Jesus tells a Pharisee he must be born again. Jesus tells why he came to the earth. John the Baptist says Jesus is the Messiah, the one sent from heaven.
VERSE 1. Now there was a man of the Pharisees named Nicodemus, a ruler of the Jews.
VERSE 2. The same came to him 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.”
VERSE 3. Jesus answered him, “Most certainly, I tell you, unless one is born anew, he can’t see God’s Kingdom.”
This verse is cited by Thomas Raymond Kelly in his famous book “A Testament of Devotion.” Read more »
born anew. The Greek word for “anew” is ἄνωθεν (“anōthen”). It means from above, from the beginning, again. This is the origin of the expression, “born again.”
John 3:3. Jesus answered him, “Most certainly, I tell you, unless one is born anew, he can’t see God’s Kingdom.”
1 Peter 1:3. Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who according to his great mercy caused us to be born again to a living hope through the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead,
1 John 5:4. For whatever is born of God overcomes the world. This is the victory that has overcome the world: your faith.
VERSE 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?”
VERSE 5. Jesus answered, “Most certainly I tell you, unless one is born of water and spirit, he can’t enter into God’s Kingdom.
he can’t enter into God’s Kingdom. This is a strong statement.
VERSE 6. That which is born of the flesh is flesh. That which is born of the Spirit is spirit.
VERSE 7. Don’t marvel that I said to you, ‘You must be born anew.’
VERSE 8. The wind blows where it wants to, and you hear its sound, but don’t know where it comes from and where it is going. So is everyone who is born of the Spirit.”
VERSE 9. Nicodemus answered him, “How can these things be?”
VERSE 10. Jesus answered him, “Are you the teacher of Israel, and don’t understand these things?
VERSE 11. Most certainly I tell you, we speak that which we know, and testify of that which we have seen, and you don’t receive our witness.
VERSE 12. If I told you earthly things and you don’t believe, how will you believe if I tell you heavenly things?
VERSE 13. No one has ascended into heaven but he who descended out of heaven, the Son of Man, who is in heaven.
VERSE 14. As Moses lifted up the serpent in the wilderness, even so must the Son of Man be lifted up,
VERSE 16. For God so loved the world, that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him should not perish, but have eternal life.
God so loved the world. Many people have a doomsday interpretation of the motives of God. They assume he is up to some sinister thing and trying to ensnare them. However, the biblical truth is that God loves the world!
perish. The Greek word is ἀπόληται (“apolētai”). It means to destroy, to destroy utterly. Those who believe in Jesus Christ will not be destroyed.
eternal. The Greek word is αἰώνιον (“aiōnion”). It means age-long, and therefore practically eternal, unending. When we believe in Jesus Christ, we are granted unending life.
Mark 12:6. Therefore still having one, his beloved son, he sent him last to them, saying, ‘They will respect my son.’
Luke 20:13. The lord of the vineyard said, ‘What shall I do? I will send my beloved son. It may be that seeing him, they will respect him.’
VERSE 17. For God didn’t send his Son into the world to judge the world, but that the world should be saved through him.
God did not send his Son into the world to judge the world. Lots of people see Jesus Christ as a sort of “Condemner-in-Chief.” They fear him as their judge. They dread that he will be angry with them. They want to keep him as far away from themselves as they can. They feel Jesus is so exalted and holy and fearsome that they need to find some sort of an intermediary between themselves and Jesus Christ. They get Jesus Christ so twisted around that they live in angst.
Plenty of preachers play into that angst. They center their message on the anger of God. They focus on God’s wrath, his righteous indignation, his justifiable rage at our sins, and then use that as a sort of scare-tactic to frighten you into becoming a member of their movement.
But those intuitions miss the whole point of what God was doing in Jesus Christ. God did not send his Son into the world to condemn the world. The mission of Jesus Christ is not that of condemnation.
that the world might be saved. What was the mission of the Lord Jesus Christ? How did he himself define it? Here are the verses we find in the four gospels »
Jesus undoes condemnation. He saves.
Who is targeted for that salvation? It says “the world.” God’s free offer of salvation is extended to all people. God reaches out to all people of all time. He desires that all people be saved. For example:
1 Timothy 2:3-4. For this is good and acceptable in the sight of God our Savior; who desires all people to be saved and come to full knowledge of the truth.
Yet God does not force eternal salvation upon anyone. All people have complete freedom to accept God’s generous offer or to decline it.
We hope you wish all people to be saved: people like you, people who are different from you, people in your nation, people in other nations. God desires that they all be saved.
through him. God’s generous offer of eternal salvation was brought about through Jesus the Christ. It was not done by any of us.
VERSE 18. He who believes in him is not judged. He who doesn’t believe has been judged already, because he has not believed in the name of the one and only Son of God.
VERSE 19. This is the judgment, that the light has come into the world, and men loved the darkness rather than the light; for their works were evil.
VERSE 20. For everyone who does evil hates the light, and doesn’t come to the light, lest his works would be exposed.
VERSE 21. But he who does the truth comes to the light, that his works may be revealed, that they have been done in God.”
VERSE 22. After these things, Jesus came with his disciples into the land of Judea. He stayed there with them and baptized.
VERSE 23. John also was baptizing in Enon near Salim, because there was much water there. They came, and were baptized;
VERSE 24. for John was not yet thrown into prison.
VERSE 25. Therefore a dispute arose on the part of John’s disciples with some Jews about purification.
VERSE 26. They came to John and said to him, “Rabbi, he who was with you beyond the Jordan, to whom you have testified, behold, the same baptizes, and everyone is coming to him.”
VERSE 27. John answered, “A man can receive nothing unless it has been given him from heaven.
VERSE 28. You yourselves testify that I said, ‘I am not the Christ,’ but, ‘I have been sent before him.’
VERSE 29. He who has the bride is the bridegroom; but the friend of the bridegroom, who stands and hears him, rejoices greatly because of the bridegroom’s voice. This, my joy, therefore is made full.
I must decrease. John the Baptist did not want to attract people to himself. Instead, he wanted to point them to Jesus. He wanted Jesus to be the center of attention.
In our day, Christians need to hear this verse anew. The faith is not about ourselves. It is all about Jesus Christ.
When we are at the center of our own lives, that is not Christianity. Christianity is about Jesus Christ at the center of our lives.
Matthew 3:11. I indeed baptize you in water for repentance, but he who comes after me is mightier than I, whose shoes I am not worthy to carry. He will baptize you in the Holy Spirit [and with fire].
VERSE 31. He who comes from above is above all. He who is from the earth belongs to the earth and speaks of the earth. He who comes from heaven is above all.
VERSE 32. What he has seen and heard, of that he testifies; and no one receives his witness.
VERSE 33. He who has received his witness has set his seal to this, that God is true.
VERSE 34. For he whom God has sent speaks the words of God; for God gives the Spirit without measure.
God gives the Spirit without measure. This is a remarkable! God does not limit how much of Holy Spirit we can receive.
How much of the Holy Spirit do you wish for?
VERSE 35. The Father loves the Son, and has given all things into his hand.
VERSE 36. One who believes in the Son has eternal life, but one who disobeys the Son won’t see life, but the wrath of God remains on him.”
Unless otherwise noted, all Bible quotations on this page are from the World English Bible and the World Messianic Edition. These translations have no copyright restrictions. They are in the Public Domain.