John 3: The New Birth

In meeting with Jesus, why did Nicodemus go at night rather than the day?

Author’s Thoughts
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Author’s Paraphrase
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.

Which impressed Nicodemus more, the message or the miracles? Why?

Author’s Thoughts
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Author’s Paraphrase
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.

What was Nicodemus’s interest that prompted Jesus answer concerning the Kingdom of God?

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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.

Why didn’t Nicodemus understand what Jesus was saying?

Author’s Thoughts
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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?

What is the difference between being “born of water” and being “born of the Spirit?

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John 3:5–6 “I assure you, no one will enter the Kingdom of God without being born of water and the Spirit. Flesh gives birth to flesh, but the Spirit gives birth to spirit.”
King James
John 3:5–6 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.

How well did Nicodemus understand Jesus’ explanation?

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John 3:7–10 “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.”
“I still do not understand how this is possible.”
“You teach the people of Israel, and you do not understand?”
King James
John 3:7–10 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. Nicodemus answered and said unto him, How can these things be? Jesus answered and said unto him, Art thou a master of Israel, and knowest not these things?

How can physical examples help our understanding of spiritual realities?

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John 3:11–12 “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 3:11–12 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?

In what ways does the Son of Man reveal the God we cannot see?

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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
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.

What did the people think when Jesus said the Son of Man would be like the bronze serpent on a pole?

Author’s Thoughts
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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
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.

In what ways does the Son reveal God’s love?

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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.

How has people’s understanding of God’s love changed since the first century?

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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.

Why did Jesus say he wasn’t there to judge?

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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.

How do we avoid condemnation?

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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.”
Romans 8:1 When it’s our nature to hear and obey God, we don’t have to feel condemned. That’s because we’re not living to satisfy our flesh, but we’re seeking to be led by the Spirit.
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.
Romans 8:1 There is therefore now no condemnation to them which are in Christ Jesus, who walk not after the flesh, but after the Spirit.

After hearing Jesus’ message, what did Nicodemus do?

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John 3:22 After the meeting with Nicodemus, Jesus and his disciples left Jerusalem and went into the Judean countryside. They spent a significant amount of time there, baptizing people.
King James
John 3:22 After these things came Jesus and his disciples into the land of Judaea; and there he tarried with them, and baptized.

How did the actions of Jesus and his disciples differ from what John the Baptizer was doing?

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John 3:22–25 After the meeting with Nicodemus, Jesus and his disciples left Jerusalem and went into the Judean countryside. They spent a significant amount of time there, baptizing people.
John the Baptizer was at Aenon near Salim because the water there was plentiful, and people were constantly coming to be baptized. This was before John had been imprisoned.
John’s disciples and a certain Jew argued over whose message about repentance was most effective.
King James
John 3:22–25 After these things came Jesus and his disciples into the land of Judaea; and there he tarried with them, and baptized. And John also was baptizing in Aenon near to Salim, because there was much water there: and they came, and were baptized. For John was not yet cast into prison. Then there arose a question between some of John’s disciples and the Jews about purifying.

Why were John’s disciples concerned about which ministry was most effective?

Author’s Thoughts
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Author’s Paraphrase
John 3:25–26 John’s disciples and a certain Jew argued over whose message about repentance was most effective. They came to John and said, “Teacher, the man who was with you on the east side of the Jordan, the one you pointed out, is also baptizing, and everyone is going to him.”
King James
John 3:25–26 Then there arose a question between some of John’s disciples and the Jews about purifying. And they came unto John, and said unto him, Rabbi, he that was with thee beyond Jordan, to whom thou barest witness, behold, the same baptizeth, and all men come to him.

Why are some ministries concerned about their competition?

Author’s Thoughts
Author’s Insights Pending
Author’s Paraphrase
John 3:25–26 John’s disciples and a certain Jew argued over whose message about repentance was most effective. They came to John and said, “Teacher, the man who was with you on the east side of the Jordan, the one you pointed out, is also baptizing, and everyone is going to him.”
King James
John 3:25–26 Then there arose a question between some of John’s disciples and the Jews about purifying. And they came unto John, and said unto him, Rabbi, he that was with thee beyond Jordan, to whom thou barest witness, behold, the same baptizeth, and all men come to him.

How much should we want to receive from God?

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John 3:27 “A man can receive only what God gives him,” John said.
1 Corinthians 12:31 Desire the best that God has for you, but let me show you the best approach.
King James
John 3:27 John answered and said, A man can receive nothing, except it be given him from heaven.
1 Corinthians 12:31 But covet earnestly the best gifts: and yet shew I unto you a more excellent way.

Is it possible to receive more than what God gives? Why?

Author’s Thoughts
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John 3:27 “A man can receive only what God gives him,” John said.
King James
John 3:27 John answered and said, A man can receive nothing, except it be given him from heaven.

Why was John not concerned about the success of Jesus’ ministry?

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John 3:28–30 “You heard me testify, ‘I am not the Anointed One, only the one sent ahead of him.’ At a wedding, the groom gets married. The attendant only stands with him, glad to listen and do anything he asks. My joy is complete as he becomes greater and I become less.”
King James
John 3:28–30 Ye yourselves bear me witness, that I said, I am not the Christ, but that I am sent before him. He that hath the bride is the bridegroom: but the friend of the bridegroom, which standeth and heareth him, rejoiceth greatly because of the bridegroom’s voice: this my joy therefore is fulfilled. He must increase, but I must decrease.

How much did John know about Jesus’ ministry?

Author’s Thoughts
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John 3:31–36 “He who comes from above is greater than those below. We speak of earthly things. He reveals the truth from above, yet not everyone believes him. Anyone who believes his message confirms the truth of God. The one sent from God speaks his words because he has the fullness of his Spirit. The Father loves the Son and has given everything into his hands. Everyone who believes in the Son will live forever. Those who reject him will never see life but will remain under God’s wrath.”
King James
John 3:31–36 He that cometh from above is above all: he that is of the earth is earthly, and speaketh of the earth: he that cometh from heaven is above all. And what he hath seen and heard, that he testifieth; and no man receiveth his testimony. He that hath received his testimony hath set to his seal that God is true. For he whom God hath sent speaketh the words of God: for God giveth not the Spirit by measure unto him. The Father loveth the Son, and hath given all things into his hand. He that believeth on the Son hath everlasting life: and he that believeth not the Son shall not see life; but the wrath of God abideth on him.