Jesus to be baptized than to John the Baptist. John the Baptist’s disciples were a little miffed because of this and went to John the Baptist to express their concerns.
John the Baptist has already testified before them that Jesus was the Lamb of God and that He must increase while John the Baptist would decrease. John the Baptist was the forerunner of Jesus and now that Jesus’ ministry had begun his job was done. John the Baptist was satisfied that he had completed the mission that God had given him. John the Baptist compared the people as the bride and Jesus as the bridegroom and that John the Baptist was the friend of the Bridegroom. At a Jewish wedding, the bridegroom’s friend had many duties. For example, this friend arranged the wedding and he sent out the invitations. But he had one special duty. He had to guard the bride’s bedroom. He opened the door only when he heard the bridegroom’s voice. We read in verse twenty nine, “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.” John the Baptist was delighted that more people were going to Jesus. Two other references are made in the New Testament that compares Jesus as the bridegroom and the church as His bride. (2 Corinthians 11:2 Ephesians 5:22-32)
John the Baptist then testifies that the teachings of Jesus are far superior to his own. John the Baptist taught only from the perspective of one who lived in this world but Jesus had come from Heaven and knew life there. Jesus knew the words of the Father and related His thoughts to people in His teachings.
In the Old Testament the Holy Spirit came and remained with certain people for a short time. This was so they could do a special work for God and after their work was completed the Holy Spirit with drew. Now in New Testament time the Holy Spirit comes and dwells in the hearts of Jesus’ followers.
Numbers 21:8-9, Romans 8:16, 1 Corinthians 2:10-12, 1 Thessalonians 1:5-6, Matthew 6:9-13, 2 Corinthians 1:22, 1 Corinthians 2:13-16, John 14:26, James 2:19, 2 Corinthians 11:2, Ephesians 5:22-32,