Verse one of chapter 3 says that Nicodemus, the Pharisee, was a “ruler of the Jews,” which would make him a member of the Sanhedrin – the Jewish governing council. In fact, one of the other two places he is mentioned is in John 7:50, as there is division among them concerning arresting Jesus. Nicodemus states his belief that Jesus is sent from God because of the signs that he did, confirming that Jesus did many more miracles than were written in the gospel, as John states in John 20:30-31. Nicodemus seems to be trying to understand what Jesus means by being born again in a physical manner. But Jesus is speaking of being re-born by the Spirit by way of baptism (Romans 6:3-4, Colossians 2:12-13).
The phrase “God so loved the world” is verse 16, followed by the other references to the world are often overlooked in their significance – not only for salvation being open to all, but the declaration of God’s love for all the world, not just the people of Israel.
In order to get to Galilee from Judea, one had to either go through Samaria or cross over the Jordan to go around it on the east side. A strict Jew would do the latter to avoid being defiled by setting foot on Samaritan soil. After the Assyrians captured Samaria, the Assyrian king brought foreigners from various places in to settle in 722 BC (2 Kings 17:24). Some Jews remained and intermarried with these foreigners, and the animosity between this mixed race of people and the Jews grew strong over time.
I chapter 4 Jesus, who had come to seek and save the lost, would naturally not avoid these people. As He approaches Jacob’s well, verse 6 indicates His humanity by saying that He was weary from the journey. Jesus intentionally turns the subject of the conversation with the Samaritan woman at the well to her “husband” in verses 17-19. His thorough knowledge of her history is enough to convince her that He may be who He says He is in verse 26, when Jesus makes a rare admission that He is the Messiah. After she told others, many came from the town and believed by their own encounters with Jesus that He was the “Savior of the world” (verse 42).
When His disciples return in verse 31, Jesus gives them a lesson about sowing and reaping in the kingdom in verses 34-38. He points out that the sowers and reapers can rejoice together now, as new believers are brought into His kingdom.
Bible Reading Schedule for this month
Click links below to read or listen to audio of one of this week’s chapters in Colossians and Luke
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All of my comments in this blog are solely my responsibility. When reading any commentary, you should always refer first to the scripture, which is God’s unchanging and unfailing word.