30 May 2010

John 3:1-17

"Very truly, I tell you, no one can see the kingdom of God without being born from above." (v.3)


John's Gospel is believed by scholars to be the last of the four Gospels to be written. It is generally thought to have been composed in the late 1st century or early 2nd century AD, so after the author has had about 40 years to ponder who Jesus really was. Digging deep into the meaning of Christ, the Gospel-writer John sees Jesus as the eternal Word (chapter 1), the true glory (chapter 2), the great teacher (chapter 3) and the living water (chapter 4). As he digs deep into Christ he is digging deep into the nature of God.

Digging deep into the mystery of God and the meaning of Christ involves the author asking big questions about the significance of the Holy Spirit. To bring these questions into the open John sets up a dialogue between two great teachers. The Jewish leader Nicodemus, who comes to Jesus in this passage (when it is night), is approaching the light of Christ.

The Church often chooses this famous Bible passage on Trinity Sunday (today) to celebrate the God who is 'one in three and three in one'. Creation and new life are the gifts of God the Father. They are given to us through God the Son and by the unpredictable wind and breath of God the Holy Spirit.

To Ponder

In which new relationships would you describe yourself as being 'born again'?

Do you most often think of, or pray to, God as the Father, or as the Son or as the Holy Spirit? Why?

Why do you think (for the Gospel-writer John) "eternal life" and the "kingdom of God" are more about the present than the future?

Bible notes author

The Revd Prebendary Norman Wallwork

Norman Wallwork is a supernumerary Methodist minister and a retail chaplain in central Exeter. He is also a prebendary or canon of Wells Cathedral.