1 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.” 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 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 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.” 9 Nicodemus said to him, “How can these things be?” 10 Jesus answered him, “Are you the teacher of Israel and yet you do not understand these things? 11 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. 12 If I have told you earthly things and you do not believe, how can you believe if I tell you heavenly things? 13 No one has ascended into heaven except he who descended from heaven, the Son of Man. 14 And as Moses lifted up the serpent in the wilderness, so must the Son of Man be lifted up, 15 that whoever believes in him may have eternal life.
18 This was why the Jews were seeking all the more to kill him, because not only was he breaking the Sabbath, but he was even calling God his own Father, making himself equal with God.
Capture the big idea. God’s Word communicates big ideas. Periodically ask: What’s the big idea in this sentence, paragraph, or chapter?
Jesus freely gives us new life by the supreme offering of his costly death—an event Nicodemus would witness firsthand (19:38–40). When Moses lifted the bronze serpent (representing God’s punishment for his people’s sin) in the wilderness (Num. 21:4–9), it was to rescue the Israelites from God’s judgment as they looked in faith to God’s provision for healing. When Jesus was lifted onto the cross (representing God’s punishment for his people’s sin), it was to enter the wilderness of God’s judgment for us, and those who look to him in faith for spiritual healing will also experience God’s provision. (1)
- What stood out?
- What does it mean to be born again?
- Who or what was Nicodemus?
- Describe Jesus’ attitude towards Nicodemus.
5 Jesus answered, “Truly, truly, I say to you, unless one is born of water and the Spirit, he cannot enter the kingdom of God.
End in Prayer