Reading on John 3

John 3  •  6 min. read  •  grade level: 5
Now, we have a very wonderful thing. Indeed it is all wonderful. I sometimes think of the third and fourth chapters of John as deep wells. You can draw from them, and draw from them, and there is always some more to draw.
The first chapter of John brings before us very blessedly the Lord Jesus in so many of His glories, but the third and fourth bring out that rich grace of God toward man—the actual meeting of man in his need. In the first chapter (it is a long one and very blessed and wonderful) we do see Him exactly meeting the need. Toward the end He finds Nathanael and so on, but in the 4th especially we have the operation of divine grace in gathering sinners.
“To as many as received Him.” That is just a statement. But we know of Nicodemus coming to Jesus at night. We know of the woman at the well coming. It is a wonderful chapter, grace in operation.
The first chapter is a wonderful chapter. It begins and takes us back before a created thing existed where only the Creator was—in eternity. Where does it end? Not exactly in eternity, but it ends with the heavens opened and the angels of God ascending and descending upon the Son of Man. That is the Lord Jesus in His earthly glory—kingdom glory—as the Son of Man. Wonderful range between the two. The beginning of the chapter takes us back, and the end, forward. Not “made flesh,” but in His glory as the Son of Man. The 3rd and 4th have a special attraction it seems to me—a kind of sweetness, peculiar to them.
He has been telling us of heavenly things, not something revealed, but He came down from there. So He says at the end of the chapter, “He that cometh from above, is above all.” “And no man hath ascended up to heaven, but He that came down from heaven, even the Son of Man which is in heaven” (ver. 13.) There He was talking to Nicodemus.
When we come to His deity, He is in heaven and earth at the same time. Wondrous person of the Son of God, that One sitting there that night—that One that Nicodemus owns as “a teacher come from God—no man could do those miracles except God be with Him,” —who was He? “The Son of Man which is in heaven.” You and I cannot understand that, but we rejoice in it. We are not called to understand it; we are called to believe it, and get the blessing of it. How could He be in heaven and earth at the same time? You answer the “how.” That is what Nicodemus said. The truth is He was the Son of Man which is in heaven. These heads of ours raise the “how.” The heart lets them go, and believes what He says.
We will never be able to fathom the truth of God and Man in one person. In Matthew 11:2727All things are delivered unto me of my Father: and no man knoweth the Son, but the Father; neither knoweth any man the Father, save the Son, and he to whomsoever the Son will reveal him. (Matthew 11:27), and Luke 10:2222All things are delivered to me of my Father: and no man knoweth who the Son is, but the Father; and who the Father is, but the Son, and he to whom the Son will reveal him. (Luke 10:22) we have, “All things are delivered unto Me of My father: and no man knoweth the Son, but the Father: neither knoweth any man the Father, save the Son, and he to whomsoever the Son will reveal Him.” None can fathom the preciousness of God and man in one person, but God Himself. “No one knoweth the Father but the Son, and he to whomsoever the Son will reveal Him. No one knoweth the Son, but the Father.” What about “revealing” there? How very important that is. So you see it says, “The Son of Man which is in heaven,” when He was talking to Nicodemus.
He said to that poor woman as He sat there on the well, weary, “Give Me to drink.” He wanted it. He was tired, wearied with His journey. She says, “Who are you? Are you greater than our father Jacob who gave us the well?” One thing I know, you are the most gracious Jew I ever met. Another Jew would not have looked at me. The disciples marveled that He talked with the woman. If you only knew who it was that said to thee, Give me to drink, thou wouldst have asked of Him and He would have given thee living water. That One who was weary with His journey, well knew who she was, as He told her afterward—knew her through and through.
The Giver of living water sat there, come down in that form of man, wearied with His journey. Do you understand that? You can understand that a little better than “the Son of Man which is in heaven.” It is beyond me to understand that the Giver of living water sitting there, is the Son of Man which is in heaven. Who is He? Nicodemus says, He is a teacher come from God. He is the Son of Man which is in heaven, speaking what He knows and testifying what He has seen.
Now we come to the deepest glory of the Son of God. What is that? I am anticipating a little. “His only begotten Son.” That is the deepest glory of Christ—one He rejoices in most—His own relationship to the Father as His only begotten Son. That is another glory.
There is another line of things brought before us in connection with this gift of God—His only begotten Son. What is that? The Lord takes Nicodemus back about 1500 years in the history of Israel—before they went into the land. They had sinned and murmured against God and Moses, and they said, You have not brought us into a land with milk and honey—there is nothing but this light bread, and we despise it and loathe it—and they brought the judgment of God upon them. They cried to Moses, and asked him to pray for them. He prayed to God to take away the serpents (God had sent serpents among them, and many of them died). God told Moses to make a serpent of brass—a brazen fiery serpent—and put it on a pole and lift it up, and then it shall come to pass that every one that looks shall live. We see that God was looking forward to that day when His Son would be lifted up, as his own remedy for dying and perishing man.
People were dying on every hand. There was the serpent lifted up on the pole, but that did not help them. It is a solemnly beautiful picture of this poor world. Who is it that is not dying? All dying—all have sinned. It came to pass that whosoever looked, lived.
“For God so loved the world, that He gave His only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth on Him should not perish, but have everlasting life.” Believe in Him in what way, and shall not perish? As the one who was lifted up on that cross, just as the serpent of brass was lifted up on a pole. “Believeth in Him.” “The look of faith. How near death—how near perishing! Whosoever believeth in Him should not perish,” but just the opposite— “have everlasting life.”
What is the source of the Son of Man being lifted up, like Moses lifted up the serpent in the wilderness? The love of God. The love of God has found the remedy for perishing man (Man, of course, is the race).
(Continued from Page 83)
(To be continued)