The One in whom we believe.

To my God be the glory, to my God be the praise for I know Your glory is my good.

”Perceive My glory, as I have shown very small previews of it over the years, for instance on the mountain at Sinai and at the inauguration of the temple. But when you ultimately come to be with Me you will experience my glory in all its fullness. It will overwhelm you and fill you with wonder and joy. In the meantime, I am working out everything in your life to bring you to your full glory so that you can experience My glory in its fullness. You may not always think you are experiencing My glory continually yet if you lift up your eyes it is always all around you. See it in the magnificent sunset, see it in the roaring oceans, see it in the wonder and diversity of My creation, see it in the ones you love. But most of all see it in My Son on a cross – see Him there by faith – emptying himself of glory so that you can have and experience our glory in its fullness. So go out today rejoicing”.

While most people know the first half of John ch 3, few people probably give much attention to the second half of the chapter, yet it is actually part of the story which has been unfolding and it rounds off that section. The clue lies in the repetition of the phrase in vs 13 “everyone who believes in him may have eternal life”, in vs 36, where it is slightly expanded, “Whoever believes in the Son has eternal life”. which brackets this section. So, this passage seems to complete the picture John has been painting using Nicodemus as a starting point.

It is a reminder that John is still bringing the Old Covenant to a close. In choosing Nicodemus as the protagonist, he has chosen someone who would have been a prominent figure under the Old Covenant. Showing that the birthright of Abraham for every true Israelite was not going to be sufficient, even for the aristocracy of the religious hierarchy, to give him membership of the new kingdom Jesus was coming to inaugurate. He needed to be born again, born afresh to be part of that.

As John expands this concept of the rebirth he emphasizes the vehicle through which this rebirth would happen, faith. As we saw last time, he emphasizes this several times and in several ways. The question now arises as to who one must believe in to receive this new birth. In whom must we have faith. From vs 13 to vs 19 John identifies this Person as either the Son of Man or simply The Son or God’s one and only Son. He repeats this 5 times. vv 13, 1, 16, 17, 18.

Who is this Son? John now takes us back to John the Baptist to expand on that and give us a clearer picture. At the same time, once again connecting to the Old Covenant. He starts the picture using the practice of baptism. The emphasis here is not actually on the baptism as much as it is in the difference between the two’s baptism. This should remind the reader of the statement in ch 1:33 “I would not have known him, except that the one who sent me to baptize with water told me, “The man on whom you see the Spirit come down and remain is he who will baptize with the Holy Spirit“. He then identifies this “One” as: I have seen and I testify that this is the Son of God.

John (the gospel writer) then in 3:22 ff picks up this previous statement to amplify the understanding of who this Son is. He is the one who baptizes in a different way. Incidentally the concept of the “Baptism in the Spirit” which is used elsewhere is nothing other than a different terminology for being born again.

Then follows a paragraph which is a repeat and expansion of 1:19, 20. Basically John (the B) compares his own ministry with the one who he clearly identifies in vs 28 as “the Christ”, or Messiah. He insists he, himself is not the Messiah and his ministry is fading in comparison. He also uses the language of marriage, bridegroom etc, designating himself as just the attendant, which recalls the time of Jesus’ first miracle at a wedding, giving that act significance. He declares that his ministry is fading away as the messenger, pointing forward so that the real One, who this book is about can come to the fore.

The chapter builds to a climax in the last paragraph, where John (the B) amplifies the description of who the Son is, having connected Him to the designation of Messiah in the previous paragraph. “He speaks the words of God and has received the Spirit without limit, completely beloved by God the Father, who has placed everything in His hands“. This is the One in whom we must believe and through whom the new birth will happen if we look up to Him, trusting in Him, lifted up on a cross to die for our sins. And finally, a repeated warning, without this rebirth God’s wrath remains on every person.

Friends this is important stuff and I trust you all have embraced it. It is THE message of the gospel. No one can function as a Christian if they have not been reborn into the kingdom and identifying Jesus as the one who gives the rebirth. So many people out there labour under the misconception that being a Christian means something else and hence fall short of God’s glory. Part of all this is the understanding that an integral part of the new birth is that we are baptized in the Spirit, who is the active third Person of the Trinity acting as an agent who gives us life and power to live as witnesses to God and His great salvation plan.

As I have studied this well-known part of God’s word, I have sensed again the welling up of a joy unspeakable and a huge gratitude that I have been given this privilege despite knowing that I could never deserve it.

Next week we will pick up the story with Jesus’ encounter with someone at the other end of the social structure. May God bless you all as you read and meditate on this amazing passage in the scriptures.

3 Replies to “The One in whom we believe.”

  1. As I am sitting and meditating again in deepest humility a.nd gratitude on the unfathomable truth of my undeserved salvation in my Lord and savior Jesus Christ I hear Paul speking ; ” I have been crucified with Christ. It is no longer I who lives, but Christ who lives in me. And the life I now live in the flesh I live by faith in the Son of God , who loved me and gave Himself for me.”. Colossians 2 . 20 May these most beautiful and important words be my constant strength and comfort in every situation of my life through grace. All glory, power., dominion and authority be to our Holy Lord Jesus Christ forever and ever 🙏 Amen 🙏

  2. Without being reborn in the Spirit, will we NEVER comprehend the meaning of Ephesians 3 18. 19. Paul says, that the fullness if our Holy Lord is experienced as we are “given the strength to comprehend the love of Christ in its height and depth and length and breadth. ” Therefore, that is , in its fullness ! The fullness if our Holy Lord is the spiritual compression of the fullness of the love of Christ through the power if the Holy Spirit ! GRACE UPON GRACE! All glory, authority, power and dominion be to our Holy Lord Jesus Christ forever and ever! Amen 🙏

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