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Episode 8 – John 3: Born Again pt. 2
Before focusing on John 3, Sharon gives us a teaching on how Catholics approach scripture study. We are encouraged to use a canonical approach when studying the Bible; that is, we should consider the entire canon of the Bible whenever trying to understand a particular passage. The Bible is not meant to be a collection of isolated stories.
In addition, we learn about the senses of scripture: literal and spiritual, with the spiritual sense further divided into allegorical (a foreshadowing of future events and people), moral (virtues that can be learned) and anagogical (referencing eternity or the eschaton).
We then turn our attention back to John 3 and learn about Nicodemus, whose spiritual journey is a beautiful example of progressive growth in faith. Nicodemus was a member of the Great Sanhedrin, the Jewish Supreme Court of first-century Israel. At the time of Jesus’ adult ministry, the president of the Sanhedrin was Rabbi Gamaliel, the teacher of Paul. Gamaliel also advised his fellow members of the Great Sanhedrin to reduce their scrutiny over Jesus’ followers lest they find themselves fighting against God himself. Tradition holds that both Nicodemus and Gamaliel converted to Christianity. Nicodemus and Deacon Stephen the martyr of Acts 7 were buried together at Gamaliel’s estate outside of Jerusalem. Gamaliel and his son ultimately shared this same grave. Turning back to John 3, Sharon then focuses on the interaction between Jesus and Nicodemus, who struggles with understanding the meaning of being born from above by water and spirit. Nicodemus, a teacher of the law, would have understood the significance of his earthly lineage, yet he failed to recognize the divine lineage of Jesus Christ, who was born from above, by the Holy Spirit overshadowing a pure earthly creature named Mary of Nazareth. Being in the form of God, Jesus did not think equality with God was something to be grasped so he lowered himself and took on human form (Phil 2). By taking on human form he showed us the face of God the Father and by His humble obedience made a way for us to get back to the Father and partake once again in our divine nature in the heavenly beautiful vision.
John 3 concludes with nuptial imagery, as John the Baptist identifies himself as the best man to Jesus, the bridegroom. Sharon teaches us about a traditional Jewish wedding, shedding light on the significance of John as the best man, whose role was to bear witness to the consummation of the marriage. Jesus the bridegroom had come and the best man’s job was done. John would decrease and allow Jesus to increase.
Sharon Doran serves as the teaching director of “Seeking Truth.” An experienced Bible Study teacher, Sharon has a passion for scripture that will motivate and challenge you to immerse yourself in God’s Word and apply His message to your everyday life.
“Seeking Truth” is an in-depth Catholic Bible Study, commissioned by the Archdiocese of Omaha in response to John Paul II’s call to the New Evangelization as well as Pope Benedict XVI’s exhortation for all Catholics to study scripture. To learn more go to www.seekingtruth.net