Day 7 (March 3), John 3:16-38

John 3:16-38

Context:  Jesus continues his discourse with Nicodemus and explains the gospel in more specific detail.  The most-quoted verse in the Gospels is in it (John 3:16):  ‘For God so loved the world that He gave his only begotten son …’ you can probably finish saying it!!  Jesus also explains that people love darkness more than light and those that refuse to believe stand apart and separated from God because of their sin.  The chapter concludes with Jesus leaving Jerusalem but remaining in the Judean countryside not far from it and close to where John the Baptist was still preaching and baptizing.  Some of his disciples approached John and complained that many were leaving him and starting to follow Jesus.  John gives one of the most humble responses in all of the Scriptures, recognizing that he only has what he received from heaven, that Jesus is the bridegroom, and John only the bridegroom’s friend. 

Observations:  Why would these words of Jesus be disruptive to a Jewish Pharisee?  Why do we so easily embrace John 3:16, but have a much harder time embracing the reality of John 3:18 and 3:36 (read them carefully!).  John’s ministry is winding down and soon he will be imprisoned.  What do his statements reveal about his faith? His humility?  How does the entirety of John Chapter 3 challenge our pride and self-sufficiency?

Application:  How can you ‘choose’ to be humble today?  Consider John the Baptist and what’s been revealed so far in the book of John:  what can we learn from his example about humility?  Is a humble person necessarily weak, timid and passive?  How would you either define or describe true humility?

Prayer:  Ask God for opportunities for you to experience presence in your life through humility and faith.  Ask the Lord to help everyone @ Evergreen have the mindset of John the Baptist:  ‘Jesus must increase, I must decrease.’  Consider how God would bless us and multiply our ministry with THAT kind of perspective put it into action!

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Day 6 (March 2), John 3:1-15

Day 6– Monday, March 2

John 3:1-15

Context:  After Jesus clears the temple in Jerusalem upon his arrival from Galilee he is questioned by Jewish authorities regarding a ‘sign’ to substantiate and legitimize his actions.  One of those leaders very well could have been Nicodemus who, in Chapter 3, approaches Jesus by night for a private discussion.  Nicodemus’ focus is, once again, Jesus’ authority for his rabbinical teachings and actions, but Jesus quickly shifts it to the deeper, more critical issues, of His messianic identity and the absolute necessity for all men to become ‘born again’ to see the kingdom of God.  We don’t know Nicodemus’ initial response, but we know from later gospel narratives he became a believer and follower of Jesus!!

Observations:  Why would Jesus travel so quickly to Jerusalem at the start of his public ministry rather than stay in Galilee where he was close to family, his disciples and large followings?  Why did Nicodemus come to Jesus by night?  What does it mean to be born both of water and the Spirit?   Think how pertinent (and translatable) Jesus’ reference to being lifted up just as ‘Moses lifted up the serpent’ in the Old Testament (Numbers 21:9) so that people could be saved.

Application:  Is there some aspect of your faith and following of Jesus that you prefer to keep hidden and not be seen in the day?  The Spirit is compared with the ‘wind’ or ‘breath’, literally pneuma in Greek. How can you tap into the power of the Holy Spirit today?  If no one is seeing the results (fruit) of the Spirit’s work in your life what adjustments can/should you make?

Prayer:  Thank God that we don’t need to ‘go into hiding’ to worship Jesus (yet).  Also, take some time to remember those many followers of Jesus who do have to go ‘underground.’  Pray for them and ask God to help you make the most of your opportunities to influence and love others for Jesus … to lift him high so others can look to him and be changed!!

Posted by Dave Blum with