John 3 Metaphysical Bible Interpretation

Metaphysical Bible Interpretation of John Chapter 3

Metaphysically Interpreting John 3:1-21

3:1Now there was a man of the Pharisees, named Nicodemus, a ruler of the Jews: 3:2the same came unto him by night, and said to him, Rabbi, we know that thou art a teacher come from God; for no one can do these signs that thou doest, except God be with him. 3:3Jesus answered and said unto him, Verily, verily, I say unto thee, Except one be born anew, he cannot see the kingdom of God. 3:4Nicodemus saith unto 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? 3:5Jesus answered, Verily, verily, I say unto thee, Except one be born of water and the Spirit, he cannot enter into the kingdom of God! 3:6That which is born of the flesh is flesh; and that which is born of the Spirit is spirit. 3:7Marvel not that I said unto thee, Ye must be born anew. 3:8The wind bloweth where it will, and thou hearest the voice thereof, but knowest not whence it cometh, and whither it goeth: so is every one that is born of the Spirit. 3:9Nicodemus answered and said unto him, How can these things be? 3:10Jesus answered and said unto him, Art thou the teacher of Israel, and understandest not these things? 3:11Verily, verily, I say unto thee, We speak that which we know, and bear witness of that which we have seen; and ye receive not our witness.

3:12If I told you earthly things and ye believe not, how shall ye believe if I tell you heavenly things? 3:13And no one hath ascended into heaven, but he that descended out of heaven, even the Son of man, who is in heaven. 3:14And as Moses lifted up the serpent in the wilderness, even so must the Son of man be lifted up; 3:15that whosoever believeth may in him have eternal life.

3:16For God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth on him should not perish, but have eternal life.

3:17For God sent not the Son into the world to judge the world; but that the world should be saved through him. 3:18He that believeth on him is not judged: he that believeth not hath been judged already, because he hath not believed on the name of the only begotten Son of God. 3:19And this is the judgment, that the light is come into the world, and men loved the darkness rather than the light; for their works were evil. 3:20For every one that doeth evil hateth the light, and cometh not to the light, lest his works should be reproved. 3:21But he that doeth the truth cometh to the light, that his works may be made manifest, that they have been wrought in God.

Sunday, February 23, 1919: John 3:1-15

LESSON INTERPRETATION

What, in individual consciousness, is represented by “Pharisees”? In individual consciousness, “Pharisees” represent those thoughts that arise out of the subconscious, binding man to external forms of religion, without giving him understanding of their real meaning.

What, in consciousness, does “Nicodemus” represent? “Nicodemus” represents the Pharisaical side of man's mentality, which in its faithfulness in the observance of religious form, becomes aware of the presence of Divine Power.

What is the meaning of Nicodemus' coming to Jesus “by night”? Nicodemus coming to Jesus (spiritual I Am) “by night” (spiritual darkness) shows that intellectual learning counts for naught in the regeneration. Man must be born of the Spirit in order to be redeemed.

What takes place in consciousness when “Nicodemus” meets with “Jesus”? When the mentality (Nicodemus) becomes receptive to the Truth, the spiritual I Am (Jesus) reveals the importance of man's coming into understanding of the “heavenly things.”

How does the individual establish the “heavenly things” (Truth) in mind, body and affairs? Man establishes the “heavenly things” (Truth) in mind, body and affairs through denial of mortal beliefs and affirmation of spiritual realities.

What is it to be “born of water” and “born of the Spirit”? To be “born of water” is to be cleansed of moral impurity, sin and materiality, through denial. Being “born of the Spirit” is coming into the consciousness of the Divine Law of Being, lifting the whole man up into a new life of harmony and order by affirmative prayer.

August 24, 1924: John 3:1-3

What does Nicodemus represent? Nicodemus was a Pharisee. His name means “innocent blood.” Spiritual discernment reveals that he represents an inherited religious bias; therefore he was a Pharisee, not by his own choice, but through inherited blood; that is, he innocently inherited his religion.

What is the meaning of Nicodemus' going to Jesus by night and telling him that he knew that God must be with him because of the signs, which accompanied Jesus' ministry? Nicodemus symbolizes the intellectual mind that is open and receptive to Truth. Night represents mental darkness, ignorance. This inquiring state of mind shows that the light is penetrating the darkness through intellectual reasoning, the law working from cause to effect.

Why did Jesus tell Nicodemus that he must be born anew before he could see the kingdom of God? To understand or see the kingdom of God requires development of the superior faculties implanted in man by God. The natural man, ruled by the intellect (“Nicodemus, a ruler of the Jews”), must go through a process of spiritual development similar to the birth of the natural man.

August 24, 1924: John 3:8-17

To what did Jesus compare the spiritual birth? Jesus compared the spiritual birth to the wind. We behold the effect of the wind and we know that it exists, but the natural eye does not see the wind. Science has discovered that within the wind is the air, and within the air is the ether. Metaphysicians have discovered that within the ether is mind or Spirit.

Can the intellect understand spiritual things? No. Nicodemus said: “How can these things be?”

When spiritual discernment reveals certain truths, what should be our attitude toward the ever-questioning intellect? The answer of Jesus to Nicodemus should be emphasized: “Verily, verily, I say unto thee, We speak that which we know, and bear witness of that which we have seen; and ye receive not our witness.”

What is the meaning of verse 13: “And no one hath ascended into heaven, but he that descended out of heaven, even the Son of man, who is in heaven”? This verse involves both the innate and expressed capacity of man. Man descended out of heaven. He was born the image and likeness of God in heaven, and in reality he is in heaven now.

Give the meaning of verse 14: “And as Moses lifted up the serpent in the wilderness, even so must the Son of man be lifted up.” The serpent represents sense consciousness, and when sense consciousness is understood and when man through Christ lifts it up to spiritual consciousness, man comes into divine life.

What is the difference between sense life and divine, life? There is but one life. That life appears to man according to the character or name that he gives it. Adam named the beasts of the field (sense life) and they became whatever he called them. We have sense life, because we have loved sensation apart from its source, God. By acknowledging the life of God through Christ, the Son of God, we shall be lifted up on high, and sense life will be transmuted into eternal life.

December 21, 1924: John 3:16-21

What is the meaning of: “For God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth on him should not perish, but have eternal life”? The love of infinite Mind for its offspring impelled it to incarnate its ideal man, Christ, in Jesus of Nazareth. This concrete example of the superman quickened faith and through Jesus Christ raised the whole race life, until it touched divine life.

How does the light and life of the incarnate word save men from judgment? Under the natural law every thought and every act is followed by results, good or ill. If a man has done evil, under the natural law he must reap the results of evil. Under the power of the superman the law of cause and effect is annulled by what is called “grace.” Grace is the creative power innate in the superman.

What is the shortcut into the kingdom of God? Faith in the light of Truth, as given by Christ through Jesus, is not only the shortcut but, in the present race consciousness, the only salvation for the human family. No man in his own might is strong enough to overcome the evil or error thoughts of the race atmosphere in which we live; he must have the direct help of the Higher Power. The plan that will save the whole human family from the judgment that comes as the result of error thought has been worked out and freely offered to every one. That plan is that we accept the living Word, Christ within, and follow its guidance, and that we study the teachings and experiences of Jesus Christ. Jesus came not to judge the world, but to save the world from judgment.

Sunday, January 17, 1926: John 3:5-17

What does Nicodemus represent? Nicodemus was a Pharisee. His name means “innocent blood.” Spiritual discernment reveals that he represents an inherited religious bias; therefore he was a Pharisee, not by his own choice, but through inherited blood; that is, he had innocently inherited his religion.

What is the meaning of Nicodemus' going to Jesus by night and telling him that he knew that God must be with him, because of the signs which accompanied Jesus' ministry? Nicodemus symbolizes the intellectual mind that is open and receptive to Truth. Night represents mental darkness, ignorance. The inquiring state of mind show that the light is penetrating the darkness through intellectual reasoning, the law working from cause to effect.

Why did Jesus tell Nicodemus that he must be born of water and the Spirit before he could see the kingdom of God? To understand or see the kingdom of God requires the development of the superior faculties implanted in man by God. The natural man, ruled by the intellect (“Nicodemus, a ruler of the Jews”), must go through a process of spiritual development corresponding to the birth of the natural man.

To what did Jesus compare the spiritual birth? Jesus compared the spiritual birth to the wind. We behold the effect of the wind and we know that wind exists, but the natural eye does not see the wind. Science has discovered that the wind is air in motion and that back of the air is the ether. Metaphysicians have discovered that within the ether is mind or Spirit.

Can the intellect understand spiritual things? No. Nicodemus, who represents the intellect, said: “How can these things be?”

When spiritual discernment reveals truths, what should be our attitude toward the ever questioning intellect? The answer of Jesus to Nicodemus should be emphasized: “Verily, verily, I say unto thee, We speak that which we know, and bear witness of that which we have seen; and ye receive not our witness.”

What is the meaning of verse 13: “And no one hath ascended into heaven, but he that descended out of heaven, even the Son of man, who is in heaven”? This verse involves both the innate and the expressed capacity of man: Man descended out of heaven. He was born the image and likeness of God in heaven and in reality he is in heaven now.

Give the meaning of verse 14: “And as Moses lifted up the serpent in the wilderness, even so must the Son of man be lifted up.” The serpent represents sense consciousness. When sense consciousness is understood and when man, through Christ, lifts it up to spiritual consciousness, he comes into divine life.

What is the difference between sense life and divine life? There is but one life. That life appears to man according to the character or name that he gives it. Adam named the beasts of the field (sense life) and they became whatever he called them. We have sense life, because we have loved sensation. By acknowledging the life of God through Christ, the Son of God, we shall be lifted up and our consciousness of sense life will be transmuted into eternal life.

Sunday, January 17, 1932: John 3:1-16

What does Nicodemus represent? The name Nicodemus means “innocent blood.” The man Nicodemus represents an inherited religious bias; he was a Pharisee, not through his own choice, but by reason of his inheritance of the Jewish faith.

What is the meaning of Nicodemus going to Jesus by night and telling Him that he knew that God must be with Him because of the signs that accompanied Jesus' ministry? Nicodemus symbolizes the intellect in darkness, but seeking the light of Truth. Night represents mental darkness, ignorance. The Nicodemus (mind is attracted by “signs.” “No one can do these signs thou doest, except God be with him.”

Why did Jesus tell Nicodemus that he must be born anew before he could see the kingdom of God? To understand, or see, the kingdom of God requires the development of the superior faculties implanted in man by God. The spiritual man, ruled by intellect (“Nicodemus, a ruler of the Jews”), must go through a process of spiritual development similar to the birth of the natural man.

To what did Jesus compare the spiritual birth? Jesus compared the spiritual birth to the wind. We behold the effects of the wind and we know that it exists, but the natural eye does not see it Science has discovered that within the wind is the air, and within the air is the ether. Metaphysicians have discovered that within the ether is Mind or Spirit.

Can the intellect understand spiritual things? No. Nicodemus said, “How can these things be?”

When spiritual discernment reveals certain principles of Truth, what should be our attitude toward the ever questioning intellect? The answer of Jesus to Nicodemus should be emphasized: “Verily, verily, I say unto thee, We speak that which we know, and bear witness of that which we have seen; and ye receive not our witness.”

What is the meaning of the 13th verse, “And no one hath ascended into heaven, but he that descended out of heaven, even the Son of man, who is in heaven”? God created man in His spiritual likeness and after His image, hence man is eternally spiritual; that is, heavenly. However, man in the development of his soul descends to earthly consciousness, but is still essentially in heaven.

Give the meaning of the 14th verse: “And as Moses lifted up the serpent in the wilderness, even so must the Son of man be lifted up.” The serpent represents sense consciousness. When man, through Christ, lifts up sense consciousness and transmutes it into spiritual consciousness, man comes into divine life.

What is the difference between sense life and divine life? There is but one life. That life appears to man according to the character or name that he gives it. Adam named the beasts of the field (sense life), and they became whatever he called them. We have sense life because we have loved sensation apart from its source, God. By acknowledging the life of God through Christ, the Son of God; we shall be lifted up on high, and our sense life will be transmuted into eternal life.

April 14, 1935: John 3:14-17

INTERPRETATION

What does the term “Son of man” represent? This term represents God's idea of man in expression.

What connection has the Son of man with the Son of God? Christ, the “only begotten Son of God,” is the one and only complete, ideal man in the mind of the everywhere present God. The Son of man is the thought of this spiritual man or idea of God.

Explain why the Son of man must be lifted up. The Son of man, or thought of the spiritual man, is, like all thoughts, subject to the limitation of its own source. The Son-of-man consciousness must therefore be lifted up and unified with the higher consciousness of the Son of God, in order to know eternal life.

Is aspiration towards the divine proof that man's true nature is divine? The fact that man aspires to the divine shows that he has within him the elements of divinity.

How can we make the outer as the inner? By following Jesus’ example of recognizing and acknowledging the Christ in our every thought, word, and deed, we unify ourselves with God, and make the outer one with the inner.

October 19, 1941: John 3:5-8

INTERPRETATION

What is meant by the expression to be “born of water”? Water represents denial. To be born of water is to experience the awakening that comes to a person who denies to the personal self all dominion over him and gains poise and self-control.

What is it to be “born of the spirit”? To be born of the Spirit is to experience the realization of man's inherent God-likeness. Thereafter he responds unfailingly to impulses that relate him on the constructive side to the larger life of all, rather than to the limited sphere of his personal life.

What is the “kingdom of God” that man enters into by means of these births? It is the inner realm of the universal life. Man enters into this realm through an awakened consciousness of it as a reality, and he continues in it by appreciating and expressing the spirit of good will, love, and the other enlightened qualities that reveal it.

Why is “every one that is born of the spirit” like the wind? As far as man is concerned, the wind rises and continues to blow without his intervention or direction. The Holy Spirit likewise is a power that guides and directs him, as he accepts its inspiration.

Sunday, January 10, 1943: John 3:1-16

What is the new birth mentioned in this lesson? It is a quickening of the mind and soul into consciousness of the Christ or indwelling Spirit of perfection.

Nicodemus (victory of the people) could not understand the teaching of Jesus concerning the need of regeneration or spiritual birth. Why was this? Nicodemus was bound by traditional concepts, and since these did not include the idea of spiritual rebirth, he could not apprehend the idea at first. New ideas, especially ideas of a spiritual nature, penetrate the mind of the race slowly.

What is meant by being “born of, water and the Spirit”? To be born of water is to be cleansed mentally by denial of the hold of evil upon the mind and heart. To be born of the Spirit is to be quickened by the desire to express in the life all that one is able to conceive of the good, the beautiful, and the true.

What is one of the “heavenly things” that we need to believe in order to achieve our destiny as children of God? That we have within us intrinsically the divine nature and therefore can respond to the divine impetus and bring what is divine into manifestation. “No one hath ascended into heaven but he that descended out of heaven, even the Son of man, who is in heaven.”

How can the “Son of man be lifted up”? By developing Christ-like qualities of character the Christ or “Son of man” is lifted up in us, until He becomes the dominant spirit of our life.

Is the lifting up of the Christ solely for the benefit of the individual? No, it benefits the individual and at the same time all who come within the sphere of the individual's influence. “Whosoever believeth may in him have eternal life.”

“For God so loved the world.” What is implied in these words? That the race man sunk in sense consciousness is nevertheless divine in nature, and responds to the attracting power of the Christ, when it is directly exerted.

How do we lay hold of eternal life? Through faith. “Whosoever believeth on him should . . . have eternal life.”

April 7, 1946: John 3:1-2

What is the significance of the coming of Nicodemus, a ruler of the Jews, to Jesus by night? Nicodemus represents the pharisaical mind that observes the external forms of religion without understanding their inner or spiritual meaning. It seeks light while yet in spiritual darkness.

What is signified by Jesus' disregard of the customs of His time in teaching and befriending others? The ministry of the word of Truth (Jesus) is for all people irrespective of race, creed, or social standing. In the sight of God all are equally His children.

January 19, 1947: John 3:1-11

What is the meaning of being born of water and of the Spirit? To be born of water is to awaken to the necessity of denying the sense self and its demands and to desire to make this denial. To be born of the Spirit is to become conscious of a new and original power within one, guiding and directing one at all times. Whoever enters the world of inner values and develops character that is founded on principles rather than on accepted custom is born anew.

How does flesh consciousness lead us to regard God? As a magnified person, and to miss the thought of God as Spirit dwelling within the hearts of men.

What is represented by Nicodemus? Nicodemus (“victorious, among the people”) represents the popular idea of religion.

In matters of faith and conviction do we need a mediator between us and Divine Mind? No. Each of us can directly seek to enter into Divine Mind and think the thoughts of God after Him, forming our own exceptions of the truth as it revealed to us and as we are able to receive it.

Why did Nicodemus come to Jesus by night? Nicodemus sought out Jesus by night because of his fear lest he lose his position of authority among the Jews. The devotees of the popular idea of religion are eager to keep on the safe side.

Is the popular idea of religion connected with flesh consciousness? It is more nearly related to the flesh than to the Spirit, for it is unacquainted with the power of Spirit and does not include understanding of regeneration.

What proof is most convincing? Testimony based on firsthand knowledge or experience. “We speak that which we know, and bear witness of that which we have seen.” Such is competent testimony in any court of law, but traditional religion sometimes rejects incontestable proof. It prefers the miraculous to the actual.

When the Spirit of the Christ quickens a man, for what does it prepare him? To meet the problems and tests of the present. If we cope with these satisfactorily, we shall be prepared to meet the future as it too becomes the present.

December 22, 1946: John 3:16

What is the perfect expression of love? Unselfish giving. “God is love,” and “God so loved the world, that he gave”, not something of slight value, but something that was most precious to the heart of God, “his only begotten Son.”

Do these words suggest to us anything of the true worth of the world, that is to have eternal life through such a gift? Yes, it proves how dear to the heart of the Infinite is the perfect expression of the divine qualities of love, wisdom, faith, and all the other faculties of Divine Mind that can be brought forth in the world by those who accept the gift of divine love and bring it to life in themselves.

Why is divine love necessary to the life of the world? To give it meaning and make it comprehensible to us. We also require the gift of the Christ in our mind and heart to perfect our expression of the inner life.

What proof have we that we have within us the element of divinity? The fact that we aspire to know and express the divine.

January 19, 1947: John 3:16-17

What is strong enough and enduring enough to fit one to overcome a trend toward atheism? The love of the Christ, when it is developed and expressed by all those who accept it as their indwelling Spirit and who work to make it manifest in life.

January 27, 1952: John 3:1-10

What is it to be born of the Spirit? It is to enter the world of inner values and thereafter to view life from the point of spiritual principle rather than from that of custom or tradition. As spiritual beings, we perceive God as the Spirit of truth that animates and inspires us to demonstrate what is good, right, and true.

On what do those in flesh consciousness base their faith? On the popular or race idea of religion, which envisions God as a magnified person instead of as a Spirit indwelling in the hearts of men.

What does Nicodemus represent? The name Nicodemus means “victorious among the people.” Nicodemus was a Pharisee, a ruler of the Jews (religious thoughts). He represents the popular idea of religion dominant in the consciousness, which is open to conviction of Truth, if it can be entertained without disturbing beliefs already established.

Is conservatism in religion always inadvisable? No, because when rightly based, it is a desirable quality of mind. It preserves the church as an institution, and prevents the believer from becoming erratic.

What conviction did Nicodemus hold that is common to us all? He expressed it in the words: “We know that thou [Jesus Christ] art a teacher come from God; for no one be can do these signs that thou doest, except God be with him.” We know this also, but no one else has been able to all the works that Jesus did. We have his prophecy that we shall do his works and greater, but so far no one has completely fulfilled it.

How did Nicodemus judge Jesus? By His works, a standard of judgment that Jesus commended. “Though ye believe not me, believe the works.” Unless our works are in harmony with our convictions and our professed creed, we are hypocrites, disobedient to the law of Spirit.

What do we require in order to do the works of God? We require the Spirit of God, and only when we are aware of this Spirit within us do we know unity with God and understand the truth of the inner life.

Transcribed by Lloyd Kinder on 11-20-2013