Archive for the ‘Gospel of John’ Category

Preaching the Gospel from John

October 29, 2008

Title: Preaching the Gospel from John

Text: John 3:1-15

Date: July 28, 2007

I’m preaching the gospel through each of the four Gospels – Matthew, Mark, Luke and John, and today I’m in the Gospel of John 3:1-15 (read), the account of the Jewish Pharisee Nicodemus and his conversation with Jesus. There are four books of the Bible called the Gospels because they record the good news or gospel of Jesus Christ. In a general way, all four books tell the good news or Gospel of Jesus Christ. But some passages get more specific about the way of salvation or eternal life — which is specifically what the good news is all about. Jesus came to bring us reconciliation with God so we might live forever in eternal happiness. I’ve been drawing out passages from all four Gospels – Matthew, Mark, Luke, and now today John — to illustrate what specifically is the message of the good news or gospel. Today, we’ll see a very prominent Jewish leader, a member of the elite group called Pharisees, visit Jesus with some questions about spiritual reality. This man, named Nicodemus, was a very serious student of the Hebrew scriptures, a very strict follower of the religious laws of the Jews, and a very important leader in the community. Yet even after a lifetime of study and even teaching, this man sensed that Jesus had a greater knowledge of God then he or anybody else he knew. He was curious and interested in Jesus, so he visited Jesus one night to get some answers to his questions. Now the thing that puzzled him was that he was convinced that Jesus truly was a man sent from God because of all the miraculous things he could do, but he was confused because Jesus wasn’t teaching the things he had learned or that other teachers taught about God. Yes, there were many things that Jesus taught that were one and the same things taught by Nicodemus and the other Jewish scribes and Pharisees. Jesus seemed to know the scriptures and quoted from them often. But he also went beyond the scriptures and spoke directly and with personal authority on matters that he couldn’t have possibly learned from any Jewish teacher. So where did Jesus get his teachings? How could he speak with such authority and certainty? These and other questions Nicodemus wanted answers. But why did he come at night to visit Jesus? We must understand that Nicodemus had a reputation to uphold; he was a top Jewish leader in Israel. He was highly educated, he was widely respected, he was looked up to, he had accomplished much and achieved much on the way towards his position on the Jewish ruling council called the Sanhedrin. He didn’t want to jeopardize anything he had worked hard to achieve in life by being seen with a radical preacher from Nazareth. But at the same time he was drawn to Jesus and actually wanted to hear more of what he had to say. So what does Jesus say to Nicodemus? Let me point out three things. (more…)