Gospel Music Medley Part 1
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Notes Taken From The Reformation Study Bible
John 3 – Key Verses
3:1–21 This is the first of many teaching discourses recorded by John. Typically on being asked a question, Jesus answers in a way that steers the discussion into a deeper realm, often through misunderstandings that are corrected for those becoming true disciples. The new understanding reveals Jesus more fully.
3:2 by night. This might betray a fear of being seen, or it might be a sign of deference to Jesus, a rabbi who should not be distracted during the day. Understood symbolically, Nicodemus is a person living in the darkness of this world, who now encounters the light (8:12; cf. 9:4; 11:10; 13:30).
a teacher . . . from God. Nicodemus understands that God attests His messengers through giving them power to perform miracles, but this understanding falls far short of Jesus’ true identity.
3:3 born again. The translation “born from above” accords well with the discussion of “earthly” and “heavenly” things in v. 12, and the discussion of ascending and descending in v. 13. This is the meaning of the Greek adverb in other places in this Gospel (19:11, 23). Nicodemus apparently understood it to mean “a second time.” It is possible that both meanings are intended—a new birth that is a birth from above.
3:5 born of water and the Spirit. Some suggest that the “water” is the release of fluid that accompanies physical birth, but linguistic considerations point to understanding “water” and “Spirit” as referring to a single spiritual birth. Many interpreters understand “water” here as the water of baptism, but such a reference, before Christian baptism was instituted, would have been meaningless to Nicodemus. Others find a reference to John’s baptism, but Jesus nowhere makes John’s baptism a requirement for salvation. Probably the statement refers to Old Testament passages in which the terms “water” and “Spirit” are linked to express the pouring out of God’s Spirit in the end times (Is. 32:15; 44:3; Ezek. 36:25–27). The presence of such rich Old Testament imagery accounts for Jesus’ reproof of Nicodemus (v. 10): as a “teacher of Israel,” he should have understood.
3:6–8 This passage emphasizes the priority and sovereignty of God in the work of salvation.
3:11 I say to you . . . you do not receive our testimony. The first “you” is singular (Nicodemus) and the second “you” is plural (you and those whom you represent).
3:13 who descended from heaven. It could be said that in His divine nature Christ continued to dwell “in heaven” even during His life on earth. The point is that He has authority to speak of heavenly things. Later in the Gospel, Jesus’ origin “from heaven” becomes a chief matter of dispute (6:41, 42)
3:14 Moses. Num. 21:4–9 records the story of the rebellious Israelites, who murmured and complained. God sent fiery serpents into their midst to punish them. Then God told Moses to put a bronze serpent on a pole, with the promise that whoever looked at it would live.
must . . . be lifted up. Here is a key term in this Gospel (8:28; 12:32, 34) which carries the double meaning of crucifixion and exaltation. Christ’s death on the cross, His resurrection, and His glorification together reveal the glory of God. The word “must” points to God’s sovereign purpose. The crucifixion was the keystone of God’s eternal plan to save His people (Acts 4:27,28).
3:16 God so loved the world. Some have insisted that God sent Jesus to die for the purpose of bringing salvation to everyone without exception, but only as a possibility. However, Jesus makes clear that the salvation of those whom the Father “gives me,” and only those, is not a mere possibility but an absolute certainty; “will come to me” (6:37–40; 10:14–18; 17:9). The point made by “the world” is that Christ’s saving work is not limited to one time or place but applies to the elect from all over the world. Those who do not receive the remedy God has provided in Christ will perish. It remains true that anyone who believes will not die (be separated from God) but live in God’s presence forever. See “God Is Love: Divine Goodness and Faithfulness” at Ps. 136:1.
3:17 to condemn the world. Jesus elsewhere says that judgment does attend His coming into the world (9:39). His point is not that He will not judge, but that the time is not ready. The world was already under threat of judgment before He came, but with His coming salvation became a reality offered to a hostile world (Matt. 23:37; Rom. 5:8).
3:18 Unbelief is not the only basis for condemnation, but it constitutes the climax of rebellion by resisting even God’s gracious offer of salvation in Christ. Jesus comes into a world that is already condemned because of its rejection of God’s self-revelation (Rom. 1:18–32).
3:19 people loved the darkness rather than the light. Jesus gives the reason for the world’s rejection of Him: He is the light who exposes whether a person is righteous or not.
3:21 whoever does what is true comes to the light. Jesus speaks of “doing” the truth. This indicates that “truth” is a matter of both thought and practice. Living by the truth is contrasted with doing what is evil (v. 20).
3:22–36 There are three sections here. In vv. 22–24 we are told that Jesus and His disciples went into Judea, where John was. Invv. 25–30 the Baptist affirms once more that his entire role is to prepare for Christ. Verses 31–36 appear to be a continuation of the Baptist’s words, or possibly a comment by the Gospel writer.
3:24 John . . . not yet . . . in prison. See Matt. 14:3–12; Mark 6:17–29.
3:26 baptizing. See “Baptism” at Rom. 6:3.
3:27 A person cannot receive. God is the Author of all that we receive (1 Cor. 4:7).
3:31 He who comes from above. Jesus is distinguished from all other humans who are “of the earth” (v. 13 ).
3:32 no one receives his testimony. John repeats the idea of 1:10, 11, that neither His own nation nor the world at large was ready to receive Christ. The barrier is the sin and blindness that God alone can penetrate (v. 3; 1:5).
3:33 Whoever receives. The world refused the light, but John immediately mentions those who are coming to the light, especially himself as the first exponent of the truth. John’s preaching is the culmination of the Old Testament and the beginning of the New (1:15; Matt. 11:11).
3:34 for he gives the Spirit without measure. These words could certainly apply to the Spirit-empowered earthly ministry of Jesus (Luke 3:22; 4:1). But it is also possible that they refer to the fullness of the Spirit that Jesus gives to those who serve Him, and some ancient and modern commentators have understood the text this way. Later, Jesus is the agent who sends the Spirit (15:26).
3:35 The Father loves the Son. See 5:20.
John 3 New American Standard Bible (NASB) (Scriptures taken from BibleGateway.com)
The New Birth
3 Now there was a man of the Pharisees, named Nicodemus, a ruler of the Jews; 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.” 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.”
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?” 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. 6 That which is born of the flesh is flesh, and that which is born of the Spirit is spirit. 7 Do not be amazed that I said to you, ‘You 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.”
9 Nicodemus said to Him, “How can these things be?” 10 Jesus answered and said to him, “Are you the teacher of Israel and do not understand these things?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. 12 If I told you earthly things and you do not believe, how will you believe if I tell you heavenly things? 13 No one has ascended into heaven, but He who descended from heaven: the Son of Man. 14 As Moses lifted up the serpent in the wilderness, even so must the Son of Man be lifted up; 15 so that whoever believes will in Him have eternal life.
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. 17 For God did not send the Son into the world to judge the world, but that the world might be saved through Him. 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. 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. 20 For everyone who does evil hates the Light, and does not come to the Light for fear that his deeds will be exposed. 21 But he who practices the truth comes to the Light, so that his deeds may be manifested as having been wrought in God.”
John’s Last Testimony
22 After these things Jesus and His disciples came into the land of Judea, and there He was spending time with them and baptizing. 23 John also was baptizing in Aenon near Salim, because there was much water there; and people were coming and were being baptized— 24 for John had not yet been thrown into prison.
25 Therefore there arose a discussion on the part of John’s disciples with a Jew about purification. 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.” 27 John answered and said, “A man can receive nothing unless it has been given him from heaven. 28 You yourselves are my witnesses that I said, ‘I am not the Christ,’ but, ‘I have been sent ahead of Him.’ 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. 30 He must increase, but I must decrease.
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. 32 What He has seen and heard, of that He testifies; and no one receives His testimony.33 He who has received His testimony has set his seal to this, that God is true.34 For He whom God has sent speaks the words of God; for He gives the Spirit without measure. 35 The Father loves the Son and has given all things into His hand. 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.”
John Chapter 3 – Narration