October 02, 2020 – Friday
John 3:10-13 NIV
10 “You are Israel’s teacher,” said Jesus, “and do you not understand these things?
11 Very truly I tell you, we speak of what we know, and we testify to what we have seen, but still you people do not accept our testimony.
12 I have spoken to you of earthly things and you do not believe; how then will you believe if I speak of heavenly things? (emphasis added)
Today I was going to cover verses 10-15, but decided to let verses 13-15 wait until Monday. In the verses above Jesus is speaking with the Pharisee Nicodemus, the only Pharisee mentioned in the Bible who sought Jesus out and said in verse 2, Rabbi, we know that you are a teacher who has come from God. For no one could perform the signs you are doing if God were not with him.
Then we have the following verses, presented for context, leading up to the verses for today
3 Jesus replied, “Very truly I tell you, no one can see the kingdom of God unless they are born again.”
4 “How can someone be born when they are old?” Nicodemus asked. “Surely they cannot enter a second time into their mother’s womb to be born!”
5 Jesus answered, “Very truly I tell you, no one can enter the kingdom of God unless they are born of water and the Spirit. 6 Flesh gives birth to flesh, but the Spirit gives birth to spirit. 7 You should not be surprised at my saying, ‘You must be born again.’ 8 The wind blows wherever it pleases. You hear its sound, but you cannot tell where it comes from or where it is going. So it is with everyone born of the Spirit.”
9 “How can this be?” Nicodemus asked.
How indeed? Nicodemus was astonished at the thought of being born again. Thus, Jesus began His explanation via our verses of the day. Especially as a Pharisee, Nicodemus should have understood, after all he was one of Israel’s teachers. Jesus was telling him what the prophets had taught about the Spirit raining down was being fulfilled. Jesus and His disciples were doing things made possible only by the Holy Spirit and the Heavenly Father. Peter Pett adds, This being so, even if He tells them even more wonderful things, He doubts if they will accept them, for they [the Pharisees] are deliberately closing their eyes. ‘If I have told you earthly things, and you believe not, how can you believe if I tell you heavenly things?’ Those who will not accept the evidence of God’s activity before their eyes on earth, cannot hope to appreciate the deeper facts which His coming has brought into play. The things that are happening have far deeper roots than what is obvious on the surface, but if they are to be appreciated they require a total rethink.
David Guzik implies Jesus despairs of Nicodemus reaching any understanding when he writes, A simple look at earthly things – like the illustrations Jesus used, and even a look at his own life – should have made the point plain to Nicodemus. If he could not see that he needed this spiritual transformation, what more could Jesus tell him? Nicodemus and other Pharisees had to know the prophecies and at some level had faith in them. But their faith was not strong enough for them to believe while looking at what was literally happening right in front of them.
One must wonder how much of their faith was a true faith in God and His prophecies and how much was a ‘cultural’ faith. By cultural faith I mean something that is said over and over, again and again, until you believe you believe it. But do you. In the United States the Pledge of Allegiance to the flag of the country was repeated over and over for decades and then it was not. While many still believe in the Pledge, many simply know and can repeat it, while others no longer believe it at all. Many in Israel and especially the Pharisees would have problems of this sort no matter how well they knew the prophecies.
Today we often gather together in assembly to pray together, worship together, hear God’s word together to strengthen and deepen our faith and belief. We do this during Bible studies and during Sunday church meetings. All meant to increase our ability to walk in faith and deepen our belief as stated in Hebrews 10:24-25, And let us consider how we may spur one another on toward love and good deeds, not giving up meeting together, as some are in the habit of doing, but encouraging one another—and all the more as you see the Day approaching.