We are going to begin this message with John 2:23 and from there we will move into the third chapter. Chapter divisions were not in the original text; they were added at a later time. So chapter divisions are not always in a good place, and that is the case here. The last three verses of chapter 2 should not be separated from chapter 3. It’s a continuation.
John 2:23 Now when He was in Jerusalem at the passover, in the feast day, many believed in His name, when they saw the miracles which He did.
Likewise many merely believe in His name in this day. They believe in what is reported of Him, what He has been named to be. Jesus Christ is named Lord and many accept that as fact without really experiencing His Lordship over their lives.
Many believed in His name, when they saw the miracles which He did. A multitude followed Jesus after He fed them (John 6:5-14). The miracle multiplication of the fish and the bread attracted them. Then the next day when they were gathered around Him, He said, “Unless you eat My flesh and drink My blood you have no life in you” (John 6:53). I can imagine His disciples thinking, “That wasn’t wisdom. He is going to run everybody off.” You know how the Jews felt about eating flesh with the blood, and they began walking away. The amazing thing is that Jesus didn’t say, “Wait a minute, folks! Let me explain to you what I’m talking about.” He didn’t do that. He just let them leave. He didn’t try to stop them at all. In fact, He turned and asked the disciples, “Will you also go away?” (John 6:67). In other words, “Here’s your opportunity; you can leave, too. You can go along with the crowd and no one will think ill of you.” God doesn’t beg anyone to walk with Him. He gives a Word and sometimes He doesn’t explain it. There are some that are following Him like that today. They believe in what He is supposed to be because of the miracles, not because they have a revelation of Him.
John 2:24-25 But Jesus did not commit Himself unto them, because He knew all men,
25 And needed not that any should testify of man: for He knew what was in man.
Do you believe that He knows what is in your man-nature? He knows all about you, and He loves you anyway. He knew what you were when He called you, and He called you anyhow. He knows what is in man. Therefore, He doesn’t commit Himself to man. What does it mean by that? He will not commit Himself to our man-nature. A lot of people want to go out and do good works for God. He will not bless that. What He really wants is to do His works through us. It is not by our might, nor by our power, but by His Spirit (Zechariah 4:6). That means what we do in our own energy with our own wisdom is not going to be blessed by God. Those are the dead works (Hebrews 6:1). The living works are the works He does through us.
It is difficult to make the switchover so that it is not you doing it in yourself, but the Lord working through you. This is the Sabbath-rest. We cease from our own works that He might work through us (Hebrews 4:10). At the same time we can’t sit back expecting Him to function apart from us. He has to work through us and He can’t do that if we don’t move, if we don’t speak. We must be the channels for Him to work through. We have to function, but not by our own wisdom or energies. It has to be the Lord ministering through us.
The attitude of many Christians is “Lord, tell me what You want done and I’ll do it.” If you can do it with your own human energy and your own wisdom, you’ll do it. It’s only when you get to the place where it is completely impossible that you learn how to let God move through you. Abraham had a word that he was going to have a son. Now don’t you know he worked hard to bring that to pass? But it had to be by a promise, by a Word from God. It had to be completely impossible, humanly speaking, for that son to be born; then God moved. When Christ had to come forth in the earth, Joseph could not have any part in it. And that which the Lord is bringing forth in this day of His Kingdom is Christ and there can’t be any man input. He does not commit Himself to man – your man nature, your wisdom. It has to be His wisdom. He doesn’t commit Himself to man.
John 3:1 There was a man of the Pharisees, named Nicodemas, a ruler of the Jews.
We were talking about the man-nature and how the Lord doesn’t commit Himself to man. The indefinite article “a” is not in the Greek and the word translated “of” in the Greek is ek, which means “out of.” So, “there was a man of the Pharisees” literally translated would read “there was man out of the Pharisees.” It is speaking of the religious man-nature – it is of the Pharisees.
The name Nicodemas is a compound word: nico meaning conqueror or rule and demus meaning people. The conqueror or ruler of the people comes out of the pharisaic man-nature – rather descriptive of Christendom today. Generally speaking, man is controlling the church-world and is ruling over it. It has been conquered and is being ruled by man.
John 3:2 The same came to Jesus by night, and said unto him, Rabbi, we know that Thou art a teacher come from God: for no man can do these miracles that Thou doest, except God be with Him.
Nicodemas is not just any man; he is a ruler of the Jews. He’s a religious person. He represents the hierarchy of the established religion of the day, but he doesn’t really know the Lord, for he says, We know that Thou art a teacher come from God: for no man can do these miracles that Thou doest, except God be with him.
John 3:3 Jesus answered and said unto Him (Jesus gets right down to that old man-nature immediately), Verily, verily, I say unto thee, Except a man be born again, he cannot see the kingdom of God.
Regardless of how religious a person is, he needs to be born again. “Born again” in the Greek is literally “born from above.” Jesus said, “Unless you’re born of God you can’t see the Kingdom of God.” The church-world has many like Nicodemas talking about the Kingdom of God and they can’t even see it. You’ve got to be born again just to see it! You can read about it in the Scriptures and study it and preach it, but you have to be born of God for it to be revealed to you.
John 3:4 Nicodemas saith unto Him, How can a man be born when he is old? Can he enter the second time into his mother’s womb, and be born?
Nicodemas was a leader in the religious order of the day, but he didn’t understand what it meant to be born again. Even with all of his religious education, he could not really see the Kingdom of God.
John 3:5 Jesus answered, Verily, verily, I say unto thee, Except a man be born of water and of the Spirit, he cannot enter into the kingdom of God.
It is one thing to see the Kingdom by revelation; it is quite another thing to enter into it. You will have to be born again in order to see it, and your born again experience will have to expand in order to enter it. You understand that being born of God is a process. To say I was born of God and experienced a new birth on such and such a date would be incorrect. At best we are being born again. It is a process that is taking place. Our spirits have been enlightened by the Lord, but there has to be an increase. Isaiah prophesied, Of the increase of His government and peace there shall be no end (Isaiah 9:7). We must constantly increase. Our born-again experience should be constantly expanding.
An illustration of our born-again expansion is found in the parable of the Sower in Matthew chapter thirteen. The seed that was sown among the good-ground hearers produced some 30-fold, some 60-fold, and some 100-fold. When we grow spiritually our born-again experience expands and we leave the 30-fold and come into the 60-fold. We continue to grow and soon we come into the 100-fold. Then we might think, “We’ve made it.” No, not yet, because when we get in the 100-fold realm we find that we are in the 30-fold section of the 100-fold realm and we keep growing. If the fullness of God had a definite absolute value and we could come into that fullness so that we could say, “Well, we’ve finally arrived,” do you know what God would do? He would expand so that His fullness would be greater and we would need more growth. Listen, we will never reach a place of finality for His fullness is without measure. The process must be from man-nature to new birth to continual expansion.
Copyright © 2002 by Henry DuBose