John 1 -- 3
There was a man of the Pharisees named Nicodemus, a ruler of the Jews: The same came to Jesus by night, and said unto him, Rabbi, we know that You are a Teacher come from God (John 3:1-2). Although he was a member of the Sanhedrin, the council which controlled the religious life of Israel, he may have been fearful to be seen with Jesus during the day. But, he probably wanted an uninterrupted conversation with Jesus, so he chose to see Him at night.
This prominent Pharisee openly confessed to Jesus: Rabbi, we know that You are a Teacher come from God (3:2). But, every sinner needs more than a teacher, so Jesus spoke to him about the supreme importance of being born again. Our first concern must be, not how we should live, but how we are made alive spiritually. Jesus said to Nicodemus: Except a man be born of water and of the Spirit, he cannot enter into the Kingdom of God. That which is born of the flesh is flesh; and that which is born of the Spirit is spirit. . . . You must be born again (3:5-7). To illustrate the supreme importance of being "born again," Jesus reminded him of the Israelites when, near the end of their 40 years of wilderness wandering, they once again complained about their circumstances. So, the Lord sent fiery serpents among them that brought death to thousands of people. When the people cried out to God, He commanded Moses to make a serpent of brass and to hang it on a pole. The people could only be healed by lifting up their eyes and looking at the brazen serpent. Jesus then said: As Moses lifted up the serpent in the wilderness, even so must the Son of Man be lifted up: That whosoever believes in Him should not perish, but have eternal life (3:14-15).
The serpent was made of brass because it is the biblical symbol of judgment. The brazen altar illustrates this truth, since the sacrificial animals were slain on it. He that believes on Him is not condemned: but he that believes not is condemned already, because he has not believed in the Name of the only begotten Son of God (3:18).
The new birth is experienced by the one who realizes that his only hope of being right with God is something beyond himself. Every born again person has two natures within him --one by physical birth, the other is spiritual. These two natures are contrary the one to the other (Galatians 5:17) . . . Consequently, there is an unceasing warfare going on within the Christian.
The one who is born again loves the things he once ignored, and he now hates the things he once desired. When we were born the first time, we received the nature of our parents: Having the understanding darkened, being alienated from the life of God (Ephesians 4:18). When we are born again, we are born into God's family and receive the nature of our Creator: Whereby are given unto us exceeding great and precious promises: that by these you might be partakers of the divine nature (II Peter 1:4).
For John 1:23: See Isa. 40:3. John 2:17: See Psa. 69:9.
Government Official: Rep. John Spratt (SC) · BPM Staff: Dr. John A. Hash · Pray for your church leaders · Pray for the Bible Pathway International Radio Broadcast sponsored by Bett Brown · Pray for the Arabic Bible Pathway International Radio Broadcast for the month of November sponsored by Mrs. Michael Farace · Country: Guyana (750,000) on the northeastern coast of South America · Major languages: English and Amerindian dialects · The government is becoming increasingly Marxist, radical, and atheistic · 36% Hindu; 28% Protestant; 10% Roman Catholic; 9% Muslim · Prayer Suggestion: Let the Lord have all your worries and cares; He is always thinking about you and things that concern you (I Peter 5:7).
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