The Berean Expositor
Volume 32 - Page 119 of 246
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Thus John gives an outside testimony, whose goal is "life", while Paul gives an inside
testimony, whose goal is membership of the Body of Christ.
The language of our Lord to Nicodemus warrants our going into the world with
John 3: 16, and assuring those who believe that there are "heavenly things" to be
entered by the same exercise of faith. The "pastors" included in the gifts of Eph. 4:
have legitimate work to do among "the other sheep", of whom John speaks, without
confusing the dispensation of the mystery with the witness of John. We commend to
every reader the fuller exercise of the Berean spirit--Search and see.
#19. The Testimony in Jerusalem, Judaea and Samaria (2: 13-4: 42).
Jerusalem. "The Son of Man which is in heaven" (3: 13).
pp. 116 - 120
If the reader is at all acquainted with Biblical commentaries, he will know what a
variety of explanations have been offered of the problem raised by the words of
John 3: 13: "The Son of Man Which is in heaven." In the first place it is important to
recognize that grammar and logic are only relevant when kept within their own true
domain. It is true in the realm of the flesh that a person cannot be in two different places
at one and the same time, but is it necessarily true in the realm of the spirit? It is also true
of all that pertains to man and his sphere that that which never had a beginning in the
past, does not exist in the present, but is this true of God? Did God have a beginning?
And, if not, must we all become atheists?
The grammar of speech is one example of applied logic. No one who was man, and
only man, could say with either truth or sense, "Before Abraham was, I am". And yet
these were the words uttered by the Lord in John 8: 58. To take another example from
the same Gospel, the Lord, in John 16: 13, uses ekeinos, masculine, to go with pneuma,
neuter, because the need to emphasize personality of the Spirit was more important than
conformity to the ordinary rules of language. Similarly, in the passage before us--
John 3: 13--we have a statement that transcends the bounds of human logic. No mere
man here upon earth could refer to himself as being at the same time "in heaven".
We have weighed over most of the evidence that has been brought forward, both for
and against the suggestion that Christ Himself is the speaker in verses 13-21, and are
inclined to agree with the view that the record of the Saviour's conversation with
Nicodemus ends at verse 12, and that the speaker in verse 13 is John the Evangelist.
This, however, is no basis for argument or foundation for doctrine. We must simply
regard these words as divinely inspired words of eternal life, whether uttered by Christ
Himself on earth, or by His servant John, inspired by His Spirit after His ascension.
The first part of verse 13 reads as follows:
"And no man hath ascended up to heaven, but He that came down from heaven."