John 3: Jesus and Nicodemus, and John and His Disciples

Reposted from Pr. Stout:

(36 verses, 3:23 to read)


What I am about to READ 

  • Two conversations that have much in common.  See if you can recognize some parallels.


  • I got long winded on the “Learn” section, so here’s a brief outline:
  • 1-21: Jesus conversation with Nicodemus about Baptism, original sin, the Holy Spirit’s work, Jesus’ crucifixion, the specific way in which God loves the world, & God’s wrath and condemnation on unbelief.
  • 22-36: John the Baptist’s conversation about much of the same stuff.


  • The Holy Spirit uses John to write a wonderful Gospel.  John has some interesting characteristics in his Gospel that also come out in his epistles.  For example, John likes to repeat points, but with slightly different emphasis or shades, to build a clear and convincing argument.  John believes in the point that repetition is the key to all learning
  • For example, in our reading today, Jesus teaches about flesh and spirit and the necessity of being born from water and the Spirit, which is a clear reference to baptism.  Our reading emphasizes this point by confessing the work of God through Baptism that both John and Jesus’ disciples (“Jesus himself did not baptize any, but His disciples” [John 4:2]) were doing.
  • Another example vs. 16-18 from the mouth of Jesus and vs. 35-36 from the mouth of John.  Both confess the life and salvation that comes through faith in Jesus and the wrath and condemnation that remains on those who do not believe.
  • What is baptism?  This reading points out that baptism is a work of the Spirit that unites you with Christ and His death. Where is this in the reading?  In the Greek, Jesus mentions twice (vs. 3 & 7) that one must be born “anothen” which many translations have as “again.”  However, it is better translated as “from above.”  This same word is used in vs. 31, ” He who comes from above (anothen) is above all.”  Thus, this Spiritual birth through water comes “from above” from the very one who came “from above,” that is “descended from heaven” (vs. 13)  in order that “as Moses lifted up the serpent in the wilderness, so must the Son of Man be lifted up” (vs. 15) on a cross.
  • John 3:16, the Gospel in a nutshell is often referenced without John 3:15, which is a bit inaccurate.  The word “so” here in vs. 16 is pointing to what Jesus had just referenced, namely the necessity of the Son of Man being lifted up on a cross.  “So” would better be translated as “in this way,” or “in this manner” God loved the world, namely that the Son of God would be lifted up on a cross as Moses lifted up the bronze serpent on the pole.


  • Lord Jesus, as the Father gave You the Holy Spirit without measure, continue to grant to me, your dear brother/sister by virtue of your incarnation and my baptism into You, Your Holy Spirit, that He may continually confess that I am not condemned and that God’s wrath was poured out on You in order that I may have Your salvation and life.

Thoughts? Comments? Questions? Post below, or join the conversation in our Facebook group:

Pastor Christopher Stout


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