11 Most assuredly, I say to you, We speak what We know and testify what We have seen, and you do not receive Our witness.
Now Jesus spoke and Nicodemus listened. The Pharisee had nothing more to say. Jesus presented Himself as an eyewitness to truth, but the Pharisee rejected it because of his legalism. The Lord saw Nicodemus as representative of many who could not bring themselves to believe in the grace concept whereby God makes all the provision for salvation (Jn 1:14).
11 Most assuredly,
Jesus used “most assuredly” three times during this important dialogue with Nicodemus, showing with unequivocal force the importance of being born again. This is not a debatable issue. There is no option here.
I say to you [singular],
Jesus was about to make a solemn assertion to Nicodemus concerning the importance of His coming to earth and the significance of believing it. It is important to recognize that we can rely on Jesus’ words about how to obtain eternal life.
We speak what We know and testify [witness] what We have seen,
The “we” here is difficult to determine. Jesus might have been including His disciples in this statement, but it is more likely that He was referring to John the Baptist because the Baptizer had recently given witness to Him in the Jordan.
Jesus and John the Baptist spoke about objective truth. A “witness” points to objective facts, not opinion. They did not offer an opinion in what they said but communicated knowledge that was certain.
and you [plural] do not receive [accept] Our witness.
“You” here is plural, indicating that Jesus was speaking to both Nicodemus and to the entire Sanhedrin representing Israel. Nicodemus and the nation were representatives of those who did not “receive” or accept Jesus’ witness. They stood in ignorance of unbelief and separation from God and His plan for the nation. Israel as a class of people rejected Jesus as the Messiah and His “witness” or testimony about where the nation stood.
Neither the nation nor Nicodemus at this point had received Christ. However, Nicodemus later defended Jesus before the Sanhedrin (Jn 7:50-51). Again he aided Joseph of Arimathea in preparing the body of Jesus for burial (Jn 19:38-39). Both of these activities may imply that he became a believer at some point.
Negative volition toward God’s way of salvation is the first instinct of most people.
People commonly shut their minds to what they do not want to accept. They have a propensity of refusal to see. On the other hand, there are those who want to understand what they do not know.
Most people believe that they are acceptable for salvation on their own terms rather than on God’s terms. It is the broad way that leads to destruction (Mt 7:13). The biblical viewpoint is that man can come to God on His terms alone. It is either through Jesus’ crucifixion for our sins or not at all.
Most people “hate the light” (Jn 3:20). They are by nature “children of wrath” (Eph 2:3). If people give in to what they are, they will not become Christians.
Man cannot solve the problem of spiritual death as over against spiritual birth by his own devices (1 Co 2:14). He is nevertheless culpable for his negative volition because he has enough revelation to believe (Ro 1:18).