John 3:12

12 If I have told you earthly things, and ye believe not, how shall ye believe, if I tell you of heavenly things?

John 3:12 Meaning and Commentary

John 3:12

If I have told you earthly things
Not that the doctrines he delivered were earthly ones; for he was not of the earth, but from heaven, and above all, and so spake not of the earth, but of heaven, ( John 3:31 ) ; and this doctrine of regeneration was an heavenly doctrine; and the thing itself required supernatural power, and grace from above: but either they were the more easy doctrines of the Gospel; or were delivered in a plain and easy style, and illustrated by similes taken from earthly things, as from human birth, from the water, and from the wind:

and ye believe not;
i.e. those things; ye do not receive them, nor give credit to them; or "me", as the Ethiopic Version adds, who relate them on the best evidence, having fully known, and clearly seen them:

how shall ye believe;
give credit to me, or receive my testimony:

if I tell you of heavenly things?
of the more sublime doctrines of the Gospel, such as the descent of the Messiah from heaven; the union of the two natures, human and divine, in him; his being the only begotten Son of God; his crucifixion and death, signified by the lifting up of the serpent on a pole in the wilderness; and the wonderful love of God to the Gentile world in giving Christ to, and for them; and the salvation, and eternal happiness of all that believe in him, whether they be Jews or Gentiles; and these delivered in language suitable to them, without figures, or natural similes, which help the understanding, and convey ideas of things more easily to it.

John 3:12 In-Context

10 Jesus answered and said unto him,Art thou a master of Israel, and knowest not these things?
11 Verily, verily, I say unto thee, We speak that we do know, and testify that we have seen; and ye receive not our witness.
12 If I have told you earthly things, and ye believe not, how shall ye believe, if I tell you of heavenly things?
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.
14 And as Moses lifted up the serpent in the wilderness, even so must the Son of man be lifted up: