Our Blog

Filter By:

John 3





Today we get to take a look at one of the most familiar of all the chapters in the Bible.  It is the most familiar because it contains the best known verse, John 3:16.  There are a few things, however, we need to talk about before we get to that verse.

The first person that we are introduced to in this chapter is Nicodemus.  He is a Pharisee.  Among other things, that means he would have lived by the strictest possible religious rules.  Although I bad mouth Pharisees as hypocrites fairly often, I will surely admit that not all Pharisees were necessarily hypocrites.  As a point in case, I don’t think Nicodemus was hypocritical.  I think he was lost.  I think he was confused.  But to his credit, he was searching.

It is interesting that when Nicodemus spoke to Jesus, he said, “We…”  Perhaps he was there on behalf of some other folks.  He may have even been there on behalf of the Sanhedrin.  Regardless of who the “we” was, salvation is not a “we” issue”.  It is a “me” issue.

In fact, in verse 3, Jesus turns the conversation specifically to Nicodemus.  Jesus said, “I say to you…”  The point of Jesus’ statement to Nicodemus was that he had to born again.  Such a statement was more than radical.  

To begin with it seemed to attack Nicodemus’ heritage.  Remember, he was born into a Jewish family.  He was part of God’s chosen people.  His birth heritage should have opened up all kinds of spiritual opportunities.  But now Jesus is saying that he has to be born again.  In other words, there is a birth that is more important than being born a Jew.  That would have been hard for a Jew to accept.

The second thing is Nicodemus was completely confused.  He took this as a physical rebirth.  And the only way he would imagine that happening would be for a man to reenter his mother’s womb.  Of course, Jesus was not speaking of a physical rebirth at all but a spiritual birth.

This is made clear in verse 5 when Jesus speaks of being born of water and the Spirit.  The being born of water is a reference to physical birth.  Being born of the Spirit is a reference to spiritual birth.  

There are some that want to make this “born of water” a baptism issue.  But in the New Testament, baptism is connected with death not birth.  Think about this.  When we baptize, we say, “Buried with Him in baptism…”  Being baptized, being put under the water, is a symbol of the death of the old man.  Then he is “Raised to new life”.  Life comes after baptism.  Baptism is not a means to life.  

This issue of baptism is made even more clearly in John 3:16.  The promise of eternal life is made to those who believe.  There is no mention of being baptized.  Baptism is not necessary for salvation.  If you are still wrestling with this, then think about it logically.  If sin is the problem (and it is), baptism cannot wash away our sin.  Water baptism cannot cleanse us from our sin.  Our sin is a problem of the heart.  It is an internal problem.  It doesn’t matter how many times you are baptized, that water cannot touch the problem because the problem of sin is not on us.  It is in us.

That doesn’t mean baptism isn’t important.  It is.  Every believer should be Scripturally baptized.  Scriptural baptism is about the right person.  The person being baptized needs to have been saved.  Scriptural baptism is about the right method.  The method of baptism is total immersion.  And Scriptural baptism is about the right purpose.  The purpose of baptism is a testimony of salvation.

Posted by Joe Ligon with

John 2


This chapter starts with the famous and infamous first miracle of Jesus: the changing of water into wine.  There are a few interesting details of this event that I want to call your attention to before we look at the bigger picture.
For example, this happened on “the third day”.  That is a curious thing to say.  It may have to do with being the third day of the wedding feast that would normally last seven days.  But it is hard not to miss the possibility that this was somehow connected to His resurrection which would happen on the “the third day”.  His resurrection was ultimate proof of His identity.  This miracle of turning water into wine was also a proof of His identity.
The second thing is that the water jars would have held between 120-180 gallons of water.  They were filled with water.  That water that was drawn out was the better wine.  It doesn’t say that all the water in all six water jars was turned to wine.  We just know that the water that was drawn out had been turned into wine. 
Now let’s take a look at the bigger picture.  First of all this is not a Scriptural permission to drink alcoholic beverages.  The focus is not on what is being drunk.  The focus is one Jesus’ ability to turn one thing into another.  You know like He is able to turn a person who is dead in his sins and headed to hell into a person who is a child of God and is headed to heaven.
From there Jesus travels to Jerusalem for Passover.  This was one of the three annual feasts Jewish males were required to attend in Jerusalem.  The other two were Pentecost and Tabernacles. 
Once Jesus arrived in the Temple, He cleansed the Temple of money-changers.  This is actually the first of two times He would do this.  The issue here is not that things were being sold in the Temple.  The issue was that the religious leaders had corrupted the process to take advantage of people who were coming to worship God.  The story goes like this. When worshippers came to the Temple on Passover, they would have brought an animal to sacrifice and they would have brought money to pay the Temple Tax.  The religious leaders figured out that if they declared any animal brought to the Temple unsuitable for the sacrifice the worshippers would have to buy one of theirs to offer as a sacrifice.  You can imagine the increase in prices.  By the same token, the religious leaders also minted a Temple currency that was “the only acceptable currency to pay the Temple tax”.  So, they became money-changers.  They exchanged the money of the people for the Temple money at exorbitant rates.  And those who came to worship had no choice but to pay the price. 
So, Jesus reacted with some righteous indignation and chased off those selling animals and exchanging money.  I have no doubt that those who were chased off were quite perturbed that Jesus would interfere with their more than profitable enterprise.  I also have no doubt that those who had come from afar to worship were truly grateful that they wouldn’t be taken advantage of in their attempt to worship God.
There are a couple of great lessons in this part of the story.  One, there is nothing wrong with buying and selling stuff in church as long as what is sold is not required to enter worship.  Two, we should never build barriers or erect hindrances that would keep people from worshipping God.  In fact, we should be intentionally removing those barriers and tearing down those hindrances so that more people than ever can get to God.

Posted by Joe Ligon with

12...199200201202203204205206207208 ... 231232