1 There was a man of the Pharisees named Nicodemus, a ruler of the Jews. 2 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." 3 Jesus answered and said to him, "Most assuredly, I say to you, unless one is born again, he cannot see the kingdom of God." 4 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?" 5 Jesus answered, "Most assuredly, I say to you, unless one is born of water and the Spirit, he cannot enter the kingdom of God. 6 That which is born of the flesh is flesh, and that which is born of the Spirit is spirit. 7 Do not marvel that I said to you, 'You must be born again.' 8 The wind blows where it wishes, and you hear the sound of it, but cannot tell where it comes from and where it goes. So is everyone who is born of the Spirit." 9 Nicodemus answered and said to Him, "How can these things be?" 10 Jesus answered and said to him, "Are you the teacher of Israel, and do not know these things? 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. 12 If I have told you earthly things and you do not believe, how will you believe if I tell you heavenly things?
Questions to Consider:
Personal Note: The question or debate concerning the meaning of being born of "water" generally boils down to two main camps of thought.
Nicodemus was taking a chance. If he was discovered visiting Jesus, the young controversial Rabbi, he could lose his reputation with the other Pharisees. Never-the-less, Nicodemus wanted to have a face-to-face conversation with Jesus. He secretly visited Jesus by night.
Nicodemus came to Jesus with an understanding that Jesus was out of the ordinary. He rightfully stated: "No one can do these signs that You do unless God is with him." Miracles in and of themselves do not prove that someone is from God; but, there has to be a supernatural power source from somewhere. (Just go out and start performing signs and wonders--impossible without a power source) This is what intrigued Nicodemus and he wanted to know more about this young miracle-working Rabbi.
Jesus jumped ship, changing the direction of the conversation. He responds to Nicodemus' line of reasoning by turning the conversation to something that He (Jesus) cared about. "Salvation." In this case, I think that Jesus was interested in Nicodemus' salvation. Jesus turned the conversation with this statement: "Unless one is born again, he cannot see the kingdom of God." Nicodemus took the bait, "How can a man be born (again) when he is old?"
The obvious answer is that a man cannot be born again in the natural order of the universe; however, Jesus was speaking of a spiritual birthing.
Jesus stated that a spiritual birthing requires two elements in order to proceed. One must be born of 1) Water and the 2) Spirit. This is one of those verses that Bible scholars struggle and disagree as to the meaning. I think that Jesus makes the meaning pretty clear in v.6. He correlates 1) Water to "flesh is flesh;" and 2) Spirit to "Spirit is spirit." So what does that mean? My opinion: One must be born of the flesh (must exist), and then to achieve salvation they must be born of the Spirit.(Where the Holy Spirit breathes spiritual life into an individual)
I am guessing that Nicodemus had a blank look on his face, because Jesus then further explains the work of the Spirit. Jesus compared the work of the Spirit to the wind. The wind is a strong force that is invisible and difficult to define or explain. Although we cannot see the Holy Spirit, we see the supernatural results of the Spirit's working in the lives of those that have been born again. Those destined for the Kingdom of God.
Lead Teaching Elder: