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Main Page The great Gospel of John Volume 1 GGJ01-18 Chapter


Chapter 18 - The Lord’s discussion with Nicodemus. Purification of the soul through humility

18,1. During the last but one night of My stay in the vicinity of Jerusalem, a certain Nicodemus came to me, also by night because he was a person of high rank in Jerusalem. He was not only a Pharisee – who as far as his office, high rank and reputation were concerned could be roughly compared to what at the present time a cardinal in Rome stands for – but he was also a very rich citizen of Jerusalem and chief of the Jewish Council in this city. He was the lord mayor over the entire city, appointed for this office by Rome.

John 3,2. He came to Jesus by night and said to him: “Master, we know that You are a teacher (prophet) sent by God. No one could perform these signs of yours unless God were with him.”

18,2. This one, as the head of Jerusalem in civic matters, came personally to Me by night and said: ‘Master, forgive me that I come to you so late at night and disturb you in your rest, but when I heard that you will be leaving here tomorrow already, I did wish to pay my respects to you, because I and several of my colleagues, after observing your deeds, are now convinced that you have come to us as a true prophet sent by God, For no one can perform the signs you do, except Jehovah be with him. Therefore, since you are obviously a prophet and must see in what a bad way we are, although the Kingdom of God has been promised to us by your predecessors, would you be good enough to tell me when this will come and, if it does come, what will be required of one to enter it?’

John 3,3. Jesus answered, saying: “In truth, in very truth I tell you: Unless a man has been born over again he cannot see the Kingdom of God.”

18,3. My answer to this question of Nicodemus was quite as brief as quoted in the verse, namely: ‘In truth, in very truth I tell you: unless a man has been born over again, he cannot see the Kingdom of God, least of all enter it’, which is to say: ‘If you do not awaken your spirit through ways I show you by My teaching and acts, you cannot even recognize the divine life within My Word, let alone penetrate into its life-giving depths.’

18,4. That the otherwise upright Nicodemus – as is shown in the following – did not understand My words and promptly proved them to be true, namely, that the divine life of My Word cannot be comprehended from a distance unless one's spirit is wide-awake, is clearly and plainly shown by the next verse according to which Nicodemus asks Me, quite disconcerted by My words:

John 3,4. Nicodemus says to him: “How can a man be born again when he is old? Can he enter his mother's womb a second time and be born?”

18,5. ‘But dear Master, what a peculiar thing have you said? How is it possible for a man to be born again? Can a man who has grown tall, old and stiff enter his mother's womb through the narrow little door and then be born a second time? This, dear Master, is quite impossible. Either you do not know anything about the coming Kingdom of God, at least not the right thing. or you know, but do not wish to tell me, fearing that I might have you seized and thrown into prison. Oh, do not fear that, for I have never yet had anyone deprived of his freedom, except a murderer or bad thief. You are a great benefactor of poor mankind and have healed almost all the sick in Jerusalem in a miraculous way through God’s power within you. How could I then lay violent hands upon you?

18,6. Do believe me, dear Master, I am, taking the expected Kingdom of God very seriously. Therefore, if you do know any details about it, tell me in a way I can understand. Present heavenly things with heavenly and earthly things with earthly words in well comprehensible pictures, otherwise your information is of less use to me than the ancient Egyptian hieroglyphs which I cannot read, let alone understand. I only know from my calculations that the Kingdom of God must already be here, but so far I do not know where and how one can enter it and be received into it. I would like you to answer this question for me quite clearly, so that I can understand it.’

John 3,5. Jesus answered: “In truth I tell you: no one can enter the Kingdom of God without being born from water and spirit”.

18,7. To this reiterated question I gave Nicodemus exactly the same answer as it appears in the above quoted fifth verse. It differs from the previous one only in that here it is stated out of what one must actually be reborn in order to enter the Kingdom of God, namely, out of water and spirit which means to say as much as:

18,8. The soul must be cleansed with the water of humility and self-denial (for water is the most ancient symbol of humility, it allows everything to be done with it, serves in all things and always seeks for itself the lowest places on Earth, fleeing the heights) and only then by the spirit of truth, which an impure soul cannot ever conceive. An impure soul is like the night, whereas truth is a sun full of light, which causes to be day all around it.

18,9. Therefore, whoever absorbs truth into his soul cleansed through humility and really recognizes this as such, is set free in spirit through this truth. This freedom of the spirit, or the entering of the spirit into such freedom, is then also the actual entering into the Kingdom of God.

18,10. But I did not give Nicodemus such an explanation, because in his sphere of cognition he would have comprehended it even less than the short, veiled principle itself. Therefore, he asked Me again how this was to be understood.

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