(John 3:1 NASB) Now there was a man of the Pharisees, named Nicodemus, a ruler of the Jews;
John 3:1: This verse is actually a continuation from chapter 2:24-25. This man Nicodemus was set apart from that mob described at the end of the last chapter. They did not have faithfulness in Messiah and He knew this, but this man Nicodemus is different.
We are told that he is a man of the Pharisees. This was the top group to belong to in Israel. It was a group that was conservative in it’s scriptural beliefs, but they added the oral Torah, or Talmud to their teaching. They believed in the coming of the Messiah. They believed in the recorded miracles. They believed in the resurrection of the dead.
(John 3:2 NASB) this man came to Him by night, and said to Him, “Rabbi, we know that You have come from God as a teacher; for no one can do these signs that You do unless God is with him.”
John 3:2: Nicodemus says, “we know.” Who is “we?” That’s the Pharisees. They have apparently been talking a lot about Yeshua. Nicodemus is coming as a man of the Pharisees. He does come with a genuine compliment. He is not a hypocrite. He says that the Pharisees agree that He is a teacher from Elohim. The Pharisees were ready to set up the kingdom of Elohim and get rid of the burden of the Roman government. They think they have found this real popular guy with which to do it. The Pharisees want to ride on His coattails. They wanted Yeshua to play into their hands. They thought that since this guy came from the country up in Galilee, He won’t know how to handle the politics like they do. Their viewpoint is, we don’t have the man, and He doesn’t have the know-how with those in-the-know. So they send this man by the name of Nicodemus. The mistake they made is that Nicodemus is not the devious and sneaky salesman that they want him to be. He is actually very honest, sincere, and curious.
Nicodemus is here to discuss the setting up of the Kingdom of Elohim and if this is the Man to do it.
(John 3:3 NASB) Jesus answered and said to him, “Truly, truly, I say to you, unless one is born again, he cannot see the kingdom of God.”
John 3:3: The term “again” is the term “anthwen.” It is better tranlsated “from above.” anwthen, from G507; from above:– again(m)(2), all over(1), beginning(1), from above(5), from the long time(1), top(2). As a matter of fact, the ONLY place it is translated as “again” is here in this passage.
This same term is used to describe the veil of the Temple being torn (from the top) at the moment of death of Messiah (Matt. 27:51).
(John 3:4 NASB) Nicodemus said to Him, “How can a man be born when he is old? He cannot enter a second time into his mother’s womb and be born, can he?”
(John 3:5 NASB) Jesus answered, “Truly, truly, I say to you, unless one is born of water and the Spirit, he cannot enter into the kingdom of God.
John 3:5: Being born of the water and of the Spirit is spoken of in Isaiah 44:3-6 and Ezekiel 36:25-28 and it refers to the New Covenant.
(John 3:6 NASB) “That which is born of the flesh is flesh, and that which is born of the Spirit is spirit.
John 3:6: The reference to being born in the Spirit of Elohim is once again a reference to the New Covenant (Ezek. 37:12-14).
(John 3:7 NASB) “Do not marvel that I said to you, ‘You must be born again.’
(John 3:8 NASB) “The wind blows where it wishes and you hear the sound of it, but do not know where it comes from and where it is going; so is everyone who is born of the Spirit.”
John 3:8: This is a puzzling passage. The answer lies in the translation of the verse. The Greek term for “wind and Spirit” are the same.
Wind, Spirit – G4151. pneuma, from G4154; wind, spirit:– breath(3), Spirit(239), spirit(103), spirits(32), spiritual(m)(1), wind(1), winds(1).
The Greek word for “sound” actually means “voice.”
Sound – G5456. phwnay, from pha (to shine); a voice:– blasts(1), cry(1), language(1), languages(1), outcry(1), sound(15), sounds(4), statement(1), tone(1), utterance(3), utterances(1), voice(102), voices(7).
Young’s Living Translation says it best: (John 3:8 YLT) the Spirit where he willeth doth blow, and his voice thou dost hear, but thou hast not known whence he cometh, and whither he goeth; thus is every one who hath been born of the Spirit.’
It would appear that this is a statement of predestination. The Spirit wills where He goes. Man hears His voice, but doesn’t know where it came from or where it went. Everyone who is born of the Spirit it is the same way.
(John 3:9 NASB) Nicodemus answered and said to Him, “How can these things be?”
(John 3:10 NASB) Jesus answered and said to him, “Are you the teacher of Israel, and do not understand these things?
John 3:10: Yeshua is asking him why he doesn’t understand these things. This is the teaching of the Tanakh that the Spirit of the Father would come and renew the spirit of man (Ezek. 11:19-21, 37:14, 39:29, Joel 2:28-29).
(John 3:11 NASB) “Truly, truly, I say to you, we speak that which we know, and bear witness of that which we have seen; and you do not receive our witness.
(John 3:12 NASB) “If I told you earthly things and you do not believe, how shall you believe if I tell you heavenly things?
John 3:12: Yeshua had just cleansed the Temple and punished them for misusing it (John 2:15-17). He told them of earthly things that they should have already been aware of. How can they believe of heavenly things if they are defiling and misusing earthly things like the Temple?
He was telling Nicodemus of things from above (heaven). He is saying that Nicodemus did not receive the witness of John the Witness (Baptist) concerning His baptism and the signs which came from above.
(John 3:13 NASB) “And no one has ascended into heaven, but He who descended from heaven, even the Son of Man.
John 3:13: Yeshua is speaking of heavenly things (things from above) and not just earthly things. He is speaking of these things and that John witnessed them.
(John 3:14 NASB) “And as Moses lifted up the serpent in the wilderness, even so must the Son of Man be lifted up;
John 3:14: Christianity states that Yeshua is speaking of His own resurrection. But I do not think that is the case here. The reference is to the bronze serpent that Moses constructed in the wilderness that Elohim gave them to heal them from the bites of the serpents (Num. 21:7-9). The term for “lifted up” means “exalted.” Just as the bronze serpent was exalted for bringing life to the people, the Son of Man must be exalted for giving the Spirit to the people.
(John 3:15 NASB) that whoever believes may in Him have eternal life.
(John 3:16 NASB) “For God so loved the world, that He gave His only begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him should not perish, but have eternal life.
John 3:16: The Greek word for “believes” is not a passive emotional warm feeling. Thayer defines it this way:
1) to think to be true, to be persuaded of, to credit, place confidence in
1a) of the thing believed
1a1) to credit, have confidence
1b) in a moral or religious reference
1b1) used in the NT of the conviction and trust to which a man is impelled by a certain inner and higher prerogative and law of soul
1b2) to trust in Jesus or God as able to aid either in obtaining or in doing something: saving faith
2) to entrust a thing to one, i.e. his fidelity
2a) to be intrusted with a thing
Whoever believes in Him (if convicted with a law of soul to Him) will not perish, but will be resurrected in an eternal body.
(John 3:17 NASB) “For God did not send the Son into the world to judge the world, but that the world should be saved through Him.
(John 3:18 NASB) “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.
John 3:18: Yeshua is telling Nicodemus that Elohim did not send Him into the world to judge the world this time, but that those who have faithfulness in Him will be saved because it is through Him that Elohim is sending His Spirit.
He then speaks of those who do not believe in Him like those spoken of at the end of the previous passage.
(John 3:19 NASB) “And this is the judgment, that the light is come into the world, and men loved the darkness rather than the light; for their deeds were evil.
(John 3:20 NASB) “For everyone who does evil hates the light, and does not come to the light, lest his deeds should be exposed.
John 3:20: What is the light spoken of by Yeshua? It is the Torah of Elohim (Psalm 119:105, 130, Prov. 4:18, 6:23). If people think that a warm feeling in their heart saves them by reading John 3:16, why does Yeshua then speak of the light of Torah and man’s lawless deeds being exposed?
(John 3:21 NASB) “But he who practices the truth comes to the light, that his deeds may be manifested as having been wrought in God.”
John 3:21: Yeshua says that he who practices the Truth comes to the light. What Truth us to be practiced? It is His Torah (Psalm 25:10, 119:42, 43-44, 151-152, 160).
(John 3:22 NASB) After these things Jesus and His disciples came into the land of Judea, and there He was spending time with them and baptizing.
(John 3:23 NASB) And John also was baptizing in Aenon near Salim, because there was much water there; and they were coming and were being baptized.
(John 3:24 NASB) For John had not yet been thrown into prison.
John 3:24: Yeshua and His disciples went to the land of Judea and it says they were baptizing. But we are told a few verses later that the disciples did all the baptizing and that Yeshua did not baptize anyone (John 4:1-2).
John was not thrown into prison until after Messiah’s temptation in the wilderness.
(John 3:25 NASB) There arose therefore a discussion on the part of John’s disciples with a Jew about purification.
(John 3:26 NASB) And they came to John and said to him, “Rabbi, He who was with you beyond the Jordan, to whom you have borne witness, behold, He is baptizing, and all are coming to Him.”
John 3:26: John and his disciples were baptizing and then a Jew came to them to discuss it. Baptizing is not a “new” thing started by Christianity. The Jews recognized this as the Jewish purification.
John’s disciples were discussing baptism with a Jew. They went to John to tell him that Yeshua is baptizing and all the people are going to Yeshua instead of John.
(John 3:27 NASB) John answered and said, “A man can receive nothing, unless it has been given him from heaven.
John 3:27: This truth is presented several times in Scripture. We only receive what we receive because it comes from the Father (John 10:27-29). John is saying that Yeshua is receiving these people because His Father in heaven is drawing them.
(John 3:28 NASB) “You yourselves bear me witness, that I said, ‘I am not the Christ,’ but, ‘I have been sent before Him.’
John 3:28: John already explained that he is not the Messiah, but one who was sent before Him (John 1:20-27).
(John 3:29 NASB) “He who has the bride is the bridegroom; but the friend of the bridegroom, who stands and hears him, rejoices greatly because of the bridegroom’s voice. And so this joy of mine has been made full.
(John 3:30 NASB) “He must increase, but I must decrease.
John 3:30: I have heard many Bible teachers claim that here John is saying that he is not a part of the “Church,” which is the bride of Christ or some such nonsense. They claim he is saying that he is not a part of the bride, but a friend of the bridegroom. That misses the entire point of what John is saying.
He is saying that he is like a friend of the bridegroom who rejoices at his wedding. The friends joy is made full at his friends wedding. He is not to be the center of attention when the bridegroom appears.
In the same way, it is time for the Messiah to increase and for John to decrease.
(John 3:31 NASB) “He who comes from above is above all, he who is of the earth is from the earth and speaks of the earth. He who comes from heaven is above all.
(John 3:32 NASB) “What He has seen and heard, of that He bears witness; and no man receives His witness.
(John 3:33 NASB) “He who has received His witness has set his seal to this, that God is true.
John 3:33: John recognizes that Yeshua is from above and is above all. Those that are from the earth can only speak of the earth.
He who has received His witness has set his seal to the fact that Elohim is true (1 John 5:9-11).
(John 3:34 NASB) “For He whom God has sent speaks the words of God; for He gives the Spirit without measure.
John 3:34: He whom Elohim has sent speaks the Word of Elohim, which is His Torah. Elohim gives the Spirit without measure (Isa. 59:21).
(John 3:35 NASB) “The Father loves the Son, and has given all things into His hand.
(John 3:36 NASB) “He who believes in the Son has eternal life; but he who does not obey the Son shall not see life, but the wrath of God abides on him.”
John 3:36: He who believes the son has everlasting life. Here John explains what “believe” means. “Believe” has the connotation of obedience. The two are intricately tied together. If one “believes” in Yeshua Messiah, then he will be obedient to the Son, which is the Word of Elohim (Torah) made flesh.
The KJV translates this passage erroneously. (John 3:36 KJV) 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. The second word for “believeth” in that passage should be translated as “disobedient” according to virtually all concordances.
Patrick McGuireCopyright 2014 Patrick McGuire and Beit Yeshua Torah Assembly All rights reserved, no portion of this Lesson may be reproduced in any manner whatsoever without written permission except in the case of brief quotations in articles and reviews. Beit Yeshua Torah Assembly Fort Smith, Arkansas