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Cal Staggers NicodemusThe story of Nicodemus (the original Nick at Night) begins at 2:23 – the later inserted chapter break obscures that.

So it’s the week of Passover and Jesus is still in Jerusalem performing miracles and people are believing in him, but Jesus doesn’t entrust Himself to them because he knows many are believing but not becoming disciples – the story of Nicodemus is given as an example of that.

Verse 2 and later clips about the Pharisees is fascinating.  Nicodemus says that the Pharisees KNOW that Jesus is sent from their God, so apparently they are extremely prideful and think that their way is better than God’s way and later even want to kill God’s Messenger, His Son.  Jesus will tell a parable about that very thing.

v. 3 & v. 7 The phrase “unless one is born again” can be translated “unless one is born from above,” which ties in nicely with John the Baptist’s statement in v. 31.  (the NKJ version uses “heaven” in v. 31 instead of “from above” which the NAS version does – so the tie-in isn’t apparent in the NKJ).

v. 5:  The word “Spirit” can also be translated “Wind” which is a cool word picture:  we are born of water and the wind, both being pictures of the Holy Spirit.  v. 8 finishes out the poetic word picture, converting Wind back to Spirit

v.14:  2 Corinthians 5:21 says that God made Jesus, who knew no sin, to be sin on our behalf.  The serpent, a picture of sin, was lifted up by Moses – and Jesus became sin and was lifted up on our behalf.

v.21:  Nic became a believer but a secret one at this point and was not a disciple, for fear of the Pharisees.  When Jesus dies and Nic & Joseph publicly take His body for burial, Nic graduates to verse 21-style discipleship.

v.24  John the Baptist is thrown into prison almost immediately after Jesus takes the stage – this will be important to remember later because John T B doesn’t think this should happen to him since he’s doing God’s work.  After being thrown in jail, he even doubts whether Jesus is really the Messiah – therefore he doubts whether he has eternal life!  And this is John the Baptist!  When John T B’s disciples ask Jesus whether He’s really THE Dude, Jesus sends back the answer of yes — and then immediately says that no man is greater than John T B.  That is one of the most encouraging stories in all the Bible for all people, who doubt and stumble.

v. 30 This should be OUR attitude.  We tend to ask, ask, ask God for requests, but really it’s all about Him not us.  I’m created to serve Him, not the other way around.

v.36  The NAS version has a VERY unfortunate translation: saying, “…but he who does not “OBEY” the Son shall not see life…”  It gives “BELIEVE” as an alternate translation in the small print.  This is one more instance of the NKJ translation giving a closer translation to the original than the NAS.

from Cal Staggers | Bible Studies http://ift.tt/1xlwAPu

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