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Nicodemus, one of the religious leaders in the Jewish community, comes to see Jesus at nighttime. He tells Jesus that he knows he's a great teacher and is clearly very important to God because of all the miraculous and amazing things he can do.
Nice brown nosing, Nicodemus.
Instead of soaking up all the accolades though, Jesus tells him that no one can really be one with God unless they are born again. Huh?
Not surprisingly, Nicodemus is confused. He wonders how someone could be born twice. Would you have to get back in your mother's womb?
Mom is not going to be pleased.
No, Jesus tells him, but you do have to be reborn in water (through baptism) and also receive God's spirit. Okay, that makes a lot more sense.
But Nicodemus still doesn't get it and wonders how all of this could be true.
Jesus agrees—it is pretty mysterious. No worries, though. Jesus totally knows how God works.
But since he's the only one who does, you'll just have to take his word for it.
Let's Get Theological
Now the gospel takes a minute to explain the big question: Why did God send Jesus to earth? We're glad you asked, Gospel. And we're glad you answered.
According to the writers, God set this whole thing up because he loves the world so much. God sent his only son here to die so that the people who believed in it all would live forever with God.
They continue: Jesus isn't here to condemn anyone—actually, he's here to save everyone. If you just believe in him, you'll be spared from any judgment, but if you don't, well… it won't end well.
Jesus gets compared to a light. But there are people who love darkness so much that they will turn away from the light because they just love doing evil deeds. And of course, light would illuminate your horribleness and show the world how awful you really are.
But if you're a good person, you'll be drawn to the light so that everyone can see the goodness inside you and praise God for it.
Bottom line: believers are like moths to a flame, and non-believers are go get the bug zapper.
John the Baptist Is Back
Jesus and his disciples take a trip to the countryside, where they baptize people. Just another day in the life.
John the Baptist is also there doing some baptizing.
The disciples of John the Baptist start talking. They ask John about Jesus and how he's gotten in on the baptismal market.
John tells them not to worry. If they saw Jesus there, it's where God wants him to be. Jesus has a knack for being in the right place at the right time.
John reminds them again that he (John) isn't the messiah. If you've been paying attention, you'll be sick of this comment by now.
Instead, he's like the best man at a wedding. Sure, the best man gets to stand next to the groom and soak up all the happy, wedding-day vibes, but only the groom gets to marry the lovely bride. Unfortunately, both of them still have to rent tuxes.
John is pretty excited about this whole arrangement, though, even though Jesus is going to outshine him.
Jesus came from God, but John just came from the measly earth. That means he can only talk about earthly things.
Jesus is going to tell everyone what he knows about God. Some people will believe him, and God will share the spirit with these special ones.
But some people won't and… well, let's just say that God won't be too pleased. Yep. Bug zapper for sure.