I’m working on my sermon on John 3:1-21, which covers the ‘born-again’ conversation with Nicodemus to the famous “for God so loved the world” verse.
But neither of these themes should be disconnected from the two episodes covered in John 2. There Jesus first turns water into wine, and then goes on to clear the temple of all the money-changes and market booths. What is the significance of these actions?
When Jesus turns water into wine (an absurd amount of exceedingly good wine) he is revealing, as the first sign of his glory (2:11), that God’s abundance has arrived. Jesus comes to reveal the gratuitous grace of God, the prodigally lavish abundance of God. With Jesus comes abundance. Do you normally think of God’s abundance working in your life, or that God is stingy?
When Jesus overturn to everything in the temple he is first and foremost claiming that He is the true temple and that all should have access to God. There is no longer a barrier between God and humanity, there are no more sacrifices that need to be made, and certainly no longer any oppressive system manipulated for the benefit of those rich and in charge.
Abundance from God and Access to God is what Jesus is offering.
And in chapter 3, when we get to the necessity of being born-again and believing in the Son sent by God, we have to think of “eternal life” as the life of abundance from and access to God. This is eternal life: to receive the abundance of God through constant access to God. There is no other life.
This is not solely “eternal life” in heaven after we die, but abundance and access at all times from and to God, in all places, whether in life or in death.
God, in love, gave his Son so that this kind of life would be possible.