Nicodemus, a master, or teacher, in Israel had come to the Lord Jesus by night. The Lord spoke to him concerning spiritual things, telling Nicodemus in verse 3 that, “Except a man be born again, he cannot see the kingdom of God.” The concept of being born again, or born from above, confused Nicodemus, even as it still confuses many people today. Let’s look at the Lord’s words to Nicodemus in John 3:12-13, “If I have told you earthly things, and ye believe not, how shall ye believe, if I tell you of heavenly things? And no man hath ascended up to heaven, but he that came down from heaven, even the Son of man which is in heaven.”

Nicodemus was confounded by the Lord’s words. The Lord pointed out that if Nicodemus could not understand Him when He spoke of earthly things, how would he be able to accept His words when He spoke of Heavenly things. He then went on to say the words in question in verse 13, “And no man hath ascended up to heaven, but he that came down from heaven, even the Son of man which is in heaven.” At this point, let’s compare the words of the Lord with the accounts of Enoch and Elijah being taken to Heaven. Genesis 5:24 says, “And Enoch walked with God: and he was not; for God took him.” 2 Kings 2:11 tells of Elijah. That says, “And it came to pass, as they still went on, and talked, that, behold, there appeared a chariot of fire, and horses of fire, and parted them both asunder; and Elijah went up by a whirlwind into heaven.” Seeing that both of these men of the Old Testament had clearly been taken to Heaven, what did the Lord mean by His words?

Notice that both Enoch and Elijah were ‘taken’ to Heaven. God ‘took’ Enoch, and Elijah was accompanied by the flaming chariot. The Lord Jesus was different. He simply ‘ascended’ into Heaven; His words indicating that He did this by His own power. In His words to Nicodemus, the Lord was showing how that He was not merely a human “teacher come from God” as Nicodemus had called Him in verse 2. No, the Lord is the one who IS God. He is the one who ascends to Heaven and comes down from Heaven. He is the one that can speak authoritatively of Heavenly things because He came from Heaven. The Lord Jesus is so much more than a mere man. In verses 13 and 14, He refers to Himself as the ‘Son of man’. In verses 16, 17, and 18, He refers to Himself as the ‘Son of God’. He is not a ‘teacher come from God’. Rather, He is ‘God come to teach!’

Let’s notice the peculiar language of verse 13 once again, where the Lord says of Himself, “even the Son of man which is IN heaven.” The Lord said these words while standing on the earth in front of Nicodemus! Not that He WAS in Heaven, but that He IS in Heaven while on the earth. This certainly speaks to the truth of His omnipresence, which is a character singularly belonging to God. No being can possibly exist in two places at one time, except for the one who fills the heavens and the earth…our blessed Lord Jesus Christ. (173.8)