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13: Commencement

May 14, 2009

Major Text: John 2:13-3:21


  1. Commotion and Confrontation                             John 2:13-22
  2. Conflict and Complications                                  John 2:23-25
  3. III. Compassion Instead of Condemnation                John 3:1-21


It has been several months since Jesus was baptized [commissioned] so His ministry didn’t start immediately.  He was biding His time.  His initial five disciples went back to work fishing.  So in this scripture Jesus begins His ministry in the Temple at Jerusalem at Passover.  Interestingly, He starts  with words of confrontation, not words of compassion.

Jesus finds men in the Temple courts selling sacrificial animals and exchanging money.  This activity probably involved loans, usury, and price gouging.  Jesus comes in and physically drives out the businessmen, destroys their stores, and announces that this house is that of His Father.  The Jews come back after the dust has settled and ask Him by what authority He can do such damage.  He responds prophetically about His real mission which is to die for our sins.  Of course they did not understand to what He was referring.  Few did understand until He was crucified and resurrected approximately three years later.

Instead of doing miracles for the Jewish leaders, He does miracles for the true pilgrims.  Many believed but He remained hidden or isolated from their midst.  In other words, He was avoiding attention as much as possible.  Otherwise they would have tried to make Him King when He had come to be our Savior.

Nicodemus comes to Jesus at night to ask Him questions.  Nicodemus was probably in that crowd of Jewish leaders who questioned Jesus’ authority and probably heard of some of the miracles that Jesus was doing.  He needed to investigate further for his own benefit.  It was to his benefit because later on we read that Nicodemus was a believer.  He heeded the words of Jesus that night in Jerusalem.

We, no doubt, have a very condensed version of the conversation between Jesus and Nicodemus.  Jesus states that one must be born of flesh and Spirit, that faith is required for one to be born of the Spirit, and that He, Jesus, is the Son of Man [Messiah].  Jesus came to die for our sins and grant eternal life to all who believe.  He tells Nicodemus that He came to save men, not condemn man.  He uses the analogy of light and darkness stating that those who desire truth come to the light and do not fear the exposure of their sin.Instead, they desire God’s work of forgiveness, mercy, and grace to be exposed/enlightened in them.


  1. Confrontation is necessary when someone disobeys God’s Word.  We need to get their attention.The confrontation should include both what is wrong and what is right.
  2. Jesus does the miraculous with compassion and patience for those who truly seek Him.
  3. From the account of Nicodemus visiting Jesus we learn:
  • The goodness/love of God attracts seekers.  [3:1-2]
  • We must be born of the Spirit if we are to see the Kingdom of God. [3:3-9]
  • Jesus is the Messiah, the Son of Man. [3:10-15]
  • The just live by faith. [3:10-15]
  • Jesus has come as our Savior, not as our Judge. [3:16-18]
  • Repentance for sin brings forgiveness and frees us to serve Him without fear. [3:19-21]

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