Tuesday, March 02, 2021

2021.03.02 Hopewell @Home ▫ John 3:13–17

Read John 3:13–17

Questions from the Scripture text: Who has ascended to heaven (John 3:13)? Who came down from heaven? What did Moses lift up in the wilderness (John 3:14)? Who must be lifted up? What happens when someone believes (John 3:15)? Why did God give His only begotten Son (John 3:16)? What will not happen to those who believe in Him? What will they have? What was not the reason that God sent His Son into the world (John 3:17)? What was the reason?

Next week’s Call to Worship, Prayer for Help, Song of Adoration, and Prayer of Confession all come from John 3:13–17, so that we will see that we are singing God’s thoughts after Him with As When the Prophet Moses Raised

How can you enter the kingdom? Jesus knew that’s what Nicodemus was after (John 3:1-3), but Nicodemus didn’t understand that he was asking about a heavenly kingdom—and that entering it requires of us, while on earth, a heavenly birth (John 3:4-12). 

Who can ascend to heaven (John 3:13)? Only the One Who is from heaven! Israel in the wilderness could do nothing to escape death, but God lifted up a salvation (the serpent in the wilderness, John 3:14a) to which they could look and live. The evangelist here tells us that this pointed forward to Christ, Who would be lifted up (verse 14b) for sinners to believe in and be saved (John 3:15). 

What is this “believing”? The comparison to the bronze serpent from Numbers 21 makes it plain. This “believing” is to helplessly look to Christ, Who is given to us by God as the Savior Who has all salvation in Himself.

Why would God save helpless sinners? Is there anything in them that convinces Him to do so? No—even that is not in them. It is something in Him that sends Christ. For God so loved the world (John 3:16).

By Whom does God save? By His Son (verse 16), Who is Himself. That which is begotten of man is man. That which is begotten of God is God. “only begotten” here translates a single Greek word that makes it clear that within the Godhead, there is just the One Who is begotten. 

We mustn’t say more than the Bible at this point. God is One. He has one essence. But the one God exists in three persons. It belongs to the Father to beget. It belongs to the Son to be begotten. It belongs to the Father and the Son to send forth the Spirit. It belongs to the Spirit to proceed from the Father and the Son. 

But the bottom line for us in this passage is this: the Man to Whom we must look for all of our salvation is One Who is God from all eternity, but Whom God gave (verse 16) by sending Him into the world (John 3:17). 

We would expect God, when He comes into the world of sinners, to condemn them. Indeed, we know that when Jesus the God-Man returns, He will do just that. But this is not why He was originally sent into the world. He was first sent to save sinners, whom He brings into this salvation by sending His Spirit to give them the faith to look to Him and live!

Why do you need a Savior from heaven? Why do you need a heavenly birth in order to believe in Him?

Suggested songs: ARP25A “To You I Lift My Soul” or TPH449 “As When the Prophet Moses Raised ”

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