Bible Study on Gospel of John, Chapter 3

by Matt Slick
10/12/2016

Bible Study on John 3:1–36

YOU MUST BE BORN AGAIN

 

  1.  Now there was a man of the Pharisees, named Nicodemus, a ruler of the Jews;
    1. The Pharisees were a Jewish sect from the second century B.C. to the first century A.D. They considered the entire Old Testament to be authoritative - unlike the Sadduccees who only accepted the first five books. The Pharisees believed in life after death, the resurrection, the existence of angels and demons, and that the way to God was through keeping the law.
  2. this man came to Jesus by night and said to Him, “Rabbi, we know that You have come from God as a teacher; for no one can do these signs that You do unless God is with him.”
    1. By night - This might be because he did not want to be seen by other Pharisees, or it could be that his duties during the day were completed and he then went and saw Christ.
    2. Rabbi - This is a title of honor in the Jewish schools at the time and even to the present day. It means teacher, master.
    3. We know - It is possible the Pharisees had sent him as their representative.  Or, it is possible that he was speaking generically about the Pharisees.
    4. You came from God - His declaration that Jesus came from God does not harmonize with the later behavior of the Pharisees. 
    5. Can do these signs - The present tense shows that Jesus was still performing miracles.
  3. Jesus answered and said to him, “Truly, truly, I say to you, unless one is born again he cannot see the kingdom of God.”
    1. Jesus jumps right in to the issue of salvation.
    2. "born again" - γεννηθη ανωθεν, literally "born from above", it is an idiom meaning "born again".  The word "again" is not in the Greek, but the context implies it.
      1. Nicodemus understood the idiom as "born again", as is revealed in the next verse.
    3. Kingdom of God - The Kingdom of God and the kingdom of heaven seem to be variations of the same idea. A kingdom implies a king. Our king is Jesus. Jesus said His kingdom was not of this world (John 18:36). Jesus' authority did not come from man but from God (Luke 22:29).
  4. Nicodemus said to Him, “How can a man be born when he is old? He cannot enter a second time into his mother’s womb and be born, can he?”
    1. It is possible that Jesus was speaking of being born from above, is referring to the heavenly regeneration that Scripture later reveals. Nicodemus does not seem to understand this truth.
    2. Nicodemus responds by talking about biological birth, entering again into the womb of one's mother.  He knows this cannot be done.
  5. Jesus answered, “Truly, truly, I say to you, unless one is born of water and the Spirit he cannot enter into the kingdom of God."
    1. The phrase "of water and the Spirit" is substituted for the word "again" in verse three.  Jesus is expanding on what he meant.
    2. Water - there are different interpretations offered as to what the word water might be referring.
      1. The baptism of John the Baptist - this is something Nicodemus would've been aware of. John's baptism was a baptism of repentance which implied spiritual renewal.
      2. Jewish purification requirements - Old Testament purification rights for Jews.
        1. Leviticus 14:7, "He shall then sprinkle seven times the one who is to be cleansed from the leprosy and shall pronounce him clean, and shall let the live bird go free over the open field."
        2. Numbers 8:7, "Thus you shall do to them, for their cleansing: sprinkle purifying water on them, and let them use a razor over their whole body and wash their clothes, and they will be clean."
        3. Isaiah 52:15, "Thus He will sprinkle many nations, Kings will shut their mouths on account of Him; For what had not been told them they will see, And what they had not heard they will understand."
      3. Christian baptism later revealed
      4. The Scriptures
        1. Ephesians 5:26, "so that He might sanctify her, having cleansed her by the washing of water with the word,"
      5. The water of the womb - This fits contextually, but we cannot know for sure if this is the right interpretation.
    3. Spirit - Most probably refers to the Holy Spirit
      1. Isaiah 44:3, "For I will pour out water on the thirsty land And streams on the dry ground; I will pour out My Spirit on your offspring And My blessing on your descendants."
      2. Titus 3:5, "He saved us, not on the basis of deeds which we have done in righteousness, but according to His mercy, by the washing of regeneration and renewing by the Holy Spirit,"
  6. “That which is born of the flesh is flesh, and that which is born of the Spirit is spirit.
    1. Jesus is speaking of two kinds of births, physical and spiritual. He's responding to the understanding of Nicodemus since Nicodemus referred to being born of the womb (v. 4).
  7. “Do not be amazed that I said to you, ‘You must be born again.’
    1. The first "you" is singular. The second "you" is plural. The latter implies "all" in the sense that all must be born again.
  8. “The wind blows where it wishes and you hear the sound of it, but do not know where it comes from and where it is going; so is everyone who is born of the Spirit.”
    1. Jesus is speaking in parables by drawing an analogy between what happens in the physical world and the spiritual world.
    2. "Wind" is being used in relationship to "spirit". We cannot see the wind but we can feel this affects. The same is true of the Holy Spirit.
  9. Nicodemus said to Him, “How can these things be?”
    1. Nicodemus again does not understand what Jesus is saying.
  10. Jesus answered and said to him, “Are you the teacher of Israel and do not understand these things?
    1. The teacher - This emphasizes his authority and status as a religious teacher in Israel. Perhaps Jesus was emphasizing that Nicodemus was a man of notoriety in Israel.
    2. Jesus is saying Nicodemus should already know these things because, after all, the Scriptures are about Jesus.
      1. John 5:39, "You search the Scriptures because you think that in them you have eternal life; it is these that testify about Me."
        1. Psalm 22:12–18, "Many bulls have surrounded me; Strong bulls of Bashan have encircled me. 13 They open wide their mouth at me, as a ravening and a roaring lion. 14 I am poured out like water, And all my bones are out of joint; My heart is like wax; It is melted within me. 15 My strength is dried up like a potsherd, and my tongue cleaves to my jaws; And You lay me in the dust of death. 16 For dogs have surrounded me. A band of evildoers has encompassed me; They pierced my hands and my feet. 17 I can count all my bones. They look, they stare at me; 18 They divide my garments among them, And for my clothing they cast lots."
        2. Isaiah 7:14, "Therefore the Lord himself will give you a sign: The virgin will be with child and will give birth to a son, and will call him Immanuel."
        3. Micah 5:2 "But you, Bethlehem Ephrathah, though you are small among the clans of Judah, out of you will come for me one who will be ruler over Israel, whose origins are from of old, from ancient times."
        4. Isaiah 40:3, "A voice of one calling: 'In the desert prepare the way for the LORD; make straight in the wilderness a highway for our God.'"
        5. Zech. 12:10, "And I will pour out on the house of David and the inhabitants of Jerusalem a spirit of grace and supplication. They will look on me, the one they have pierced, and they will mourn for him as one mourns for an only child, and grieve bitterly for him as one mourns for an only son."
  11. “Truly, truly, I say to you, we speak of what we know and testify of what we have seen, and you do not accept our testimony.
    1. Jesus is telling Nicodemus that he does not accept the testimony of ...
      1. The scriptures?
      2. The disciples and Jesus?
      3. John the Baptist and Jesus?
      4. either way, the Pharisees failed to properly understand the word of God.
    2. Is it simply an emphatic contrast?  A literary tool of emphasis?
    3. We - the true followers of God?
    4. You - the Pharisees, the class of leaders
    5. This verse is difficult to interpret precisely.
  12. “If I told you earthly things and you do not believe, how will you believe if I tell you heavenly things?
    1. Earthly things - The things done by man in this world that are not of God.
      1. 1 Corinthians 3:1–4, "And I, brethren, could not speak to you as to spiritual men, but as to men of flesh, as to infants in Christ. 2 I gave you milk to drink, not solid food; for you were not yet able to receive it. Indeed, even now you are not yet able, 3 for you are still fleshly. For since there is jealousy and strife among you, are you not fleshly, and are you not walking like mere men? 4 For when one says, “I am of Paul,” and another, “I am of Apollos,” are you not mere men?"
      2. Galatians 5:19–21, "Now the deeds of the flesh are evident, which are: immorality, impurity, sensuality, 20 idolatry, sorcery, enmities, strife, jealousy, outbursts of anger, disputes, dissensions, factions, 21 envying, drunkenness, carousing, and things like these, of which I forewarn you, just as I have forewarned you, that those who practice such things will not inherit the kingdom of God."
      3. 1 Peter 2:1–3, "Therefore, putting aside all malice and all deceit and hypocrisy and envy and all slander, 2 like newborn babies, long for the pure milk of the word, so that by it you may grow in respect to salvation, 3 if you have tasted the kindness of the Lord."
    2. Heavenly things - May refer to the things which Jesus is about to reveal to him.
      1. Colossians 3:1–5, "Therefore if you have been raised up with Christ, keep seeking the things above, where Christ is, seated at the right hand of God. 2 Set your mind on the things above, not on the things that are on earth. 3 For you have died and your life is hidden with Christ in God. 4 When Christ, who is our life, is revealed, then you also will be revealed with Him in glory. 5 Therefore consider the members of your earthly body as dead to immorality, impurity, passion, evil desire, and greed, which amounts to idolatry."
      2. 1 Timothy 3:16, "By common confession, great is the mystery of godliness: He who was revealed in the flesh, Was vindicated in the Spirit, Seen by angels, Proclaimed among the nations, Believed on in the world, Taken up in glory."
  13. “No one has ascended into heaven, but He who descended from heaven: the Son of Man.
    1. Taken to heaven
      1. Genesis 5:24, "And Enoch walked with God; and he was not, for God took him."
      2. 2 Kings 2:11, "Then it came about as they were going along and talking, that behold, there appeared a chariot of fire and horses of fire which separated the two of them. And Elijah went up by a whirlwind to heaven."
      3. Hebrews 11:5, "By faith Enoch was taken up so that he should not see death; and he was not found because God took him up; for he obtained the witness that before his being taken up he was pleasing to God."
    2. Three Heavens
      1. First heaven - Earth Atmosphere
        1. Deuteronomy 11:17, "Then the LORD's anger will burn against you, and he will shut the heavens so that it will not rain and the ground will yield no produce..."
        2. Deuteronomy 28:12, "The LORD will open the heavens, the storehouse of his bounty, to send rain on your land in season and to bless all the work of your hands."
      2. Second Heaven - Outer Space
        1. Psalm 19:4,6, "In the heavens he has pitched a tent for the sun...It rises at one end of the heavens and makes its circuit to the other;..."
        2. Jeremiah 8:2, "They will be exposed to the sun and the moon and all the stars of the heavens which they have loved and served..."
      3. Third Heaven - Where God dwells
        1. 1 Kings 8:27, "But will God really dwell on earth? The heavens, even the highest heaven, cannot contain you."
        2. Psalm 2:4, "The One enthroned in heaven laughs; The LORD scoffs at them."
    3. Son of Man
      1. Matthew 8:20, "Jesus said to him, “The foxes have holes and the birds of the air have nests, but the Son of Man has nowhere to lay His head.”"
      2. Matthew 9:6, "But so that you may know that the Son of Man has authority on earth to forgive sins”—then He said to the paralytic, “Get up, pick up your bed and go home.”"
      3. Mark 9:31, "For He was teaching His disciples and telling them, “The Son of Man is to be delivered into the hands of men, and they will kill Him; and when He has been killed, He will rise three days later.”"
      4. Mark 14:62, "And Jesus said, “I am; and you shall see THE SON OF MAN SITTING AT THE RIGHT HAND OF POWER, and COMING WITH THE CLOUDS OF HEAVEN.”"
      5. Luke 5:24, "But, so that you may know that the Son of Man has authority on earth to forgive sins,”—He said to the paralytic—“I say to you, get up, and pick up your stretcher and go home.”"
      6. Luke 12:8, "And I say to you, everyone who confesses Me before men, the Son of Man will confess him also before the angels of God."
      7.  John 6:27, "Do not work for the food which perishes, but for the food which endures to eternal life, which the Son of Man will give to you, for on Him the Father, God, has set His seal."
      8. John 8:28, "So Jesus said, “When you lift up the Son of Man, then you will know that I am He, and I do nothing on My own initiative, but I speak these things as the Father taught Me."
      9. Also, Matt. 10:23; 11:19; 12:8, 32, 40;  13:37, 41; 16:27; 17:9; 24:27; Mark 2:10; 8:31;
  14. “As Moses lifted up the serpent in the wilderness, even so must the Son of Man be lifted up;
    1. Numbers 21:7–9, "So the people came to Moses and said, “We have sinned, because we have spoken against the LORD and you; intercede with the LORD, that He may remove the serpents from us.” And Moses interceded for the people. 8 Then the LORD said to Moses, “Make a fiery serpent, and set it on a standard; and it shall come about, that everyone who is bitten, when he looks at it, he will live.” 9 And Moses made a bronze serpent and set it on the standard; and it came about, that if a serpent bit any man, when he looked to the bronze serpent, he lived."
      1. 2 Kings 18:4, "He removed the high places and broke down the sacred pillars and cut down the Asherah. He also broke in pieces the bronze serpent that Moses had made, for until those days the sons of Israel burned incense to it; and it was called Nehushtan."
    2. John 8:28, " So Jesus said, “When you lift up the Son of Man, then you will know that I am He, and I do nothing on My own initiative, but I speak these things as the Father taught Me."
  15. so that whoever believes will in Him have eternal life.
    1. This is why Jesus must be lifted up, so that people can have eternal life.
    2. His lifting up was a sacrifice according to the Old Testament Law.
      1. A Lamb:  Exodus 12:3, “Speak to all the congregation of Israel, saying, ‘On the tenth of this month they are each one to take a lamb for themselves, according to their fathers’ households, a lamb for each household."
      2. Blood atonement:  Lev 17:11, "For the life of the flesh is in the blood, and I have given it to you on the altar to make atonement for your souls; for it is the blood by reason of the life that makes atonement."
      3. Priest made the atonement:  Lev. 4:20, "‘He shall also do with the bull just as he did with the bull of the sin offering; thus he shall do with it. So the priest shall make atonement for them, and they will be forgiven."
        1. Hebrews 6:20, "where Jesus has entered as a forerunner for us, having become a high priest forever according to the order of Melchizedek."
        2. Hebrews 7:25, "Therefore He is able also to save forever those who draw near to God through Him, since He always lives to make intercession for them."
      4. Sacrifice without blemish: Deut. 17:1 “You shall not sacrifice to the LORD your God an ox or a sheep which has a blemish or any defect, for that is a detestable thing to the LORD your God."
  16. “For God so loved the world, that He gave His only begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him shall not perish, but have eternal life.
    1. The initiation of salvation is in God's action, not man's.
    2. World
      1. Can mean several things including
        1. Every Individual: Acts 17:31; Romans 3:6; 1 John 2:2
        2. Limited Area: Acts 11:28; Romans 1:8; Colossians 1:6
        3. All Nations: Matthew 26:13; John 3:16; 1 John 2:2; Revelation 3:10; 16:14.
        4. Secular Realm:  Matt. 5:14; 18:7; John 1:10; 15:18; Rom. 12:2; Gal. 6:14; 1 Tim. 1:15; James 1:27; 1 Pet. 1:9; 1 John 2:15
        5. Earth: Luke 12:30; John 1:10; Acts 17:24; Ephesians 1:11; 1 Timothy 1:15; Hebrews 1:2; 1 Peter 5:9; 2 Peter 3:6
    3. Only Begotten
      1. John 1:14, "And the Word became flesh, and dwelt among us, and we saw His glory, glory as of the only begotten from the Father, full of grace and truth."
      2. John 1:18, "No one has seen God at any time; the only begotten God who is in the bosom of the Father, He has explained Him."
    4. Only Begotten Son
      1. μονογενής, monogenes, Only John uses this term  to describe the relation of Jesus to God the Father.
      2. John 3:16, verse under consideration
      3. John 3:18, below
    5. Whoever believes
      1. "πας ο πιστευων", literally, "all the believing one."  'believing' is present active participle
        1. the Greek word for "whoever" is ὅς, hos.  It is not here in John 3:16
    6. Not perish and have eternal life, coupled together
      1. Eternal Life
        1. John 4:14, "but whoever drinks of the water that I will give him shall never thirst; but the water that I will give him will become in him a well of water springing up to eternal life."
        2. John 6:47, "Truly, truly, I say to you, he who believes has eternal life."
        3. John 6:54, "He who eats My flesh and drinks My blood has eternal life, and I will raise him up on the last day."
        4. John 12:50, "I know that His commandment is eternal life; therefore the things I speak, I speak just as the Father has told Me."
        5. John 17:2, "even as You gave Him authority over all flesh, that to all whom You have given Him, He may give eternal life."
        6. John 17:3, "This is eternal life, that they may know You, the only true God, and Jesus Christ whom You have sent."
      2. Eternal life, never perish
        1. John 10:28, "and I give eternal life to them, and they will never perish; and no one will snatch them out of My hand."
      3. Eternal life, no judgment
        1. John 5:24, "Truly, truly, I say to you, he who hears My word, and believes Him who sent Me, has eternal life, and does not come into judgment, but has passed out of death into life."
  17. “For God did not send the Son into the world to judge the world, but that the world might be saved through Him.
    1. Economic Trinity
      1. John 6:38–39, "For I have come down from heaven, not to do My own will, but the will of Him who sent Me. 39 “This is the will of Him who sent Me, that of all that He has given Me I lose nothing, but raise it up on the last day."
      2. John 14:26, "But the Helper, the Holy Spirit, whom the Father will send in My name, He will teach you all things, and bring to your remembrance all that I said to you."
      3. John 20:21, "So Jesus said to them again, 'Peace be with you; as the Father has sent Me, I also send you.'"
    2. World saved
      1. The word world, has at least five different meanings in the New Testament:  Every Individual: Acts 17:31; Romans 3:6; 1 John 2:2; Limited Area: Acts 11:28; Romans 1:8; Colossians 1:6; All Nations: Matthew 26:13; John 3:16; 1 John 2:2; Revelation 3:10; 16:14. Secular Realm: Matt. 5:14; 18:7; John 1:10; 15:18; Rom. 12:2; Gal. 6:14; 1 Tim. 1:15; James 1:27; 1 Pet. 1:9; 1 John 2:15; The Earth: Luke 12:30; John 1:10; Acts 17:24; Ephesians 1:11; first Timothy 1:15; Hebrews 1:2; 1 Peter 5:9; 2 Peter 3:6
  18. “He who believes in Him is not judged; he who does not believe has been judged already, because he has not believed in the name of the only begotten Son of God."
    1. "is not judged" is present tense.  "has already been judged" is perfect, passive.
    2. There is a continued and present judgment upon all who are not believing in Christ.
    3. "in the name" is a semitism.  It means 'the person'.
      1. Matthew 10:41, "He who receives a prophet in the name of a prophet shall receive a prophet’s reward; and he who receives a righteous man in the name of a righteous man shall receive a righteous man’s reward."
      2. Matthew 21:9, "The crowds going ahead of Him, and those who followed, were shouting, 'Hosanna to the Son of David; BLESSED IS HE WHO COMES IN THE NAME OF THE LORD; Hosanna in the highest!'"
      3. Matthew 28:19, "Go therefore and make disciples of all the nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and the Son and the Holy Spirit."
  19. “This is the judgment, that the Light has come into the world, and men loved the darkness rather than the Light, for their deeds were evil."
    1. The judgment results in first the light, that is Christ, has come into the world and men rejected the light.  Judgment is upon them.
      1. Romans 1:22–25, "Professing to be wise, they became fools, 23 and exchanged the glory of the incorruptible God for an image in the form of corruptible man and of birds and four-footed animals and crawling creatures. 24 Therefore God gave them over in the lusts of their hearts to impurity, so that their bodies would be dishonored among them. 25 For they exchanged the truth of God for a lie, and worshiped and served the creature rather than the Creator, who is blessed forever. Amen."
    2. Second, they rejected the light because they were evil.
  20. “For everyone who does evil hates the Light, and does not come to the Light for fear that his deeds will be exposed.
    1. Sin separates us from God, (Isaiah 59:2)
    2. Evil is what comes from the heart and an evil heart does not want the light of truth shed upon it.
      1. Mark 7:21–23, "For from within, out of the heart of men, proceed the evil thoughts, fornications, thefts, murders, adulteries, 22 deeds of coveting and wickedness, as well as deceit, sensuality, envy, slander, pride and foolishness. 23 “All these evil things proceed from within and defile the man.”"
      2. Romans 3:10-12, "as it is written, “THERE IS NONE RIGHTEOUS, NOT EVEN ONE; 11 THERE IS NONE WHO UNDERSTANDS, THERE IS NONE WHO SEEKS FOR GOD; 12 ALL HAVE TURNED ASIDE, TOGETHER THEY HAVE BECOME USELESS; THERE IS NONE WHO DOES GOOD, THERE IS NOT EVEN ONE.”"
  21. “But he who practices the truth comes to the Light, so that his deeds may be manifested as having been wrought in God.”
    1. This verse should be contrasted with verse 20:  everyone who does evil and everyone who practices truth.
    2. Truth is not an abstract idea, immaterial idea without foundation. It is found in Christ.
      1. John 1:17, "For the Law was given through Moses; grace and truth were realized through Jesus Christ."
    3. Truth is that which corresponds to the word of God.
      1. Truth is also a statement that agrees with actuality and/or logic. This is called the correspondence theory of truth.
  22. After these things Jesus and His disciples came into the land of Judea, and there He was spending time with them and baptizing.   
    1. Perhaps he left Jerusalem and went into the regions of Judea
    2. The tense of the verb "baptizing" suggests an ongoing action.
    3. It appears that Jesus was performing baptisms though some say that he perhaps he was overseeing the baptisms.
      1. Later in John 4:2 it says, "although Jesus Himself was not baptizing, but His disciples were",
  23. John also was baptizing in Aenon near Salim, because there was much water there; and people were coming and were being baptized
    1. The location of Aenon is not known for certain.
    2. It appears that the people of that region were being baptized.
  24. for John had not yet been thrown into prison.
    1. This is a parenthetical statement added by John the apostle concerning John the Baptist.
  25. Therefore there arose a discussion on the part of John’s disciples with a Jew about purification.
    1. A discussion had arisen about Jewish purification requirements. It does not seem to be about the baptism issue itself though it may be. Some of Jewish rituals included washing with water so it might be relevant to the issue of baptism.
    2. Purification requirements to cleanse...
      1. a leprous house included the use of running water, (Leviticus 14:50)
      2. after touching a corpse, (Numbers 19:11-12)
      3. in providing a burnt offering, (Numbers 1:8, 13)
      4. consecration of Aaron and his sons, (Lev. 8:6)
  26. "And they came to John and said to him, 'Rabbi, He who was with you beyond the Jordan, to whom you have testified, behold, He is baptizing and all are coming to Him.'”
    1. "to whom you have testified" is in the perfect tense representing a continued action on the part of John the Baptist. He did not testify and then stop. He is still doing it.
    2. There was no competition between John the Baptist and Jesus.
    3. Often times in denominations in various churches there is a competition between people. The real goal should be the glorification of Christ and not a competition.
  27. John answered and said, “A man can receive nothing unless it has been given him from heaven.
    1. Receiving from heaven is receiving from God that which is appropriate for the work at hand.
    2. Receiving from heaven is the gifts and abilities that we are to use for his glory.
  28. “You yourselves are my witnesses that I said, ‘I am not the Christ,’ but, ‘I have been sent ahead of Him.’
    1. The ministry of John the Baptist was to point to Jesus, not to himself.
      1. John 1:20, "And he [John the Baptist] confessed and did not deny, but confessed, “I am not the Christ.”"
    2. Therefore John clearly denied that he was the Christ, though many people were wondering if it was he who was the prophesied one sent from God as the Messiah.
    3. Being sent ahead of him
      1. Mark 1:1–3, "The beginning of the gospel of Jesus Christ, the Son of God. 2 As it is written in Isaiah the prophet: “BEHOLD, I SEND MY MESSENGER AHEAD OF YOU, WHO WILL PREPARE YOUR WAY; 3 THE VOICE OF ONE CRYING IN THE WILDERNESS, ‘MAKE READY THE WAY OF THE LORD, MAKE HIS PATHS STRAIGHT.’ ”"
      2. Malachi 3:1, "Behold, I am going to send My messenger, and he will clear the way before Me. And the Lord, whom you seek, will suddenly come to His temple; and the messenger of the covenant, in whom you delight, behold, He is coming,” says the LORD of hosts."
      3. Isaiah 40:3, "A voice is calling, 'Clear the way for the LORD in the wilderness; Make smooth in the desert a highway for our God.'"
  29. “He who has the bride is the bridegroom; 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.
    1. John is relating himself to being "the friend of the bridegroom." This is the closest equivalent we have in that text for our "best man."
    2. Not sure what is meant by the phrase "who stands and hears him." But it could mean that John the Baptist is recognizing that the Christ is to be heard.  When the bridegroom is there, people rejoice because the wedding is about to occur.
  30. “He must increase, but I must decrease.
    1. This is one of my favorite verses in the Bible.
    2. Jesus must be the one who increases and we ourselves must decrease. Not that we are nothing, but we must elevate him above ourselves. This is what John the Baptist was getting at. Jesus is more important than himself and likewise then ourselves.
  31. “He who comes from above is above all, he who is of the earth is from the earth and speaks of the earth. He who comes from heaven is above all.
    1. "What comes from above," must be Jesus. This is signifying his preexistence and is hinting at his deity.
      1. there are groups that hold to our preexistence and that we to send from heaven to inhabit human bodies.  But, this is refuted by 1 Corinthians 15:46, "However, the spiritual is not first, but the natural; then the spiritual."
    2. The word "earth" here is γῆς, ges.  It is a neutral term since John, the writer of the gospel, often uses the word world in the sense of unbelievers.
      1. John 1:10, "He was in the world, and the world was made through Him, and the world did not know Him."
      2. John 3:16, "For God so loved the world, that He gave His only begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him shall not perish, but have eternal life."
      3. John 15:18, "If the world hates you, you know that it has hated Me before it hated you."
  32. “What He has seen and heard, of that He testifies; and no one receives His testimony.
    1. Jesus is telling us of what he has seen and heard in heaven.
    2. "no one receives his testimony" may be dealing with what Jesus is saying about himself. No one is believing him. After all, he's a man and yet he was claiming some pretty incredible things.
      1. That God was his own father, (John 2:16)
      2. That he would raise his own body from the dead, (John 2:19)
      3. That people must be born again in order to enter heaven, (John 3:3-8)
      4. That he descended from heaven, (John 3:13)
      5. That all who believe in him would have eternal life, (John 3:15-16)
      6. That salvation of the world would be through Jesus, (John 3:17)
      7. That he is the light of the world, (John 3:19)
  33. “He who has received His testimony has set his seal to this, that God is true.
    1. The one who has received an believe the testimony of Jesus is testifying that God is true.
    2. If anyone believes Jesus, he is demonstrating that he believes that what God has said about Christ is true.
      1. Matthew 3:17, "and behold, a voice out of the heavens said, 'This is My beloved Son, in whom I am well-pleased.”"
      2. Mark 9:7, "Then a cloud formed, overshadowing them, and a voice came out of the cloud, “This is My beloved Son, listen to Him!”"
  34. “For He whom God has sent speaks the words of God; for He gives the Spirit without measure.
    1. The basis of the authority of Jesus was that he was sent by God the Father.
    2. Jesus is not mimicking  God the Father. 
    3. "gives the Spirit without measure" is this referring to the Holy Spirit given to Jesus, or to us as believers? The subject is not clear. But it seems best to say it is in reference to the Jesus.
      1. John 15:26, "When the Helper comes, whom I will send to you from the Father, that is the Spirit of truth who proceeds from the Father, He will testify about Me."
  35. “The Father loves [agape] the Son and has given all things into His hand.
    1. "loves" is in the present tense and constitutes a constant love that the Father has for the Son.
    2. "has given," is in the perfect tense, signifying a past action continuing into the present.
    3. "all things into his hand," signifies that he is given Jesus control over everything.
      1. Matt. 28:18,  "And Jesus came up and spoke to them, saying, “All authority has been given to Me in heaven and on earth."
  36. “He who believes in the Son has eternal life; but he who does not obey the Son will not see life, but the wrath of God abides on him."
    1. Eternal llife is the present experience of the believer.
    2. to disobey is to not believe. We are commanded to believe in Christ since God the Father has told us in Mark 9:7, "This is my beloved son, listen to Him!"
      1. Matthew 11:28, "Come to Me, all who are weary and heavy-laden, and I will give you rest."
    3. The wrath of God presently abides upon all who do not pay the gospel of Christ.  This means that the wrath of God will continue to remain on them.

 

 

 

 
 

About The Author

Matt Slick is the President and Founder of the Christian Apologetics and Research Ministry.