Devotional Readings

John 3:16 – The Rest of the Story……The GOOD NEWS and the BAD NEWS

Today’s reading begins with John 3.

Audio:
Since John 3:16 is one of the most quoted verses in the Bible, I want to spend just a bit of time highlighting, what comes before and after that verse. To do this I need to copy the whole chapter below and a few brief comments. Read on in John Gill, or Matthew Henry for a more complete commentary.

You Must Be Born Again, Jesus echoes this twice in his conversation with Nicodemus. Look at this as Jesus holding a direct conversation with one of his called elect, who is sincerely trying to understand just what is happening in this special time in history.

Joh 3:1  There was a man of the Pharisees, named Nicodemus, a ruler of the Jews:

Joh 3:2  The same came to Jesus by night, and said unto him, Rabbi, we know that thou art a teacher come from God: for no man can do these miracles that thou doest, except God be with him.


Joh 3:3  Jesus answered and said unto him, Verily, verily, I say unto thee, Except a man be born again, he cannot see the kingdom of God.


Joh 3:4  Nicodemus saith unto him, How can a man be born when he is old? can he enter the second time into his mother’s womb, and be born?


Joh 3:5  Jesus answered, Verily, verily, I say unto thee, Except a man be born of water and of the Spirit, he cannot enter into the kingdom of God.


Joh 3:6  That which is born of the flesh is flesh; and that which is born of the Spirit is spirit.


The mystery of this is unveiled by Jesus, and seems to reflect that this is the key to faith….and just as we ourselves did not initiate our fleshly birth, we have nothing to do with our spiritual birth……….I see this as being implied in Jesus’ words.


Joh 3:7  Marvel not that I said unto thee, Ye must be born again.

Joh 3:8  The wind bloweth where it listeth, and thou hearest the sound thereof, but canst not tell whence it cometh, and whither it goeth: so is every one that is born of the Spirit.


Joh 3:9  Nicodemus answered and said unto him, How can these things be?


Joh 3:10  Jesus answered and said unto him, Art thou a master of Israel, and knowest not these things?


Joh 3:11  Verily, verily, I say unto thee, We speak that we do know, and testify that we have seen; and ye receive not our witness.

Joh 3:12  If I have told you earthly things, and ye believe not, how shall ye believe, if I tell you of heavenly things?


The next 3 verses lead into the John 3:16 text, and it appears that Jesus is explaining one of these heavenly things, identifying belief that leads to eternal life…tying this to something Nicodemus would well know…the Moses text in the OT.


Joh 3:13  And no man hath ascended up to heaven, but he that came down from heaven, even the Son of man which is in heaven.

Joh 3:14  And as Moses lifted up the serpent in the wilderness, even so must the Son of man be lifted up:


Joh 3:15  That whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have eternal life.

The Key here is “in him”, not just any belief…So as we look further in John’s Gospel, over the next few weeks, keep an eye out for just how this belief process works.

Recall that John started by stating:


Joh 1:1  In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God.

Joh 1:2  The same was in the beginning with God.

Joh 1:3  All things were made by him; and without him was not any thing made that was made.

Joh 1:4  In him was life; and the life was the light of men.

Joh 1:5  And the light shineth in darkness; and the darkness comprehended it not.

Joh 1:6  There was a man sent from God, whose name was John.


Joh 1:7  The same came for a witness, to bear witness of the Light, that all men through him might believe.

And ends the book with:

Joh 20:31  But these are written, that ye might believe that Jesus is the Christ, the Son of God; and that believing ye might have life through his name.

These frame great bookends on the message of the gospel, John also uses the word belief in it’s various forms in 85 verses….clearly the call is a message to those who hear the call to 

BELIEVE!

Now for this familiar…..For God So Loved the World verse we again see the implication of believing….

Joh 3:16  For God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life.


Joh 3:17  For God sent not his Son into the world to condemn the world; but that the world through him might be saved.


And John 3:18 should be quoted almost as much as verse 16….this verse clearly lays out the BAD NEWS that comes before the GOOD NEWS.


Joh 3:18  He that believeth on him is not condemned: but he that believeth not is condemned already, because he hath not believed in the name of the only begotten Son of God.


Joh 3:19  And this is the condemnation, that light is come into the world, and men loved darkness rather than light, because their deeds were evil.

Joh 3:20  For every one that doeth evil hateth the light, neither cometh to the light, lest his deeds should be reproved.

Joh 3:21  But he that doeth truth cometh to the light, that his deeds may be made manifest, that they are wrought in God.


It’s pretty standard for us to try to self-justify that we are not in this group…cause all men are by nature good aren’t they? Nope the Bible says just the opposite.


Psa 14:1  To the chief Musician, A Psalm of David. The fool hath said in his heart, There is no God. They are corrupt, they have done abominable works, there is none that doeth good.

Rom 3:10  As it is written, There is none righteous, no, not one:


Of course since the Bible only says this twice…maybe we can ignore it!


Finally after this great presentation, John goes on to 

John the Baptist Exalts Christ

Joh 3:22  After these things came Jesus and his disciples into the land of Judaea; and there he tarried with them, and baptized.

Joh 3:23  And John also was baptizing in Aenon near to Salim, because there was much water there: and they came, and were baptized.

Joh 3:24  For John was not yet cast into prison.

Joh 3:25  Then there arose a question between some of John’s disciples and the Jews about purifying.

Joh 3:26  And they came unto John, and said unto him, Rabbi, he that was with thee beyond Jordan, to whom thou barest witness, behold, the same baptizeth, and all men come to him.

Joh 3:27  John answered and said, A man can receive nothing, except it be given him from heaven.

Joh 3:28  Ye yourselves bear me witness, that I said, I am not the Christ, but that I am sent before him.

Joh 3:29  He that hath the bride is the bridegroom: but the friend of the bridegroom, which standeth and heareth him, rejoiceth greatly because of the bridegroom’s voice: this my joy therefore is fulfilled.

Joh 3:30  He must increase, but I must decrease.

Joh 3:31  He that cometh from above is above all: he that is of the earth is earthly, and speaketh of the earth: he that cometh from heaven is above all.


Joh 3:32  And what he hath seen and heard, that he testifieth; and no man receiveth his testimony.

Joh 3:33  He that hath received his testimony hath set to his seal that God is true.


And note Jesus being God in the 2nd person of the Trinity, speaks the words of God…listen to him!

Mat 17:5  While he yet spake, behold, a bright cloud overshadowed them: and behold a voice out of the cloud, which said, This is my beloved Son, in whom I am well pleased; hear ye him.


Joh 3:34  For he whom God hath sent speaketh the words of God: for God giveth not the Spirit by measure unto him.



Joh 3:35  The Father loveth the Son, and hath given all things into his hand.


Matthew also writes about this in the conclusion of his gospel….

Mat 28:18  ♥️  And Jesus came and spake unto them, saying, All power is given unto me in heaven and in earth.


This reminds me of the earlier temptation that Satan tried to get Jesus with……


Luk 4:5  And the devil, taking him up into an high mountain, shewed unto him all the kingdoms of the world in a moment of time.

Luk 4:6  And the devil said unto him, All this power will I give thee, and the glory of them: for that is delivered unto me; and to whomsoever I will I give it.

Luk 4:7  If thou therefore wilt worship me, all shall be thine.

Luk 4:8  And Jesus answered and said unto him, Get thee behind me, Satan: for it is written, Thou shalt worship the Lord thy God, and him only shalt thou serve.


In the final verse John again repeats the GOOD NEWS and the BAD NEWS.


Joh 3:36  He that believeth on the Son hath everlasting life: and he that believeth not the Son shall not see life; but the wrath of God abideth on him.


So if you hear his call today…what is left for you to do?


Heb 3:7  Wherefore (as the Holy Ghost saith, To day if ye will hear his voice,

Heb 3:8  Harden not your hearts, as in the provocation, in the day of temptation in the wilderness:

Heb 3:9  When your fathers tempted me, proved me, and saw my works forty years.

Heb 3:10  Wherefore I was grieved with that generation, and said, They do alway err in their heart; and they have not known my ways.

Heb 3:11  So I sware in my wrath, They shall not enter into my rest.)

Heb 3:12  Take heed, brethren, lest there be in any of you an evil heart of unbelief, in departing from the living God.

Heb 3:13  But exhort one another daily, while it is called To day; lest any of you be hardened through the deceitfulness of sin.

Heb 3:14  For we are made partakers of Christ, if we hold the beginning of our confidence stedfast unto the end;

Heb 3:15  While it is said, To day if ye will hear his voice, harden not your hearts, as in the provocation.

Heb 3:16  For some, when they had heard, did provoke: howbeit not all that came out of Egypt by Moses.

Heb 3:17  But with whom was he grieved forty years? was it not with them that had sinned, whose carcases fell in the wilderness?

Heb 3:18  And to whom sware he that they should not enter into his rest, but to them that believed not?

Heb 3:19  So we see that they could not enter in because of unbelief.




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