Summary: In this message, part 4 in series Love Never Dies, Dave focuses on the meaning of "birth from above."
Love Never Dies, prt. 4
Wildwind Community Church
April 25, 2010
The past two weeks we have looked at Jesus as the Logos – the preexistent, eternal Word of God. In chapter 1, John presents the Logos to us. In chapter 2, John tells two stories which show Jesus revealing himself as the Logos. In John 3, Jesus begins speaking directly about his Logos-ness. Here he shares insights about the spiritual world and about the inner reality of human beings that were unlike any insights up until that time. These insights certainly do not PROVE that Jesus was the Son of God, but if one already believes this, or if one is seriously looking for evidence that might confirm it, one can find evidence here.
Like chapter 2, chapter 3 contains two “accounts,” or what you might call “scenes.” I want to start at the end of the chapter because John makes a very powerful statement there about Jesus that will actually help us better understand what Jesus says in the scene before.
Some translations (like The Messsage here, and the NIV) show these words as being spoken by John the Baptist, but many scholars believe these words are much more characteristic of John the Evangelist (the writer of this gospel), and I agree with that. If you look at John the Evangelist’s words about Christ in chapter 1, and then look at the words here in chapter 3, you will see a striking resemblance. Anyway, here is what is said:
John 3:31-36 (MSG)
31 "The One who comes from above is head and shoulders over other messengers from God. The earthborn is earthbound and speaks earth language; the heavenborn is in a league of his own.
32 He sets out the evidence of what he saw and heard in heaven. No one wants to deal with these facts.
33 But anyone who examines this evidence will come to stake his life on this: that God himself is the truth.
34 "The One that God sent speaks God's words. And don't think he rations out the Spirit in bits and pieces.
35 The Father loves the Son extravagantly. He turned everything over to him so he could give it away—a lavish distribution of gifts.
36 That is why whoever accepts and trusts the Son gets in on everything, life complete and forever! And that is also why the person who avoids and distrusts the Son is in the dark and doesn't see life. All he experiences of God is darkness, and an angry darkness at that."
The One who comes from above is head and shoulders over other messengers from God. This assertion appears 39 times in the Gospel of John. I would say that this is a quintessentially Christian statement, were it not for the fact that the statement was made by a Jewish prophet. But certainly this is a fundamental Christian belief, is it not? That Christ is head and shoulders over other messengers from God? Here is how the Apostle Paul understood this:
Colossians 2:9 (NIV)
9 For in Christ all the fullness of the Deity lives in bodily form,
That’s why Christian doctrine is that Jesus is the highest and best representation of God that has been given to mankind.
Now what does John say about Christ’s words? He says the heaven born is in a league of his own. He’s not just anybody. He is “born from above.” Bookmark in your mind that idea of Christ being “born from above.” That will be extremely important when we talk about the first passage in this chapter in a few moments.
John 3:32(a) (MSG)
32 He sets out the evidence of what he saw and heard in heaven…
So Christ is “born from above.” Remember, Christ – the Logos – is the creator. He has always been. He was with God, and he was God (John 1:1). So this being who has always been, who is God, who created everything that is, comes to earth (John 1:14). And John says that Christ “sets out the evidence of what he saw and heard in heaven.” This is heavy stuff here. John is telling us, “This person is not just an ordinary person. He is literally from another world, and when he talks to you, he is telling you what his world is like.” Can you imagine what would happen if a spaceship were to land outside on the back property after church gets out today, and someone were to step out of that spaceship from another planet and begin telling us what their planet is like? Everybody would want to hear that message. John is saying that that is exactly what is happening here. That a being from another world has arrived on the scene and this being is here to tell you about his world. But there’s a catch. Not only is he going to tell you about his world. See, this also happens to be the very being that created YOUR world – the one who created YOU – so he speaks with authority not only about the world he is from, but also about the world you are from, and also about you personally. Which leads directly to John’s next statement: