The way John formats his Gospel is intentional and it strikes three notes of application.
- There is not entitlement with God. We saw this first with Nicodemus- he must be born again. His ancestry does not have any bearing on his relationship with God. His nationality and ethnicity do not save him, new birth is required. The Jew’s are God’s people but if they reject Jesus Christ, they are way worse off than the outcasts of society that accept Jesus, namely Samaritans and by implication Gentiles.
- Faith in Jesus must be real and genuine. We see this reality again and again. We see false faith like the authorities in 12:36-43 quoted above who “believed” in him yet did not “confess him” because “they loved the glory that comes from man more than glory that comes from God. Then we also see real (John 3:16) faith in John the Baptist, the Samaritan woman, the disciples, the official in today’s sermon, the man who will be healed in the sermon next week, and many more. These people are willing to give up all they have to follow Jesus because they see their savior as priceless.
- Real Faith leads to persecution. What I love about John is that it is written to persuade unbelievers to repent and follow Jesus Christ yet he never shrinks back from making clear, following Jesus involves suffering rejection, persecution, and difficulty. Not only does John make clear that becoming a Christian involves that, it requires The Pharisees in John 12 quoted above are portrayed by John as unbelievers who reject Jesus because they did not want to give up what they have. Being a disciple of Jesus (being a Christian), requires giving up your life for Jesus Christ. Anything less than that is superficial, fake, and worthless in the sight of God.