Summary: What must I do to be born again?
Start with the background
• Jesus had come to Jerusalem to celebrate the Passover Celebration
• The sale of cattle and doves and the privilege of exchanging money were permitted in the temple court as a convenience for pilgrims who would need animals for sacrifice and temple shekels for their dues.
• Under the chief priests, however, the concessions had become merely a means of making money and had debased the temple into a market place.
• So Jesus steps in and deals with this He makes a whip out of rope
• And chases everyone out (EXPLAIN THE KAOS)
Which is what has led up to today’s text (John 3:1-15
• Here we find Nicodemus coming to talk with Jesus
• Now Nicodemus knew about Jesus but what do we know about Nicodemus
• Well first of all he was a Pharisee
1. Conservative vs Liberal
2. Pharisee would have been well learned in the Torah and the oral law
3. Being a Pharisee would have been at the temple and seen this or at least heard about it
4. He had heard if not seen the miracles of Jesus which had sparked his curiosity
5. In addition to today’s event triggered the need for answers
6. So not wanting his fellow brothers knowing what he was doing, slipped in under the cover of night.
So he sits down with Jesus and Jesus tells him what he wanted to hear
• Jesus knew why he was there
• And tells him, I tell you the truth, no one can see the kingdom of God unless he is born again
• Now this confuses Nicodemus who either would have interpreted this in one of two ways.
• 1st the way that our Western mind logically thinks of it – Impossibility of a 2nd birth.
• But on the other hand what if he meant, How can a man whose habits and ways of thinking that have been fixed for so long due to age, expect to change so radically?
• Physical rebirth is impossible, but is Spiritual Change any more feasible?
This is a question that remains today
• How can we expect someone who has lived their whole life without a relationship with Christ to be expected to change?
And Jesus response to Nicodemus is the same response that we must share with the World today.
Jesus says in verse 5 that
No one can enter the kingdom of God unless he is born of water and the Spirit
• What did Jesus mean by "water" and "Spirit"?
• Jesus wanted to clarify his teaching for Nicodemus,
• And to do this he would put it in terms that Nicodemus would have been familiar with.
• Since Jesus ministry came shortly after that of John the Baptist,
• Jesus was probably referring to John's preaching, which dealt with the baptism of water (signifying repentance)
• And with the coming messenger of God who would endow humans with the Holy Spirit (1:31-33). \
• The new birth is conditioned on the repentance and confession of the individual in response to the appeal of God and by the transformation of life by the gift of the Holy Spirit.
• Believe / Confess / Repent
So in the next 3 vs Jesus explains the need for this Read 6-8
• What Jesus is telling Nicodemus and us is that through the process of being born again there is going to be a change in the life of the sinner
• That requires more than an outer change but calls for inner change as well
• And this inner change is given only by the direct act of God.
• Just as the origin and the destination of the wind are unknown to the one who feels it, similarly the new life of one born of the Spirit is unexplainable by ordinary reasoning
And in vs 9 Nicodemus again brings up the question How Can This Be?
• This is a plea for direction.
• He wanted to know how this experience could become his.
• What must I do to be Saved?
• Nothing in the Judaism he knew offered anything like this.
The answer of Jesus accords with the words of Ezekiel in Eze 36:25-28.
Eze 36:25 “Then I will sprinkle clean water on you, and you will be clean. Your filth will be washed away, and you will no longer worship idols.
Eze 36:26 And I will give you a new heart with new and right desires, and I will put a new spirit in you. I will take out your stony heart of sin and give you a new, obedient heart.
Eze 36:27 And I will put my Spirit in you so you will obey my laws and do whatever I command.