Wednesday, March 12, 2014

Encountering the text - What does it Say?: John 3:1-17

1 Now there was a Pharisee named Nicodemus, a leader of the Jews. 
2 He came to Jesus by night and said to him, "Rabbi, we know that you are a teacher who has come from God; for no one can do these signs that you do apart from the presence of God." 
     By Night in the Dark - when it is hard to see
     Teacher come from God - a rabbi, but not a prophet?
     Recognition that his power, his ability is from God
     The "know" here is a seeing kind of work, we perceive, we can see . . .in the dark

3 Jesus answered him, "Very truly, I tell you, no one can see the kingdom of God without being born from above." '

     See the kingdom of Heaven - it is night - hard to see things in the dark - Jesus is saying you can't see things very well.
     Born from above - I agree with Nicodemus below this is a strange thing to 

4 Nicodemus said to him, "How can anyone be born after having grown old? Can one enter a second time into the mother's womb and be born?" 

     You wouldn't fit, it would be DARK in there - you could not see ---interesting

5Jesus answered, "Very truly, I tell you, no one can enter the kingdom of God without being born of water and Spirit. 

     Born of water and of Spirit - Jesus just keeps saying nonsense - does he expect Nicodemus to get this?
6 What is born of the flesh is flesh, and what is born of the Spirit is spirit. 
     So are we flesh?  Are we spirit?  Do we want to be spirit?  Are we Gnostics today?

7 Do not be astonished that I said to you, "You must be born from above.' 

     Ok. . .not so much astonished as confused by what exactly you mean, Jesus, you keep explaining yourself but it is not getting any clearer.
8 The wind blows where it chooses, and you hear the sound of it, but you do not know where it comes from or where it goes. So it is with everyone who is born of the Spirit." 
     Wind - Spirit - this is the gospel of John, I assume that connection is there
     You can feel the wind when it blows and you can hear it but you can't see it - So people of born of the Spirit can be experienced, even if you do not know their origins - maybe?

9 Nicodemus said to him, "How can these things be?" 

     Exactly - Nic and I are on the same page!

10 Jesus answered him, "Are you a teacher of Israel, and yet you do not understand these things? 
     And Jesus expect him to understand these things - at face value, without commentaries?  - I am a "teacher of Israel" too, so is this suppose to make sense to me?

11 "Very truly, I tell you, we speak of what we know and testify to what we have seen; yet you do not receive our testimony. 

     We - we who?
     Speak of what we know and what we have seen - court language - he is a witness to what he knows and has seen but YOU (Nic - and I?) do not receive his testimony - we are rejecting it , see it as false, untrue - wow, Jesus is accusing Nic (and me) of rejecting true witness in court

12 If I have told you about earthly things and you do not believe, how can you believe if I tell you about heavenly things? 

     THESE are earthly things?  There are more complex heavenly things?
      Not so much Not Believe but more like not understand

13 No one has ascended into heaven except the one who descended from heaven, the Son of Man. 

      Has - past tense - Jesus has already ascended and already descended, I would expect the latter but not teh former
     Son of Man - is this term explained else where?  How would Nic hear this phrase?  It would not have the baggage I give to it.  Would it be a "new" phrase?  Or would it mean something to it?  Would it also carry any baggage that would either help or hinder his understanding?
14 And just as Moses lifted up the serpent in the wilderness, so must the Son of Man be lifted up,
     Reference to the Healing from the snake bites while the Israelites were in the desert.  A great St. Patrick's day passage ;) and in this case allusion made by Jesus for a Sunday that is the day before St. Patrick's day.

15 that whoever believes in him may have eternal life. 

     Eternal - full, rich, abundant, lived to fullness, lived the way it was meant to be lived, living the way we were created to live - has a Here and Now as well as a life Hear After meaning

16 "For God so loved the world that he gave his only Son, so that everyone who believes in him may not perish but may have eternal life. 

     We will not live perishing lives, dying lives, half lives but full lives - :)

17 "Indeed, God did not send the Son into the world to condemn the world, but in order that the world might be saved through him.

     Saved - I have always thought this was a strange word.  Saved from what?  Saved from half lives, from lives that are less than full, less than rich, less than abundant. less than eternal?  
     No condemnation - not here to show us how worthless we are, or how broken the lives we are living truly are but here to show us what they can be, what they were meant to be - to offer hope, another way, a way out of our brokenness, a way to live the kind of lives that are eternal.   :)

Is there no response from Nic?  What does Nic thing and do in the end?  Where does he go?  

Are we left w/o his response to leave room for ours?

So where does that take us?  Where does this lead us?  What does this mean for us?  What doe we think about what Jesus said here?  What do we think about what Jesus is offering?