Whoever believes in the Son has eternal life

Sunday, June 25, 2017

John 3:22-36

Title: Jesus is the Bomb - Whoever has the faith of the Son has eternal life!



Opening Prayer


3:22 After these things Jesus and His disciples came into the land of Judea, and there He remained with them and baptized.   This is an introduction to Jesus’ next sermon which starts in Chapter 4.  These introductory verses explain how John the Baptist office of baptism was to prepare for the coming of Jesus.  Now that Jesus has come, the office of baptizing is back to the one who gave it - Jesus.  John the Baptist becomes less and Jesus the Christ becomes greater.  This office comprises nothing else but preaching, teaching, praying, baptizing, eating, sleeping, and preaching… So John the Baptist is not to be the ruler but the forerunner.


3:23 Now John also was baptizing in Aenon near Salim because there was much water there. And they came and were baptized.  Salim nestles in the mountains, not right on the Jordan but some distance away. John did not remain in one place but traveled here and there until he also reached this place. He began his work among the tribe of Judah, and then transferred his activity to Galilee, where he was beheaded. Christ reversed the order: Jesus began in Galilee, and here He traveled into Judea and toward Jerusalem, where He was crucified.


3:24 For John had not yet been thrown into prison.


3:25-26 25 Then there arose a dispute between some of John’s disciples and the Jews about purification. 26 And they came to John and said to him, “Rabbi, He who was with you beyond the Jordan, to whom you have testified—behold, He is baptizing, and all are coming to Him!” The dispute was between John’s disciples and some Jews.  The message of John was “If you would enter life, keep God’s Commandments” (Matt. 19:17) but Christ says: “He who believes and is baptized will be saved” (Mark 16:16). How do these two statements harmonize: that he who keeps the Law will be saved and that he who believes will be saved? Which is the true purification? This is a bone of contention to the present day.


3:27 John answered and said, “A man can receive nothing unless it has been given to him from heaven.  John the Baptist begins his sermon to his disciples and some Jews.  Luther says: Since the beginning of the world the question has been raised and hotly debated whether salvation is attained by God’s grace or by works. The chief purification must precede, for “grace and truth come through Jesus Christ” (John 1:17). Furthermore, “from His fullness have we all received, grace upon grace” (John 1:16). After that we do not forbid good works. However, we do preach that good works can neither make up nor bring about this purification. But Christ must purify us with His blood; then the other purification will follow from grace.

More Luther: John’s Baptism in itself does not purify; it must be enveloped in faith. It is not derived from man; it comes from God and from heaven. Thus faith, too, springs from no one but God. This is also true of purification. God had also commanded circumcision, but it was a means to the end, Christ; it was enveloped and wrapped up in faith. Thus all the sacrifices by the prophets had to be ordained by God, not by man; otherwise they should have been trampled underfoot. We must accost the Turk and say: “Where did God command the message preached by Mohammed? It has nothing to do with faith.” The pope has brought out his canon law once more; and he rules the church with chasubles, cowls, and tonsures. If I were asked to comply with such things on the supposition they are commanded, I would not place so much as a thread on the altar. But he says: “You must obey the church.” “You lie,” I reply. “God did not command from heaven these externals with which you deal. That is why you have no faith.”


29 He who has the bride (Christians/church) is the bridegroom (Jesus); but the friend of the bridegroom (here it is John the Baptist), who stands and hears him, rejoices greatly because of the bridegroom’s voice. Therefore this joy of mine (John the Baptist) is fulfilled.


30 He (Jesus) must increase, but I (John the Baptist) must decrease.


31 He (Jesus) who comes from above is above all; he (all of us) who is of the earth is earthly and speaks of the earth. He (Jesus) who comes from heaven is above all.


32 And what He (Jesus) has seen and heard (from the Father), that He (Jesus) testifies; and no one receives His (Jesus/the Father’s) testimony.


33 He (Jesus) who has received His (the Father’s) testimony has certified that God (Father) is true.


34 For He (Jesus) whom God (the Father) has sent speaks the words of God (the Father), for God (the Father) does not give the (Holy) Spirit by measure.  WOW!  The Gospel is not measured out.  Like the Sower of the Seed who sows liberally.  Throwing seed that is landing on rocks (devil) and weeds (world) and sun-scorched soil (sinful flesh) and good soil (Christ).  Note: speaks the words of God - is rather “solemnly proclaims the Divine Word of God.  Also, this sermon of John is not recorded in the other Gospels.


35 The Father loves the Son and has given all things into His (the Son’s/Jesus’) hand. This is the great commission of Father to the Son.  


36 He (anyone) who believes (in the) Son (Jesus the Christ) has everlasting life; WOW!! Jesus is the Bomb!?!  Believing or faith is itself a work of God accomplished but hearing “solemn proclamation of the Divine Word of God”.  HAS - this work was done when God purified you with water + Divine Word.  The life your were given in that purification (Holy Baptism) is nurtured in the hearing of the Divine Word.  This Divine Word is preached and taught and prayed which is how God gives life.  The Divine Word is also attached to water and to bread and wine.  How is one purified?  How does one believe?  How does one come to faith? By hearing the Divine Word by which the Holy Spirit is given without measure so you may receive the faith of Jesus.  This passage is clearly speaking of the teaching of the effective Word as the means of grace.


...and he who does not believe the Son shall not see life, but the wrath of God abides on him.


Close with the Lord’s Prayer.