Rev. Jeremiah Johnson, pastor at Glory of Christ Lutheran Church in Plymouth, WI, joins host Rev. Timothy Appel to study John 3:1-21.
The people of Israel who begin to take notice of Jesus include those in the higher parts of society. Nicodemus, one of the rulers of the Jews, comes to Jesus by night seeking His teaching. When Jesus speaks to Nicodemus about another birth, Nicodemus misunderstands. Jesus tells Nicodemus that this second birth comes from above, worked by God through the water and Spirit. Nicodemus’ confusion intensifies, and although Jesus wonders how a teacher of Israel doesn’t understand, He continues to teach. Jesus says that He will be lifted up to give those who believe in Him eternal life; this is the way God loves the world.
Feature image: Providence Lithograph Company, Public domain, via Wikimedia Commons
“The Word Made Flesh” is a series on Sharper Iron that goes through the Gospel according to St. John. The disciple whom Jesus loved wrote his Gospel account as an eyewitness to Jesus’ life and ministry. As we read the Word of God recorded by St. John, the Holy Spirit works in us so that we might believe that Jesus is the Christ, the Son of God, and so have life by faith in His name.
Sharper Iron, hosted by Rev. Timothy Appel, looks at the text of Holy Scripture both in its broad context and its narrow detail, all for the sake of proclaiming Christ crucified and risen for sinners. Two pastors engage with God’s Word to sharpen not only their own faith and knowledge, but the faith and knowledge of all who listen.
Sharper Iron is underwritten by Lutheran Church Extension Fund, where your investments help support the work of The Lutheran Church—Missouri Synod. Visit lcef.org.
You Must Be Born Again
3 Now there was a man of the Pharisees named Nicodemus, a ruler of the Jews. 2 This man came to Jesus[a] by night and said to him, “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.” 3 Jesus answered him, “Truly, truly, I say to you, unless one is born again[b] he cannot see the kingdom of God.” 4 Nicodemus said to him, “How can a man be born when he is old? Can he enter a second time into his mother’s womb and be born?” 5 Jesus answered, “Truly, truly, I say to you, unless one is born of water and the Spirit, he cannot enter the kingdom of God. 6 That which is born of the flesh is flesh, and that which is born of the Spirit is spirit.[c] 7 Do not marvel that I said to you, ‘You[d] must be born again.’ 8 The wind[e] blows where it wishes, and you hear its sound, but you do not know where it comes from or where it goes. So it is with everyone who is born of the Spirit.”
9 Nicodemus said to him, “How can these things be?” 10 Jesus answered him, “Are you the teacher of Israel and yet you do not understand these things? 11 Truly, truly, I say to you, we speak of what we know, and bear witness to what we have seen, but you[f] do not receive our testimony. 12 If I have told you earthly things and you do not believe, how can you believe if I tell you heavenly things? 13 No one has ascended into heaven except he who descended from heaven, the Son of Man.[g] 14 And as Moses lifted up the serpent in the wilderness, so must the Son of Man be lifted up, 15 that whoever believes in him may have eternal life.[h]
For God So Loved the World
16 “For God so loved the world,[i] that he gave his only Son, that whoever believes in him should not perish but have eternal life. 17 For God did not send his Son into the world to condemn the world, but in order that the world might be saved through him. 18 Whoever believes in him is not condemned, but whoever does not believe is condemned already, because he has not believed in the name of the only Son of God. 19 And this is the judgment: the light has come into the world, and people loved the darkness rather than the light because their works were evil. 20 For everyone who does wicked things hates the light and does not come to the light, lest his works should be exposed. 21 But whoever does what is true comes to the light, so that it may be clearly seen that his works have been carried out in God.”
- John 3:2 Greek him
- John 3:3 Or from above; the Greek is purposely ambiguous and can mean both again and from above; also verse 7
- John 3:6 The same Greek word means both wind and spirit
- John 3:7 The Greek for you is plural here
- John 3:8 The same Greek word means both wind and spirit
- John 3:11 The Greek for you is plural here; also four times in verse 12
- John 3:13 Some manuscripts add who is in heaven
- John 3:15 Some interpreters hold that the quotation ends at verse 15
- John 3:16 Or For this is how God loved the world
English Standard Version (ESV) The Holy Bible, English Standard Version. ESV® Text Edition: 2016. Copyright © 2001 by Crossway Bibles, a publishing ministry of Good News Publishers. esv.org