New International Version (NIV)
Jesus Teaches Nicodemus
1 Now there was a Pharisee, a man named Nicodemus who was a member of the Jewish ruling council. 2 He came to Jesus at night and said, “Rabbi, we know that you are a teacher who has come from God. For no one could perform the signsyou are doing if God were not with him.”
3 Jesus replied, “Very truly I tell you, no one can see the kingdom of God unless they are born again.”
4 “How can someone be born when they are old?” Nicodemus asked. “Surely they cannot enter a second time into their mother’s womb to be born!”
5 Jesus answered, “Very truly I tell you, no one can enter the kingdom of God unless they are born of water and the Spirit. 6 Flesh gives birth to flesh, but the Spirit gives birth to spirit. 7 You should not be surprised at my saying, ‘You must be born again.’ 8 The wind blows wherever it pleases. You hear its sound, but you cannot tell where it comes from or where it is going. So it is with everyone born of the Spirit.”
9 “How can this be?” Nicodemus asked.
10 “You are Israel’s teacher,” said Jesus, “and do you not understand these things? 11 Very truly I tell you, we speak of what we know, and we testify to what we have seen, but still you people do not accept our testimony. 12 I have spoken to you of earthly things and you do not believe; how then will you believe if I speak of heavenly things? 13 No one has ever gone into heaven except the one who came from heaven—the Son of Man. 14 Just as Moses lifted up the snake in the wilderness, so the Son of Man must be lifted up, 15 that everyone who believesmay have eternal life in him.”
16 For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life. 17 For God did not send his Son into the world to condemn the world, but to save the world through him. 18 Whoever believes in him is not condemned, but whoever does not believe stands condemned already because they have not believed in the name of God’s one and only Son.
19 This is the verdict: Light has come into the world, but people loved darkness instead of light because their deeds were evil. 20 Everyone who does evil hates the light, and will not come into the light for fear that their deeds will be exposed. 21 But whoever lives by the truth comes into the light, so that it may be seen plainly that what they have done has been done in the sight of God.
John Testifies Again About Jesus
22 After this, Jesus and his disciples went out into the Judean countryside, where he spent some time with them, and baptized. 23 Now John also was baptizing at Aenon near Salim, because there was plenty of water, and people were coming and being baptized. 24 (This was before John was put in prison.) 25 An argument developed between some of John’s disciples and a certain Jew over the matter of ceremonial washing. 26 They came to John and said to him, “Rabbi, that man who was with you on the other side of the Jordan—the one you testified about—look, he is baptizing, and everyone is going to him.”
27 To this John replied, “A person can receive only what is given them from heaven. 28 You yourselves can testify that I said, ‘I am not the Messiah but am sent ahead of him.’ 29 The bride belongs to the bridegroom. The friend who attends the bridegroom waits and listens for him, and is full of joy when he hears the bridegroom’s voice. That joy is mine, and it is now complete. 30 He must become greater; I must become less.”
31 The one who comes from above is above all; the one who is from the earth belongs to the earth, and speaks as one from the earth. The one who comes from heaven is above all. 32 He testifies to what he has seen and heard, but no one accepts his testimony. 33 Whoever has accepted it has certified that God is truthful. 34 For the one whom God has sent speaks the words of God, for God gives the Spirit without limit. 35 The Father loves the Son and has placed everything in his hands. 36 Whoever believes in the Son has eternal life, but whoever rejects the Son will not see life, for God’s wrath remains on them.
by Andrew Coke
John 3 has been one of my favorite chapters of the gospel of John due to this “born again” discussion between Jesus and Nicodemus, “Verily, verily I say unto you, except a man be born again, he cannot see the Kingdom of God.” As you read the dialogue between these two men, you realize the disconnection between what Jesus was saying and how Nicodemus was understanding what was being said. Jesus was explaining a Kingdom principle that Nicodemus was trying to understand with the natural mind. Jesus explained that there were two realms (spiritual & natural) in order to get him to understand, “Except a man be born of water and of the spirit, he cannot enter into the kingdom of God. That which is born of the flesh is flesh; and that which is born of the Spirit is spirit.” However, even after this explanation, Nicodemus still had trouble comprehending because the things of the Spirit are foolishness to the natural man.
To understand what Jesus was saying about the regeneration work of Holy Spirit which was a brand new idea to Nicodemus, he would need to move his mind out of the way and open his heart. Jesus was talking about the new birth; the new nature of mankind. Birth is the beginning of life. To be born again is to begin to live anew. We had to be made a new creation because our first birth was corrupted by sin. The old nature is earthly. The new birth is from heaven, and it is eternal. It is something done in us and for us by Holy Spirit; something we cannot do for ourselves. It is the demonstration of the Father’s love for us when He sent Jesus to die for us and take our place as we took His. He died for us and as us, not waiting for us to turn to Him before He loved us. As the object of His love, He loved and then He gave himself for us.
I love to mediate on this chapter because of its explanation of the born again experience and the demonstration of the Father’s love and affection towards us. Jeremiah 31:3 says, “Yea, I have loved thee with an everlasting love; therefore with lovingkindness have I drawn thee.” He was not afraid of our sin or our sinful nature. His love for us is stronger than our sin. No matter how much we push Him away, He still loves us. He loved us too much to leave us where we were. He wanted to show us a different way of living by teaching us what it means to love.
- What does love look like to you? Why do you love?
- What is the main thing Holy Spirit is saying to you when you read John chapter 3?
- How has your life changed from your understanding of the born again experience? How much have you grown?
Our supreme value and mission in life is to host God’s presence, abide in Him, & live aware of who He is.