Jesus Teaches Nicodemus – Jn. 3:1-8
Now there was a man of the Pharisees named Nicodemus, a member of the Jewish ruling council. He came to Jesus at night and said, “Rabbi, we know you are a teacher who has come from God. For no one could perform the miraculous signs you are doing if God were not with him.”
In reply Jesus declared, “I tell you the truth, no one can see the kingdom of God unless he is born again.”
“How can a man be born when he is old?” Nicodemus asked. “Surely he cannot enter a second time into his mother’s womb to be born!”
Jesus answered, “I tell you the truth, no one can enter the kingdom of God unless he is born of water and the Spirit. Flesh gives birth to flesh, but the Spirit gives birth to spirit. You should not be surprised at my saying, ‘You must be born again.’ 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.”
In the Gospel of John, there is no mention of miracles, as in the other Gospels. Miracles in John are called “signs” and we can see here in this reading from today that John is telling a story of Jesus evident here is the High Christology of John. No one can enter the kingdom of God unless he is born of water and the Spirit. Jesus is talking about things above, not things of the earth.
The narrator gives an explanation of ambiguous statements. There are literal and non-literal understandings, and also spiritual meanings. In John 3:1-3, we have the statement being born from above or born again, this is a spiritual or celestial birth. Nicodemus misunderstands Jesus, and the author of the Gospel plays on this passage.In this discourse between Jesus and Nicodemus (1:21) (3:28-30, 36) the information is not adequately integrated. (11-13 – 31-36) there is an opposition between earth and heaven.
Let us look further into the Gospel of John:
There is a difference between John and the synoptic Gospels.
- John the Baptist’s witness of Jesus (1:19-34) John the Baptist is never named “The Baptist” in John
- Jesus’ purification of the Temple (2:12-22) this is placed at the beginning of John, but is found further on in the synoptics
- The feeding of the 5,000 (6:1-13)
- Jesus walks on water (6:16-21)
- Peter’s confession of Jesus (6:66-71)
- Mary’s anointing of Jesus at Bethany (12:1-8)
- Jesus’ triumphal entry into Jerusalem (12:12-19)
- Jesus’ last supper (13:1-30) Jesus washes feet
- Passion and Resurrection Narratives (Jn 18-20) The discussion between Pilate and Jesus’ crucifixion scene
Miracles in the fourth Gospel:
Only 2 of the 29 synoptic miracles are found in John. The feeding of the 5000 and Jesus walking on water. Five other “signs” are absent in the synoptics
- Water into wine (2:1-11) Mary is named Mother of Jesus
- Healing of the Royal Officers son (4:46-54) maybe (Mt 8:5-10)
- Healing of the man at Bethzada (5:1-9) on the sabbath
- Healing of the blind man (9:1-7)
- Resurrection of Lazarus (11:33-44) This action seals the death of Jesus
Chronology of the Fourth Gospel:
There is one journey to Jerusalem in the synoptics (1 year) yet John mentions 3 passover feasts (approximately 3 years) John (2:13, 5:1, 6:4, 7:10, 10:22-23,11:55 and 12:1-12)
- Jn 2:13 – The Purification of the Temple in Jerusalem
- Jn 5:1 – The festival of the Jews – Jerusalem visit once again
- Jn 6:4 – Passover mentioned – Jesus feeds the 5000
- Jn 7: 2-11 – Jesus goes to Jerusalem
- Jn 10:22-23 – Feast of Dedication (In the Temple) Jerusalem
- Jn 11:55 – Passover
- Jn 12:1-12 – Jesus is going to come to Jerusalem
John has access to other materials. There are tensions in John (problems) it’s not about chronology but Theology in John.
Johannine Double Christology: everything that pertains to the identity of Jesus Christ. Christology much more present, not so much ethics of the kingdom of God, focuses more on faith, the only prerequisite for eternal life.
Jesus did many other miraculous signs in the presence of his disciples, which are not recorded in this book. But these are written that you may believe that Jesus is the Christ, the Son of God, and that by believing you may have life in his name.
This you see the Subjunctive aorist – “That you may come to believe”
Here you see the Subjunctive present – “These are written so that you will continue to believe”
There is something more in John about Jesus. (Jn:1-18) refers to Jesus divine origin – this inclusion refers to Jesus having a divine origin with God which comes back at the end of the Gospel, on the part of the doubter (20:28) “My Lord and My God.”
The Gospel of John was written in stages or redacted in stages.
- Pre-Johnannine (John) traditions were independent traditions from the synoptics (record of sayings and deeds)
- Kernel of the Johannine traditions basically is or represents expansion of stage 1. They added Joahnnine theology also from the people who were preaching at that time.
- The actual redaction of the Gospel – the writing
- A second edition of the Gospel
- And we end up with the final edition of the Gospel (chapter 21)
From a Source perspective John was not a one shot writing. The prologue in John is the interpretive key to John. There is the community of the Beloved Disciple.
AUTHOR – is not necessarily the writer (21:24) from whom received the tradition – the message giver.
EVANGELIST – The writer composes the work elements of tradition recording of the author and put tradition in narrative form this adds theological flair.
REDACTOR – is the one who completed the editing work of the evangelist, there may be more redactors.
The authorship of the Gospel of John: Was the Gospel of John written by the Disciple whom Jesus Loved?
Jn 13:23 – Only the Beloved Disciple knows who will betray Jesus
19: 26-27 – He was at the foot of the cross
20:2 – At the Tomb
21:7 – Redactional chapter – fishing with Peter
21:20-24 – Testimony of this person – person who wrote the Gospel received testimony from the Beloved Disciple.
The Disciple whom Jesus Loved:
13:23 The Beloved Disciple
19:26-27 – Beloved Disciple identified with Mother
Jn. 20:22-23 The Outpouring of Spirit – Johannine Pentecost, the result will be the mission.
Jn. 19:30 – Jesus Giving up his Spirit – the Gospel is written for “insiders”
The Mother of Jesus and the Beloved Disciple are representative of the Johannine community. The symbols of water and the symbols of the spirit (Jn. 7/ 20:20-23) When Jesus dies – he gives up his spirit. Everything happens at the Cross – The cross is the moment where Jesus dies and returns to the Father. When the Son of Man will be lifted up (on the cross) The Christology of the Son of Man ( refers to Daniel chapter 7 ).
Christology of the Son of God
Jesus is more than the Messiah, carries attributes that traditional Jews would have given to the Messiah. The Son of God carries glory and power of the Father and the only begotten son.
Johannine Christology of the “agent of the Father” Judicial clauses – Jesus is the plenipenitentiary – the mediator. Someone sent with the power of the one who sent him.
Jewish law elaborated a Charter of Rights, responsibility of the one who was sent. Responsibility clauses are discernable (sender and agent) the relationship between Jesus and the Father – Judicial Christology.
The existence of the mission. Choose the right representative – the son or elder son. The person invested with full rights and the same authority of the sender, the Father in John is the sender – Jesus is the one who is sent. (Jn. 3:31-34, Jn. 5:21-23, Jn. 6:39, Jn. 13:3, Jn. 17:10)
The Judicial Equality Clause: (Jn. 10:30,38, 12:45)
There is a judicial equality between the sender and the agent this explains a series of passages – (Jn. 5:23, 12:44, 13:20, 15:23 ) There is an equality between Jesus and the Father. (Jn. 13:16, 15:20, 14:28)
We would never know the Father except through Jesus
The Obedience of the Agent Clause:
The agent had to be faithful and obedient. (4:34, 6:38) “I come to do the will of him who sent me” (7: 16-18, 18:28-38, 12:49-50, 14:24, 5:43) Jesus only teaches what he receives from the Father.
The Return and Reckoning Clause:
Mandate – equality – responsibility – return with an account. This is the theme of the return of Jesus to the Father. (13 – 17) (13:3) In John 17:1-4 Jesus knows his work is done, Jn. 17:6 it is made known to the Father.
Why is Jesus the Plenipenitentiary – to introduce the Father
Prologue 1:1-2 and the word was turned to God (in the Greek) There is an auto revelation of God – seen through the prophets of the Old Testament. This word will become incarnate. Jesus will be the one to incarnate the word – the culminating point – that Jesus comes from the Father. The word (Divine Autorevelation) Christology of the Son of Man.
The Son of Man differs from the Son of God
Daniel 7:13 apocalyptic literature. Designates Jesus as eschatalogical judge – (Synoptics – Divine Heavenly Being)
John – Son of Man titled 1:50-51 The ladder of Jacob in Genesis – the some of man is associated to heaven, ascending and descending. (3:11-15) Son of Man related to heaven because he is descended a heavenly being.
Numbers 21:4-9 – The Son of Man will be lifted up, believe in him (the Son of Man) elevation of the Son of Man. The source for eternal life. John 3:11-15 (Born from above) (2Cor 5:17, Gal 5:6) Being someone new. John 6:61-62 Ascending to where he was before. The elevation of man has to be seen, taken note of. John 12:20-36 The hour has come for the Son of Man to be glorified.
John 12:31-33 Eschatalogical judgment coming. The Prince of the earth (the devil) will be debunked.
We have here the double existence of lifting up the Son of Man. Lifted up on the cross – The cross as way to return, to ascend – everything happens at the crossas supreme king. (the crucifixion and elevation)
This is a realized eschatology – In John the eschatological moment comes at the cross. The elevation is the death. Why does the writer need a second Christology?
The cross is a shame ( Deuteronomy 21:22-23)
If a man guilty of a capital offense is put to death and his body is hung on a tree, you must not leave his body on the tree overnight. Be sure to bury him that same day, because anyone who is hung on a tree is under God’s curse. You must not desecrate the land the LORD your God is giving you as an inheritance.
Cursed be the one who is hung on wood.
Here the cross becomes a participant – not a scandal for the Son of Man. The two Christologies integrate the cross, the Son of Man is returning to God to give a report. For the Son of God – the cross is a problem.
Jesus is in total control of his destiny. John 13:27 …
We find a lower Christology in the Synoptic Gospels Mt, Mk, Lk – The Son of God is linked to the Messiahship. in John Jesus is the plenipenitentiary of the Father. Jesus the Son of Man is lifted up – The death of Jesus with his elevation is Glorification encapsulated in the Crucifixion scene. It is a relaized eschatology – at the cross.