17 Nicodemus learns about spiritual birth.

Numbers 21:8–9; Ezekiel 36:25–27; John 2:23–25; 3:1–21

How many people do you think typically celebrated Passover in Jerusalem (John 2:23)?

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What types of miracles and how many miracles might Jesus have done during Passover (John 2:23)?

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After seeing the miracles, what different attitudes might people have had toward Jesus (John 2:23–25)?

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How did Jesus know what people were really like (John 2:24–25)?

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What is the significance of Nicodemus finding Jesus at night and not during the day (John 3:1)?

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Members of the Sanhedrin could not have missed knowing about Jesus’ miracles. What percentage do you think shared Nicodemus’s conviction that Jesus was acting under God’s authority (John 3:1– 2)?

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How did Jesus’ miracles validate his message (John 3:1–2)?

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Scripture records Jesus giving the answer: “You will never see the Kingdom of God unless you are born again” John 3:3). What was the question?

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Prior to meeting Jesus, what would Nicodemus’s perception of God’s Kingdom have been (John 3:3)? How might that perception have changed?

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Why are spiritual realities often difficult to understand (John 3:4)?

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What analogy did Jesus use to help Nicodemus understand spiritual birth (John 3:5–8)?

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Why did Nicodemus have trouble believing in spiritual birth (John 3:9)?

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What do we need before we can understand spiritual truth (John 3:10–11)?

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When do you think Jesus first recognized his purpose and was destined to hang upon a cross (John 3:13 – 15)?

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In using the story of the bronze snake, what was Jesus saying about himself (John 3:13–15)?

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How would you describe what it means to “believe in Christ” (John 3:16)?

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What is the difference between believing in Christ and not believing (John 3:16)?

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Since every human being dies, including believers, how could Jesus say believers will not die but will live forever (John 3:16)?

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How does our surrender to God affect how we will be judged (John 3:17–18)?

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What does it mean to “accept God’s son” (John 3:18)?

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Does God condemn us for our wrong choices, or is it the consequence of our choices that condemn us (John 3:19–21)? Why?

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Why is light repulsive to some and inviting to others (John 3:19–21)?

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Is it possible for people who love lies and darkness to change and love the truth and light (John 3:19–21)? Why?

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After Jesus revealed what was necessary to enter the Kingdom of God, what do you think Nicodemus did (John 3:19–21)?

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Many people came to the Passover celebration in Jerusalem. When they saw the miracles Jesus did, they believed. But Jesus did not trust them, because he understood human nature. No one had to explain to him what people were really like.

Eyewitness

John 2:23–25 Many people came to the Passover celebration in Jerusalem. When they saw the miracles Jesus did, they believed. But Jesus did not trust them, because he understood human nature. No one had to explain to him what people were really like.
King James

John 2:23–25 Now when he was in Jerusalem at the passover, in the feast day, many believed in his name, when they saw the miracles which he did. But Jesus did not commit himself unto them, because he knew all men, And needed not that any should testify of man: for he knew what was in man.

Nicodemus, a Pharisee and member of the Jewish ruling council, came to Jesus at night. “Rabbi, we know you are a teacher sent from God. Your miracles prove your authority.”

Eyewitness

John 3:1–2 Nicodemus, a Pharisee and member of the Jewish ruling council, came to Jesus at night. “Rabbi, we know you are a teacher sent from God. Your miracles prove your authority.”
King James

John 3:1–2 There was a man of the Pharisees, named Nicodemus, a ruler of the Jews: The same came to Jesus by night, and said unto him, Rabbi, we know that thou art a teacher come from God: for no man can do these miracles that thou doest, except God be with him.

“I can guarantee,” Jesus said, “you will never see the Kingdom of God unless you are born again.”

Eyewitness

John 3:3 “I can guarantee,” Jesus said, “you will never see the Kingdom of God unless you are born again.”
King James

John 3:3 Jesus answered and said unto him, Verily, verily, I say unto thee, Except a man be born again, he cannot see the kingdom of God.

“What do you mean? A grown man cannot enter his mother’s womb and be born a second time.”

Eyewitness

John 3:4 “What do you mean? A grown man cannot enter his mother’s womb and be born a second time.”
King James

John 3:4 Nicodemus saith unto him, How can a man be born when he is old? can he enter the second time into his mother’s womb, and be born?

“I assure you, no one can enter the Kingdom without being born of water and the Spirit. Flesh gives birth to flesh, but the Spirit gives birth to spirit. You should not be surprised at my saying, ‘You must be born again.’ You do not doubt the existence of the wind that blows wherever it wants, although you cannot tell where it comes from or where it is going. So it is with those born of the Spirit.”

Eyewitness

Ezekiel 36:25–27 Then I will wash you with clean water, and you will be cleansed from all your filthiness, from all your idols. I will replace your hard, self-centered heart with a soft, giving heart. I will give you a new spirit unlike what you had before, for I will put my own Spirit within you, causing you to walk in my ways, knowing what is right and doing it.
John 3:5–8 “I assure you, no one will enter the Kingdom of God without being born of water and the Spirit. 6 “Flesh gives birth to flesh, but the Spirit gives birth to spirit. You should not be surprised at my saying, ‘You must be born again.’ You do not doubt the existence of the wind that blows wherever it wants, although you cannot tell where it comes from or where it is going. So it is with those born of the Spirit.”
King James

Ezekiel 36:25–27 Then will I sprinkle clean water upon you, and ye shall be clean: from all your filthiness, and from all your idols, will I cleanse you. A new heart also will I give you, and a new spirit will I put within you: and I will take away the stony heart out of your flesh, and I will give you an heart of flesh. And I will put my spirit within you, and cause you to walk in my statutes, and ye shall keep my judgments, and do them.
John 3:5–8 Jesus answered, Verily, verily, I say unto thee, 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. Marvel not that I said unto thee, Ye must be born again. The wind bloweth where it listeth, and thou hearest the sound thereof, but canst not tell whence it cometh, and whither it goeth: so is every one that is born of the Spirit.

“I still do not understand how this is possible.”

Eyewitness

John 3:9 “I still do not understand how this is possible.”
King James

John 3:9 Nicodemus answered and said unto him, How can these things be?

“You teach the people of Israel, and you do not understand? Reality is, we speak from what we know and testify to what we have seen. Instead of accepting my testimony, you question it. If I give you an earthly example and you cannot grasp the truth, how will you believe what is heavenly?

Eyewitness

John 3:10–12 “You teach the people of Israel, and you do not understand? Reality is, we speak from what we know and testify to what we have seen. Instead of accepting my testimony, you question it. If I give you an earthly example and you cannot grasp the truth, how will you believe what is heavenly?
King James

John 3:10–12 Jesus answered and said unto him, Art thou a master of Israel, and knowest not these things? Verily, verily, I say unto thee, We speak that we do know, and testify that we have seen; and ye receive not our witness. If I have told you earthly things, and ye believe not, how shall ye believe, if I tell you of heavenly things?

“No one has seen God except the one who came from him—the Son of Man. Moses attached a bronze serpent to a pole in the wilderness. Anyone who was bitten by a snake could look at the bronze serpent and be healed. In the same way, the Son of Man must be lifted up so everyone who believes in him may live.

Eyewitness

Numbers 21:8–9 God said to Moses, “Make an image of the venomous snake and mount it upon a pole. After being bitten, everyone who looks at the image will live. Moses made the brass snake and mounted it upon a pole. After that, all those who looked at the image lived after being bitten.
John 3:13–15 “No one has seen God except the one who came from him—the Son of Man. Moses attached a bronze serpent to a pole in the wilderness. In the same way, the Son of Man must be lifted up so everyone who believes in him may live.
King James

Numbers 21:8–9 And the LORD said unto Moses, Make thee a fiery serpent, and set it upon a pole: and it shall come to pass, that every one that is bitten, when he looketh upon it, shall live. And Moses made a serpent of brass, and put it upon a pole, and it came to pass, that if a serpent had bitten any man, when he beheld the serpent of brass, he lived.
John 3:13–15 And no man hath ascended up to heaven, but he that came down from heaven, even the Son of man which is in heaven. And as Moses lifted up the serpent in the wilderness, even so must the Son of man be lifted up: That whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have eternal life.

“For God so loved the world that he gave his only son, so that everyone who believes in him will not die but will live forever.

Eyewitness

John 3:16 “For God so loved the world that he gave his only son, so that everyone who believes in him will not die but will live forever.
King James

John 3:16 For God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life.

“God sent the Son, not to judge, but to save the world. God will not condemn whoever believes in him, but he has already judged unbelievers for choosing not to accept God’s one and only Son.

Eyewitness

John 3:17–18 “God sent the Son, not to judge, but to save the world. God will not condemn whoever believes in him, but he has already judged unbelievers for choosing not to accept God’s one and only Son.
King James

John 3:17–18 For God sent not his Son into the world to condemn the world; but that the world through him might be saved. He that believeth on him is not condemned: but he that believeth not is condemned already, because he hath not believed in the name of the only begotten Son of God.

“This is why God condemns people: Light has come into the world, but people love the darkness, not the light, because their deeds are evil. People who do evil hate the light and will not come near it for fear that the light will expose their sins. But those who love truth and desire to do right will come to the light so others can see they are doing what God wants.”

Eyewitness

John 3:19–21 “This is why God condemns people: Light has come into the world, but people love the darkness, not the light, because their deeds are evil. People who do evil hate the light and will not come near it for fear that the light will expose their sins. But those who love truth and desire to do right will come to the light so others can see they are doing what God wants.”
King James

John 3:19–21 And this is the condemnation, that light is come into the world, and men loved darkness rather than light, because their deeds were evil. For every one that doeth evil hateth the light, neither cometh to the light, lest his deeds should be reproved. But he that doeth truth cometh to the light, that his deeds may be made manifest, that they are wrought in God.