Discourses on John 3:1-21


John 3:13 (2)

And no man hath ascended up to heaven, but he that came down from heaven, even the Son of man which is in heaven.
Two considerations exceedingly endear the name of Jesus to his people – what he is in himself, and what he is to us. In himself he is the wisdom of God, and he is our wisdom. The former we have spoken of and now proceed.
3. [He came down from heaven]
Our Lord Jesus who dwelt in the bosom of the Father, and was intimately acquainted with the counsels of the divine love – he came down from heaven to make known to us the things which concern our souls. and which we could not have known any other way. John 1:18. [1] He came down from heaven. Observe in this:
  3.1 His condescension
To lay aside all his honours and appear in this sinful world. Well may we adopt the admiring question and say, Lord, what is man that thou shouldst be mindful of him and the son of man that thou shouldst visit him. [2] That he should come to us, who were not only mean but vile.
  3.2 His love
He came down to save the lost, though he knew it must cost him all indignities and sufferings, that he must be made of a woman under the law, must endure the cross and the curse – begin his human life in a stable and end it up on the Cross. This is a frequent topic yet we need to hear of it again and again, for how prone are our hearts to lose the sense of this love.
  3.3 His design
To reveal the knowledge of God. John 1:18; Matthew 11:27. [3] To God in a way of peace, so as to love him, serve and trust him, is beyond the attainment or desire of fallen man. This our Lord has done:
    3.3.1 In his person
Even while he was veiled and his glories shrouded by his humiliation, he had a glory in the eye of faith and was seen by some as the only begotten full of grace and truth. Chapters 1:14 and 14:9. [4]
    3.3.2 In his doctrine
He declared the greatness, the goodness, the holiness and the mercy of God. And corrected the false apprehensions of men concerning him.
    3.3.3 By the nature of his undertaking
The requirements, the glories, the harmony of the divine attributes are only to be seen clearly, fully and comfortably in Jesus Christ as crucified for sin.
    3.3.4 By his Spirit
With this he enlightened the apostles before he left them, and sent down a further portion to abide with his church forever. And thus he is known to this day, for the natural man cannot receive the truths of God till this Spirit is imparted.
    With what desire and thankfulness then should we all wait upon this great teacher, who is infallible in his knowledge, authorized of God, and has power to teach the dullest capacity. To confirm our regard and dependence, it is added:
4. The Son of Man who is in heaven
Nicodemus acknowledged him to be a teacher sent from God, and so do many professed Christians who yet refuse him the honour due to his name. But Jesus is a wonderful person – a divine person. And though he humbled himself to appear in the form of a servant, yet he could not forgo the essential prerogative of his Divine Nature, of which his omnipresence is one. While as a man he was speaking to Nicodemus while he was hanging upon the Cross covered with blood and full of wounds, derided as the vilest slave – as the Word of God, the brightness of the Father's glory, he was seated upon the throne and by his divine power upholding all things in heaven and in earth. This doctrine is suited not to the curious enquiries of proud reasoning, but to the admiration and establishment of humble faith. The Scripture tells us it is so – and even reason when enlightened by the Word and Spirit of God sees that it must be so, and that there can be no hope for a guilty, weak and helpless sinner, unless Jesus be true God and eternal life. This is the great mystery of Godliness, which none can understand and acknowledge but by the Holy Ghost. 1 Corinthians 12:3. [5] The wisdom of men reject this truth, but it is the foundation of the believer's comfort.
From the whole then:
1. Having such a great high priest who is over the house of God, let us draw near with full assurance of faith. [6] You see upon what ground he is able to save to the uttermost. [7]
2. Having such a great Prophet, let us give ourselves up to him. He will keep nothing back that is profitable for you. He will teach you all things as you are able to bear them, and guide you into every necessary truth in its season. For this purpose wait upon his word and ordinances and pray for his Spirit.
3. Remember he that was once suffering upon earth is king in heaven, King in both natures, king of glory and king of the church. Think of his honour and possessions, his conquests, his worship which he receives on high. Think of him as the Lord and Governor of ten thousand worlds, and then believers admire his grace that he should look from his throne to set his love upon you, that he employ his Word, his Spirit, his ministers, his providence to win your hearts. Will not this melt you, humble you into the dust and at the same time raise your hopes high as the heaven where he dwells. Whom can you want, or what need you fear, who have the great king for your friend and everlasting portion. Thy Maker, thy Redeemer, the God of the whole earth is thy husband, thy brother, thy sun, thy shield and thy exceeding great reward. He rules in the midst of his enemies and yours, and can control them in their highest rage. He can support, revive, refresh your souls in a moment, he can and he will preserve you safe in his hand, keep you from falling, and at last present you faultless before the presence of his glory with exceeding joy.
Be not afraid poor wounded souls to come to him for as is his majesty so is his mercy.
But let haughty sinners tremble. Will you stand out against all the declarations of his power and love? Will you reject the stone which the God has laid in Zion, and resolve that this God man shall not rule over you? Then will he at length grind you to power[powder], he will awaken in his wrath and tear you to pieces and there shall be none to deliver. But O believe_

Series No. 17

[1] John 1:18 No man hath seen God at any time, the only begotten Son, which is in the bosom of the Father, he hath declared him.
[2] Psalm 8:4 What is man, that thou art mindful of him? and the son of man, that thou visitest him?
[3] Matthew 11:27 All things are delivered unto me of my Father: and no man knoweth the Son, but the Father; neither knoweth any man the Father, save the Son, and he to whomsoever the Son will reveal him.
[4] John 1:14; 14:9 And the Word was made flesh, and dwelt among us, (and we beheld his glory, the glory as of the only begotten of the Father,) full of grace and truth; Jesus saith unto him, Have I been so long time with you, and yet hast thou not known me, Philip? he that hath seen me hath seen the Father; and how sayest thou then, Show us the Father?
[5] 1 Corinthians 12:3 Wherefore I give you to understand, that no man speaking by the Spirit of God calleth Jesus accursed: and that no man can say that Jesus is the Lord, but by the Holy Ghost.
[6] Hebrews 10:21-23 And having an high priest over the house of God; Let us draw near with a true heart in full assurance of faith, having our hearts sprinkled from an evil conscience, and our bodies washed with pure water.
[7] Hebrews 7:25 Wherefore he is able also to save them to the uttermost that come unto God by him, seeing he ever liveth to make intercession for them.

Cowper & Newton Museum, 714(2) No. 4

Marylynn Rouse, 28/10/2020