January 14, 2005

Nicodemus

1 Now there was a Pharisee named Nicodemus, a leader of the Jews. 2 He came to Jesus by night and said to him, "Rabbi, we know that you are a teacher who has come from God; for no one can do these signs that you do apart from the presence of God."

3 Jesus answered him, "Very truly, I tell you, no one can see the kingdom of God without being born from above."

4 Nicodemus said to him, "How can anyone be born after having grown old? Can one enter a second time into the mother's womb and be born?"

5 Jesus answered, "Very truly, I tell you, no one can enter the kingdom of God without being born of water and Spirit. 6 What is born of the flesh is flesh, and what is born of the Spirit is spirit. 7 Do not be astonished that I said to you, 'You must be born from above.' 8 The wind blows where it chooses, and you hear the sound of it, 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 a teacher of Israel, and yet you do not understand these things? 11 "Very truly, I tell you, we speak of what we know and testify to what we have seen; yet you do not receive our testimony. 12 If I have told you about earthly things and you do not believe, how can you believe if I tell you about heavenly things? 13 No one has ascended into heaven except the one who descended from heaven, the Son of Man. 14 And just 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.

16 "For God so loved the world that he gave his only Son, so that everyone who believes in him may not perish but may have eternal life.

17 "Indeed, God did not send the Son into the world to condemn the world, but in order that the world might be saved through him. 18 Those who believe in him are not condemned; but those who do not believe are condemned already, because they have not believed in the name of the only Son of God. 19 And this is the judgment, that the light has come into the world, and people loved darkness rather than light because their deeds were evil. 20 For all who do evil hate the light and do not come to the light, so that their deeds may not be exposed. 21 But those who do what is true come to the light, so that it may be clearly seen that their deeds have been done in God."

--John 3:1-21 (NRSV)

5 Comments:

At 7:39 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

There is a world of stuff in this passage worth thinking about, writing about, sharing, but I have to quibble about one phrase in 3:16 "everyone who believes in him". This may have been the first step in the deification of Jesus.

"In the three earlier Synoptic gospels, Jesus never suggests "believing in him" is the criterion for salvation.In fact, Jesus warns that it is not those who call him "Lord," who will enter heaven, but those who live the Kingdom life of love! (Mt. 7.21)" This from
Ron Zook's website.Ron goes on to discuss the Parable of the Last Judgment in Matthew 25 where Jesus suggests that those enter the kingdom who have fed the hungry, clothed the naked, visited the sick and in prison. That was his criteria of salvation, not what John seems to make it in 3:16.

The difference is that between a tribe and the human race.

 
At 7:41 AM, Blogger Larry said...

Well I goofed again. As you probably know by now, that was me. (I just can't use good English here.)

 
At 7:48 AM, Blogger david said...

Howdy Anony-larry :0)

Being that odd duck -- a Quaker Trinitarian -- I have no real issue with the deification of Jesus -- especially as I see Jesus as the first fruits of our own apotheosis.

In your favour here -- Jesus clearly refers to the Son of man in third person. An interesting move if he and John (the evangelist) really did see Jesus as God Incarnate.

 
At 4:49 PM, Blogger crystal said...

I read an interesting article on this passage - Born Anew by Sandra Schneiders, a professor at the Jesuit School of Theology ...

As the ironical character of the passage becomes clear to the readers, they are enabled to re-read the text with Christian eyes, not only understanding it in depth but allowing it to raise the question, "Do we really understand?" Or are we, perhaps, like Nicodemus, secure in our already acquired religious wisdom and thus blind to the newness of on-going revelation?

 
At 6:11 PM, Blogger Larry said...

Thanks, Crystal, for telling us about the Born Anew article. It should speak to everyone. You very likely heard me say/write this before, but 3 teachers at the Baptist Seminary where I studied said to the class, 'You must be born again, and again, and again.' Life goes on, as does the new birth. PTL

 

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