Comments on John 3:10-15
From John: The book about Life, by Matthew R. Freije
Scripture taken from the NEW AMERICAN STANDARD BIBLE®, © Copyright The Lockman Foundation 1960, 1962, 1963, 1968, 1971, 1972, 1973, 1975, 1977, 1995. Used by permission.
Jesus knew that Nicodemus had little confidence in what he believed, even though he was a teacher. Jesus, by contrast, having received truth from the Father, taught with confidence and authority, which amazed those who heard Him:
"My teaching is not Mine, but His who sent Me. 17 "If anyone is willing to do His will, he will know of the teaching, whether it is of God or whether I speak from Myself. 18 "He who speaks from himself seeks his own glory; but He who is seeking the glory of the One who sent Him, He is true, and there is no unrighteousness in Him.
John 14:10"Do you not believe that I am in the Father, and the Father is in Me? The words that I say to you I do not speak on My own initiative, but the Father abiding in Me does His works.
Mark 1:22 They were amazed at His teaching; for He was teaching them as one having authority, and not as the scribes.
Mark 1:27 They were all amazed, so that they debated among themselves, saying, "What is this? A new teaching with authority! He commands even the unclean spirits, and they obey Him."
Luke 4:36 And amazement came upon them all, and they began talking with one another saying, "What is this message? For with authority and power He commands the unclean spirits and they come out."
It is futile for Jesus to explain "heavenly things" to Nicodemus at this point, because apart from the Holy Spirit, one cannot understand the truth of God (see comments about the natural person). Therefore, having told Nicodemus (in 3:3-12) that he must be born of the Spirit, Jesus will explain (in 3:13-21) that the only way to be born of the Spirit is to believe in Him.
Jesus wants Nicodemus to know that He is worthy of his trust. Jesus claims His deity in saying that He came from heaven and will return there. Here are some other verses in which Jesus claims to have come from heaven:
"For I have come down from heaven, not to do My own will, but the will of Him who sent Me.
John 6:51"I am the living bread that came down out of heaven; if anyone eats of this bread, he will live forever.
John 6:33-35"For the bread of God is that which comes down out of heaven, and gives life to the world." 34 Then they said to Him, "Lord, always give us this bread." 35 Jesus said to them, "I am the bread of life; he who comes to Me will not hunger, and he who believes in Me will never thirst.
John 6:62"What then if you see the Son of Man ascending to where He was before?
John 8:42 Jesus said to them,"If God were your Father, you would love Me, for I proceeded forth and have come from God, for I have not even come on My own initiative, but He sent Me.
John 13:3 Jesus, knowing that the Father had given all things into His hands, and that He had come forth from God and was going back to God,…
John 16:28"I came forth from the Father and have come into the world; I am leaving the world again and going to the Father."
The people whom Moses was leading became discontent and complained about their long journey. They were not trusting God. Because of their sin of unbelief, God sent serpents to sting them. Some even died. But God provided a way for them to be saved from the serpents--He had Moses make a bronze serpent and placed it up on a standard so that all could see it. Anyone who simply looked at the bronze serpent would live, despite having been bitten. The report of this event is given in the book of Numbers:
Jesus said that He must be lifted up, just as Moses lifted up the bronze serpent. This refers to Jesus' crucifixion—He was lifted up on the cross:
"And I, if I am lifted up from the earth, will draw all men to Myself." 33 But He was saying this to indicate the kind of death by which He was to die.
Jesus is telling Nicodemus that anyone who trusts in Him will be saved and receive life, just as those in Moses’ group who looked at the bronze serpent were saved and received life.
Jesus had to die on the cross in order to provide a complete sacrifice—an acceptable payment—for our sin. We cannot pay for our sin, so He had to. Only God Himself is a sufficient sacrifice. Although Jesus lived as a man on the earth, He was still God, and thus a sufficient payment for our sin.
Every person will suffer the consequences of sin--stinging bites in life as well as eternity in Hell--unless they look to Jesus and trust Him for forgiveness and life:
"I am the way, and the truth, and the life; no one comes to the Father but through Me.
Acts 4:12 "And there is salvation in no one else; for there is no other name under heaven that has been given among men by which we must be saved."