The Heart Of The Gospel John 3;16
13 No one has ascended into heaven, but He who descended from heaven: the Son of Man. 14 As Moses lifted up the serpent in the wilderness, even so must the Son of Man be lifted up; 15 so that whoever believes will in Him have eternal life.
16 “For God so loved the world, that He gave His only begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him shall not perish, but have eternal life. 17 For God did not send the Son into the world to judge the world, but that the world might be saved through Him. 18 He who believes in Him is not judged; he who does not believe has been judged already, because he has not believed in the name of the only begotten Son of God.
When I was a child my parents had me attend Sunday School, and catechism classes so can learn about Jesus several words and verses that puzzle me. One word was the Holy Ghost a ghost that was holy interesting. The ghosts that knew only haunt houses, or perhaps he was Gasper the friendly ghost.
Or Psalm 23; 1 KJV penned these words, The Lord is my shepherd; I shall not want. Why is his shepherd and why would he not want him.
Or the John 3; 16 a verse we memorize a child KJV; For God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but has everlasting life. So God had a son, and why would sent into the world, and why should I believe in him? While I had a lot of questions to be truthful I really was’t interest in the gospel nor pursuing the answer to these questions. Even thou they were legitimate questions, and deserved honest answers back than I was not interest in the answer. The late Francis Schaeffer said An honest question deserve honest answers.
When I became Christian I learn the answers to these questions by studying the God’s Word, learning from good teachers, reading commentaries, Bible dictionary to understand the meaning of the words and concordances giving the Greek word and Hebrew words it meaning.
To understand John 3;16 you need to understand who Jesu s was communicating to and the content of chapter 3. As Chuck Swindoll once said too often we quote John 3;16 without understanding the content around the text.
First, Nicodemus was ruler of the Jews was a Pharisees. The Pharisees were the spiritual fathers of modern Judaism. Their main distinguishing characteristic was a belief in an Oral Law that God gave to Moses at Sinai along with the Torah. The Torah, or Written Law.
Nicodemus recognize Jesus as good teacher who came from God. Perhaps he wanted more instruction since he was a ruler; however, Jesus recognized in him an earnest desire to know the truth. However, he did not recognize Jesus Lord as God manifests in the flesh.
Jesus instructions were two fold one being born from above meaning the Holy Spirit or KJV Holy Ghost meaning spirit.
Second the type death Son of God was going to experience and why he had to die in which is my point.
Verse 13; The Son of man descend from heaven in a human foam found in John 1; 14, And the Word became flesh, and dwelt among us.
Verse 14 – 17; As Moses lifted up the serpent in the wilderness, even so must the Son of Man be lifted up; 15 so that whoever believes will in Him have eternal life.
Right Moses lifting up the serpent in the wilderness, right what brave man Moses must have been picking up a poisonous serpent. No no Nicodemus knew the story about Bronze Snake found in Numbers 21; 4- 9 Where the Jewish were complaining to Moses about the lousy food. Than God sent fiery serpent, so that many people of Israel died. The people went to Moses confess their sins, and God instructed Moses to create fiery serpent , and set it on a standard that everyone who is bitten, when he looks at it, he will live. Moses made Bronze Snake set on standard and it came about that if a serpent bit any man, when he looked to the bronze serpent, he lived. In the medical field . A snake on a pole is symbol they used meaning the healing of the sick.
What puzzle Nicodemus was when Son of Man was lifted remember Jesus has not died on the cross yet, even disciples did not understand when Jesus stated these words;” the Son of Man must suffer many things and be rejected by the elders and the chief priests and the scribes, and be killed, and after three days rises again.” As Bible states,” None of the rulers of this age knew this wisdom, for if they had known it, they would not have crucified the Lord of glory.”
Remember Nicodemus and disciples were living pre cross. We live in the post cross, and we understand that Jesus died on the cross history recorded this. As Dr. Swindle stated Nicodemus was in Chapter three not Chapter Nineteen Gospel of John. There they crucified Him, or lift him up. On a pole; Crucifixion is defined; is when the victim is tied or nailed to a large wooden cross and left to hang until dead. So the Son Of Man must be lifted up. So that whoever believes will in Him have eternal life.
It was Nicodemus who bury Jesus, prepared Jesus body and gave proper burial in accordance to the burial custom of the Jews found in John 19; 38 – 42.
He understood the gospel and believed in Jesus Christ and understood the verse 16 -18; “For God so loved the world, that He gave His only begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him shall not perish, but have eternal life. 17 For God did not send the Son into the world to judge the world, but that the world might be saved through Him. 18 He who believes in Him is not judged; he who does not believe has been judged already, because he has not believed in the name of the only begotten Son of God.”
History record that he lost all his wealth and status as a Pharisee and died in extreme poverty believing in Jesus Christ and crucified. His wealth has been restored because now in heaven with Jesus.
Christian apologetic why do have to apologize for being a Christian? it simply means defending the gospel giving a defence. Remember questions leads to answers.