Background and Context
In our passage today we see should again remember that Jesus is speaking to Nicodemus.
Last week we unpacked .
When looking at how God so loved the world, we asked the question, “What does it mean for God to love?”
Question: What does it mean for God to love?
We saw some examples of how God loves in Scripture.
First, we talked about the unique love of the Father for the Son and of the Son for the Father.
We read in and , where the Father loves the Son and how the Son loves the Father.
This love is unique in that this love has always existed and this love is perfectly expressed with no beginning and no end.
What is amazing about this is that God invites us in this perfect communion through the giving of His Son in order that we would be able to fellowship with Him.
Because of time last week I couldn’t include some points I wanted to make but this one I wanted to share today which comes from Jesus in what is called His high priestly prayer, said this in ,
Jesus in what is called His high priestly prayer, said this in ,
The love that the Father has for the Son and the Son for Father has been extended to those who would come to saving faith.
This is a love given to us not based on our merits or worth!
To God be the glory!
The second example we saw was God’s providential love over all that he has made.
In a general sense God loves the world in that He shows them common grace and mercy.
Second, We see God’s providential love over all that he has made
The last example we talked about was God’s special love for the elect.
gives us the truth about God’s special love for the elect.
God gave His only Son so that those who come to saving faith in Him would not perish.
And not perishing, meaning living forever, does not mean eternal life.
But rather knowing the Father and the Son is eternal life which He will give to those of saving faith!
Belief in anything/anyone other than Jesus Christ leaves one in a perishable state.
But belief in the Son gives us eternal life!
This is what Nicodemus needed see and hear.
He needed the gospel and our passage today is Jesus giving the gospel to a man of the pharisees who was a ruler of the Jews, who knew the Scriptures but he was someone who did not receive the testimony of Jesus Christ.
He was a man who believed in the signs Jesus did but was himself not a believer in Jesus Christ.
Thus his need for the gospel.
We learned last week that Nicodemus was a ruler of the Jews who was from the Pharisees.At the end of chapter two we read that Jesus saw a belief without faith.
ESV23 Now when he was in Jerusalem at the Passover Feast, many believed in his name when they saw the signs that he was doing.
24 But Jesus on his part did not entrust himself to them, because he knew all people 25 and needed no one to bear witness about man, for he himself knew what was in man.
There were those who believed in the signs Jesus did but they had a belief only in the signs Jesus did.Jesus didn’t entrust Himself to them which meant that they did not have a genuine faith in Him.We saw that Nicodemus was an example of one who had a belief in the signs Jesus did but was without faith in Jesus.Nicodemus said in ,
ESV2 This man came to Jesus by night and said to him, “Rabbi, we know that you are a teacher come from God, for no one can do these signs that you do unless God is with him.”
Nicodemus believed that Jesus was a teacher who came from God and that God was with him.But Jesus directly dealt with Nicodemus when He answered his statement in ,
ESV3 Jesus answered him, “Truly, truly, I say to you, unless one is born again he cannot see the kingdom of God.”
The following verses reveal more of Nicodemus’ problem.He was a man with an ascent or a belief in what Jesus was doing but he was without faith in Jesus Christ.And what Jesus begins to do is what we should all do when someone shows to have a professed faith without saving faith, Jesus shared the gospel.In , He tells Nicodemus his core problem.
ESV11 Truly, truly, I say to you, we speak of what we know, and bear witness to what we have seen, but you do not receive our testimony.
Nicodemus is refusing to believe with not receiving the testimony of Jesus Christ.He is doing this while believing in the signs Jesus did.Then in verses 13-15, He begins to unfold to Him the gospel.
ESV13 No one has ascended into heaven except he who descended from heaven, the Son of Man. 14 And as Moses lifted up the serpent in the wilderness, so must the Son of Man be lifted up, 15 that whoever believes in him may have eternal life.
After exposing his problem in needing to be born again, Jesus gives him the solution to his problem.
Which was that he needed to receive the testimony of Jesus as the only begotten Son sent into the world to save those who are perishing in their sins.
Which was that he needed to receive the testimony of Jesus being the only begotten Son sent into the world to save those who are perishing in their sins.
This is why the love of God is not based on the merit or worth of the person being loved but rather it is based on God’s own character because man in himself is perished in sin and in darkness.
The giving and sending of the Son (v.16-17)
2. Belief and disbelief in the Son (v.18)
3. The light of the Son (v.19)
Verse 19 And this is the judgment: the light has come into the world, and people loved the darkness rather than the light because their works were evil.
4. The rejection and work of the Son (v.20-21)
The giving and sending of the Son (v.16-17)
Read verses 16 and 17
Verse 16 For God so loved the world, that he gave his only Son, that whoever believes in him should not perish but have eternal life.
Verse 17 For God did not send his Son into the world to condemn the world, but in order that the world might be saved through him.
Both verses start with “For God.”
Verse 16 begins with “For God so loved the world, that he gave his only Son.”
And verse 17 begins with “For God did not send his Son into the world to condemn the world.”
In verse 16, we see the intent behind God giving His Son.
God’s motivation came from Himself.
It was His love and the result from His love was that those who would believe in the Son would:
First: Not perish
Meaning that those who believe in the Son will not be destroyed
And it meant that they would never perish because of faith in Christ which meant that...
Second: They would have eternal life
This is the result of saving faith in the Son whom God had sent for that very purpose
God’s love, which is not based on the merit or worth of the person being loved, was the motive in giving His only Son
In verse 16, Jesus is revealing to Nicodemus the motive and the result of God sending Him into the world.
It was to give eternal life to those who’d believe in Jesus Christ.
God the Father wanted fellowship with us!
In verse 17, we see God sending the Son into the world.
Sending His Son compared to giving His Son shows us another layer of why Jesus came into the world.
For God so loved the world that He gave His only Son.
And He sends His only Son.
The term send is meant to convey that a mission has been assigned to someone (a messenger).
Someone who is in subordination to the will of the sender.
Jesus spoke of this in John 5:19,
The concept of sending involves several elements: a definite mission assigned to a messenger, the messenger’s subordination to the will of the sender, the impartation of the sender’s authority to the one sent, the faithful completion of the mission by the messenger, and often the reception of the messenger by the sender when the assignment has been completed.
To be sent also meant that the one sent was expected to carry out the mission they were given.
E. F. Harrison, “Send,” ed.
Geoffrey W. Bromiley, The International Standard Bible Encyclopedia, Revised (Wm.
B. Eerdmans, 1979–1988), 393.
In verse 1
had the expectation of the one sent to complete the mission they were given.
, the impartation of the sender’s authority to the one sent, the faithful completion of the mission by the messenger, and often the reception of the messenger by the sender when the assignment has been completed.
Jesus, in the gospel of John, would also be a sender:
The Holy Spirit was sent in and .
We see that the Holy Spirit who was sent was given a message.
2. We see His disciples being sent in and .
His disciples in and
And they also were given a message.
Both examples show us, along with verse 17 of our text, that to send someone meant that the one sent was sent with a mission and a message.
Verse 17 shows us what that mission and message was.
The mission of Jesus Christ was not to condemn the world but to save it.
And His message was that it was the Father who sent Him as the object of faith for salvation.
“Whoever believes in him should not perish but have eternal life.”
That was His message!
He did not come to pronounce guilt and a punitive sentence on us.
His mission was not to judge because that was reserved for another time.