Structural Outlines of the Fourth Gospel
by Rev. Felix Just, S.J., Ph.D.

Overview of 2:23—3:36

I) Dialogue of Jesus and Nicodemus (2:23—3:12)

A) Introduction: in Jerusalem, Passover; believe, see, signs; know, testify (2:23-25)
  B) Nicodemus recognizes Jesus as a teacher come from God (3:1-2)
    C) Jesus tells Nicodemus that one must be “born anew” (3:3-4)
      D) Jesus emphasizes the need to be born of water and Spirit (3:5-6)
    C') Jesus continues speaking about being “born anew” and “born of the Spirit" (3:7-8)
  B') Jesus wonders how Nicodemus, a teacher of Israel, does not understand (3:9-10)
A') Conclusion: speak, know, testify, see; not receiving or believing (3:11-12)

II) Evangelist's Elaboration on Three Themes of Christology & Discipleship (3:13-21)

1)  Son of Man (3:13-15)
2)  Son of God (3:16-18)
3)  Light (3:19-21)

III) Jesus and John the Baptist (3:22-30)

IV) Evangelist's Elaboration on Three Themes of Christology & Discipleship (3:31-36)

1) The Priority of the One from Above (3:31)
2) Accepting the Testimony of the Sent-One (3:32-34)
3) Believing or Disobeying the Son (3:35-36)

 


The Dialogue between Jesus and Nicodemus (2:23—3:21)
[full NAB text]
[see related art]

A) Introduction: When he was in Jerusalem during the Passover festival, many believed in his name because they saw the signs that he was doing. But Jesus on his part would not entrust himself to them, because he knew all people and needed no one to testify about anyone; for he himself knew what was in everyone. (2:23-25)

B) Now there was a Pharisee named Nicodemus, a leader of the Jews. He came to Jesus by night and said to him, 
"Rabbi, WE know that you are a teacher who has come from God; for no one can do these signs that you do apart from the presence of God. (3:1-2)

C) Jesus answered him, "Amen, Amen: no one can see the kingdom of God without being born from above." 
Nicodemus said to him, "How can anyone be born after having grown old? Can one enter a second time into the mother's womb and be born?" (3:3-4)

D) Jesus answered, "Amen, Amen: no one can enter the kingdom of God without being born of water and Spirit. What is born of the flesh is flesh, and what is born of the Spirit is spirit. (3:5-6)

C') [Jesus:] Do not be astonished that I said to you, 'You must be born from above.'
The wind blows where it chooses, and you hear the sound of it, but you do not know where it comes from or where it goes. So it is with everyone who is born of the Spirit." (3:7-8)

B') Nicodemus said to him, "How can these things be?"
Jesus answered him, "Are you a teacher of Israel, and yet you do not understand these things? (3:9-10)

A') Conclusion: [Jesus:] "Amen, Amen: WE speak of what we know and testify to what we have seen; yet YOU (pl.) do not receive our testimony
If I have told you (pl.) about earthly things and you do not believe, how can you (pl.) believe if I tell you about heavenly things? (3:11-12)

 
Evangelist's Elaboration on Three Themes (of Christology & Discipleship):

1)  The Son of Man (3:13-15)
No one has ascended into heaven except the one who descended from heaven, the Son of Man
And just as Moses lifted up the serpent in the wilderness, so must the Son of Man be lifted up
that whoever believes in him may have eternal life.

2)  The Only-Begotten Son of God (3:16-18)
For God so loved the world that he gave his only-begotten Son
    so that everyone who believes in him may not perish but may have eternal life. 
Indeed, God did not send the Son into the world to condemn the world, 
    but in order that the world might be saved through him. 
Those who believe in him are not condemned
    but those who do not believe are condemned already
    because they have not believed in the name of the only-begotten Son of God.

3)  The Light (3:19-21)
And this is the judgment, that the light has come into the world, 
    and people loved darkness rather than light because their deeds were evil
For all who do evil hate the light and do not come to the light
    so that their deeds may not be exposed. 
But those who do what is true come to the light
    so that it may be clearly seen that their deeds have been done in God.



Jesus and John the Baptist (3:22-36)
[full NAB text]
[see related art]

 
Evangelist's Elaboration on Three Themes (of Christology & Discipleship):

1) The Priority of the One From Above (3:31)
The one who comes from above is above all;
    the one who is of the earth belongs to the earth and speaks about earthly things.
The one who comes from heaven is above all.

2) Accepting the Testimony of the Sent-One (3:32-34)
32 He testifies to what he has seen and heard, yet no one accepts his testimony.
    33 Whoever has accepted his testimony has certified this, that God is true.
34 He whom God has sent speaks the words of God, for he gives the Spirit without measure.

3) Believing or Disobeying the Son (3:35-36)
35 The Father loves the Son and has placed all things in his hands.
    36 Whoever believes in the Son has eternal life;
whoever disobeys the Son will not see life, but must endure God's wrath.

 

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