Born of the Spirit (John 3:1–15)
This week we are going to study John 3:1–15. So, let’s read this passage together, “Now there was a man of the Pharisees named Nicodemus, a ruler of the Jews. This man came to Jesus by night and said to him, “Rabbi, we know that you are a teacher come from God, for no one can do these signs that you do unless God is with him.” Jesus answered him, “Truly, truly, I say to you, unless one is born again he cannot see the kingdom of God.” Nicodemus said to him, “How can a man be born when he is old? Can he enter a second time into his mother’s womb and be born?” Jesus answered, “Truly, truly, I say to you, unless one is born of water and the Spirit, he cannot enter the kingdom of God. That which is born of the flesh is flesh, and that which is born of the Spirit is spirit. Do not marvel that I said to you, ‘You must be born again.’ The wind blows where it wishes, and you hear its sound, but you do not know where it comes from or where it goes. So it is with everyone who is born of the Spirit.” Nicodemus said to him, “How can these things be?” Jesus answered him, “Are you the teacher of Israel and yet you do not understand these things? Truly, truly, I say to you, we speak of what we know, and bear witness to what we have seen, but you do not receive our testimony. If I have told you earthly things and you do not believe, how can you believe if I tell you heavenly things? No one has ascended into heaven except he who descended from heaven, the Son of Man. And as Moses lifted up the serpent in the wilderness, so must the Son of Man be lifted up, that whoever believes in him may have eternal life.” John 3:1–15
In this passage Nicodemus, a Pharisee and ruler of the Jews comes to see Jesus at night. There are two possible reasons why Nicodemus came at night, one reason is that Nicodemus came to Jesus at night to hide the fact that he went to see Jesus, another reason may have been because of all his responsibilities and this was the only time he could see Jesus. Nicodemus probably saw Jesus’ miracles, maybe while Jesus was in Jerusalem at the Passover. But, whatever Nicodemus saw convinced him that Jesus was from God. Nicodemus came seeking answers to why Jesus came and who He was, Nicodemus may have even thought that Jesus was a prophet or the Messiah. These are the same questions we will ask this week: why did Jesus come and who is He? Each of us has to choose who we think Jesus is and why we think He came. Think about it, the Bible is the best-selling book of all time, since we have been tracking the sale of books over 5 billion copies have been printed. The Bible is also the most accurately preserved ancient document in human history. The Bible is all about Jesus and even time itself is separated by Jesus’ coming. So, we need to at least take a little time and learn who He is and why He came.
Nicodemus came to Jesus not seeking political answers, but he was seeking why Jesus came and probably seeking answers to his own salvation. Jesus knew this and told him that no man can enter the Kingdom of God without being born again. He then told him how to be born again, He said, what is flesh is flesh and what is Spirit is spirit and that to enter the Kingdom of Heaven we must be born in the flesh and then again into the Spirit. See all men are born into sin, it is in our nature since Adam and Eve fell in the garden (Genesis 3, Romans 3:21–26, Psalms 58:3). When we are born physically we are born into the flesh. God created a perfect world, but He gave man free will and we chose to sin and then the world was broken (Genesis Ch 1–3, Galatians 5:13, Joshua 24:15). But God, rich in mercy, sent His Son to die on the cross for our sins and rise again on the third day breaking the chains of sin and death forever (1 John 4:9, Romans 6:6, John 8:36). No matter who you are or what you have done, He died for you and wants to know you (John 3:16–17, Galatians 3:28). The punishment for sin is death and separation from God forever (Romans 6:23).
The great news is that just because you were born as flesh into a broken and sinful world does not mean you have to remain in it and take the ultimate punishment for your sin, because someone has already taken your penalty, your debt is paid (1 Peter 2:24, Colossians 2:13–14). Jesus took your punishment of all the wrath of God so that you could live with Him forever (Romans 5:9). Jesus has called everyone not wanting any to perish, (2 Peter 3:9) which is apparent when studying the gospel of John, he called everyone from the religious elites like Nicodemus to the beggars to come to know Him. He is also calling you right now. If you would like to accept the free gift of salvation, all you have to do is to admit that you are a sinner, believe that He died on the cross for your sins, and confess Him as Lord of your life (Romans 10:9).
See when we accept Jesus into our hearts we are born into the Spirit and the Holy Spirit comes into your hearts and you are sealed until the day of redemption (2 Corinthians 1:22, Ephesians 4:30). See just like Nicodemus, it is hard for us to understand being born again, but we have to understand that Jesus was using earthly metaphors for Heavenly things. We see this throughout His earthly ministry, especially in the parables. By doing this, He allowed the Spirit to reveal who He was (1 Corinthians 2:10–13, John 14:26). Next week we will continue to study through what Jesus said to Nicodemus.
Today, if you do not know Jesus as your Lord and Savior do not wait. We are not promised tomorrow. We need to remember that Jesus did not recommend for us to share the gospel, He commanded us to share the gospel with all, it is our purpose as Christians (Matthew 28:16–20).
Check out the other blog in this series A Study through the Gospel of John