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Bible Commentaries

Charles Box's Commentaries on Selected Books of the Bible
John 3

 

 

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Introduction

Jesus Is Exalted As Savior
- John Three -

In the third chapter of John we meet a man named Nicodemus. Even though his names appears only 5 times in our King James Bible he is still well know to Christians. All 5 references to the name "Nicodemus" are in the gospel of John. (John 3:1, John 3:4, John 3:9, John 7:50, John 19:39) He was a ruler of the Jews. Nicodemus was respected because of many good qualities in his life. We have no idea why he came to Jesus by night so we will not speculate and waste time on that discussion. Nicodemus became part of a most famous discussion where Jesus was exalted as the son of God. In this exchange we observe the most famous verse in the Bible, "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." (John 3:16) In this chapter John the Baptist also exalted Jesus as Lord. In two great statements John lifted Jesus up. He said, "He must increase, but I must decrease." (John 3:30) In this discussion also we read the great statement, "He that believeth on the Son hath everlasting life: and he that believeth not the Son shall not see life; but the wrath of God abideth on him." (John 3:36)


Verses 1-8

Nicodemus learned about the new birth -- John 3:1-8 : Nicodemus exalted Jesus by saying, "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." (John 3:2) Nicodemus came to Jesus by night. The reason for the night visit is unknown. Nicodemus is typical of many who exalt Jesus and are truly interested in the salvation He offers. The conversation between Jesus and Nicodemus was not about politics though Nicodemus was a ruler of the Jews. Jesus immediately directed Nicodemus to what really matters, being born again. "Most assuredly, I say to you, unless one is born again, he cannot see the kingdom of God." (John 3:3) Sinners need to be made new. They need new relationships, new goals, new pastimes, new principles and new character. Just as Jesus is from heaven, the new birth is also from heaven. Jesus taught Nicodemus about baptism which is the final act in process of the spiritual birth. Jesus spoke of regeneration, Nicodemus thought of physical birth. Without the birth of water and the Spirit none shall be subjects of the Kingdom of Heaven. "Most assuredly, I say to you, unless one is born of water and the Spirit, he cannot enter the kingdom of God. (John 3:5)


Verses 9-21

Jesus affirms His Deity -- John 3:9-21 : Nicodemus did not yet understand that if it is true that Jesus is God in the flesh that man"s obligation was to obey him. Jesus proved His Divinity by saying, "No one has ascended to heaven but He who came down from heaven, that is, the Son of Man who is in heaven." (John 3:13) Nicodemus misunderstood Jesus" reference to being born again. The Lordship of Jesus brings about a change in the conduct and character of an individual. This is another way that Jesus is exalted. The result of the new birth and the faithful life is to hear Jesus say, "Well done good and faithful servant. Enter into the joy of your Lord." It should be our goal to live for God. "But he that doeth truth cometh to the light, that his deeds may be made manifest, that they are wrought in God."


Verses 22-31

Jesus was exalted by John the Baptist -- John 3:22-31 : John was fully satisfied with the place and the work that God gave him to do. "You yourselves bear me witness, that I said, "I am not the Christ," but, "I have been sent before Him."" (John 3:28) John did a great work but Jesus did an even greater work. John said, "He must increase, but I must decrease." (John 3:30) John recognized his own sinfulness and he also recognized Jesus as the sinless Son of God. Jesus is above all. "He who comes from above is above all; he who is of the earth is earthly and speaks of the earth. He who comes from heaven is above all." (John 3:31) The words of Jesus were actually words of God. Jesus is God, had been with the Father and was given the Holy Spirit without measure.


Verses 32-36

Obey the Son and have life -- John 3:32-36 : John heralded the truth of Jesus" deity. He declared that Jesus came from above is above all. John said of himself that he was just an earthly man from the earth. In contrast he said that Jesus came from heaven and is above all. When one becomes a true believer in Jesus a transformation takes place. (John 3:33) The truth of God changes a man and makes him a godly person. Everlasting life belongs to those who believe on God's Son. Those who do not believe have the wrath of God on them. "He who believes in the Son has everlasting life; and he who does not believe the Son shall not see life, but the wrath of God abides on him." (John 3:36) Please observe that to believe on the Son and obey Him means the same. John 3:36 in the American Standard Translation reads, "He that believeth on the Son hath eternal life; but he that obeyeth not the Son shall not see life, but the wrath of God abideth on him." The Revised Standard Version says, "He who believes in the Son has eternal life; he who does not obey the Son shall not see life, but the wrath of God rests upon him." The English Standard Version says, "Whoever believes in the Son has eternal life; whoever does not obey the Son shall not see life, but the wrath of God remains on him." (John 3:36)

Let us learn, (1) That Jesus is sent from God (John 3:2), (2) The importance of the new birth (John 3:5), (3) That Jesus is the Son of God who came down from heaven (John 3:13), (4) That the Son of man must be lifted up, "And as Moses lifted up the serpent in the wilderness, even so must the Son of man be lifted up." (John 3:14), (5) that he who does not believe is condemned already, "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." (John 3:18), (6) that those who practice evil hate the light, "For every one that doeth evil hateth the light, neither cometh to the light, lest his deeds should be reproved." (John 3:20) (7) That John baptized where there was much water indicating that baptism is a burial, "And John also was baptizing in Aenon near to Salim, because there was much water there: and they came, and were baptized." (John 3:23), (8) that Jesus must be exalted, "He must increase, but I must decrease." (John 3:30), and (9) that those who do not obey God will feel His wrath (John 3:36)

 


Copyright Statement
These files are a derivative of an electronic edition available at BibleSupport.com. Public Domain.

Bibliography Information
Box, Charles. "Commentary on John 3:4". "Charles Box's Commentaries on Selected books of the Bible". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/box/john-3.html. 2014.

Lectionary Calendar
Wednesday, October 16th, 2019
the Week of Proper 23 / Ordinary 28
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