October 18, 2023 – Wednesday
John 3:11-12 NKJV
11 Most assuredly, I say to you, We speak what We know and testify what We have seen, and you do not receive Our witness.12 If I have told you earthly things and you do not believe, how will you believe if I tell you heavenly things?
John 3:9 NET
11 I tell you the solemn truth, we speak about what we know and testify about what we have seen, but you people do not accept our testimony. 12 If I have told you people about earthly things and you don’t believe, how will you believe if I tell you about heavenly things?
Only yesterday we looked at Nicodemus’ question and the first part of Jesus’ answer (NKJV), 9 Nicodemus answered and said to Him, “How can these things be?” 10 Jesus answered and said to him, Are you the teacher of Israel, and do not know these things? Today we will look deeper into Jesus’ answer to Nicodemus in our two verses for today.
Notice between the two versions where Jesus uses the word you in the NKJV and it comes out as you people in the NET. The NET does this to make sure the reader looks upon the you in verse 12 as a plural. This likely goes back to verse two where Nicodemus said to Jesus, 2 Rabbi, we know that You are a teacher come from God; for no one can do these signs that You do unless God is with him. Clearly Nicodemus is referring to himself and others.
The NKJV, unlike the NET, capitalizes each We and Our while the NET and most others do not including the KJV. The likely reason for the upper case is that in each occasion the we and the our includes Jesus while it refers to His own teaching efforts and that of others. This would be especially true of His disciples and others who have spoken and testified using their own testimony and been rejected by the Pharisees and other Jews.
Using the NET version, it is clear Jesus is pointing to the Jewish leadership and pointedly the Pharisees, 11 I tell you the solemn truth, we speak about what we know and testify about what we have seen, but you people do not accept our testimony. 12 If I have told you people about earthly things and you don’t believe, how will you believe if I tell you about heavenly things? What He is saying here is incredibly direct. What we, He and others, speak about is what they know from personal experience. They testify not just about personal experience, but what they have seen. Yet Nicodemus and others like him refuse or are unable to believe. This is not unlike our experience as Christians today in the twenty first century.
Jesus continues with. 12 If I have told you people about earthly things and you don’t believe, how will you believe if I tell you about heavenly things? Oh yeah, having shared with so many about earthly things which were not believed, how can we expect you to believe if and when heavenly things are spoken of. Again, this is not unlike our experiences today when we share our comfort from the Holy Spirit or knowing we have a place in Heaven. Or sharing the peace we have in accepting Christ’s sacrifice on the cross, paying the price for our sins.
Bottom Line: We live our lives with our knowledge and understanding as best we can as followers of Christ Jesus. At the same time, we are ready to share the gospel that makes such peace possible in our lives.
Prayer: Heavenly Father, the Grace You have extended to us through Your Son is an incredible blessing we can hardly grasp in this life. We truly look forward to the life we will have with You, Jesus, and the Holy Spirit in the life to come. Thank You for all of Your blessings. – In Jesus’ Name. Amen.