“No one has ascended into heaven, but he ho descended from heaven: the Son of Man” John 3.13
Isn’t it encouraging and affirming Christian to read these words afresh from the mouth of the Son of Man? For in them Christ distinguishes himself as the only one who is uniquely qualified for the exegetical unpacking of the divine will and character (cf. also Jn. 1.18). For it is Christ Jesus alone who comes down from heaven. Who else can claim such an exclusive and prestigious identity?
These are fresh words for us today in our culture; while so many seem to be exclusively lobbying for the increased tolerance of inclusive thought and decreased tolerance of exclusive thought. Jesus, in effect, claps his hands with a thunderous clap and disqualifies any and all perceived competition for his unique position.
In this context Jesus is rocking a religious leader’s world with exclusive assertions that are contrary to his religious thinking. For instance Jesus tells him that he must be “born again” (vv. 3, 5, 7). He also tells him that this cannot happen apart from the Spirit working in his life. And further that he (Nicodemus) is unable to bring this to bear by his own exertion, but rather by the Spirit’s conception and birthing (3.3-7).
It is quite encouraging to me in terms of my own evangelism to know that Jesus is not discouraged to proclaim his exclusivity or to confidently correct misconceptions concerning the divine agenda; in fact, it appears to be quite the opposite, he seems to passionately promote the divine agenda. This is good for me to consider and apply. I do not have to shrink back from who Christ is, nor do I have to put myself in some defensive posture in effort to mitigate these exclusive claims by the Savior. Instead, I am to dig in confidently and passionately amplify the words of Jesus. For it is the Spirit that conceives and brings about this new birth (3.5-6).
Further, it is a great motivation to remember that with all of the perceived “competition” to the gospel there is in reality no competition. The ever increasing philosophy of relativism and pluralism within a post-modern culture are not to discourage our evangelism but compel it! These false gospels serve as providential stimulants for those who have actually been born again to get busy proclaiming, but not before they are thoroughly impressed and convinced of the exclusivity of divine grace as procured through the one Son of God and applied by the one Spirit of God.
Nicodemus stood before Jesus as a skeptic and received the truth. Christians need to be reminded of who they have believed! He is the Son of Man, the only one who has descended from heaven. Everyone else is trying to get up there, but Jesus comes down here to tell us how to get there. Let believers be encouraged by this Jesus, even stirring genuine affections for his person and work by meditating on this reality, knowing that it is all of grace that you know the answer to the question of “how can these things be?” (John 3.9).