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21. Jesus and Nicodemus (3:1-21)
Nicodemus, a member of the Jewish Council, or Sanhedrin, was impressed with Jesus’ miracles, but faith based on miracles alone is not enough. There must be inner cleansing, a complete change of heart brought about by the creative power of the Spirit of God. Only then can a person enter the kingdom of God (John 3:1-5; cf. Ezekiel 36:25-27).
Jews prided themselves that they were born Jews, and thought this guaranteed their entrance into the kingdom of God. Jesus was not concerned with physical birth or an earthly kingdom. He was talking about the work of God’s Spirit that gives repentant sinners new life and so enables them to enter God’s kingdom. Like the wind, the work of the Spirit is mysterious. It cannot be seen, though its results certainly can (John 3:6-8). Those who have personally experienced God know this new life. Those who think only in terms of earthly things will never know it (John 3:9-12).
True, no person has ever gone up into heaven to learn all about God and his ways, but Jesus Christ has come down from heaven and shown people what God is like. He is God’s gift to the world. His death on the cross is God’s way of salvation, and if people under condemnation turn to him and believe, they will have eternal life (John 3:13-15).
God’s purpose in sending his Son into the world was positive. He wanted people to believe in him and so have eternal life. But if people prefer the darkness of their own sin to the light of salvation through Jesus, they bring judgment upon themselves by their own choice (John 3:16-18). Now that Jesus has come into the world, the difference between light and darkness, good and evil, is clearly seen. People either come into the light of Jesus for cleansing or remain in the darkness of their sin. Once they have come into God’s light, they see that every action of their new life is only the result of God’s work within them (John 3:19-21).
22. John the Baptist’s work complete (John 3:22-36)
While Jesus and his disciples were preaching and baptizing in Judea, John the Baptist was spending the closing days of his ministry preaching and baptizing further north, in the region of the Jordan Valley (John 3:22-24). Some of John’s disciples were becoming jealous of Jesus’ popularity, and John had to rebuke them. He reminded them that his work was only to prepare the way for Jesus. That work was now finished. John was like the friend of a bridegroom who made the necessary preparations for a wedding, but withdrew once the bridegroom arrived (John 3:25-30).
John was just an ordinary person, born into the world like any other, but Jesus came from heaven, speaking God’s words. Most people rejected this divine messenger, though some believed (John 3:31-33; cf. 1:11-12). God revealed himself to the world through Jesus, and Jesus carried out his mission perfectly through the power of God’s Spirit working through him. Those who accepted Jesus’ teaching showed they believed God, but those who refused it placed themselves under God’s judgment (John 3:34-36).
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Flemming, Donald C. "Commentary on John 3". "Brideway Bible Commentary". https://www.studylight.org/
the Week of Proper 20 / Ordinary 25