Wednesday, October 1, 2008

Intensive Gospel Study: John 3

Reading Sheet
JOHN – Chapter 3

What/who was important to Jesus?

Spiritual Vision And Soteriology

What needs did Jesus meet?

He met Nicodemus’ spiritual needs and the world’s need for salvation

What did Jesus ask or require of his followers?

We must be born again and believe in Jesus

What issues did Jesus address (relationships, work, money, character, religious practice, etc.)?
Spiritual Rebirth: gennao anothen in Greek, which can be translated as “born from above,” but usually is translated as “born again” and ties us to Jesus’ Divine Birth and incarnation as Jesus is described as God’s unique son (ho monogenes huios)--- so here Jesus invites us to our own virgin births, for all those born of spirit experience a type of virgin birth regardless of whether one believes Jesus had a literal virgin birth or not (which is debatable since---first, Matthew and Luke’s formulation of Jesus’ birth hinges on Isaiah 7:14 which in the Hebrew uses the word almah [which always meansyoung woman”] but the Greek translation of this is parthenos [which literally means “maiden or unmarried woman” but can mean “virgin”]; secondly, it could easily be argued that the Roman Catholic Church formulated a doctrine of a literal Virgin Birth in order to make Christianity more palpable to pagan religions who also believed in virgin birth doctrines and to coincide with Catholic dogmas about Mary such as: the Theotokos doctrine, the assumption of Mary, the Immaculate Conception, Mary’s perpetual virginity, etc. []; next, sexual knowledge wasn’t as advanced in Jesus’ day; lastly, the need to evaluate what the word virgin meant back then is needed as virgin could just as easily be a metaphor for Jesus’ purity and the purity of His life---however, one views the birth of Jesus---the Holy Spirit’s role should be magnified more than Mary’s without denigrating Mary’s blessed role)

What is compelling to you about Jesus in this section?

That God sent Jesus for all of the world (not a few as Calvinists claim) that whoever believes in Him shall be saved

How do followers respond to Jesus?

What in this section challenges us to respond/ imitate/obey?

We must believe in Jesus

How did Jesus change the world (for an individual or for a community)? He brings salvation to those that believe---have faith and trust in Jesus

What vision of being missional do you glimpse for yourself? For the church? “God so loved'—not the Christian, but—'the world'. 'I am the light of the world', says the Lord, and by His own self-giving He passes the light on to His disciples: 'Ye are the light of the world!' It is the duty of the real Church to tell and show the world what it does not yet know. This does not mean that the real Church's mission is to take the whole or even half the world to task. It would be the servant of quite a different Master if it were to set itself up as the accuser of its brethren. Its mission is not to say 'No', but to say 'Yes'; a strong 'Yes' to the God who, because there are 'godless' men, has not thought and does not think of becoming a 'manless' God—and a strong 'Yes' to man, for whom, with no exception, Jesus Christ died and rose again. How extraordinary the Church's preaching, teaching, ministry, theology, political guardianship and missions would be, how it would convict itself of unbelief in what it says, if it did not proclaim to all men that God is not against man but for man. It need not concern itself with the 'No' that must be said to human presumption and human sloth. This 'No' will be quite audible enough when as the real Church it concerns itself with the washing of feet and nothing else. This is the obedience which it owes to its Lord in this world.”

Karl Barth, "The Real Church," Against the Stream: Shorter Post-War Writings 1946-52
(London: SCM Press, 1954), 73.

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