Saturday, February 16, 2013

Five Bible Passages to Help Us Understand John Chapter 3

3 In reply Jesus declared, "I tell you the truth, no one can see the kingdom of God unless he is born again.a "
This first passage is from a conversation between Jesus and Nicodemus, one of the pharisees. This passage is also where the idea of "born again Christians" comes from. It's something I do hold with, for I have seen myself personally born again in Christ's love and mercy. It's something that has been taken by society and confused. We need not be confused. Before we know Christ we are a prisoner of sin. Jesus sets us free, and we are born into a new spiritual life. We then become children of God, and we are no longer of the world!
12 I have spoken to you of earthly things and you do not believe; how then will you believe if I speak of heavenly things? 13 No one has ever gone into heaven except the one who came from heaven-the Son of Man.d 14 Just as Moses lifted up the snake in the desert, so the Son of Man must be lifted up, 15 that everyone who believes in him may have eternal life.e
This passage is also from the conversation between Jesus and Nicodemus. This passage reminds us that only Jesus has been to heaven with God. He came from heaven and heaven is where he returned to. When Jesus talks about Moses hes referring to a time in the Old Testament when God instructed Moses to put a snake on a pole in the desert. He told Moses that whenever anyone looked at it they would live. In the same way Jesus saves us from sin. Jesus often referenced Old Testament scripture because the people of that time we raised on that scripture and knew well of it. We see that through the sacrifice of Jesus we receive eternal life.
16 "For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son,f that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life. 17 For God did not send his Son into the world to condemn the world, but to save the world through him.
This is one of the most well known passages in the Bible. This is a really important passage because we are reminded of God's incredible love for humanity. He could have left us in our sin, but he allowed those sins to be wiped away for all time. I never really understood the love of God in my early spiritual life. This lead me to abandon it! The love of God is something that ought to be taught more prevalently because it's not something easily received by the human mind. We are raised in a way that shuts us off, and we feel little or nothing but misery. If we train ourselves to constantly be aware of God's love, we start to feel it at all times, and nothing is better than living in that mindset. People think God is a punishing, vindicating entity. He is not! He overflows with love for us. God did not send Jesus to condemn the world, but to save it!
19 This is the verdict: Light has come into the world, but men loved darkness instead of light because their deeds were evil. 20 Everyone who does evil hates the light, and will not come into the light for fear that his deeds will be exposed. 21 But whoever lives by the truth comes into the light, so that it may be seen plainly that what he has done has been done through God."h
I love this passage, as it starts with the phrase "This is the verdict." What a great way to start a passage. There is no lie in these words! Jesus is the light of the world, and through Jesus we become the people of the light. Humans love darkness, because they have to constantly hide their many sins. We learn that many of the reasons atheists feel the way they do, is because they don't want to come clean of sin. They think their sins are so bad they have to bury them. All sins are equally forgiven by accepting Christ. So as Christians we become the people of the light. We do so by living by the truth, which is the Bible. The light shines on us, and by our example others choose to accept Christ.
27 To this John replied, "A man can receive only what is given him from heaven. 28 You yourselves can testify that I said, 'I am not the Christj but am sent ahead of him.' 29 The bride belongs to the bridegroom. The friend who attends the bridegroom waits and listens for him, and is full of joy when he hears the bridegroom's voice. That joy is mine, and it is now complete. 30 He must become greater; I must become less.
This passage is from a moment when several of Johns followers were telling him that Jesus was baptizing and more were following him. John tells them plainly that he completely obeys the will of heaven. He reminds them of his testimony that he is not the Christ. John was sent ahead of Christ to prepare the people to receive the savior. John explains that the meeting of Israel with Jesus is a time of joy for him! He is extremely happy that Jesus is in the world working. He explains that his mission is now complete, and he must become less important in the scheme of things.