Summary: Nicodemus and Jesus have a conversation in which Jesus answers the most important question a person can have: how can I have eternal life and enter the Heavenly Kingdom of God?
Questions Concerning the Kingdom: John 3:4-8
We all have questions and concerns about the things that are “unseen” in this world, and by far, the mystery of entering the Kingdom of God is of eternal, crucial and the utmost importance. Last week we began to study the visit of Jesus with Nicodemus, who was an influential religious leader of the Jews. Jesus examined the very heart and mind of Nicodemus and swept away all of his religiosity and misgivings concerning eternal life and entrance into God’s Heavenly Kingdom with one concise authoritative statement: "Truly, truly, (or Amen, Amen,) I say to you, unless one is born again he cannot see the kingdom of God." (John 3:3)
In Jesus response, He brings to light the meaning of John 1:12-13: “But to all who did receive him, who believed in his name, he gave the right to become children of God, 13 who were born, not of blood nor of the will of the flesh nor of the will of man, but of God.”
Any and every person is powerless to enter and see the Kingdom OF God UNLESS they receive a heavenly or spiritual birth that is outside of the flesh FROM God.
Last week we looked at John 3:1-3: “Now 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 him, “Truly, truly, I say to you, unless one is born again he cannot see the kingdom of God.”
(Today) 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, “Truly, truly, I say to you, unless one is born of water and the Spirit, he cannot enter (into) 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 (sing.), ‘You (pl.) must be born again.’ 8 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.”
“How can a man be born when he is old?”
“How can a man be born when he is old?” The first question posed by Nicodemus shows that he is at least “interested” to know more about entering the Kingdom of God but in a sense he is also answering it with skepticism in the second part of his statement: “Can he enter a second time into his mother’s womb and be born?” The answer from a purely human stand point (“pou sto”: “where I stand”) would be: NO! OF COURSE NOT! THAT WOULD BE ABSOLUTELY IMPOSSIBLE! But what Nicodemus doesn’t realize along with all sinful humankind is that sinful man does not even SEEK God without God’s initiative, but instead runs away from God. In his fallen sinful state, man does not understand spiritual truth nor the need for salvation unless God takes the initiative. The Work is God’s WORK, not man’s!
“Unless one is born of water and of Spirit”
Jesus had already told Nicodemus in verse 3 that it is impossible to enter the Kingdom of God by his own persuasion or status or by human effort. And so Jesus reaffirms that to Nicodemus in Verse 5: “Truly, truly, I say to you, unless one is born of water and the Spirit, he cannot enter (into) the kingdom of God.” I put a diagram in your notes and on the screen to show this: Jesus is saying the same thing twice: If you see the construction of the verses,
“born again” or “birth from God” or “birth from above” refers to the only way that you will “SEE” the Kingdom of God. In verse 5 “Born of water and the Spirit” is the only way that you will “ENTER” the Kingdom of God, “not of blood nor of the will of the flesh nor of the will of man, but of God!”
John 3:3: “Unless one is born again, he cannot see the kingdom of God”
John 3:5: ”Unless one is born of water and the Spirit, he cannot enter the kingdom of God.”
The “water and Spirit” are referring to the same act as “BORN AGAIN”: Being born from ABOVE has nothing to do with PHYSICAL WATER and being “BORN OF WATER” has nothing to do with the act of the waters of baptism but rather from the work of the HOLY SPIRIT. The inner spiritual birth by water and the Spirit is explained by the words “BORN AGAIN”.