Monthly Archives: May 2011

The Gospel of John: Part 9 The New Birth

John 2:23–3:15 (ESV) — 23 Now when he was in Jerusalem at the Passover Feast, many believed in his name when they saw the signs that he was doing. 24 But Jesus on his part did not entrust himself to them, because he knew all people 25 and needed no one to bear witness about man, for he himself knew what was in man. 1 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 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 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.7 Do not marvel that I said to you, ‘You must be born again.’ 8 The wind 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 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?

Tonight we are studying John 2:23-3:12. Last time we discussed Jesus clearing the animals and merchants out of the temple complex. Tonight we are going to move on to a middle of the night meeting by a man named Nicodemus and Jesus. As you noticed when I read the verses I’m including the last 3 verses of chapter 2 with this section in chapter 3. Let me start by saying that the original Greek did not have chapter and verse separations. The Chapters were added by Stephen Langton in the 13 century. The verse separations did not come into being until the Geneva Bible in 1560. Unfortunately there are a few places where I feel the chapters break up a subject and this is one of them.
I feel that these three verses are important to understand the dialogue being said between Jesus and Nicodemus. So back to verses 23-25. Now when he was in Jerusalem at the Passover Feast, many believed in his name when they saw the signs that he was doing. But Jesus on his part did not entrust himself to them, because he knew all people and needed no one to bear witness about man, for he himself knew what was in man.
Our Hearts
The thing I’m wanting us to see here is that Jesus knows our true motives. We saw this a few weeks ago when Jesus told Nathanael He saw him under the fig tree. In John 6:61 and John16:19 we see where Jesus knows the very thoughts and questions in a persons mind. We can deceive man but we can never deceive God.
It’s funny in a sad way how a person will go to great lengths to impress people but forget about God. If I told you that we were going to follow you around with hidden video cameras for the next week, you would not see them but you would know that you were being filmed at every moment of the day. Oh and we also need you to wear these special sensors so we can read your thoughts.
We are then going to put all this together and let your friends, spouse, boss, pastor and every one we can find watch it and hear your thoughts. You would be a nervous wreck. Think about it. How often would you try to curb your mind if you knew the person you were having an evil or lustful thought about could hear it. When you look down on the homeless man and think , “the slob should get a job”, or the black man and think to yourself; “criminal”. The addict that you call a “stupid fool”. Jesus calls these the least of these and when you think this way about them you are thinking that way about Him (Matthew 25:45).
But see, Jesus hears all of these things. Jesus sees our every deed and hears our every thought, yet we are not afraid to continue on as we were. We are more afraid of man than God.
Jesus knows our hearts!


The Gospel of John: Part 8 The Clearing

John 2:13–22 (ESV) — 13 The Passover of the Jews was at hand, and Jesus went up to Jerusalem. 14 In the temple he found those who were selling oxen and sheep and pigeons, and the money-changers sitting there. 15 And making a whip of cords, he drove them all out of the temple, with the sheep and oxen. And he poured out the coins of the money-changers and overturned their tables. 16 And he told those who sold the pigeons, “Take these things away; do not make my Father’s house a house of trade.” 17 His disciples remembered that it was written, “Zeal for your house will consume me.” 18 So the Jews said to him, “What sign do you show us for doing these things?” 19 Jesus answered them, “Destroy this temple, and in three days I will raise it up.” 20 The Jews then said, “It has taken forty-six years to build this temple, and will you raise it up in three days?” 21 But he was speaking about the temple of his body. 22 When therefore he was raised from the dead, his disciples remembered that he had said this, and they believed the Scripture and the word that Jesus had spoken.

2 Temple Clearings
Today we are in the second chapter of John verses 13-22 and we are going to cover the clearing of the temple by Jesus. Now here is where we come to the first controversy between the synoptics and John’s gospel. The problem is simple; John is recording this happening at the start of Jesus’ ministry. Matthew 21:12-17, Mark 11:15-19, and Luke 19:45-48 record it happening at the end. The simple solution and the one I believe, along with many others[1] is that there are 2 temple clearings one at the beginning and one at the end of Jesus’ ministry. I will mention some of the reasons some scholars speak out so strongly[2] against two temple clearings, but I am going to mainly focus on the fact that there are 2.
If you want some reading on this E. Randolph Richards has an article from the Trinity Journal of Theology [3] that goes into 25 pages of more depth than I’m going to cover. I will use some of his argument without going into too much depth.

  1. [1] Luther, Macarthur, Ironside, Morris, Carson, Lightfoot and others
  2. [2] Gerald Borchert calls the idea of two temple clearings “a historiographic monstrosity”( Gerald L. Borchert, vol. 25A, John 1-11, electronic ed., Logos Library System; The New American Commentary (Nashville: Broadman & Holman Publishers, 2001), 160)
  3. [3]