We Speak What We Know

“How can this be?”  Nicodemus asked.

“You are Israel’s teacher,”  said Jesus,  “and do you not understand these things?  I tell you the truth, we speak of what we know…”

Did you catch that?  Jesus switched from singular to plural.  Who is the “we” in this context?

“…but still you people do not accept our testimony.  I have spoken to you of earthly things and you do not believe, how then will you believe if I speak of heavenly things?”  John 3:9-12. 

Two guesses about the “we” statements. 1) Jesus meant the Godhead comprising Father, Son, and Holy Spirit. 2) He included Himself into the group of prophets of the OT. The context here can be compared to Isaiah 8:20 where it says,  To the law and to the testimony. If they don’t speak according to this word they have no light of dawn.  Jesus made it clear He would be a prophet amongst prophets but He went a step further to say somethings about His divinity which made Him the Prophet Moses spoke about in Deuteronomy 18.

Jesus never misses a nuance and rarely avoids pointing out what the nuance signals if it’s important.  Nic didn’t really believe, he was just exploring–sincerely exploring but still not convinced.  I think this is part of the reason why he tried to make the illustration of new birth obscure in his conversation with Christ–he was being difficult—not petulant but difficult—because he didn’t really see the need for this kind of change.  His satisfaction level with what he already knew must have been low, or at least beginning to dwindle, because he sought out the Master for some answers—at night, may be, but definitely seeking.

Jesus puts it in context for him succinctly.  “Nic, you don’t believe, buddy, and you need to because if you can’t grasp or believe simple earthly illustrations, then you won’t grasp even a whisp of heavenly info.” 

The flesh counts for nothing the spirit is everything, but not in a gnostic sense.  Sin in the body is still sin for the soul.  For example, 1Corinthians 7 points out that joining a person’s body with a prostitute is sin against one’s own body.  The law clears up any doubt that certain behaviors are sin.  So there’s completeness between the soul, spirit and body.  To make us whole we need all three.  Anything that deviates from the character of God is sin, be it behavior, thoughts or a rebellious spirit.  The only way to escape it is to conform to Christ.

Jesus then takes a story from the law to illustrate what needs to happen for the world:  “Just as Moses lifted up the snake in the desert, so the Son of Man must be lifted up, that everyone who believes in Him may have eternal life.”

The people of Israel complained and did some wrong things.  God sent snakes to bite and kill them until they would turn to Him.  God then showed mercy in the oddest way.  He instructed Moses to make a bronze serpent and attach it to a staff so anyone who looked at it would be cured of the poison.  It worked.  Jesus needed to be lifted up on a cross to save man from death.   Man drank the poison of sin and needed to be healed of the deadly virus.  Whoever looks at Jesus will be saved and will find healing and life.

God made Him who had no sin to be sin for us, so that we might become the righteousness of God.  2 Corinthians 5:21.

Jesus became sin for us so that we might become the righteousness of God.  Jesus took on the form of a serpent (the deceiver of humanity) so that we might become human again.  Notice that Paul doesn’t say “so that we might become righteous” but the righteousness of God.  One is attribute of us, the other of God Himself.  We take on what He is because Jesus became like us—except for sin.

I don’t know about you but that is most profound.

Jesus is the only human who has ever seen the Father.  Jesus reveals who the Father is and what is in His heart.  The God revealed in the OT is the same one in the NT and the One we know today.  His desire for our reconciliation is beyond our ability grasp, a fact we showed at the cross and throughout hisory.

To understand God we must become spiritually one with Him, for spiritual things are spiritually discerned and the earthly mind cannot understand them.


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