Last time we studied a nighttime meeting of Jesus and Nicodemus, Today we will finish the dialogue that was started then. We discussed what it means to be born again and Nicky was having a hard time understanding it. Let’s move on and see what Jesus has to say.
“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? 13 No one has ascended into heaven except he who descended from heaven, the Son of Man.
The first thing that jumps out is that Jesus is speaking in the plural. We speak, we know, we have seen, our testimony. This is because Jesus is showing the Trinity; The father, the Son and the Holy Spirit. All three persons of the Godhead are part of the New Birth. The last example Jesus gave was how the Holy Spirit works like the wind. You can’t see it, but you see its effects. Nick does not understand this earthly example so how can he understand the things of Heaven.
The Son of Man
Now Jesus is going to try and make it even simpler for Nicodemus. No one has ascended into heaven except he who descended from heaven, the Son of Man. That clears it right up. Right?In Chapter 7 of the book of Daniel, he is having vision at night and he sees the end of times. He sees Satan cast into the lake of fire and the books opened up.
Then behold, with the clouds of heaven there came one like a son of man, and he came to the Ancient of Days and was presented before him. And to him was given dominion and glory and a kingdom, that all peoples, nations, and languages should serve him; his dominion is an everlasting dominion, which shall not pass away, and his kingdom one that shall not be destroyed. (Daniel 7:13-14)
He sees God on his throne and suddenly on the clouds appears one that appears to be an ordinary man, yet God gives him all authority and glory. No one has ascended into heaven except he who descended from heaven, the Son of Man. With this verse Jesus just said I have been sent from heaven, because I am the one that God the Father is giving all glory to. I am the Son of Man Daniel prophesied about. Nicky would have caught and understood this reference.
Christ Lifted Up
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. The reference to the serpent that Moses lifted up goes back to the wilderness wondering and Numbers 21
4 From Mount Hor they set out by the way to the Red Sea, to go around the land of Edom. And the people became impatient on the way. 5 And the people spoke against God and against Moses, “Why have you brought us up out of Egypt to die in the wilderness? For there is no food and no water, and we loathe this worthless food.” 6 Then the Lord sent fiery serpents among the people, and they bit the people, so that many people of Israel died. 7 And the people came to Moses and said, “We have sinned, for we have spoken against the Lord and against you. Pray to the Lord, that he take away the serpents from us.” So Moses prayed for the people. (Numbers 21:4-7)
The Israelites have been traveling along having God provide everything for them. This worthless food that they loathe is called manna. It is a bread that comes down from heaven. God provides it for them. God travels with them and protects them from their enemies. Yet they rebel. So God sends serpents. Snakes that show up bite them and they die.
8 And the Lord said to Moses, “Make a fiery serpent and set it on a pole, and everyone who is bitten, when he sees it, shall live.” 9 So Moses made a bronze serpent and set it on a pole. And if a serpent bit anyone, he would look at the bronze serpent and live. (Numbers 21:8-9)
So Moses asks God to forgive them and God gives them away to avoid the punishment of their rebellion. Moses makes a bronze snake and puts it on a pole they travel with. It was actually kept for many years until Hezekiah destroyed it because people were starting to worship it (2 Kings 18:4). But the priest would walk holding this bronze serpent up and if a person was bit they could look upon the bronze serpent held up on a pole and they would be forgiven of their rebellion and live.
So what Jesus just told Nicodemus is that He is the one God has given all glory to and He will be lifted up in some way just as the bronze serpent was and anyone that looks upon Him will be forgiven of their rebellion against God and given eternal life.
At this time Nicodemus would not know that Jesus would be crucified, but when he looked upon Jesus lifted up on the cross it would be a life changing moment. We can see from John 7:50-52 and John 19:39-40 that Nicodemus did come to follow Jesus. When you look upon the cross you can be healed of sins bite and given eternal life.
“For God so loved the world, that he gave his only Son, that whoever believes in him should not perish but have eternal life.John 3:16 is probably the most well known verse in the entire bible. Even if you do not know what it says you have seen it at ball games and on billboards. Why is it so popular? Why do we quote this verse to nonchristians with the expectation that this one verse is enough to bring someone to Christ?
Because this verse sums up the gospel! It is a drop of water placed on the tongue of a man dying of thirst. It adds to the craving for more water. It makes you want to find out more about this God and His Son. The first part, “For God so loved the world”, is translated in The NET and Holman Bible as For this is the way God loved the world:.
It is saying, this is what God did. This is how much He loves you. This is one of those beautiful truths of the bible that should just make you stop in awe. This verse is nice as is, but when you think about who God is, this verse is amazing! Some people try to separate the Old Testament and New Testament into 2 Gods. They try to say the Old Testament God is angry and vengeful, but the New Testament God is loving and kind.
When you pick and select what you have read or heard and don’t bother to read the entire bible and look at the entire thing as one book revealing who God is, then you don’t see that God is a God of love both in Old Testament and the New Testament.
We seem to have forgotten that God is the creator of everything. Without God there would be nothing. In the beginning God created the heavens and earth. The earth was without form and void. Nothing! And God said let there be light…Let there be an expanse… Let the waters be gathered together and land appeared…Let the earth sprout vegetation…Let there be lights in the sky and let there be creature.
God created it all and then He said Let Us create man in Our image. God put the very breathe in man. No man is complete without a good woman, so God created woman. Six days God sat back looked at earth, the land, the animals, man and woman and it was beautiful. It was paradise.
Have you ever thought about what Genesis 2:25 is really saying, And the man and his wife were both naked and were not ashamed. That seems simple enough, but think about it. Why were they not ashamed? They were pure of heart and mind. They were created in God’s image and that image had not been marred by sin.
God created Man to be pure and to walk in His presence. But God to show His grace gave man a choice. You can follow me or you can rebel. You can be Holy and pure or you can be sinful. You can forever walk in My presence or you can die and suffer.
Man choose sin. Man Choose to rebel against God. You choose to rebel against God. But a Holy and Pure God that cannot look upon sin choose to cleanse you. He choose to remove your sin and that required His Son to take your punishment. This is how He loved you. This is how much He loved you.
that whoever believes in him should not perish but have eternal life. Do you see how simple that is? Whoever believes! Anyone that believes that Jesus is the Son of God come to die to for their sin can have eternal life.
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.Whoever believes in him is not condemned, but whoever does not believe is condemned already, Some people think that Jesus is here to condemn them. They see the church as just a place where everyone criticizes certain sins. But Jesus is not here to condemn people. His church is not here to condemn sinners. No, Jesus and His church are here to save sinners.
You see you are already condemned. Everyone is born a sinner. Nobody is born seeking God. A person is born and they seek what they perceive to be their needs. This gets worse as they get older. It goes from being about not sharing toys to using people. You see we do not naturally seek what is pleasing to God, we seek what is pleasing to us. We build our idols and worship them instead of God. We are already condemned. Jesus came to help us see our sin and condemnation so that by believing in Him, we can be saved.
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. The judgment is Jesus has come into the world, yet the people love their sin more than Jesus. For if you do wicked things you hate Jesus because your sin would be exposed. This isn’t talking about exposing as in everyone will know. This is exposing as in you will know that you are sinning.
We talked about the New Birth and God writing His law on our hearts. This is part of that same dialogue. Jesus is saying that people will refuse to believe in Him, because they will not want to admit their sin. How many like admitting you are wrong? How many like telling someone something bad they have done to them. How many have done something bad against someone else and then had to admit it. It’s not fun! Noone likes looking someone in the eyes and saying, “I have betrayed you.” We try to avoid it.
To accept Jesus is to truly realize who God is and look Him in the eye and say I have betrayed you. We do not like our sins to be exposed. We do not like the guilt that comes from the wicked things we enjoy, yet we know go against God. We living in darkness do not like the light. So are you going to run from the light, or are you going to embrace it and let your sin be exposed so it can be dealt with and forgotten by God.