John 4:1-15 – Good Old Fashioned Know-How



The Lord “knew how” (John 4:1) the Pharisees had heard something, but how did He know it? He was just a man, but God in the flesh, and so could tap into His omniscience.

Our Baptist friends teach that when the Lord “made and baptized” disciples, it means baptism should follow salva-tion. But that’s how baptism saved! In a day when baptism was required for salvation (Mark 1:4) the thief on the cross was saved when he believed, and the Lord knew he would be baptized if he weren’t nailed to a cross. So in this sense men were made disciples, then baptized. Believing made them disciples, but baptism was still required.

The Lord didn’t personally baptize anyone (John 4:2), for He knew that if He did, men would think their baptism was better than men baptized by the disciples. Now today men say that’s why Paul didn’t baptized, but that’s not what he said. He said he didn’t baptized because he wasn’t sent to baptize (ICor.1:17). That’s why we don’t need to be baptized, for he is our apostle (Rom. 11:13).

Why would the Pharisees care the Lord baptized more people than John? They were jealous of John at first, then of Him when He became more popular. So the Lord left (John 4:3), not because He was afraid to die, He just knew He couldn’t die until He had finished His testimony and trained the apostles to carry on after He was gone.

The Lord didn’t “need” to go through Samaria because, as our Calvinist friends say, an elect woman was there that He needed to save. This cannot be, for entering a city of Samaria (4:5) would break His own rule (Mt.10:5). He needed to go through Samaria simply because He was in Jerusalem and was headed for Galilee (John 4:3), and Samaria lie in between!

The Jews hated the Samaritans, partly because Joseph was buried in “Sychar” (4:5 cf. Joshua 24:32), making it a sort of historic sacred site that was now in the hands of the Samaritans. A woman is about to get saved here at “Jacob’s well” (John 4:6), making her a part of the Bride (cf. 3:29), reminding us of how Isaac, Jacob and Moses all met their wives in situations involving a well.

The Lord just proved He was God by knowing what the Pharisees had heard; now He proves He was a man by being “wearied” (4:6). “Give me” (4:7) sounds impolite, but that was just how they talked (cf. 4:15). She recognized He was asking her (4:9). The word “for” (4:8) explains why He asked the woman for a drink, “for” the disciples were gone into a city of the Samaritans and so He couldn’t ask them. This is how we know the Lord wasn’t there to preach, but just passing through.

The Lord’s dress or speech tipped her off that He was a Jew (4:9). But why did the Jews have no dealings with Samari-tans? Well, Samaria was the original name of the northern 10 tribes (IIKi.17:6), but after Assyrian carried Samaria away captive, they planted Assyrians in Israel (17:24) who learned how to be Jews only to be saved from the lions (17: 25-34). So the Jews didn’t like the Samaritans because of their roots, but also because of their in conduct Ezra 4:1-10.

Notice the Lord doesn’t allow her to distract Him by engaging Him in the Jews/Samaritans debate, but begins to deal with her about her soul (John 4:10). We know “the gift” is the “living water” He spoke of later in the verse, for He says if she’d have asked for it, He’d have “given” it to her. Living water was a euphemism of salvation, the same salvation Jacob drank of (4:12), and if she drank it, she too would become a bride by a well!

Drinking here was a euphemism for believing, as eating the bread of life (6:40,54). If she drank the water, it would be-come a spring within her (4:14). If you wash your feet in a pond, the more dirt you kick up on the bottom, the dirtier your feet get. But if you kick up dirt in a spring or a stream, the dirt is washed away. What a great way to de-scribe how salvation washes away the sin we kick up in life

But like Nicodemus, His imagery was lost on her (4:11,15). Next week we’ll see how the Lord gets through to her.

2015 Fall Letter

Quick Links:
The Miracles of Calvary DVD Set by Pastor Paul M. Sadler
Bible Contrasts by Pastor David Adams
Paul’s Epistle to the Ephesians by Pastor Paul M. Sadler
Bible Events — Book 3 from the Growing Up In Grace Sunday School Curriculum
48th Annual BBF Summer Conference

Quick Links:
The Miracles of Calvary DVD Set by Pastor Paul M. Sadler
Bible Contrasts by Pastor David Adams
Paul’s Epistle to the Ephesians by Pastor Paul M. Sadler
Bible Events — Book 3 from the Growing Up In Grace Sunday School Curriculum
48th Annual BBF Summer Conference

John 3:31-36 – The Roots of Royalty



The Lord had royal roots, for He’s the One who “cometh from above” (John 3:31), or as the verse ends by explain-ing, “from heaven.” We know heaven is “above” or up be-cause Isaiah 14:13 says God lives “in the sides of the north.” Back when God was promoting men to be king, that’s where promotion came from (Ps.75:6,7).

Since the Lord came from above, He is “above all” (John 3:31). If you are thinking, “Who doesn’t know that?”, the answer is, the disciples of John the Baptist! When they were jealous of the Lord’s popularity (3:25,26) thinking John was above all, he set them straight (3:27-30). And it is John the Baptist who is still speaking here in Verse 31!

This helps us to know that John the Baptist is the one who is “of the earth” (3:31). John has been saying, “He’s the Christ, I’m not. He’s the bridegroom, I’m not.” Now he says, “He’s from above, I’m from the earth.”

Now when it says John “speaketh of the earth,” that sounds carnal, but we know it isn’t, for the Lord also spoke of the earth. In John 3:1-11, He told Nicodemus he needed to be born again. The new birth isn’t earthly, but our need for it is! Thus in John 3:12, the Lord is saying, “If I’ve told you about your earthly need for the new birth, and you don’t believe it, how are you going to believe if I tell you something heavenly, like how to be born again.” Telling people of their need for Christ then is what it means to speak earthly things, and that is what John the Baptist did!

The Lord testified what he had “seen and heard” (John 3:32) at His baptism (Luke 3:21,22). There He saw the Spirit come on Him and heard He was God’s Son. And that’s what He “testifieth” (John 3:32), that He was God’s Son and that the Spirit was upon Him (Lu.4:18; Mt.12:28). His disciples likewise testified what they saw and heard (Acts 4:20). But since we haven’t seen or heard anything, I guess that means we don’t have to testify, right? No way! James lived 1500 years after Job, but his readers “heard” about Job (5:11) the same way you did—in the Scriptures! And they had “seen” the “end” the Lord gave Job the same way you saw it—in the Scriptures! I guess we can testify what we’ve seen and heard after all! And so could the Lord, for He knew the Scriptures well, and testified much more than what He saw and heard the day He was baptized.

When John says “no man receiveth His testimony” (3:32), we know this is a hyperbole, for John and many disciples had received it. John is responding to the hyperbole of his disciples who complained “all men come to Him” (3:26).

Further proof John is using a hyperbole is seen when he goes on to say, “he that hath received His testimony hath set to his seal that God is true” (v.33). Israel’s leaders once accepted a covenant, saying: “we…seal unto it” (Neh. 9:38; 10:1). When people received the Lord’s testimony, they set their seal to the fact that “God is true.” Notice it doesn’t say they received the Lord’s testimony and agreed the Lord was true. It says they received the Lord’s testimony and agreed “God is true,” because “he whom God hath sent speaketh the words of God” (John 3:34)

God didn’t give the Spirit “by measure” unto the Lord (John 3:34). In the Old Testament, God did give His Spirit to men by measure. Men who had the Spirit to help them build the tabernacle (Ex.31:3) didn’t have the Spirit to lead Israel into battle (Jud.6:33), and men who had the Spirit to lead Israel into battle didn’t have the Spirit to lead them to prophesy (ISam.10:10), etc. They had Him by measure.

Why is John the Baptist saying this? Because even though he himself was filled with the Spirit (Luke 1:15), we know that not even John had an immeasurable gift of the Spirit, because unlike the Lord, he couldn’t work miracles (John 10:41). John is further impressing on his disciples that Christ is above all, even above him.

God gave “all things” into the hands of Adam, but he sinned. God then gave all things into the hand of the last Adam (John 3:35), and thankfully He did not sin, for the most important thing God put into His hands was eternal life, which He gives to all who believe on Him (John 3:36).

John 3:22-30 – A Tale of Two Baptists



Immersionists argue it doesn’t take “much water” (John 3:23) to sprinkle or pour, so baptism must be by immersion. But “Aenon” means springs. John wasn’t baptizing there because the waters were deep, but because they were plen-tiful. When someone would believe the gospel he preached, he’d dip hyssop in one of the springs and sprinkle them, as in Numbers 19:18. We know these Old Testament “washings” (Heb.9:10) were baptisms because the Greek word in Hebrews 9:10 is baptismos. Some argue that baptismos means to dip, but it was the hyssop that got dipped, not the people! (Num.19:18).

Notice this OT baptism by sprinkling was associated with purifying people who became ceremonially unclean by contact with a dead body (v.19-21). Right before the Lord establishes the kingdom, God will sprinkle believers in Israel to purify them from their sins (Ezek. 36:25).

The fact that the Lord followed John’s baptism ministry with one of His own shows He preached the same message, (Mt.3:2; 4:17). The fact that the 12 were also sent to baptize (Mr.16:16) shows they too preached the kingdom gospel. The fact that Paul wasn’t sent to baptize proves he didn’t preach the kingdom gospel of Mark 1:4.

John was “cast into prison” (John 3:24) for pointing out the king’s sins (Luke 3:19,20). Some think from this that we should reprove leaders for their sin, but it is our duty to be fishers of men, not clean up the pond. God has a plan to clean up all the sin and corruption in government—the Second Coming, when He sets up the millennial kingdom.

When the Jews asked John’s disciples about “purifying” (John 3:25) after all that talk about baptism, it proves that the Jews understood that this was the purpose of baptism. When baptism was part of God’s program, it was always for the purifying of the soul (Mr.1:4; 16:16; Acts 2:38).

Whatever the Jews’ question was, it informed John’s disciples that the Lord had set up a “rival” baptism minis-try, “and all men” were coming to Him (v.26). You’d think they’d be happy about that, but they were jealous, since the big crowds used to follow their master (Mark 1:4,5). We know they were jealous because of John’s response (John 3:27-30). He was saying, “I’ve been telling you I’m not the Christ! His crowds need to increase. But I guess you’re not going to receive it unless it is given you from heaven.”

That doesn’t mean it was heaven’s fault for not giving them the information. John clearly “witnessed” Jesus was Christ, they just hadn’t received it. Why not? Because men never want to let go of the things of a past dispensation! Besides, they liked being part of what was popular. This often keeps people from receiving the grace message. Of course, we who have received it cannot boast. All we did is receive a message from heaven, as we did salvation (cf. Eph.2:8,9).

The “bride” (John 3:29) are believers, and Christ is “the bridegroom” (cf.Rev.19:7,8). When two people marry, they become one, and when you get saved, you become one with Christ. The bride loses her identity in her husband. That’s why she changes her name to his, just as Genesis 5:2 says of Adam and Eve that God “called their name Adam.” And when we get saved, we lose our identity in Christ.

When John says “he that hath the bride is the bridegroom,” he is saying those who believed were Christ’s bride, not his! Grooms are often so nervous at weddings people can’t hear their vows, “but the friend of the bridegroom” (the best man) “standeth and heareth him” (v.29). Hear him say what? Hear him profess his love for his bride and his promise to care for her. Isn’t that what the Lord was saying to Israel in preaching the gospel to her? But Israel had to say “I do” fast for this was a limited time offer (Lu.5:34,35)

When Israel was bad, the prophets would tell them so (Jer. 25:4). When they didn’t listen, God allowed Nebuchad-nezzar to conquer them (v.9), and take away “the voice of the bridegroom” (v.10), i.e., their joy. But God promised the captivity would end (33:10,11), a type of the kingdom where the voice of the bridegroom would return when the Groom returned, and Israel took her name (33:14-16)

John 3:19-21 – Going to Hell in a Handbasket



If a condemned man in France did something worthy of the guillotine, it was assumed he was going to hell, and since they caught his head in a basket, he was going to hell in a hand basket. The point? After telling us the whole world is “condemned” spiritually and going to hell (John 3:18), John tells us why (v.19). Light had come into the world, i.e., the light of Christ (John 8:12), “and men loved darkness rather than light, because their deeds were evil” (3:19). Men rejected Christ because drunkards love to drink, fornicators love to fornicate, etc.

If you are thinking that not all men love darkness and evil deeds, think again. Proverbs 21:4 says that even the plowing of the wicked is sin, which tells us that everything the unbeliever does is sin (cf. Isa. 64:6; Mt.7:21). This is because good works done by unbelievers are done in self-righteousness, and God hates self-righteousness. But self-righteous unbelievers love their form of darkness as much as drunkards and fornicators love theirs! Self-righteous people love to think they are going to heaven because of their good works.

This is also true of religious people. When John says that “the darkness is past, and the true light now shineth” (IJohn 2:8, he is referring to the darkness of the religious Jews of his day, who thought they could sin all they wanted as long as they brought an animal sacrifice to atone for it. They loved their darkness as much as fornicators, drunkards and self-righteous men! All of these kinds of sinners hated the Light (John 3:20) because people who don’t engage in these sins make you look bad if you do.

Of course, religious unbelieving Jews hated Him “without a cause” (John 15:24,25) because He did miracles “which none other man did” (v.25 cf. John 9:32). If the Lord hadn’t done these works, “they had not had sin” (15:24), i.e., it would look like they weren’t sinners. Before He came, they brought a sacrifice that atoned for every sin, and so looked sinless. But when the Lord came and helped people with His miracles, it made them look bad by comparison.

It is just like in John 15:22 when the Lord said “If I had not come and spoken unto them, they had not sin.” Before He came, if a man hadn’t committed fornication, it looked like He had no sin. But when the Lord came and spoke the words of Matthew 5:28, it took away the “cloke” that covered their sin (John 15:22). Similarly, once He did the miracles that helped people, it turned up the “light” that exposed the religious man’s lack of love for his neighbor to a million candlepower. It was a sin not to love your neighbour (Lev.19:18)

So unbelievers hated the Light, “neither cometh to the light” (John 3:20). Notice it doesn’t say they didn’t come to church. The unsaved religious Jew loved going to temple and synagogue. But he wouldn’t come to Christ, “lest his deeds should be reproved.” If he didn’t come to the Lord, he didn’t have to hear Him talk about his thought life, and he didn’t have to see Him helping and loving His neighbors, making him look bad by comparison.

But who was “he that doeth truth” (John 3:21)? The man who was a true believer in Israel’s God before the Lord came. The one who realized that sacrifices were not a license to sin, and the one who agreed men shouldn’t think lustful thoughts. Such a man “cometh to the light” (v.21).

But when such a man came to Christ, how were his deeds “made manifest, that they are wrought in God” (3:21)? Well, before the Lord came, all Jews sacrificed when they sinned. When unbelievers did it, it was wrought in themselves, i.e., wrought in men. But when believers did it, it was wrought in God. Of course, you couldn’t tell the difference by just looking at them! But when true believers followed the Lord, it “made manifest” that his deeds were “wrought in God.”

Picture two men walking along with a dog. The dog, of course, is scurrying around, and you can’t tell to which man he belongs. But when the two men part ways, it makes manifest to whom the dog belongs. In the same way, when the Lord came, it made manifest to whom men belonged, for true believers came to the Light.

John 3:16-18 – The Rainbow Man



Years ago a man wearing a rainbow colored afro wig was often seen holding up a sign at sporting events that read: John 3:16. But can someone be saved by reading just this one verse? The answer is no, no verse contains all the information you need to be saved, not even this one.

If you were stranded on a deserted island and a bottle floated ashore with a note inside containing the words of John 3:16, you might ask who this “only begotten Son” was. There are millions who wouldn’t know that this speaks of Christ, including a man in Thailand that Things To Come Mission director Ben Anderson met, who had never even heard of the Lord Jesus Christ.

Next, when we read that God “gave” His Son, most people think it means that He gave Him to die on the cross. But that is not what it says, and that is not what it means. In the Bible, when it talks about sons being given, it is referring to how they are given in birth (Gen. 30:6; 48:9). And that is also what it means when it says God gave His Son (cf. Isa. 9:6). We cannot assume everyone knows Christ died for our sins, for millions have never even heard His name, including that man in Thailand!

True, John 3:16 speaks of “whosoever believeth on Him,” but plenty of people believe He was a real person, even “a teacher come from God” (3:2), but this isn’t enough to save you. You must believe He died for your sins and rose again

Now imagine missionaries arrive on your island to rescue you, and they open the Bible and identify Christ as God’s Son, and compare John 3:16 to verses in Paul’s epistles that explain how He died for our sins and rose again. That’s the only way to get saved from John 3:16, or from any one verse: by comparing Scripture with Scripture. You can do it, of course, but if you do, this may confuse someone you lead to the Lord when you later teach them that John’s gospel is written to the Jews. It is better to lead people to Christ using Paul’s epistles. But if you insist on using John 3:16, every believer should rejoice (cf. Phil. 1:18)!

There should be no doubt that Hebrew saints under the kingdom program had everlasting life, for that is what John 3:16 says. We’ll see more proof of this later in John.

The phrase “only begotten” is used six times in Scripture, five times of Christ, once of Abraham’s son (Heb.11:17). Isaac wasn’t Abraham’s only son, he wasn’t even his firstborn son, but he was the only son God recognized, through whom all the God’s blessings would flow, and so is Christ. That is the meaning of the phrase “only begotten”

Who would think God sent His Son to condemn us (3:17)? Anyone who had read the Old Testament! After hearing about all the sin and rebellion, you’d think God would send His Son to condemn us! And you’d still think that, after He arrived and lived a sinless life, making us all look bad by comparison, seemingly giving God an excuse to condemn us. No wonder John has to say this is not why He was sent!

The word “world” is a key word in John’s gospel, being used 80 times, as opposed to 33 times in Matthew, Mark and Luke combined. This caused our grace pioneers to think that these other gospels were written to the Jews, but John was written to the whole world, including us Gentiles. But God always intended to reach the world through Israel. So don’t be confused by John’s frequent use of the word “world.” And don’t think the world is saved just because He was given, for men can only be saved, as John 3:17 says, “through Him,” i.e., through believing on Him.

Notice John 3:18 doesn’t say that someday when we walk into God’s court room we won’t be condemned then, it says “whosoever believeth on Him is not condemned,” present tense. Christ not only bore our sins, He bore our condem-nation, and this is true of saints in every dispensation

But “he that believeth not is condemned already” (3:18). Of course, this is not what most people believe. Most be-lieve that we are all born good and headed for heaven, and have to do something really bad to blow it and go to hell. In closing, notice again John speaks of believing “in the name” of the Lord (3:18), not in His blood (cf. Rom. 3:25).

John 3:11-15 – Who’s ‘We’?



As far as the record goes, the Lord was alone when He told Nicodemus, “We speak that we do know” (3:11). Some-times men use “we” instead of “I,” but this is doubtful here, since Verse 11 begins with the Lord using “I,” as does the next verse. Nor is it likely the Lord spoke of Himself, John the Baptist and the disciples, for He also said “we…testify that we have seen” (v.11). What had the Lord seen with these men? Yes, the miracles, but it would seem strange to say that the Lord saw the miracles He Himself performed.

As we compare Scripture with Scripture, John 8:38 indicates that the Lord spoke of what He had seen with His Father. And what did the Lord “see” with His Father? “The Lord looked down from heaven upon the children of men, to see if there were any that did understand, and seek God” (Ps.14:2). As you know, there were none (v.3). All needed to be born again—something the Lord just got fin-ished telling them. He had probably been telling the Jews about this, for He finishes John 3:11 by saying “and ye receive not our witness.” “Ye” is plural, and so we know He had been telling all the Jews of their need to be reborn.

Their need to be born again was part of the “earthly things” He’d been telling them about (v.12). While the new birth itself is heavenly, our need of it is earthly. The Jews didn’t believe Him when He told them about their earthly need for the new birth, for they thought their first birth as Jews was good enough, so the Lord asked how they can believe Him when He tells them “heavenly things,” i.e., how to be born again. No one is going to believe you when you tell them how to be born again unless they think they need to be.

Next, why would John 3:13 say no man had ascended to heaven except the Son? Because the only one qualified to talk about heavenly things is one who had been to heaven —Christ! Here it must be remembered that the Old Testament saints went to Abraham’s bosom in the heart of the earth until Christ died to pay for their sins, after which Paradise was moved to the third heaven (Luke 16:22; 23:43; Mt.12:40; II Cor. 12:2,4). Elijah didn’t ascend into heaven either (II Ki.2:1). He was caught up into the first heaven, i.e., where birds fly (Gen.1:20), then taken to Abraham’s bosom. Some say he did go to heaven, just not on his own power to “ascend,” but that would put a man in heaven before his sins were paid for.

Next, how could the Lord be standing there and say He was also “in heaven” (John 3:13)? He was not omnipresent as “the Son of man” (v.13). The solution is that the Lord stopped talking in Verse 12, and John is now speaking, writing years later after the Lord ascended into heaven.

But if he was writing after He ascended, how could John say the Lord still needed to be “lifted up” (v.14) if being lifted up was a reference to His death on the cross (12:32, 33)? Well, notice that 12:32 says the cross would “draw” men to Him. It didn’t, it repulsed them! His disciples fled, passersby and even the thieves jeered Him; people hid their faces from Him (Isa.53:3). It wasn’t the cross that drew men, it was hearing and learning about it (John 6:44,45). And what did they have to hear and learn? Well, His lifting up proved He was Christ (8:28 cf. Mt.27:54). That’s what they had to learn about the cross to be drawn to Him.

But as far as we know, the centurion was the only one close enough to the Cross to make the connection between the Lord’s death and the earthquake and other things that proved He was Christ. So what then needed to be done to draw men to Him? The message of the Cross, that He was Christ, needed to be “lifted up.” There is a double entendre in John 3:14. The Greek word for “lifted up” is usually translated “exalted,” and that is how “lifted up” is some-times used in the Bible (IChron.14:2; Isa.6:1). And that is what needed to be done with the message of the cross, that Jesus is Christ. It needed to be exalted and lifted up.

Men could not be saved from the serpents by looking at Moses, a type of the law, for men cannot be saved by the law (John 3:14 cf. Numbers 21:5-9). Men could only be saved by looking at the brazen serpent, a type of how men can only be saved from sin by Christ. He is represented by a serpent because He was made sin for us (IICor.5:21).

John 3:1-10 – The Story of Nick At Night



Just as Gideon tore down his father’s altar at night because of the fear of men (Judges 6:24-32), Nicodemus came to the Lord by night (John 3:1) because of his fear of the Jewish leaders (John 12:42,43).

The Jews required a sign (ICor.1:22), and when the Lord gave them plenty of signs, it made Nicodemus think He was the Christ (John 3:1). Had he come in the daytime, the Lord would have engaged him in the kind of endless debate for which the Pharisees were famous, and with which Nicodemus no doubt came armed. But he came by night, the Lord was tired, and so went right for his heart (Jo. 3:3).

But what does it mean to be born again? The Lord gives us a clue when He says that without it, you can’t “see” the kingdom (3:3), that is, “see” it in the sense of experiencing it (cf. 3:36). Some grace pastors say being born again was not an individual thing, that Israel will be born again as a nation in the resurrection, and that is true, but this passage is about the need for individuals to be reborn. This indivi-dual new birth is also seen in I John 5:1 and I Peter 1:3,23.

Some grace pastors also teach that members of the Body of Christ aren’t born again, but our apostle Paul uses the same word “begotten” (IPe.1:3) in I Corinthians 4:15 and Philemon 10, and Paul himself is said to have been “born” out of due time (ICor.15:8). In addition, the word “regeneration” (Titus 3:5) is paliggenesia, a compound word made up of palin (“again”) and genesia (“birthday).

Since John 3 is the first mention of being born again, Nicodemus wants to know what the Lord is talking about (John 3:4). So the Lord explains that He means men must be born of water and the Spirit (v.5). The “water” here is water baptism, without which you could not be saved under the kingdom program (Mark 1:4; 16:16; Acts 2:38). Today, of course, we are saved by “the washing of regeneration” (Titus 3:5), not the washing of water baptism. And since the Spirit is God, being born of the Spirit is just another way of saying being “born of God”, a phrase that appears six times in Scripture. Without these two births, they couldn’t enter the kingdom of heaven.

Being “born of the flesh” (John 3:6) is a reference to your first birth, a birth that brings us into this world spiritually unclean (Job 14:1-4; 25:4) and unrighteous (15:14). Being born again is the only cure. Nicodemus marveled (John 3:7) that the Lord was telling him this, since he didn’t think there was anything wrong with his first birth. He was born a Jew, and he thought that meant he was saved automatically! (Mt.3:9)

What did the Lord mean when He likened those born of the Spirit to the wind (John 3:8)? We believe He was speaking about the mechanics of the new birth, and was saying that Nicodemus was never going to be able to figure out how men are born again. He was saying, “You can’t figure out a thing as simple as where the wind comes from or where it goes, so how can you figure out the new birth?” We see this also in Ecclesiastes 11:4,5, where the wind is compared to the spirit of man. “Just as you can’t figure out ‘how the bones do grow in the womb of her that is with child,’ so you cannot understand the spirit of a man,” i.e., how men work, how they think. You can never fully understand the spirit of another man, let alone the Spirit of God

Once a man is born again, there is yet another meaning behind John 3:8, for the Lord said of Himself that men couldn’t know where He came from or where He was going (8:14). Thus we know that John 3:8 also refers to the fact that people cannot figure out those who believe on Christ any more than they can figure out Christ (cf. ICor.2:15).

Nick still couldn’t figure out how a Jew needed to be born again (John 3:9), so the Lord chided him for not knowing this (v.10). But if this is the first time the phrase “born again” appears, how could Nick have been expected to know this? Ah, he was “a master” in Israel (3:10), a lead-er, not just a follower. As a leader, he should have noticed that throughout Israel’s history, God always rejected the firstborn, and accepted the second born, as He did with Ishmael & Isaac, Esau & Jacob, and Manasseh & Ephraim.

John 2:18-25 – The Credentials of Christ



When the Jews asked the Lord for a “sign” (2:18), they were looking for a miraculous sign, the kind the Jews require (I Cor.1:22). Sometimes Gentiles scoff at the Jews for requiring a sign, but God taught them to look for signs, right from their beginning as a nation. When Moses feared Israel would not believe God had spoken to him (Ex.4:1), God gave him the power to handle serpents (4:2-5 cf. Mark 16:18) and the power of healing (Ex.4:6,7 cf. Mark 16:18). So the Jews in John 2 were not unspiritual to ask for a sign.

The Lord responded by saying, “Destroy this temple, and in three days I will raise it up” (John 2:19). Here it helps to remember that they were still standing near the temple He had just cleansed, so the Jews thought He spoke of the building (2:20). Of course, He spoke “of the temple of His body” (v.21), but why would He call His body a temple? Well, a temple is a building in which a god lives, and that certainly describes the Lord’s body! Now while the Jews misunderstood His words, they never forgot them. Of course, they twisted them (Mark 14:55-58). He had said that if they destroy the temple, He would raise it up, but they accused Him of saying that He would destroy the temple, making Him guilty of being against the temple

The Lord could have avoided this confusion by simply pointing to Himself while speaking of the temple, so why didn’t He? It is almost as if He didn’t want to give them a sign. Why not, if they weren’t unspiritual to ask for one? And it wasn’t the only time He refused to give them a sign. He refused to give them a sign in Matthew 12:38-40 because He’d just given them one (v.22). This is why He called them an “adulterous generation” (v.39). Once you commit adultery you always want more. So when they asked for another miracle, the Lord told them the only other one He’d give them was that of His resurrection (Mt.12:39,40). And when they asked for another miracle in John 2, right after the Lord had turned water into wine and cleansed the temple, a miraculous feat for one man to perform, He again said the only other miracle He’d give them was the miracle of the resurrection (2:20).

As we’ve seen, the Jews didn’t understand His words, but neither did the disciples—until later (2:22). That’s the thing about Bible prophecy, it is often unfathomable until it happens, but once it happens, it is clear to see. So don’t be discouraged if you don’t understand prophecy! It’s all about Israel anyway, so you don’t have to understand it. You have to understand Paul’s epistles, for they are written to you!

Next, why wouldn’t the Lord commit Himself to people who believed on Him (John 2:23,24)? This is an important question for all of us who have believed on Him! And there are a couple of answers to this question.

First, the Lord did not commit Himself to them “because He knew all men” individually (v.24), i.e, knew them personally without having met them, as He showed in John 1:42 and John 1:47-49. And so He knew these “believers” had not believed “to the saving of the soul” (Heb. 10:39).

Next, He “needed not that any should testify of man” (John 2:25), i.e., of men in general. He knew we tend to believe when we see a miracle, and that’s a problem. You see, while God taught Israel to require miraculous signs, He never told them to believe only because of miraculous signs. Pharaoh’s magicians were able to work miracles, and Antichrist will work them also. Israel was supposed to believe a man was sent from God only if the message He preached was according to God’s Word (Deut. 13:1-3).

Finally, notice that these people “believed in His name” (John 2:23). This sounds like what we do today to be saved, but it isn’t. During the Lord’s earthly ministry, they had to believe that He was the Christ to be saved (John 6:68,69; 8:24; 9:35-38; 11:27; 16:27,30,31; 17:8; 20:31). Nor did this change at Pentecost (Acts 2:36). The Lord’s “name” was Jesus Christ, and to be saved under the kingdom program, all you had to believe was that He was the Christ, i.e., have faith in His name. While that is a good start today, it is not enough to be saved. Today you have to have “faith in His blood” (Romans 3:25). An important dispensational difference, one with eternal consequences!

Berean Searchlight – November 2015

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