We left our previous message in verse 3 after Jesus told Nicodemus that unless one is born from above, he cannot enter the kingdom of heaven. I am sure this was very confusing to Nicodemus and you can expect.
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.
As expected, Nicodemus was very confused and asked Jesus how can a man be born when he is old. Now I want to highlight here that Nicodemus does not ask how can a man be born again. The word again is not in the verse as most people like to believe. He continues to ask Jesus if a man can enter into his mother’s womb and be born? Again here Nicodemus never uses the word ” again”. He is simply using the word born and only born. Now, Nicodemus like most people, only heard the word born and instantly assumed physical birth. This is exactly how some people confuse themselves here just like Nicodemus did. They simply ignore the word “from above” and listen to only the word “born”. You can see that because Nicodemus has selective listening skills, he simply heard the word “born”, jumped to a conclusion of physical birth and confused himself. I know that even today, Nicodemus has a lot of confused friends like him.
Now Jesus in seeing how confused Nicodemus is, he tries to expand on the words “born from above” so that Nicodemus can understand. Jesus says, truly, truly I say to you, unless a man is born of water and the spirit, he cannot enter the kingdom of God. Now, it is not clear wether Nicodemus was still confused or not after this answer but, I can assure you that Nicodemus’s friends today became even more confused by thinking that Jesus is saying that people must be baptized by water and recieve the Holy Spirit to enter heaven. We know here that Jesus was simply referring to Ezekiel 36:24-27.
To get more on this, read my blog http://www.undilutedwordofgod.blogspot.com/2013/08/born-of-water-and-spirit-does-this-mean.html
This blog will explain in detail. Jesus used the analogy of being born to clearly indicate that this is something that you the person being born, has nothing to do with. You do not take any part in your birth at all. Now, if this meant water baptism, do you not take part in your own water baptism? Is it not your decision to be baptized or not? It is! So, clearly you have the last say in water baptism but you don’t have any say in your birth, these things are two separate things altogether. If you can grasp this then You have understood the roots of salvation.
Jesus continues to say, that which is born of flesh is flesh and that that is born of spirit is spirit. Jesus here is simply referring to physical and spiritual birth. Jesus is saying to Nicodemus, do not think of physical birth but rather think of spiritual birth. Jesus is saying you are concentrating on fleshly things instead of spiritual things. He is saying to Nicodemus, refocus you mind away from physical birth and concentrate of spiritual birth.
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.”
This is a very difficult verse to interprete. Jesus says to Nicodemus, do not marvel or wonder about what I said when I said that you must be born from above. He then gives Nicodemus a reason why he must not wonder. He gives him an example of the wind which blows where it wishes. He tells him that you hear the sound of the wind but you don’t know where it comes or where it goes. Jesus’s point was that just as the wind cannot be controlled or understood by human beings but its effects can be witnessed, so also it is with the Holy Spirit. He cannot be controlled or understood, but the proof of his work is apparent. Where the Spirit works, there is undeniable and unmistakable evidence. So, he is simply saying to Nicodemus, you might not understand what I am saying, do not wonder for there are things that if you are not of the Holy Spirit, you cannot understand.
1 Corinthians 2:14 (ESVST)
The natural person does not accept the things of the Spirit of God, for they are folly to him, and he is not able to understand them because they are spiritually discerned.
This verse summarizes what I believe Jesus is telling Nicodemus in the verse above.
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.
For God So Loved the World
16 “ For God so loved the world, that he gave his only Son, that whoever believes in him should not perish but have eternal life. 17 For God did not send his Son into the world to condemn the world, but in order that the world might be saved through him. 18 Whoever believes in him is not condemned, but whoever does not believe is condemned already, because he has not believed in the name of the only Son of God. 19 And this is the judgment: the light has come into the world, and people loved the darkness rather than the light because their works were evil. 20 For everyone who does wicked things hates the light and does not come to the light, lest his works should be exposed. 21 But whoever does what is true comes to the light, so that it may be clearly seen that his works have been carried out in God.”