I have some questions about John chatper 3

1) What does Jesus mean when he said “we speak of what we know, and we testify to what we have seen” in John 3:11?  Does Jesus states to Nicodemus a general fact that, as people, we speak of what we know?   Or does the “We” in the passage pertain to Him (Jesus), the Father & the Spirit? or Jesus & his disciples?

2) In John 3:8, it says “The wind blows wherever it pleases. You hear its sound, but you cannot tell where it comes from or where it is going. So it is with everyone born of the Spirit.” In line with this passage, is it right to say that “a person who is born again will have a freedom like the wind & this freedom is freedom from sin”?

3)  What does Jesus mean when he said in John 3:12 “I have spoken to you of earthly things”?  Did he mean that he is discussing with Nicodemus the things that can be done on earth?


1. By coincidence, I was reading a commentary on this exact passage earlier today. Commentators have debated who “We” is in this passage. Some thing it is Jesus and the Father. Others think it is Jesus and John the Baptist. Still others think it is Jesus and the apostle John, and others thing that the “We” is Jesus and all those who have believed in Jesus. If the commentators are not sure, I think it is reasonable to say that one cannot be absolutely sure who Jesus is referring to when he says “We testify to what we have seen.” Let me make it simple for you. Although I am not sure who “we” are, I think what we can assume is that Jesus is telling Nicodemus that what he is saying is true. Jesus is saying, “Count on it, Nicodemus, I know what I am talking about and you would do well to listen to me.” So, we do not have to know who “we” is to know the thrust of the passage, which is that Jesus is telling Nicodemus that he is speaking with authority.

2. No, this is not what Jesus means. What he means is that the working of the Holy Spirit is spiritual, not physical. We cannot see the Holy Spirit, but, just like the wind, we can see the effects of the Holy Spirit. We cannot see the wind, but we can see a tree bent by the wind. There is no direct visible of those who have been born again having the Holy Spirit in them, but those with the Holy Spirit are truly changed, and the effect of that change will be visible. Jesus is not talking about the wind because it is “free” but because it is not visible, except by its effects. Having the Holy Spirit in us is not what frees us from our sins. It is the blood of Jesus which frees us of our sins. Because we have been forgiven of our sins, the Holy Spirit is able to dwell in us. The indwelling of the Holy Spirit is the result of our forgiveness, not its cause.

3. Probably Jesus is telling Nicodemus that he is using a physical example to explain a spiritual reality. He is using physical birth as an analogy to spiritual birth. Clearly, Nicodemus did not get it right away because he asked Jesus about being physically born again, which is not possible. This is why Jesus explained to Nicodemus that he was using a physical example to talk about a spiritual reality.

I hope this helps.

John Oakes

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