The world would be more awesome if _________________.
Last week: John speaks, give to him who has none, collect no more than what is due, do not intimidate, do not accuse falsely, be content with your wages, mightier one is coming with Holy Spirit and Fire, Jesus baptized, heaven opens, spirit descends, God speaks, ministry starts, Andrew joins, Peter joins, Philip joins, Can anything good come from Nazareth, Nathanael joins, Jesus fasts, tempted for selfish purposes, tempted for a spectacular act of God, tempted for power and glory, Jesus wins, satan leaves, angels come.
John 2 – Conversion and Cleansing
On the third day there was a wedding in Cana of Galilee, and the mother of Jesus was there. Now both Jesus and His disciples were invited to the wedding. And when they ran out of wine, the mother of Jesus said to Him, “They have no wine.” Jesus said to her, “Woman, what does your concern have to do with Me? My hour has not yet come.” His mother said to the servants, “Whatever He says to you, do it.” (John 2:1-5)
Jesus and His disciples were invited to the wedding: This is the first of many stories suggesting that Jesus was always welcome among those having a good time. Jesus didn’t spoil the good time.
They ran out of wine: This was a major social faux pas. “To fail in providing adequately for the guests would involve social disgrace. In the closely knit communities of Jesus’ day such an error would never be forgotten, and would haunt the newly married couple all their lives.” (Tenney) Additionally, wine was a rabbinical symbol of joy. Therefore “to run out of wine would almost have been the equivalent of admitting that neither the guests nor the bride and groom were happy.” (Boice)
They have no wine: Why did Mary ask Jesus to do something? Mary was no doubt earnestly anticipating Jesus’ day of demonstration, for it would be a day of vindication for her. Yet she would not force the issue, leaving the matter with Jesus.
Woman, what does your concern have to do with Me? Jesus refers to His mother with a term of respect, but He does not call her “mother.” Jesus emphasized that there was a different relationship with her now.
Whatever He says to you, do it: The recorded words of Mary are few. However, it is good to pay attention to her words that are recorded, because they consistently glorify Jesus, not Mary herself. If only we would obey Mary’s direction, whatever He says to you, do it.
Mormons take this event an absurd step further declaring this is Jesus’ wedding. Of course, this against the obvious meaning and all of the gospel records of Jesus.
Now there were set there six waterpots of stone, according to the manner of purification of the Jews, containing twenty or thirty gallons apiece. Jesus said to them, “Fill the waterpots with water.” And they filled them up to the brim. And He said to them, “Draw some out now, and take it to the master of the feast.” And they took it. When the master of the feast had tasted the water that was made wine, and did not know where it came from (but the servants who had drawn the water knew), the master of the feast called the bridegroom. And he said to him, “Every man at the beginning sets out the good wine, and when the guests have well drunk, then the inferior. You have kept the good wine until now!” This beginning of signs Jesus did in Cana of Galilee, and manifested His glory; and His disciples believed in Him. After this He went down to Capernaum, He, His mother, His brothers, and His disciples; and they did not stay there many days. (John 2:6-12)
Six waterpots of stone: Jesus began this miracle by using what was at hand. He could have supplied more wine any number of ways, but He started with what was there.
According to the manner of purification of the Jews: The waterpots are connected with the system of Law, because they were used in ceremonial purification.
Fill the waterpots with water: The servants under the direction of Jesus were in a unique place of blessing for this miracle. Jesus wanted the cooperation of men in this miracle. He could have filled the pots Himself, or just as easily created the liquid in the pots. But He knew that if the servants shared in the work, then they also shared in the blessing.
Draw some out now, and take it to the master of the feast: This took faith on behalf of the servants. Imagine how angry the master of the feast would be if they brought him water to taste! Yet in faith, they obeyed the word of Jesus.
Every man at the beginning sets out the good wine, and when the guests have well drunk, then the inferior. The reputation of modern Jews of being tight wads and cheap skates goes way back. Let’s get them lit with the good stuff to impress them and then switch to the cheap stuff when they won’t notice.
You have kept the good wine until now! Some go to great lengths to claim that what Jesus made here was really grape juice. Good wine is good wine, not good grape juice. It is true that wine in that day, as commonly served, had a lower alcohol content than modern wine. But it was still wine.
This beginning of signs Jesus did in Cana of Galilee: This beginning of signs in the Gospel of John is a miracle of conversion, from the old ways of law, ceremony and purification to the new life of Jesus.
How did Jesus actually do miracles? He did them in many different ways. Here, Jesus did not say a word or blink an eye. He merely exercised His will and the miracle was done.
Moses turned water into blood, showing that the Law results in death (Exodus 7:17-21). But Jesus’ first miracle turned water into wine, showing the gladness and joy of His new work. This acts out what John said in John 1:17: For the law was given through Moses, but grace and truth came through Jesus Christ.
We could say that the water is like a relationship with God under the Old Covenant, and the wine is like a relationship with God under the New Covenant.
The wine was after the water, the New Covenant is after the Old Covenant.
The wine was from the water, the New Covenant is from the Old Covenant
The wine was and better than the water; the New Covenant is better than the Old Covenant.
Manifested His glory: According to John 2:1, this miracle happened on the third day. John is hinting at the idea that Jesus shows forth His glory on the third day, and that His disciples believe in Him when they see His glory.
His disciples believed in Him: Of course they believed before, but now their belief was deepened and re-expressed. This is typical in our Christian lives. God does something great in our lives, and we believe in Him all over again. His action reinforces our faith.
Many churches, not just Baptist, require deacons to sign an agreement affirming that they have not, and will not, drink. Jesus could not qualify as a deacon in many modern churches. Alcohol has potential dangers and the Bible warns about abusing alcohol and all people have seen the effects of drunkenness. Still, Jesus, and Christians, saw alcohol as an enjoyable part of life. God created us with the consumption of alcohol in mind. We now know that our bodies work better with alcohol. A drink a day can add a few years to your life and reduce your risk of heart attack and vascular disease. But, people in Jesus’ day didn’t drink for longevity: they drank to prevent dysentery. Drinking water was untreated. Sewage was untreated. The water would make you sick. So, they drank beer and wine which was purified by the fermentation process.
Show me four Baptists and I’ll show you a fifth. How did we get from drinking more wine than water, to legal prohibition, to current social prohibition? The Bible praises alcohol. It is a gift from God, given to man for our enjoyment. God blessed men with a bountiful harvest of grapes. Those whose vineyards were bare, were being judged. Alcohol was as an offering to God in the Old Testament, and a symbol of salvation in the New Testament. Biblical writers recorded that wine brought joy, and was used in celebrations. This was true in America, until the social Temperance movement gained power in the 1780’s. Americans drank lightly alcoholic ciders “from the crack of dawn to the crack of dawn”. All was fine until they began drinking far more alcoholic cheap rums and whiskeys. We became a nation of drunks. In 1789, 200 Connecticut farmers formed a temperance association to ban whiskey making. The movement spread and the church joined the fight in 1825 and formed the American Temperance Society with well over a million members and 18 different journals by 1839. The Civil War killed the Society because much of the war effort, both north and south, was funded by distiller’s profits.
The Society fired back up after the war. Like the ancient Jews, we had muddy, ill-tasting water so we drank fermented beverages for health purposes. In 1874, the National Women’s Christian Temperance Union began a nation wide campaign to erect public drinking fountains to provide fresh, cool, clean water to discourage males from entering bars for refreshment. They sold cast stone statues of Hebe which dispensed water. Hebe was the cupbearer on mount Olympus, daughter of Zeus, and later wife of Hercules. Some of these stone statues are still in existence today.
In 1896, the Baptists passed a resolution to excommunicate anyone who drank or sold alcohol. The logic was that drunkenness caused all sorts of problems and was shameful so the only safe course was to avoid it altogether. Today, alcohol is related to half of all car accidents, 30% of all birth defects, and 67% of all homicides. It is a legitimate problem. In 1980, $300 million was spent on alcohol advertising. By 1991, Anheuser-Busch spent $144 million advertising during televised sports events alone. So, those who are persuaded by advertising think beer makes them attractive, active, exciting, and strong. Americans spend more on alcohol than household electricity.
A fundamental tenant of the Baptist faith is the priesthood of believers. We have direct access to God and an individual relationship with God. We don’t have to go through a priest or the Virgin Mary for prayer or scripture interpretation. We have a hot line, through the Holy Spirit, directly to God. According to scripture, we have the choice to drink, or not drink. The Baptists created extrabiblical rules governing prohibition. In the Southern Baptist Convention, the frenzy over prohibition became so powerful that it swept aside the doctrine of priesthood and the doctrine of individual liberty. Churches no longer permitted men to interpret the Bible for themselves. While Baptist churches still claimed individual freedom, in practice, members either accepted church teachings, disobeyed in secret, or left their church. Requiring abstinence is a direct violation of scripture. Jesus was a drinker, a producer, and distributor.
In 1955, John Gillespie, a Baptist author, wrote, “Included in the who’s who of the condemned are those who make, advertise, sell, buy, and use intoxicating or alcoholic beverages. They range from moderate or limited users to excessive and unscrupulous abusers. Their distinction lies in the fact that they are the enemies of God….” When we condemn what Jesus did, it ought to be a clue that our train has left track.
I once took a Catholic to a Baptist church which reminds me of a Priest who was stopped on his way home after mass. The Catholics believe in transmutation: the communion wine actually becomes blood when you drink it and the communion wafer actually becomes flesh when you eat it. You can’t just pour left over communion wine down the drain because it has been blessed and is holy. So, the priest must drink it. This priest was driving home and still had half a bottle in his front seat. A cop pulled him over for driving erratically and running a red light. He asked the priest if he had been drinking and the priest said no. He asked the priest what was in the bottle and the priest said “holy water, officer, just holy water.” The officer smelled the bottle and said, “this is wine.” The priest jumped out of the car and yelled, “Praise Jesus, He’s done it again!”
In the early 60’s, on our very limited two TV channels, we had to watch the likes of Lawrence Welk with his bubble machines and, on Saturday afternoon, on the rare occasion that we were not outside playing, we watched wrestling. One of the stars was Killer Carl Krupp who spoke in a fake German accent. He swiped the little soap bars from hotels and threw them out to the crowd because he was on a mission to “clean up wrestling”. Wrestling had become corrupt.
The temple had also become corrupt.
Now the Passover of the Jews was at hand, and Jesus went up to Jerusalem. And He found in the temple those who sold oxen and sheep and doves, and the moneychangers doing business. When He had made a whip of cords, He drove them all out of the temple, with the sheep and the oxen, and poured out the changers’ money and overturned the tables. And He said to those who sold doves, “Take these things away! Do not make My Father’s house a house of merchandise!” Then His disciples remembered that it was written, “Zeal for Your house has eaten Me up.” (John 2:13-17)
The Passover of the Jews was at hand: Jerusalem would be crowded with thousands of visitors coming at Passover. The temple mount would be particularly crowded, and Jesus saw many doing business in the outer courts of the temple.
When He had made a whip of cords: When Jesus drove those doing business out of the temple courts, He did not do it in a flash of anger. He carefully took the time to make a whip of cords, and thought carefully about what He would do.
He drove them all out . . . poured out the changers’ money and overturned tables: Why did this offend Jesus so much? The outer courts of the temple were the only place where Gentiles could come and worship. This area (the court of the Gentiles) was made into a house of merchandise.
Matthew, Mark, and Luke each describe another cleansing of the temple Jesus performed, towards the end of His earthly ministry. In both cases, the presence of these merchants in the temple courts spoiled the only place Gentiles could pray. In addition, their dishonesty made their presence all the worse.
John began with a miracle of conversion (changing water into wine). Then he shows Jesus with a work of cleansing (the cleansing of the temple). This is always how Jesus works in His people: conversion, then cleansing.
We were in Portugal and went to Fatima. Catholics believe, in 1916, the Virgin Mary appeared to three shepherd children on three separate occasions at Fatima and taught them prayers, ordered them to do penance, and gave them three secrets: a vision of hell, instructions on how to save souls, and visions of the death of the Pope and other religious figures. It is an amazing place and an amazing story. In 1917, there was a solar miracle seen by over 70,000 people at Fatima, not counting the surrounding countryside. There is now a huge cathedral there and on May 13 and October 13, there may be more than 1 million pilgrims there. The first thing that strikes you is what Jesus would call “money changers”. Outside the cathedral is a whole village of vendors selling every imaginable candle and Virgin Mary effigy from tiny earring danglers to larger than life size statues. Imagine a super WalMart size area over flowing with Virgin Mary stuff.
So the Jews answered and said to Him, “What sign do You show to us, since You do these things?” Jesus answered and said to them, “Destroy this temple, and in three days I will raise it up.” Then the Jews said, “It has taken forty-six years to build this temple, and will You raise it up in three days?” But He was speaking of the temple of His body. Therefore, when He had risen from the dead, His disciples remembered that He had said this to them; and they believed the Scripture and the word which Jesus had said. (John 2:18-22)
What sign do You show to us, since You do these things? This wasn’t necessarily a bad question. Anyone who drove out the merchants from the temple courts claimed the authority to do it. The Jews wanted to know if Jesus really had this authority. The problem is that they demanded a sign from Jesus to prove it.
Destroy this temple, and in three days I will raise it up: Jesus speaks here of the temple of His body. You can imagine Him gesturing to Himself as He said this. Jesus knew that these religious leaders would attempt to destroy His body, but He also knew that they would not succeed.
I will raise it up: Who raised Jesus from the dead? Jesus says that He will raise Himself, despite the teachings of Jehovah’s Witnesses and some others. This was a claim no mere man could make, a claim repeated dramatically in John 10:18.
(John 2:23-25) Jesus does not entrust Himself to the adoring crowds.
Now when He was in Jerusalem at the Passover, during the feast, many believed in His name when they saw the signs which He did. But Jesus did not commit Himself to them, because He knew all men, and had no need that anyone should testify of man, for He knew what was in man.
Many believed in His name when they saw the signs: Jesus knew that this was thin, superficial belief. It wasn’t based on anything other than an admiration of the spectacular. Knowing this, Jesus did not commit Himself to them. “If belief is nothing more than admiration for the spectacular, it will create in multitudes applause; but the Son of God cannot commit Himself to that kind of faith.” (Morgan)
He knew what was in man: Jesus still loved the multitudes, though he would not commit Himself to them. We can love people without entrusting ourselves to them. Even though God knows exactly what is in us, He still loves us powerfully.
There was a man of the Pharisees named Nicodemus, a ruler of the Jews. This man came to Jesus by night and said to Him, “Rabbi, we know that You are a teacher come from God; for no one can do these signs that You do unless God is with him.” Jesus answered and said to him, “Most assuredly, I say to you, unless one is born again, he cannot see the kingdom of God.” (John 3:1-3)
Nicodemus, a ruler of the Jews: Nicodemus was one of those impressed by Jesus’ signs (John 2:23), and a member of the ruling Sanhedrin. He was religious (of the Pharisees), educated (Nicodemus is a Greek name), and influential (a ruler). Nicodemus comes to Jesus as a representative of all men (John 2:23-25), and he represents what is high and best in men.
This man came to Jesus by night: Why did Nicodemus come by night? Maybe he was afraid of criticism or maybe he just wanted an uninterrupted interview with Jesus.
No one can do these signs that You do unless God is with him: Is this statement of Nicodemus true? Can someone not from God do miraculous signs? The answer is “Yes,” according to 2 Thessalonians 2:9 and Revelation 13:13-14. Also, Pharaoh’s sorcerers changed water to blood and made frogs.
Unless one is born again, he cannot see the kingdom of God: Jesus’ reply to Nicodemus shatters the Jewish assumption that their racial identity – Abraham – assured them a place in God’s Kingdom. Jesus makes it plain that a man’s first birth does not assure him of the kingdom – only being born again gives this assurance.
It was taught widely among the Jews at that time that since they descended from Abraham, they were automatically assured of heaven. In fact, some Rabbis taught that Abraham stood watch at the gate of hell, just to make sure that none of his descendants accidentally wandered in there.
Most Jews of that time looked for the Messiah to bring in a new world, in which the Jews would be preeminent. But Jesus came to bring new life, in which He would be preeminent.
Born again: The Greek word translated again (anothen) can be also translated “from above.” This is the sense in which John used this word in John 3:31 and in John 19:11 and 19:23. Either way, the meaning is essentially the same. To be born from above is to be born again.
Nicodemus said to Him, “How can a man be born when he is old? Can he enter a second time into his mother’s womb and be born?” (John 3:4)
How can a man be born when he is old? Being born again ia an entirely new concept at this time. Nicodemus’ reply may not be out of ignorance, but from thinking that Jesus means “turning over a new leaf.” His question may be “How can you teach an old dog new tricks?” One way or another, Nicodemus does not understand Jesus or the truth about the new birth.
In His description of new birth, Jesus recalls a familiar theme from Old Testament promises of the New Covenant (Deuteronomy 30:1-6, Jeremiah 23:1-8, Jeremiah 31:31-34, Jeremiah 32:37-41, Ezekiel 11:16-20, Ezekiel 36:16-28, Ezekiel 37:11-14, 37:21-28). These passages make three promises in the New Covenant:
The regathering of Israel.
The cleansing and spiritual transformation of God’s people.
The reign of the Messiah over Israel and the whole world.
In Jesus’ day, the common teaching among the Jewish people was that the first two aspects of the New Covenant had been fulfilled. They saw Israel regathered – at least in part – after the Babylonian exile. They saw strong spiritual movements like the Pharisees, which they believed fulfilled the promise of spiritual transformation. All they waited for was the reign of the Messiah.
That’s why Jesus’ statement about the new birth was so strange to Nicodemus. He thought that the Jewish people already had it; they certainly weren’t looking for it. They only looked for a triumphant Messiah.
Jesus answered, “Most assuredly, I say to you, unless one is born of water and the Spirit, he cannot enter the kingdom of God. That which is born of the flesh is flesh, and that which is born of the Spirit is spirit. Do not marvel that I said to you, ‘You must be born again.’ The wind blows where it wishes, and you hear the sound of it, but cannot tell where it comes from and where it goes. So is everyone who is born of the Spirit.” (John 3:5-8)
Most assuredly . . . you must be born again: Jesus is emphatic in saying that man does not need reformation, but a radical conversion by the Spirit of God. We must be born of water and the Spirit.
What does it mean to be born of water? We have to assume that it is baptism because there is no specific Old Testament foundation for this.
It may mean to receive the water of cleansing prophesied in Ezekiel 36:25-28 as part of the New Covenant. This is the approach has the most weight because of its firm connections to Old Testament prophecy – which Jesus says Nicodemus should have know to understand these things.
That which is born of the flesh is flesh: Without the new birth of the Spirit, all works of righteousness are tainted by the flesh. Yet, everything that a Spirit-led man does can be pleasing to God.
Do not marvel that I said to you, “You must be born again”: Again, Nicodemus did marvel at this statement, because he – like most all Jews of his time – believed they already had the inner transformation promised in the New Covenant. Jesus wants him to take hold of the fact that he does not have it, and must be born again.
We should not forget whom Jesus said this to. Nicodemus was a religious leader and a Pharisee. By all outward appearance, he was already transformed unto God. If Nicodemus must be born again, what about you and I?
The wind blows where it wishes: Jesus’ idea to Nicodemus is “You don’t understand everything about the wind, but you see its effects. That is just how it is with the birth of the Spirit.” Jesus wanted Nicodemus to know that he didn’t have to understand everything about the new birth before he experienced it.
Nicodemus answered and said to Him, “How can these things be?” Jesus answered and said to him, “Are you the teacher of Israel, and do not know these things? Most assuredly, I say to you, We speak what We know and testify what We have seen, and you do not receive Our witness. If I have told you earthly things and you do not believe, how will you believe if I tell you heavenly things? No one has ascended to heaven but He who came down from heaven, that is, the Son of Man who is in heaven.” (John 3:9-13)
How can these things be? Nicodemus is confused. He is so set in his thinking that the new birth has already happened to him and all of faithful Israel, that he has a hard time thinking out of that “box.” Jesus needs to keep explaining.
Are you the teacher of Israel, and do not know these things? Jesus chides Nicodemus for not being aware of the need and the promise of the new birth, because these are plainly laid out in the Old Testament. Nicodemus knew these passages well, but believed that they had been fulfilled in regard to the new birth. But he should have known better!
If I have told you earthly things and you do not believe, how will you believe if I tell you heavenly things? A simple look at earthly things – like the illustrations Jesus used, and even a look at his own life – should have made Jesus’ point plain to Nicodemus. If he can’t see that he needs this spiritual transformation, what more can Jesus tell him?
No one has ascended to heaven but He who came down from heaven: Jesus “makes it clear that He can speak authoritatively about things in heaven, though no one else can.” (Morris)
“And as Moses lifted up the serpent in the wilderness, even so must the Son of Man be lifted up, that whoever believes in Him should not perish but have eternal life.” (John 3:14-15)
As Moses lifted up the serpent in the wilderness: How can the serpent of Numbers 21:4-9 be a picture of the holy Jesus? In Numbers, The Jews became discouraged and spoke against God complaining about the food and water. God sends snakes which bite the people and many die. The people go to Moses and confess their sin and ask him to pray that the Lord take the snakes away. God tells Moses to make a bronze serpent and put it on a pole so that anyone who is bitten can merely look at it and not die.
Serpents are often used as pictures of evil in the Bible (Genesis 3:1-5 and Revelation 12:9). However, Moses’ serpent in Numbers 21 was made of bronze, and bronze is a metal associated with judgment in the Bible, because bronze must be made by passing through the “fires” of judgment.
So, a bronze serpent does speak of sin, but of sin judged. In the same way Jesus, who knew no sin became sin for us on the cross, and our sin was judged in Him. A bronze serpent is a picture of sin judged and dealt with.
If the serpent lay horizontally on the vertical pole, it is easy to see how this also was a visual representation of the cross. However, many traditions show the serpent being wrapped around the pole, and this is the source for the ancient figure of healing and medicine – a serpent, wrapped around a pole.
In the Numbers 21:4-9 account, the people were saved not by doing anything, but by simply looking to the bronze serpent. They had to trust that something as seemingly foolish as looking at such a thing would be sufficient to save them, and surely, some perished because they thought it too foolish to do such a thing.
As it says in Isaiah 45:22: Look to Me, and be saved, all you ends of the earth! For I am God, and there is no other. We might be willing to do a hundred things to earn our salvation, but God commands us to only trust in Him – to look to Him.
Remember that even though Jesus bore our sins, He never became a sinner. Even His becoming sin for us was a holy, righteous, act of love. Jesus remained the Holy One throughout the entire ordeal of the cross.
Lifted up is a term later used to describe both Jesus’ crucifixion (John 12:32) and His ascension (Acts 2:33). Both meanings are in view, His suffering and exaltation. Jesus was lifted up in both ways.
Should not perish but have eternal life: The idea behind eternal life means much more than a long or never ending life. Eternal life does not mean that we live the life of fallen humanity but we just live it forever. Instead, eternal life also has the idea of a certain quality of life, of God’s kind of life. It is the kind of life enjoyed in eternity.
“For God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him should not perish but have everlasting life. For God did not send His Son into the world to condemn the world, but that the world through Him might be saved. He who believes in Him is not condemned; but he who does not believe is condemned already, because he has not believed in the name of the only begotten Son of God. And this is the condemnation, that the light has come into the world, and men loved darkness rather than light, because their deeds were evil. For everyone practicing evil hates the light and does not come to the light, lest his deeds should be exposed. But he who does the truth comes to the light, that his deeds may be clearly seen, that they have been done in God.” (John 3:16-21)
For God so loved the world: John 3:16 has long been celebrated as a powerful, succinct, declaration of the gospel. Of the 31,373 verses in the Bible, it may be the most popular single verse used in evangelism.
We learn the object of God’s love: For God so loved the world. God did not wait for the world to turn to Him before He loved the world. He loved and gave His only begotten Son to the world when it was still the world!
We learn the expression and the gift of God’s love: He gave His only begotten Son. God’s love didn’t just feel for the plight of a fallen world. God did something about it, and He gave the most precious thing to give: His only begotten Son.
We learn the recipient of God’s love: Whoever believes in Him. God loves the world, but the world does not receive or benefit from that love until it believes in Jesus, the gift that the Father gave. Believes in means much more than intellectual awareness or agreement. It means to trust in, to rely on, and to cling to.
We learn the intention of God’s love: Should not perish. God’s love actually saves man from eternal destruction. God looks at fallen humanity, does not want it to perish, and so in His love He extends the gift of salvation in Jesus Christ.
We learn the duration of God’s love: Everlasting life. The love we receive among people may fade or turn, but God’s love will never change. He will never stop loving His people, even unto the furthest distance of eternity.
The Seven Wonders of John 3:16.
God The Almighty Authority
So loved the world The Mightiest Motive
That He gave His only begotten Son The Greatest Gift
That whoever The Widest Welcome
Believes in Him The Easiest Escape
Should not perish The Divine Deliverance
But have everlasting life The Priceless Possession
What Jesus told Nicodemus in John 3:7 (You must be born again) refuted the popular Jewish idea of the way to salvation. Now Jesus refutes the popular Jewish idea of the scope of salvation: for God so loved the world.
The Jews of that day rarely thought that God loved the world. They thought that God only loved them. The universal offer of salvation and life in Jesus was absolutely revolutionary.
This is the condemnation: Jesus came to bring salvation, but those who reject that salvation condemn themselves. We never need to leave the reason for anyone’s condemnation at God’s door. The responsibility is ours alone.
Men loved darkness rather than light, because their deeds were evil: What keeps people from belief in Jesus and salvation? It is sin, or is it unbelief? Really it is both, because people will not believe because they love their sin.
This cuts right through many of the “intellectual” excuses or dishonest doubts some proclaim. Many opponents of Christianity have a vested interested in fighting against the truth of Jesus, because they love their sin and don’t want to face it, or face a God who will judge their sin.
When we think of the love of sin that sends people to hell, we often other think of notorious sin. But the simple demand to be lord of my own life is enough of a sin to deserve condemnation before God.
Everyone practicing evil hates the light: How do people hate the light of God’s truth? Some express their hatred by actively fighting against it, and others express their hatred by ignoring God’s truth – by saying to Jesus “You are not worth my time.”
Next week, John’s final testimony, a Samaritan woman, and a nobleman.