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LIFE OF CHRIST
A Harmony of the Gospels

LESSON FOUR

THE DISCOURSE WITH NICODEMUS

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John 3:1-21
     (1) There was a man of the Pharisees named Nicodemus, a ruler of the Jews.  (2)  This man came to Jesus by night and said to Him, "Rabbi, we know that You are a teacher come from God; for no one can do these signs that You do unless God is with him."
     (3 ) Jesus answered and said to him, "Most assuredly, I say to you, unless one is born again, he cannot see the kingdom of God."
     (4)  Nicodemus said to Him, "How can a man be born when he is old? Can he enter a second time into his mother's womb and be born?"
     (5)  Jesus answered, "Most assuredly, I say to you, unless one is born of water and the Spirit, he cannot enter the kingdom of God.  (6)  That which is born of the flesh is flesh, and that which is born of the Spirit is spirit.  (7)  Do not marvel that I said to you, 'You must be born again.'  (8)  The wind blows where it wishes, and you hear the sound of it, but cannot tell where it comes from and where it goes. So is everyone who is born of the Spirit."
     (9)  Nicodemus answered and said to Him,  "How can these things be?"
     (10)  Jesus answered and said to him, "Are you the teacher of Israel, and do not know these things?  (11)  Most assuredly, I say to you, We speak what We know and testify what We have seen, and you do not receive Our witness.  (12)  If I have told you earthly things and you do not believe, how will you believe if I tell you heavenly things?  (13)  No one has ascended to heaven but He who came down from heaven, that is, the Son of Man who is in heaven.  (14)  And as Moses lifted up the serpent in the wilderness, even so must the Son of Man be lifted up,  (15)  that whoever believes in Him should not perish but have eternal life.  (16)  For God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him should not perish but have everlasting life.  (17)  For God did not send His Son into the world to condemn the world, but that the world through Him might be saved.
     (18)  "He who believes in Him is not condemned; but he who does not believe is condemned already, because he has not believed in the name of the only begotten Son of God.  (19)  And this is the condemnation, that the light has come into the world, and men loved darkness rather than light, because their deeds were evil.  (20)  For everyone practicing evil hates the light and does not come to the light, lest his deeds should be exposed.  (21)  But he who does the truth comes to the light, that his deeds may be clearly seen, that they have been done in God.
"
NKJV

A ruler of the Jews

One of the members of the grand Sanhedrin:

1. The word Sanhedrin,  or  “Sanhedrim”,  is the Talmudic Hebrew transcription of the Greek  “synedrion” and corresponds to the English word  “council.”
2. The Talmud connects the Sanhedrin with Moses 70 elders,
then with the alleged Great Synagogue of Ezra’s time;
but the truth is that the origin of the Sanhedrin is unknown, and there is no historical evidence for its existence before the Greek period.
A. During the reign of the Hellenistic kings,  Palestine was practically under home rule,  and was governed by an aristocratic council of elders that was presided over by the hereditary high priest.
B. The council was called  “Gerousia,”  that always signifies an aristocratic body.
This later developed into the Sanhedrin.
C. During most of the Roman period the internal government of the country was practically in its hands,  and its influences was recognized by the Diaspora.
D. After the death of Herod the Great, however, during the reign of Archelaus and the Roman procurators, the civil authority of the Sanhedrin was restricted to Judaea proper (which is very likely the reason it had no judicial authority over Jesus so long as He remained in Galilee).
3. The Sanhedrin was composed of  70 members,  plus the president,  who was the high priest.
4. Nothing is known as to the way in which vacancies were filled,  but successors were very likely appointed either by the existing members themselves or by the supreme political authorities.
5. New members were formally admitted by the ceremony of  the laying on of  hands.
6. The members of the Sanhedrin council were drawn from three classes:
A. CHIEF PRIESTS
This included
(1) The acting high priest
(2) Those who had been high priests
(3) Members of the privileged families from which the high priest were taken
B. SCRIBES
Who formed the Pharisaic element in the Sanhedrin,  although not all Pharisees were professional scribes
C. ELDERS
These were the tribal and family heads of the people and priesthood.
They were, for the most part, the secular nobility of Jerusalem.
7. The president bore the honorable title of “prince.”
Besides the president, there were also:
A. A vice-president,  called the  “head"  or  "father of the house of judgment.”
B. Another important official,  whose business it was to assist in the declaration of the law.
C. Two or three secretaries.
D. Other subordinate officials –
two of which are mentioned in the New Testament:
(1) Constables
(2) Servants of the high priest
8. According to Josephus,  in the time of Christ the Sanhedrin was formally led by the Sadducean high priests,  but practically ruled by the Pharisees.
A. The Pharisees were the more popular with the people.
B. They were more and more represented in the Sanhedrin as they grew in importance.
9. In the time of Christ the Sanhedrin exercised not only civil jurisdiction,  according to Jewish law,
but also, in some degree, criminal.
A. It could deal with all those judicial matters
that could not be completely handled by lower courts.
B. It could deal with all those legal and criminal matters
that the Roman procurator had not specially reserved for himself.
C. It was the final court of appeal
for all questions connected with the Mosaic Law.
D. It had the right of determining questions of peace or war.
E. It had the right of capital punishment
until about 40 years (30A.D.) before the destruction of Jerusalem that was destroyed in 70A.D.
10. The Meetings were conducted according to strict rules:
A. They could meet on any day except the Sabbath and holy days.
B. 23 members formed a quorum.
C. While a bare majority might acquit, a majority of 2 was necessary to secure condemnation (unless all 71 members were present, then only a majority of 1 was required).

The conversation between Jesus and Nicodemus might be better understood if viewed through this outline:

  (v. 1,2) Nicodemus Admission "We know"
admitted Jesus came from God
(V. 3) Jesus Answer Stated
Must be born again
  (v. 4) Nicodemus Question “How?”
How can I enter my mothers womb and be born again?
(V. 5-8) Jesus Answer Explained
Born of Spirit and of water
  (v. 9) Nicodemus Question “How?”
(V. 10-21) Jesus Answer Explained and Expanded

We know

"Rabbi, we know that You are a teacher come from God; for no one can do these signs that You do unless God is with him."

With this confession the statement is made that the religious rulers of  Judea knew that Jesus was of God.

Born Again

genneethee anoothen be born from above
genneethee be born
Strong's NT:1080
to procreate (properly, of the father, but by extension of the mother); figuratively, to regenerate:
From Root - Strong's NT:1096
to cause to be,  to become (come into being)
anoothen from above
Strong's NT:509
from aboveanew
(Biblesoft's New Exhaustive Strong's Numbers and Concordance with Expanded Greek-Hebrew Dictionary. Copyright (c) 1994, Biblesoft and International Bible Translators, Inc.)

John 3:3 - Amplified Bible
Jesus answered him, I assure you, most solemnly I tell you, that unless a person is born again (anew, from above), he cannot ever see (know, be acquainted with, and experience) the kingdom of God.

Born of Water

genneethee ex hudatos be born of water
hudatos water
From Strong's NT:5204
water (as if rainy) literally or figuratively
From Base - Strong's NT:5205
from a primary huo (to rain); rain, especially a shower
(Biblesoft's New Exhaustive Strong's Numbers and Concordance with Expanded Greek-Hebrew Dictionary. Copyright (c) 1994, Biblesoft and International Bible Translators, Inc.)

Or - born of  water from above
Speaks of spiritual cleansing

The Spirit

pneumatos of the Spirit
From  Strong's NT:4151 
a current of air, i.e. breath (blast) or a breeze;   (from NT:4154)
Strong's 4154    pneo (pneh'-o)
a primary word;  to breathe hard, i.e. breeze   (Compare NT:5594)
Strong's NT:5594   psucho (psoo'-kho)
a primary verb; to breathe (voluntarily but gently),
thus differing on the from NT:4154, which denotes properly a forcible respiration;

Genesis 2:7
And the LORD God formed man of the dust of the ground, and breathed into his nostrils the breath of life; and man became a living being.   (NKJV)

baapaayw wayipach into his nostrils and breathed
Breathed - From Strong's OT:5301
a primitive root; to puff, in various applications
literally, to inflate, blow hard, scatter, kindle, expire
(Biblesoft's New Exhaustive Strong's Numbers and Concordance with Expanded Greek-Hebrew Dictionary. Copyright (c) 1994, Biblesoft and International Bible Translators, Inc.)
Creation of natural man in Adam God breathed the breath of  life Adam had no choice
Creation of spiritual man in Christ God breathes the breath of  life We can choose

...of the flesh ... of the Spirit

ek of
  From Strong's NT:1537
a primary preposition denoting origin  (the point whence action or motion proceeds)
  Two Worlds
Two Atmospheres
Two Universes
Two Dimensions
 

Even so must the Son of Man be lifted up

This is the second time Jesus speaks of His death.
This time He specifies

How Lifted up on a pole
why That whoever believes in Him should not perish but have eternal life

His reference is to Numbers 21:9
So Moses made a bronze serpent, and put it on a pole; and so it was, if a serpent had bitten anyone, when he looked at the bronze serpent, he lived.    (NKJV)

From our Lord's words we may learn:

1. That as the serpent was lifted up on the pole or ensign,
so Jesus Christ was lifted up on the cross.
2. That as the Israelites were to look at the brazen serpent,
so sinners must look to Christ for salvation.
3. That as God provided no other remedy than this looking for the wounded Israelites,
so he has provided no other way of salvation than faith in the blood of his Son.
4. That as he who looked at the brazen serpent was cured and did live,
so he that believeth on the Lord Jesus Christ shall not perish, but have eternal life.
5. That as neither the serpent, nor looking at it, but the invisible power of GOD healed the people,
so neither the cross of Christ, nor his merely being crucified, but the pardon he has bought by his blood, communicated by the powerful energy of his Spirit, saves the souls of men.
(from Adam Clarke's Commentary, Electronic Database. Copyright (c) 1996 by Biblesoft)

"Much as the serpent was lifted up on that pole, so the Son of God would be lifted up on a cross. Why? To save us from sin and death. In the camp of Israel, the solution to the "serpent problem" was not in killing the serpents, making medicine, pretending they were not there, passing anti-serpent laws, or climbing the pole. The answer was in looking by faith at the uplifted serpent."
(from The Bible Exposition Commentary. Copyright (c) 1989 by SP Publications, Inc. All rights reserved., Biblesoft)

The New Birth
John 3;   John 3:6-13;   John 3:14-21;   John 3:22-36

v.3-5 The Necessity for the New Birth
1. It is necessary to see (experience) the kingdom of God
2. It is necessary to enter the kingdom of God
v.6-13 The Nature of the New Birth
1. The new birth is a spiritual birth
2. It is a mysterious birth
3. It is a real birth
v.14-21 The Basis for the New Birth
1. Christ had to die
2. Sinners have to believe
(from The Bible Exposition Commentary. Copyright (c) 1992 by SP Publications, Inc. All rights reserved.)

THE EARLY JUDEAN MINISTRY

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John 3:22-24
(22)  After these things Jesus and His disciples came into the land of Judea, and there He remained with them and baptized.  (23)  Now John also was baptizing in Aenon near Salim, because there was much water there. And they came and were baptized.  (24)  For John had not yet been thrown into prison.
NKJV

And Baptized

This must be compared with chapter 4:2,  where the word “but” is from the Greek  “alla”  which can be translated:

1. But –
2. Yet –
3. Rather –
4. Nevertheless –
What they did,  by His authority and command,  is attributed to Himself.

It is a common custom,  in all countries and in all languages,  to attribute the operations of those who are under the government and direction of another to him by whom they are directed and governed.

Some however suppose that Christ at first did baptize;  but,  when He got disciples,  He left this work to them: and thus these two places are to be understood.

This place, John 3:22, before He called the 12 disciples
Chapter 4:2, the baptism administered by the disciples, after Christ had called them to the work.

And others suppose that Jesus only baptized His disciples,  and after that the disciples did the baptizing.

Aenon near to Salim

1. The word “aenon” is probably an adjectival form from the familiar “ain” (eye, sprint),
meaning simply  “abounding in springs”  or  “fountains.”
2. The situation of Salim is disputed:
In the time of Eusebius Salim was identified with a place on the confines of Galilee and Samaria on the west of Jordan, 6 or 8 miles south of Scythopolis.
A place bearing the name of  “Aynun”  has been found not far from a valley abounding in springs to the north of the Salim which lies not far to the east of  Nebulous.
JOHN'S TESTIMONY TO CHRIST AT AENON

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John 3:25-36
     (25)  Then there arose a dispute between some of John's disciples and the Jews about purification.  (26)  And they came to John and said to him, "Rabbi, He who was with you beyond the Jordan, to whom you have testified -- behold, He is baptizing, and all are coming to Him!"
     (27)  John answered and said, "A man can receive nothing unless it has been given to him from heaven.  (28)  You yourselves bear me witness, that I said, 'I am not the Christ,' but, 'I have been sent before Him.'  (29)  He who has the bride is the bridegroom; but the friend of the bridegroom, who stands and hears him, rejoices greatly because of the bridegroom's voice. Therefore this joy of mine is fulfilled.  (30)  He must increase, but I must decrease.  (31)  He who comes from above is above all; he who is of the earth is earthly and speaks of the earth. He who comes from heaven is above all.  (32)  And what He has seen and heard, that He testifies; and no one receives His testimony.  (33)  He who has received His testimony has certified that God is true.  (34)  For He whom God has sent speaks the words of God, for God does not give the Spirit by measure.  (35)  The Father loves the Son, and has given all things into His hand.  (36)  He who believes in the Son has everlasting life; and he who does not believe the Son shall not see life, but the wrath of God abides on him."
NKJV

Purification

The subject of debate seems to have been whether the baptism of John,  or that of Christ,  was the most efficacious towards purifying  –  not a matter of the ceremonial purifications of the Jewish law.

We cannot but believe that Jesus explained to those who offered themselves to Him about the new birth that John’s baptism and this preparatory baptism typified.  In this way nothing would be more natural than that some Jew*,  a direct disciple, should be led to disparage the work of John, contrasting it with that of which Jesus spoke; and that thereupon John’s disciples, jealous for their master’s honor, should come to him complaining of the position that Jesus had taken.

* The A.V. has  “the Jews”  –  however the Greek word here is  “Ioudaiou,”  which is singular.
Therefore,  the R.V. has translated it  “a Jew.”  In this case,  it would most likely indicate a man who was a direct convert of Jesus Himself.

The friend of the bridegroom

“The friend of the bridegroom”  was the person selected by the bridegroom to conduct the marriage negotiations on his part.
It was he who carried messages between the bridegroom and the bride during the time of the betrothal.
When, on the occasion of the marriage, they were brought to see each other in a private room or under a canopy provided for the purpose, the  “friend of the bridegroom”  stood without, eager to catch the first words of delight that came from the bridegroom’s lips,  expressive of the satisfaction he experienced on conversing with his betrothed.
This position John the Baptist claims for himself figuratively. He is not the Christ, but bears a relation to him similar to that borne by the “friend” to the bridegroom.
He makes the arrangements for bringing Christ, the bridegroom, to the Church, His bride.
He waits with reverence and respect to hear words of joy coming from the lips of Christ because He has found a waiting and a willing Church.
As the services of the “friend” only occupied a short time, so the Baptist’s mission would soon be over. As he said in verse 30,  “He must increase, but I must decrease.”  John speaking about himself and Jesus.

EXCERPTS  FROM  FARRAR

Two great Teachers, of whom one had testified to the other as the promised Messiah, were baptizing large multitudes of people. Some Jew had annoyed the disciples of  John with a dispute about purification, and they vented their perplexed and mortified feelings in a complaint to their great master:
“Rabbi, He who was with thee beyond Jordan, to whom thou hast borne witness, lo HE is baptizing, and all men are coming to HIM.”
The significant suppression of the name, the tone of irritation at what appeared to them an encroachment, the scarcely subdued resentment that any one should be a successful rival to him whose words had for a season so deeply stirred the hearts of men, are all apparent in this querulous address.

And in the noble answer to it, all John’s inherent greatness shone forth. He could not enter into rivalries, which would be a treachery against his deepest convictions, a falsification of his most solemn words.

God was the sole source of human gifts, and in His sight there can be no such thing as human greatness.
He remained them of his asseveration that He was not the Christ, but only His messenger; he was not the Bridegroom, but the Bridegroom’s friend, and his heart was even now being gladdened by the bridegroom’s voice.
Henceforth he was content to decrease; content that his little light should be swallowed up in the boundless Dawn. He was but an earthly messenger; but he had put the seal of his most intense conviction to the belief that God was true, and had given all things to His Son, and that through Him alone could eternal life be won.
JESUS IN SAMARIA

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John 4:1-42
     (1)  Therefore, when the Lord knew that the Pharisees had heard that Jesus made and baptized more disciples than John  (2) (though Jesus Himself did not baptize, but His disciples),  (3)  He left Judea and departed again to Galilee.  (4)  But He needed to go through Samaria.
     (5)  So He came to a city of Samaria which is called Sychar, near the plot of ground that Jacob gave to his son Joseph.  (6)  Now Jacob's well was there. Jesus therefore, being wearied from His journey, sat thus by the well. It was about the sixth hour. 
(7)  A woman of Samaria came to draw water. Jesus said to her, "Give Me a drink."  (8)  For His disciples had gone away into the city to buy food.
     (9)  Then the woman of Samaria said to Him, "How is it that You, being a Jew, ask a drink from me, a Samaritan woman?" For Jews have no dealings with Samaritans.
     (10)  Jesus answered and said to her, "If you knew the gift of God, and who it is who says to you, 'Give Me a drink,' you would have asked Him, and He would have given you living water."
     (11)  The woman said to Him, "Sir, You have nothing to draw with, and the well is deep. Where then do You get that living water?  (12)  Are You greater than our father Jacob, who gave us the well, and drank from it himself, as well as his sons and his livestock?"
     (13)  Jesus answered and said to her, "Whoever drinks of this water will thirst again,  (14)  but whoever drinks of the water that I shall give him will never thirst. But the water that I shall give him will become in him a fountain of water springing up into everlasting life."
     (15)  The woman said to Him, "Sir, give me this water, that I may not thirst, nor come here to draw."
     (16)  Jesus said to her, "Go, call your husband, and come here."
     (17)  The woman answered and said, "I have no husband."
Jesus said to her, "You have well said, 'I have no husband,'18 for you have had five husbands, and the one whom you now have is not your husband; in that you spoke truly."
     (19)  The woman said to Him, "Sir, I perceive that You are a prophet.  (20)  Our fathers worshiped on this mountain, and you Jews say that in Jerusalem is the place where one ought to worship."
     (21)  Jesus said to her, "Woman, believe Me, the hour is coming when you will neither on this mountain, nor in Jerusalem, worship the Father.  (22)  You worship what you do not know; we know what we worship, for salvation is of the Jews.  (23)  But the hour is coming, and now is, when the true worshipers will worship the Father in spirit and truth; for the Father is seeking such to worship Him.  (24)  God is Spirit, and those who worship Him must worship in spirit and truth."
     (25)  The woman said to Him, "I know that Messiah is coming" (who is called Christ). "When He comes, He will tell us all things."
     (26)  Jesus said to her, "I who speak to you am He."
     (27)  And at this point His disciples came, and they marveled that He talked with a woman; yet no one said, "What do You seek?" or, "Why are You talking with her?"
     (28)  The woman then left her waterpot, went her way into the city, and said to the men,  (29)  "Come, see a Man who told me all things that I ever did. Could this be the Christ?"  (30)  Then they went out of the city and came to Him.
     (31)  In the meantime His disciples urged Him, saying, "Rabbi, eat."
     (32)  But He said to them, "I have food to eat of which you do not know."
     (33)  Therefore the disciples said to one another, "Has anyone brought Him anything to eat?"
     (34)  Jesus said to them, "My food is to do the will of Him who sent Me, and to finish His work.  (35)  Do you not say, 'There are still four months and then comes the harvest'? Behold, I say to you, lift up your eyes and look at the fields, for they are already white for harvest!  (36)  And he who reaps receives wages, and gathers fruit for eternal life, that both he who sows and he who reaps may rejoice together.  (37)  For in this the saying is true: 'one sows and another reaps.'  (38)  I sent you to reap that for which you have not labored; others have labored, and you have entered into their labors."
     (39)  And many of the Samaritans of that city believed in Him because of the word of the woman who testified, "He told me all that I ever did."  (40)  So when the Samaritans had come to Him, they urged Him to stay with them; and He stayed there two days.  (41)  And many more believed because of His own word.
     (42)  Then they said to the woman, "Now we believe, not because of what you said, for we ourselves have heard Him and we know that this is indeed the Christ, the Savior of the world."
NKJV

Samaria

The country of Samaria occupied a rough square of some 40 miles north and south by 35 miles east and west.

The western flank, generally poor country, falls away from the summits in a slope more gradual than that of the Judean highlands. Access is easy, and little history gathered round slopes so indefensible and sterile.

Over the divide, the one conspicuous pass is that in which Shechem lays, between Mounts Ebal and Gerizim. It crosses the range and merges into the valley swinging south to Jordan, dividing the eastern flank of Mount Ephraim into two portions, a close-piled bulwark of high country to the south, and an open series of broad valleys to the north.

The country was too open for successful defense. Hence, the frequency with which the chariot is mentioned in the annals of the northern kingdom, and ease with which surrounding paganism poured into the life of the northern tribes.

He needed to go through Samaria

Being already in the north of Judaea,  He chose the route that led through Samaria.
The fanaticism of Jewish hatred,  the fastidiousness of Jewish Pharisaism,  which led His countrymen when traveling alone to avoid that route could have no existence for Him,  and were things rather to be discouraged than approved.

From Jerusalem to Galilee through Samaria, according to Josephus, was 3 days’ journey.
The pilgrims traveled this route usually only in caravans.

Sychar

1. This was the ancient city of  Shechem.
2. It seems to have been situated at the foot of Mt. Gerizim, in the province of Samaria, on which the temple of the Samaritans was built.
3. It was about 10 miles from Shiloh,  40 from Jerusalem,   and 52 from Jericho.
4. It probably got the name of Sychar,  which signifies  “drunken”  from the drunkenness of its inhabitants.
With this crime the Prophet Isaiah (Isa. ch. 28) solemnly charges the Ephraimites,  within whose limits the city stood.
5. Sychar is remarkable in the Scriptures:
A. This is where Abram first stopped on his coming from Haran to Canaan.
B. This is where God first appeared to Abram and promised to give the land to his seed.
C. This is where Abram first built an altar to the Lord, and called upon His name.
D. Jacob bought this field from the children of Hamor, the father of Shechem.
E. There Jacob built an altar, which he dedicated to  “El Elohey Yishrael,”  the strong God, the covenant God of Israel.
F. This land Jacob left as a private or over plus inheritance to Joseph and his children.
G. Jacob’s well was there

A quote from Mr. Maundrell:

“About one-third of an hour from Naplosa, the ancient Sychar and Sychem,  stood Jacob’s well.  If it be inquired,  whether this be the very place,  seeing it may be suspected to stand too remote from Sychar for the women to come and draw water,  we may answer – that,  in all probability,  the city extended farther in former times than it does now,  as may be conjectured from some pieces of a very thick wall,  the remains perhaps of the ancient Sychem,  still to be seen not far from hence.  Over it stood formerly a large church,  erected by the Empress Irene;  but of this the voracity of time,  assisted by the hands of the Turks,  has left nothing but a few foundations remaining.  The well is covered at present with an old stone vault,  into which you are let down by a very strit hole;  and then,  removing a broad flat stone,  you discover the well itself.  It is dug in a firm rock,  is about three yards in diameter,  and thirty five in depth,  five feet of which we found full of water.
At this well the narrow valley of Sychem ends,  opening itself into a wide field,  which probably is part of the ground given by Jacob to his son Joseph.  It is watered by a fresh stream,  running between it and Sychem,  which makes it exceedingly verdant and fruitful.”
This report was from the 18 hundreds.  Since then the well has been repaired to some extent,  and buildings have been built around it.  The well itself is now inside a building.

The sixth hour

12:00 noon,  which was the ordinary time of dinner among the Jews.

A woman of Samaria came

1. A Woman Held in low esteem by the Jewish teachers
2. A Samaritan Despised by the Jews
3. Poor For drawing water was not performed by women of station
(their servants performed that service)
4. Of ill Repute Or she would have come to the well at the early hour when the other women came

Jews have no dealings with Samaritans

Racially the Samaritans are difficult to identify:

1. In 721 B.C. Sargon of Assyria destroyed Samaria.
2. On the walls of the royal palace at Dur-Sarraku (Khorsabad) he recorded the fact,  and his subsequent policy of depopulation,  deportation,  and establishment:
“In my first year of reign…the people of Samaria…to the number of 27,290 I carried away…The city I rebuilt – I made it greater than it was before.  People of lands which I had conquered I settled therein. My tartan I placed over them as governor.”
3. The newcomers from the north may be presumed to have intermarried with the Israelite remnant,  and ultimately the population took the general name of Samaritans.

The completeness of the devastation left by the Assyrian invasion is evident from the infestation of wild beasts of which the immigrants complained.  Superstitiously,  the intruders concluded that  “the god of the land”  was angry at their presence and their ignorance of His propitiatory rites.  They sent to the Assyrian monarch and asked him to select a priest from among the deportees to instruct them in the necessary ritual of worship.  The king (Esarhaddon) acceded to the request,  and some instruction in the faith of Jehovah penetrated the stricken district.  It was a mixed religion that resulted –  “They feared Jehovah, and served their own gods.”

After the return from captivity,  enmity became inveterate between the Samaritans and the Jewish remnant of Ezra and Nehemiah.

1. On the strength of their worship of Jehovah,  the Samaritans sought a share in the rebuilding of the temple in Jerusalem,  but were firmly rebuffed.
2. Sanballat son-in-law was Manasseh,  grandson of the Jewish high priest,  and Nehemiah’s drive for racial purity led to the expulsion of this young man from Jerusalem.
3. By Manasseh’s emigration with a considerable band of dissident Jews to Samaria,  the rift between the peoples,  politically and religiously,  was made permanent.
4. Manasseh persuaded the Samaritans to abandon many of their idolatrous practices,  and with Sanballat building on Mt. Gerizim of a temple for his son-in-law,  the sect of the Samaritans was established.
5. It was from this time that Samaria became a refuge for malcontent Jews,  with the consequent use of “Samaritan”  as a term of abuse for a dissident rebel.

The religion of the Samaritans was based on the Pentateuch alone (Genesis, Exodus, Leviticus, Numbers and Deuteronomy).

The firm answer of Jesus (v. 21-23) stressed:

1. The incompleteness of the Samaritan tradition.
2. Their inadequate revelation.
3. The common transience of the cherished beliefs of both Samaritan and Jew.

The greatness of Jesus is shown in the story,  for at no time had the bitterness between Samaritan and Jew been greater:

1. At one Passover during the governorship of Coponius (A.D. 6-9),  when,  according to annual custom,  the gates of the temple were opened at midnight,  some Samaritans had intruded and polluted the holy place by scattering human bones in the porches.
2. Samaritans were thereafter excluded from the services.
3. They were cursed in the temple.
4. Their food was considered unclean,  even as swine’s flesh.
5. The whole situation narrated in John 4 is therefore remarkable:
A. The buying of food in Sychar
B. The conversation at Jacob’s well
C. The subsequent evangelization of the area
6. It is a magnificent illustration of the emancipation that Christianity was to being to those grown immobile in the bondage of  Judaistic prejudice.

Marveled that He talked with the woman

Their astonishment was not only because of the non-relationship of the Jews and the Samaritans, but also because it was unusual for a Jewish teacher to converse with women in a public place.  The rabbins expressed their contempt for women by teaching that they were not to be saluted or spoken to in the street,  and they were not to be instructed in the law.

Jesus & Nicodemus
John 3:1-21
John & his Disciples
John 3:22-36
Jesus & the Samaritan Woman
John 4:1-26
Unless one is born again, he cannot SEE the kingdom of God." He that believeth not shall not SEE  life.  
Unless one is born of water and the Spirit, he cannot enter the kingdom of God   If you knew the gift of God, and who it is who says to you, 'Give Me a drink,' you would have asked Him, and He would have given you living water

The water that I shall give him will become in him a fountain of water springing up into everlasting life.

We speak what We know and testify what We have seen, and you do not receive Our witness. And what He has seen and heard, that He testifies; and no one receives His testimony. We know what we worship
No one has ascended to heaven but He who came down from heaven, that is, the Son of Man who is in heaven.    
Whoever believes in Him should not perish but have eternal life. He who believes in the Son has everlasting life  
He who believes in Him is not condemned; but he who does not believe is condemned already, because he has not believed in the name of the only begotten Son of God. He who does not believe the Son shall not see life, but the wrath of God abides on him God is Spirit, and those who worship Him must worship in spirit and truth.

Compare the spiritual bread of which Jesus spoke when His disciples wanted Him to eat (4:31-34)

1. John 20:28 Thomas calls Jesus both Lord and God
2. John 20:31 Jesus is called both the Christ, and the Son of God
3. Rev. 22:3 The throne is said to be that of both God and the Lamb,
whom are both referred to in that same verse as  “Him.”

God is Spirit
The Greek has it:  “pneuma o Theos”  –  or “God is spirit:”

1. Absolutely free from all limitations of space and time
2. The nature and not the personality of  God is described,  just as in the phrases,
“God is light” (John 1:5)
“God is love” (1 John 4:8)
3. This premise is drawn from a true interpretation of the Old revelation (Isaiah 31:3),
but the conclusion that follows belongs to the New

In Spirit and In Truth

As he made all creatures,  so all owe Him obedience and reverence;  but,  to be acceptable to his infinite Spirit,  the worship must be:

1. Of  a  SPIRITUAL  nature It must spring from the heart,  through the influence of the Holy Ghost.
2. In  TRUTH Not only in sincerity,  but performed according to that Divine Revelation that He has given men of Himself.

The words describe the characteristics of worship in one complex phrase and not in two co-ordinate phrases. Worship involves:

1. An expression of feeling
2. A conception of the object towards whom the feeling is entertained
 
The Expression Made in SPIRIT
The Conception Formed in TRUTH

Lift up your eyes and look at the fields ... white for harvest

Grain,  when ripe,  turns from a green to a yellow or light color,  indicating that it is time to reap it.
By lifting up their eyes the disciples could see a harvest already white (the approaching Samaritans in their white desert robes),  the result of his sowing.

Excerpts  from  Farrar

He a Jew, 
He a Rabbi,
talking to  “a woman,” 
and that woman a Samaritan
and that Samaritan a sinner!

Yet they (His disciples,  returned from town) dared not question Him.  The sense of His majesty,  the love and the faith His very presence breathed,  overshadowed all minor doubts or wondering curiosities.
Meanwhile the woman,  forgetting even her water-pot in her impetuous amazement,  had hurried to the city with her wondrous story.  Here was one who had revealed to her the very secrets of her life.  Was not this the Messiah?
The Samaritans instantly flocked out of the city at her words,  and while they were seen approaching,  the disciples urged our Lord to eat,  for the hour of noon was now past,  and He had had a weary walk.  But all hunger had been satisfied in the exaltation of His ministry.  “I have food to eat,”  He said,  “which ye know not.”  Might they not have understood that,  from childhood upwards,  He had not lived by bread alone?  But again we find the same dull,  hard,  stolid literalism.  Their Scriptures,  the very idiom in which they spoke,  were full of vivid metaphors,  yet they could hit on no deeper explanation of His meaning than that perhaps some one had brought Him something to eat.  How hard must it have been for Him at every turn to find even in His chosen ones such a strange incapacity to se that material images were but the vehicles for deep spiritual thoughts.  But there was no impatience in Him who was meek and lowly of heart.

And then pointing to the inhabitants of  Sichem,  as they streamed to Him over the plain,  He continued,  “You talk of there being yet four months to harvest.  Look at these fields,  white already for the spiritual harvest.  Ye shall be the joyful reapers of the harvest that I thus have sown in toil and pain.”

THE EARLY GALILEAN MINISTRY

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From the NKJV
Matthew 4:12-17 Mark 1:14,15 Luke 3:19,20 John 4:43-45

(12) Now when Jesus heard that John had been put in prison,

(14) Now after John was put in prison,

(19)  But Herod the tetrarch, being rebuked by him concerning Herodias, his brother Philip's wife, and for all the evils which Herod had done,  (20)  also added this, above all, that he shut John up in prison.

 

 He departed to Galilee. (13)  And leaving Nazareth, He came and dwelt in Capernaum, which is by the sea, in the regions of  Zebulun and Naphtali,  (14)  that it might be fulfilled which was spoken by Isaiah the prophet, saying:

(15)  "The land of Zebulun and the land of Naphtali,
By the way of the sea, beyond the Jordan,
Galilee of the Gentiles:
  (16)  The people who sat in darkness have seen a great light,
And upon those who sat in the region and shadow of death
Light has dawned."

Jesus came to Galilee,

 

(43)  Now after the two days He departed from there and went to Galilee.  (44)  For Jesus Himself testified that a prophet has no honor in his own country.
(45)  So when He came to Galilee, the Galileans received Him, having seen all the things He did in Jerusalem at the feast; for they also had gone to the feast.

 (17)   From that time Jesus began to preach and to say, "Repent, for the kingdom of heaven is at hand."

preaching the gospel of the kingdom of God,  (15)  and saying, "The time is fulfilled, and the kingdom of God is at hand. Repent, and believe in the gospel."

 

 

Capernaum

1. A town on the northwest shore of the Sea of Galilee.
2. That it was a town of considerable size in the days of Jesus is shown by a number of facts:
A Tax collector had his office there (Mark 2:14).
A high officer of the king (Herod Antipas) had his residence there and built a synagogue for the people there (Matt. 8:5-13; Luke 7:1-10).
Jesus made His headquarters during His ministry here:
(Matt. 8:5-13) Here He healed the centurion’s palsied servant.
(Mark 2:1-13) Here the man sick of the palsy was let down to Him.
(John 4:46-54) Here He healed the nobleman’s son.
(Matt. 9:9-13) Here He called Matthew to the apostleship.
(John 6:25-59) Here was delivered the discourse on the Bread of Life, following the feeding of the 5,000.
(Mark 9:33-50) Here were delivered many other addresses.
3. In spite of Jesus’ striking works and teachings, the people did not repent, and Jesus predicted the complete ruin of the place (Matt. 11:23,24; Luke 10:15).
4. His prophecy was so completely fulfilled that the town has disappeared and its very site is a matter of debate.

HEALING THE NOBLEMAN'S SON

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John 4:46-54
     (46) So Jesus came again to Cana of Galilee where He had made the water wine. And there was a certain nobleman whose son was sick at Capernaum.  (47)  When he heard that Jesus had come out of Judea into Galilee, he went to Him and implored Him to come down and heal his son, for he was at the point of death.  (48)  Then Jesus said to him, "Unless you people see signs and wonders, you will by no means believe."
     (49)  The nobleman said to Him, "Sir, come down before my child dies!"
     (50)  Jesus said to him, "Go your way; your son lives." So the man believed the word that Jesus spoke to him, and he went his way.  (51)  And as he was now going down, his servants met him and told him, saying, "Your son lives!"
     (52)  Then he inquired of them the hour when he got better. And they said to him, "Yesterday at the seventh hour the fever left him."  (53)  So the father knew that it was at the same hour in which Jesus said to him, "Your son lives." And he himself believed, and his whole household.
     (54)  This again is the second sign Jesus did when He had come out of Judea into Galilee.
NKJV

Nobleman

An officer in the service of the king (Herod Antipas).
The word  “basilikos”  is used by Josephus for any person employed at court.
The Vulgate translates it  regulus,  a little king.
Some have conjectured that this office was Chuze,  “Herod’s steward” (Luke 8:3),
or Manaen, Herod’s foster brother (Acts 8:1).

Signs and Wonders

They mark the two chief aspects of miracles:

Signs The Spiritual aspect whereby they suggest some deeper truth than meets the eye, of which they are in some sense symbols and pledges.
Wonders The External aspect whereby their strangeness arrests attention.

Except ye see signs

This was spoken not to the nobleman only,  but to the Galileans generally.
The Samaritans had believed without any miracle.
The Galileans,  he said,  were less disposed to believe him than even they were;  and... unless they continually saw miracles,  they would not believe.
(from Barnes' Notes, Electronic Database. Copyright (c) 1997 by Biblesoft)

The second sign

This is not the second sign that Jesus did in His ministry.
It is the second sign He did in Cana.
Separated by the visit to Jerusalem.
Between the two He had worked miracles in Judaea and Capernaum.

 

(End of Lesson Four)

   



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