April 13th John 3
Nicodemus - Unbelief
1: There was a man of the Pharisees, named Nicodemus, a ruler of the Jews: 2: The same came to Jesus by night, and said unto him, Rabbi, we know that thou art a teacher come from God: for no man can do these miracles that thou doest, except God be with him. 3: Jesus answered and said unto him, Verily, verily, I say unto thee, Except a man be born again, he cannot see the kingdom of God. 4: Nicodemus saith unto him, How can a man be born when he is old? can he enter the second time into his mother's womb, and be born? 5: Jesus answered, Verily, verily, I say unto thee, Except a man be born of water and of the Spirit, he cannot enter into the kingdom of God. 6: That which is born of the flesh is flesh; and that which is born of the Spirit is spirit. 7: Marvel not that I said unto thee, Ye must be born again. 8: The wind bloweth where it listeth, and thou hearest the sound thereof, but canst not tell whence it cometh, and whither it goeth: so is every one that is born of the Spirit. 9: Nicodemus answered and said unto him, How can these things be? 10: Jesus answered and said unto him, Art thou a master of Israel, and knowest not these things? 11: Verily, verily, I say unto thee, We speak that we do know, and testify that we have seen; and ye receive not our witness. 12: If I have told you earthly things, and ye believe not, how shall ye believe, if I tell you of heavenly things? 13: And no man hath ascended up to heaven, but he that came down from heaven, even the Son of man which is in heaven. 14: And as Moses lifted up the serpent in the wilderness, even so must the Son of man be lifted up: 15: That whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have eternal life. 16: For God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life. 17: For God sent not his Son into the world to condemn the world; but that the world through him might be saved. 18: He that believeth on him is not condemned: but he that believeth not is condemned already, because he hath not believed in the name of the only begotten Son of God. 19: And this is the condemnation, that light is come into the world, and men loved darkness rather than light, because their deeds were evil. 20: For every one that doeth evil hateth the light, neither cometh to the light, lest his deeds should be reproved. 21: But he that doeth truth cometh to the light, that his deeds may be made manifest, that they are wrought in God.
Next John records a night time visit of one of the highest theologians of Israel. He is described as the (not a) Ruler of the Jews. He was a head of a Rabbinical school. He came acknowledging that Christ’s mission is divine based on his Messianic signs. However its later and so Christ goes directly to the point of his message of the Kingdom. He says entrance into the kingdom for Nicodemus will be based on a spiritual new birth. The Jews thought that entrance into the Kingdom would be on the basis of nationality or at least on basis of righteousness according to the Mosaic Law. However Christ’s application to Nicodemus is simple and devastating entrance into the kingdom is not based on the old covenant but on the spiritual transformation of the New Covenant. Jer 33. Nicodemus is mystified and he is thinking purely in the physical when he says must l have a second birth like my first birth? Christ clears up the misunderstanding of Nicodemus by saying that to enter the kingdom one must have two births. The first is in water and it is of the flesh but the new birth is of the Spirit of God. The wind blows wherever it wants to and we hear the sound of it but we cannot tell where the wind has come from or where it is going, it is like this when one is born of the Spirit. Nicodemus answered and said, how can these things be? But this was not a question of enquiry but a statement of doubt in the truth of Christ’s words. Christ answered him sharply Why do you not know about this, you are a Master of Israel! Then he said I am definitely, definitely telling you the truth, yet you do not believe me. Then he went on to talk about the Serpent that was lifted up in the days of Moses and those who looked on it lived, in the same way the Son of Man will be lifted up and those who look on him will not perish. Then we have that wonderful 25 words with Christ in the centre. 12 words describe what God does for men and 12 words describe how men are to respond. The promise of salvation is clear – eternal life comes to those who believe and they will never perish. Then Christ goes on to mention a few further points. First, Christ’s mission was not a mission of judgment but of salvation and secondly that those who do not believe (like Nicodemus) are under condemnation already. So what is the basis of the condemnation of Men before God? Christ the light of the world has come but men prefer darkness to the light of Christ.
- What sort of person was Nicodemus?
- What main thing did Christ have to say to Nicodemus?
- What do you see in the rest of the passage that interests you?