Life Application Study Bible 3rd Edition NLT - Flipbook - Page 28
1 Jn 5:11-12
Rom 5:8; 8:32
1 Jn 4:9-10; 5:13
oses lifted up the bronze snake on a pole in the wilderness, so the Son of Man must be
lifted up, 15so that everyone who believes in him will have eternal life.*
16“For this is how God loved the world: He gave* his one and only Son, so that every
one who believes in him will not perish but have eternal life. 17God sent his Son into the
world not to judge the world, but to save the world through him.
18“There is no judgment against anyone who believes in him. But anyone who does
not believe in him has already been judged for not believing in God’s one and only Son.
3:15 Or everyone who believes will have eternal life in him.
3:16 Or For God loved the world so much that he gave.
GOD SPECIALIZES IN finding and changing people we consider out
of reach. It took a while for Nicodemus to come out of the dark, but God
was patient with this “undercover” believer.
Afraid of being discovered, Nicodemus made an appointment to see
Jesus at night. Daylight conversations between Pharisees and Jesus tended to be antagonistic, but
Nicodemus really wanted to learn. He probably got a lot more than he expected—a challenge to
a new life! We know very little about Nicodemus, but we know he left that evening’s encounter a
changed man. He came away with a whole new understanding of both God and himself.
Nicodemus next appears in the story as part of the Jewish high council (John 7:50). As the
group discussed ways to eliminate Jesus, Nicodemus raised the question of justice. Although his
objection was overruled, he had spoken up. He had begun to make his faith public.
Our last picture of Nicodemus shows him joining Joseph of Arimathea in asking for Jesus’ body
in order to provide for its burial (John 19:39). Realizing what he was risking, Nicodemus was making
a bold move. He was continuing to grow.
God wants us to continually grow in our faith; he isn’t looking for instant perfection. How well
have you continued to grow spiritually in good times and bad?
• One of the few religious leaders who believed in Jesus
• A member of the powerful Jewish high council (the Sanhedrin)
• Although a Pharisee, was attracted by Jesus’ character and miracles
• Joined with Joseph of Arimathea in burying Jesus
• Limited by his fear of being publicly exposed as Jesus’ follower
• Unless we are born again, we can never be part of the Kingdom of God.
• God is able to change those we might consider unreachable.
• God is patient but persistent.
• If we are available, God can use us.
• Where: Jerusalem
• Occupation: Religious leader
• Contemporaries: Jesus, Annas, Caiaphas, Pilate, Joseph of Arimathea
“‘What do you mean?’ exclaimed Nicodemus. ‘How can an old man go back into his
mother’s womb and be born again?’” (John 3:4)
Nicodemus’s story is told in John 3:1-21; 7:50-52; 19:39-40.
would heal them if they did (see Numbers 21:8-9). Similarly, our salvation
happens when we look up to Jesus, believing he will save us. God has
provided this way for us to be healed of sin’s deadly bite.
3:16 The message of the Good News comes to a focus in this verse.
God’s love is not static or s elf-centered; it reaches out and draws others in.
Here God sets the pattern of true love, the basis for all love r elationships—
when you love someone dearly, you are willing to give to them freely,
to the point of s elf-sacrifice. God paid dearly with the life of his Son, the
highest price he could pay. Jesus accepted our punishment, paid the
price for our sins, and then offered us the new life that he had bought
for us. When we share the Good News with others, our love must be like
Jesus’—willing to give up our own comfort and security so that others
might join us in receiving God’s love.
3:16 Some people are not interested in the idea of eternal life because
their lives are miserable. They wouldn’t want them to go on forever. But
eternal life is not an extension of a person’s mortal life. In eternal life,
there is no death, sickness, enemy, evil, or sin. When we don’t know
Jesus, we make choices as though this life is all there is, and we can’t
imagine the bad being eliminated or redeemed into something good and
wonderful. In reality, eternal life can be entirely different from the life you
are living now. But you will need to ask Jesus for the new life he offers
and follow him in order to receive it. Then you will begin to evaluate all
that happens to you from an eternal perspective, and you will begin to
truly look forward to eternity.
3:16 To believe is more than to give intellectual agreement that Jesus
is God. It means to put our trust and confidence in him that he alone
can save us. It is to put Jesus in charge of our present plans and eternal
destiny. Believing is both trusting his words as reliable and relying on him
for the power to change. If you have never trusted Jesus with your whole
life, let this promise of everlasting life be yours—believe.
3:18 People often try to protect themselves from their fears by putting
their faith in something they do or have: good deeds, skill or intelligence,
money or possessions. But only God can save us from the one danger
we really need to fear—eternal condemnation. We believe in God by