John 3 – The first operation of God’s life: regeneration

This is the summary of John 3.

The first operation of God’s life: regeneration

The nine cases in the Gospel of John signify all human conditions. And this book shows how the life operates in each of the cases. The first operation in chapter 3 is regeneration: being reborn by water and the Spirit. Don’t think that this regeneration is needed for evil or weak people. See to whom the Lord talked about this matter of regeneration. It’s Nicodemus, a moral, good, humble, honest, high-class, intelligent, religious, God-seeking person. Even this good person needed to be regenerated.

The kingdom of God

Regeneration is a matter of life. To enter the kingdom of God is to participate in the kingdom and to be a member of the kingdom of God. For this we need to be regenerated, that is, to receive God’s life. The new life is the key to God’s kingdom. Think about the human kingdom and animal kingdom. They may live together at the same place, but they can’t be a member of each other’s kingdom because they have different kinds of life.

Life vs. knowledge

The opposite of life is knowledge. I don’t need to teach my dog how to bark, because he has the life of dog, and he already knows how to bark and he does bark himself. In the garden of Eden, what was the opposite of the tree of life? Was it a tree of death or evil? No, it was the tree of knowledge. Nicodemus was actually an essence of knowledge. He was a Pharisee, and he wanted teaching by calling Jesus a teacher. To Christians, what we need is not the knowledge of good and evil. We need life, God’s life, which has different nature from human life. Discipline is difficult. It may work, but it accompanies pain and it’s temporary. Once you get the new life, it doesn’t matter even if you do not know about the kingdom. The life will realize everything.

Brass serpent lifted up on the cross

Human beings are poisoned, no matter how good they look. When we behold Jesus on the cross, our poison goes away. This is equivalent to the principle of life, which is to change death into life. It is simple to receive the new life. Gaze upon the Lord, especially the Lord on the cross.

John 3 – The first operation of God’s life: regeneration

Life is to cross the sea

John 6:16-21  And when evening fell, His disciples went down to the sea, And they got into a boat and began crossing the sea to Capernaum. And it had already become dark, and Jesus had not yet come to them. And because a strong wind was blowing, the sea was churning. Then when they had rowed about twenty-five or thirty stadia (three or four miles), they saw Jesus walking on the sea and coming near the boat, and they became frightened. But He said to them, “It is Me. Do not be afraid.” Then they were willing to take Him into the boat; and immediately the boat was at the land to which they were going.

This seems a simple episode that happened when the disciples were crossing the sea. But this story has deep spiritual meanings that apply to our real lives. Our lives are like crossing the sea, and there are times when we are not with Him in our life journey.

The story begins with evening; evening fell. God is light, and without Him, darkness comes. So, here is no God, and then we go down to the sea. In the Bible, a mountain signifies a place distinguished from the world, and the sea often signifies the (Satanic) world and death. When Jesus taught people, He usually went up to mountains (Matt. 5:1, John 6:3, 15). But the disciples went down to the sea without Him. Likewise, without Him, we flow down to the world and get mixed.

The disciples had a destination, Capernaum. We also have our own destinations in our lives. Getting a Ph.D., passing a test, succeeding in the job, … But what is the real situation? According to this story, it had already become dark and Jesus was not with them. To make it worse, a strong wind was blowing and the sea was churning. This is our real situation. Satan, once the head of angels, was cast down from the heavens to the air, so the wind is Satan’s attack (Eph. 2:2). The sea is home to demons (Matt. 8:24, 26, 32), so the waves are demons’ attack. We always fight against difficult and evil circumstances. They make our lives exhausting. But we still struggle to row the boat a bit more in this chaos.

At last, they became exhausted, lost their confidence and energy such that they were frightened when they saw Jesus. When we have some amount of energy and confidence with which we can still try to proceed a few more miles, He has not yet come. Why? He wants us to be totally worn out so that we cannot move any more. This is one of the principles found in the Bible. He doesn’t take action before we are totally dead (John 2:4, 11:6). Give myself up, then He is waiting there. Anyway, He finally came to them.

He is the victor; He steps on the sea and walks on it. Nothing can interrupt Him. When Jesus came near to the boat, He said, “It’s Me. Don’t be afraid.” When you are exhausted, hopeless, and humbled, do you hear Him saying, “It’s Me. Don’t be afraid. I overcame all that you are struggling with. I want to get into your boat. I know you began without Me, you have struggled for yourself, and you failed. But it’s okay. Now I’m here. I hope you to be willing to let me in?” As soon as we take Him into our boat, we are at the land to which we are going. He is all that we need to get to our destination.

Life is to cross the sea