One Who Listened

MEMORY SELECTION: “Whosoever believeth in Him should not perish, but have eternal life.” —John 3:15


OUR memory selection holds out the hope for salvation and eternal life for all who come to our Lord Jesus Christ. Few, however, have ever come to appreciate fully the heights and depths and lengths and breadths of the divine plan of salvation for the recovery of the human family from the ravages of sin and death.

Within the context of this passage of scripture lies the divine program. First we recognize man’s condition of helplessness and his need to seek the Lord as the only way to salvation. God’s love is declared by the gift of his only begotten Son, our Lord and Savior. “For God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life.”—vs. 16

In connection with God’s love in providing his only begotten Son, we at once rejoice in the willingness of the Son to carry out the divine program. Furthermore, we learn that the love of God is to be manifested to the whole world. In due time all will be given opportunity to gain everlasting life and walk in the ways of righteousness.

Our lesson begins with a visit to our Lord by Nicodemus. He was a sincere man of considerable faith. He was in sympathy with Jesus and his teachings, as reflected in his opening remarks, “Rabbi, we know that thou art a teacher come from God: for no man can do these miracles that thou doest, except God be with him.”—vs. 2

The Master, however, evidently recognized something in the character of Nicodemus that impelled him promptly to set forth a teaching of great importance. “Jesus answered and said unto him, Verily, verily I say unto thee, Except a man be born again, he cannot see the kingdom of God.” (vs. 3) To emphasize the importance of this matter, our Lord again said (vs. 5), “Verily, verily, I say unto thee, Except a man be born of water and of the Spirit, he cannot enter into the kingdom of God.”

As a Jew, Nicodemus had been waiting and watching for an earthly kingdom and an earthly king to lead them. He was stunned by our Lord’s reference to a new begetting and a new birth to a new nature that was necessary for anyone ever to enter into or see the kingdom of God.

His perplexity is revealed in the question put to Jesus, when he said, “How can a man be born when he is old? can he enter the second time into his mother’s womb, and be born?”—vs. 4

Jesus taught that those who would share in the spiritual kingdom as spirit beings must first be begotten of the Spirit and subsequently be developed by the Spirit. Ultimately they would be born of the Spirit, as spiritual beings, and share with the resurrected Lord the glory, honor, and immortality of the divine nature. Those who would experience such a change in their lives respond to the invitation during the Gospel Age to present their lives in full consecration to God. They are indeed walking in the footsteps of the great Master teacher.

Jesus then turned Nicodemus’s attention to a lesson in the Hebrew Scriptures in which he recalled that “as Moses lifted up the serpent in the wilderness, even so must the Son of man be lifted up.” (vs. 14) He reminded him that the Israelites had been bitten by fiery serpents in the wilderness and that God had directed Moses to elevate a copper serpent on a pole. Those who looked in faith upon the impaled serpent would be healed.

There is an antitypical significance in this, in that our Lord Jesus himself was lifted upon a pole and thus made to appear as the sinner. He took the place of the sinner so that in due time the whole world of mankind, who were bitten by sin and were dying as a result, might look unto him in faith and receive the promised healing.

Jesus provided the ransom sacrifice at Calvary. The present age has been set aside for the selection of those who will share with him in his kingdom. When the selection and testing of all will have been completed, the work of restitution for the world will begin.

Dawn Bible Students Association
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