John 3:1-2  Nicodemus seeks entry into the Kingdom of God

Introduction:  In last Sunday’s text there were 8 things given which testified that Jesus is the Christ. 

1. His mother and brethren.  Mary, James, Jude, Joses, Simon.

2. His disciples.  Peter, Andrew, Philip, Nathanael, and one unnamed.

3. The Passover.  The lamb, spotless, slain, blood of deliverance.

4. His Zeal.  Foretold by David and fulfilled by Jesus.

5. His father’s house.  The Lamp, the altar, the shew bread, the mercy seat.

6. His resurrection.  Foretold and accomplished.

7. His miracles.  Healing of the sick, blind, lame, deaf, dumb, demon possessed.

8. His knowledge.  He knew all men and knew what was in man.

In today’s text we are introduced to a man named Nicodemus.  He will serve as a witness that Jesus is the Christ the Son of God.  Nicodemus will become a secret disciple of Jesus at first but in just 3 short years he will declare openly that Jesus is the Christ the son of the living God.  His witness is important for He is called by Jesus “a master of Israel.”   If this master of Israel sought to know the truth and was willing to humble himself before Jesus should not we be willing for the truth’s sake to do the same?

John 3:1  There was a man of the Pharisees, named Nicodemus, a ruler of the Jews:

Nicodemus means “victory of the people”.  He is a Pharisee.  This is the strictest most moral group of people in all of Israel.  Jesus says in Matthew 5:20  For I say unto you, That except your righteousness shall exceed [the righteousness] of the scribes and Pharisees, ye shall in no case enter into the kingdom of heaven.”  Thus Nicodemus was highly religious and when he saw the miracles of Jesus and heard what He had done he believed that Jesus was from God.  He no doubt, being a ruler of the Jews, wanted to hear from this prophet of God a message from God.  What he needs to see is that Jesus is God.  He will receive just such a lesson as Jesus engages him in conversation. 

John 3:2  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.

          He came to Jesus by night.  I believe that he feared what his fellow counsel members would think.  Some have said that it only indicates he was a busy man and the only time he would have to meet with Jesus was after working hours.  His work was all about religious matters.  There would be no higher priority than to seek out a known prophet of God and hear his words.  Jesus was controversial.  The ruling counsel as a whole did not accept John the Baptist’s claim that the Christ had come.  They had gotten an official statement from John that he was not the Christ and that satisfied them.  They would deal with any other person the same way if they came claiming to be the Christ.  They asked Jesus for a sign and he gave them one.  They would indeed destroy His body but He would raise it again in three days.

          Nicodemus recognizes Jesus as a Rabbi.  This is a term of respect.  He sees Jesus as a master and teacher who has come from God.  He uses the pronoun “we” in his opening statement.  The “we” he referred to is explained in John 2:23  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.  There were many who took the evidence presented and concluded that Jesus must be the Christ.  They heard John the Baptist proclaim Jesus as the Christ.   They saw the miracles that He did and from these they concluded that Jesus was indeed come from God.  Some believed that He was God.  Others did not.  Some, like Nicodemus, believed him to be from God only and not God.  Remember that the time of the coming of Christ was right.  The Magi from the east had concluded from the writings of Jeremiah and Daniel that it was time for the Messiah to come.  The Jewish leaders knew the place for his arrival was Bethlehem.  They knew that a forerunner would come on the scene preparing the way for the Messiah.  All these things Jesus fulfilled.  Nicodemus knows these things and has a mind that is receptive to the truth.  Any one who wants to know the truth can and will know the truth.

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.

          Nicodemus did not ask a question of Jesus but Jesus answered him anyway.  You see Jesus knew what question Nicodemus had on his mind.  He knew what question Nicodemus needed to have answered.  Remember Jesus knows what is in man.  Jesus knows just what to say to a person to lead their minds to where they may understand Spiritual truth.  Jesus says to him “Verily, verily”.  This is the same as saying “what I am about to tell you is absolutely true and certain.”  Allow me to paraphrase what Jesus says in this verse.  I shall put this in words which will help make its meaning clear.  Unless a man experiences a second birth he cannot understand or perceive the kingdom of God.  The kingdom of God is a spiritual realm.  Jesus said “my kingdom is not of this world.”  The Kingdom of God in this context consists of all those who are saved.  Thus Jesus tells Nicodemus that without experiencing a second birth you can not be saved and thus enter into the kingdom of God.

          Jesus reveals to Nicodemus and to us the details of what happens when one is saved.  There is a new birth which occurs inside of man when he repents and trusts in Jesus as the Christ the Son of God.   He becomes a new born child of God.  This birth is spiritual in nature and is not seen by the physical eyes.  The term used by Jesus “born again” means to be born from above.  To a man who is not saved the kingdom and all its laws and attributes are a mystery.   A lost man understands only physical things not spiritual things.

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?

          Nicodemus has a humble attitude.  He freely admits when he does not know or understand something.  When I was in seminary I had a class with my son-in-law.  During the class the instructor made a very deep and profound statement.  I had no idea what the statement meant but I was too proud to ask for an explanation.  I lacked knowledge and understanding of this deep theological terminology and did not want my piers to know of my ignorance.  My son-in-law exhibited a much more humble attitude and spoke up and asked what the instructor meant.  I thanked the Lord right then and there for my son-in-law’s humility.  I decided then and there that if I did not know or understand what was said by a teacher that I would ask.  Nicodemus did not just nod his head and pretend to understand in order to save face.  He knew that these words were of God and he knew that it was vital for him to have an understanding that he might know what God required of him.  He knew Jesus did not mean that he had to return to his mother’s womb.  He knew he was talking about something else and wanted to know more.


John 3:5  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.

          Jesus begins his explanation to Nicodemus by using the term “Verily, verily” again.  What he is about to say to him is absolutely true and certain.  Unless a man is born of water even the Spirit he cannot enter into the kingdom of God.  Titus 3:5 sheds some light of understanding on these words of Jesus.  Titus 3:5  Not by works of righteousness which we have done, but according to his mercy he saved us, by the washing of regeneration, and renewing of the Holy Ghost;

          In the Old Testament there was an offering called the “red heifer” offering.  The ashes of this red heifer were mixed with water and this water was used to ceremonially cleanse one who had become unclean by touching a dead body.  There was in the temple a basin which was filled with water for the cleansing of the priests.  They could not enter into the temple without being cleansed first.  The young man who took the scapegoat away had to wash himself and his clothes in water for cleansing before he could enter into the camp.  The leper who was pronounced cured of leprosy had to wash himself with water before he could come into the camp.  The person who was made unclean in any way had to go out of the camp and wash himself in water for cleansing before he could come into the camp.  Nicodemus was well familiar with the concept of washing with water for cleansing.  One could not be in the camp of Israel without being cleansed.  One cannot enter the kingdom of God without being cleansed.  The Holy Sprit of God washes us clean by the blood of Jesus Christ which makes us a born again, regenerated, renewed child of God and places us in the kingdom of God.  Jesus is telling Nicodemus that he must be regenerated, born again, born from above, renewed, and made clean in order to be saved.

John 3:6  That which is born of the flesh is flesh; and that which is born of the Spirit is spirit.

          There are two major parts of man, his flesh and his spirit.  The flesh will always be flesh.  It will always be sinful and being that the wages of sin is death this flesh body must and will die.  The Spirit is dead because of sin but it may be born of the Holy Spirit of God and be regenerated into a new creature in Christ Jesus.   It becomes a partaker of the divine nature and after it has been regenerated it will never sin for it is born of God.


John 3:7  Marvel not that I said unto thee, Ye must be born again.

          Jesus tells Nicodemus not to be so amazed or puzzled that he said “Ye must be born again”.  A leper can not change his spots nor an Ethiopian the color of his skin.  Some one who is a sinner can not change himself.  He must be changed by God.  He can only be made new by the blood of Jesus as applied by grace through faith.  The Holy Spirit of God convicts the lost sinner of his sin and when that lost person throws himself upon the mercy of God and begs for forgiveness the Holy Spirit regenerates and renews the soul of that man making him a new creature in Christ Jesus.

John 3:8  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.

          Jesus gives Nicodemus a physical example of a spiritual thing.  You do not have to see something in order to know it is there.  The wind can not be seen yet its effects are apparent and through its effects we know that it does exist.  The college professor told his students that there is no God for, said he, you can not see God and you can not touch God.  A student applied the same logic to the professor’s brain.  He could not see it nor feel it so it must not exist. 

          You do not have to understand the doctrine of regeneration in order to be saved.  You do not have to understand all that takes place inside with the spirit in order to be saved.  I am glad that I did not have to understand spiritual things in order to be saved.  The lost person can not understand spiritual things until he has been born again.  What you must understand is that there is a God against whom you have sinned.  God has provided a penalty for sin and that is condemnation in the lake of fire.  God has also provide man a way of escape from this damnation.  He has sent His Son to die in your place.  He offers to all men this free gift of salvation.  He requires of you that you repent of your sin.  This means that you must regret having sinned against God and you must turn to him seeking forgiveness and salvation.  This is done by believing in Jesus that He is the Christ, the savior of men.  He is the only one who can save you.  He is the only one who died for you in your place.  If you will believe in Him He will save you.  The bible says that whosoever shall call upon the name of the Lord shall be saved.

          You will not see any outward evidence that you have been born again when it first happens.  You get assurance that you have been born again when you trust Him.  You will want to seek the will of God for you life after you have been born again.  You will want to follow Jesus in baptism for He has commanded that those who are saved should be baptized.  You will want to learn more about Him and what He wants you to do. The love and gratitude you have will drive you to serve Him.  Those who truly have been saved will be led by the Spirit of God to Join one of His Churches and bring glory to him by serving in the church.  If you have no desire to serve God you might ought to take a personal inventory of your salvation experience.   Make sure that you have repented of your sins and trusted in Jesus Christ as your savior. 

          Be like Nicodemus, if you do not understand what God requires of you speak up and ask questions for your eternal destiny is at stake.  Do not delay, come to Jesus now.