Verse 1 – There was a man of the Pharisees named Nicodemus, a ruler of the Jews.
Ruler of the Jews refers to the Jewish governing body known as the Sanhedrin.
Verse 2 – This man came to Jesus 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 and said to him, “Most assuredly, I say to you, unless one is born again, he cannot see the kingdom of God.”
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 assuredly, I say to you, unless one is born of water and the Spirit, he cannot enter the kingdom of God.
Jesus is not talking about water baptism. You can have eternal life without being water baptized. Ezekiel 36:25, 26 explains it best. Ezekiel 36:25 – “Then I will sprinkle clean water on you, and you will be clean; I will cleanse you from your filthiness and from all your idols. (Verse 26) “I will give you a new heart and put a new spirit within you: I will take the heart of stone out of your flesh and give you a heart of flesh.
This is a regenerating grace of the Spirit. It is the blood of Christ, the sprinkling of blood and of justification from sin, a pardon, purification and atonement. A “new heart” and a “new spirit” are one and the same, renewed by the grace of God, in which a new principle of life is given; new desires, new joy, as well as new sorrows and troubles. In the New Testament it’s called “New man.”
Verse 6 – “That which is born of the flesh is flesh, and that which is born of the Spirit is spirit.
Born of flesh means the nature of man; weak and frail, unclean and corrupt through sin, being overpowered by the lust of the flesh – carnal. Being born of the Spirit is the man that is regenerated by the Spirit of God to walk in His way through that same Spirit.
Verse 7 – “Do not marvel that I said to you, ‘You must be born again.’
Verse 8 – “The wind blows where it wishes, and you hear the sound of it, but cannot tell where it comes from and where it goes. So is everyone who is born of the Spirit.”
The Spirit of God is a free agent in the regeneration, working how, where, and when, He pleases; He acts freely in the operation of the heart and in all influences of it, as well in the giving of gifts to men for different purposes.
Verse 9 – Nicodemus answered and said to Him, “How can these things be?”
Verse 10 – Jesus answered and said to him, “Are you the teacher of Israel, and do not know these things?
Verse 11 – “Most assuredly, I say to you, we speak what we know and testify what we have seen, and you do not receive Our witness.
Knowledge is not salvation. Nicodemus knew the Old Testament and the prophecies, but did not understand them concerning the Messiah. With knowledge, understanding has to be revealed by the Holy Spirit. Understanding of who God is, reveals salvation in the Son.
Verse 12 – “If I have told you earthly things and you do not believe, how will you believe if I tell you heavenly things?
Verse 13 – “No one has ascended to heaven but He who came down from heaven, that is, the Son of Man who is in heaven.
Jesus is the only Teacher of heavenly things, as being the only person that had been in heaven. Therefore, if the rest of the Jews did not receive instructions from Him, they must forever remain ignorant, for there never had been, nor was, nor could be, any mere man that could go up to heaven, and learn the mysteries of God, and the kingdom of heaven, and return and instruct men in them.
Verse 14 – “And as Moses lifted up the serpent in the wilderness, even so must the Son of Man be lifted up,
Verse 15 – “that whoever believes in Him should not perish but have eternal life.
Just as the Israelites looked upon the bronze serpent that Moses held up for them to be healed from the bites of the serpents, we are to look on the cross where our Salvation comes from, for our healing and forgiveness of sin.
Verse 16 – “For God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son that whosoever believes in Him should not perish but have everlasting life.
And here is the entire foundation of the Gospel in this one verse. Here’s what you must believe: That Jesus was born of a virgin; that God came in the flesh with one purpose in mind; and that purpose was to have His only begotten Son pay the price for sin that all man kind deserved. We couldn’t pay it, because no one could keep God’s law perfectly. Only One could and that was Jesus. He took our punishment and rose again on the third day. He then, after 40 days, ascended to heaven and was seated at the right hand of the Father. After another 10 days, sent the Holy Spirit to fill each believer with power and knowledge of the One who sent Him. Now the question is, “Do you believe that?”
When we don’t know Christ and what He has made available to all, we tend to live as though this life is all there is, sickness, misery, disappointments, and death. The truth is that this life is just the introduction of an eternity with the Master Creator, if you believe!
Verse 17 – “For God did not send His Son into the world to condemn the world, but that the world through Him might be saved.
Contrary to what some might believe, “There is only one way to heaven!” And that is the LORD JESUS CHRIST!” Through Him and by Him, is it!
Verse 18 – “He who believes in Him is not condemned; but he who does not believe is condemned already, because he has not believed in the name of the only begotten Son of God.
Jesus is not talking about those who go through momentary doubt when they go through trials or testings. He’s talking about those who condemn themselves by rejecting Jesus and the work that was done on the cross!
Verse 19 – “And this is the condemnation, that the light has come into the world, and men loved darkness rather than light, because their deeds were evil.
Verse 20 – “For everyone practicing evil hates the light and does not come to the light, lest his deeds should be exposed.
Many people don’t want their lives exposed to God or anyone else for that matter. Sometimes they will take their anger out on a believer for doing what’s right, because it exposes them. When someone becomes a believer, get ready to lose some friends and family. They love darkness more than light.
Verse 21 – “But he who does the truth comes to the light, that his deeds may be clearly seen, that they have been done in God.”
That which is done according to God’s will. Deeds brought to the Light, to test and standards, whether they are right and just.
Verse 22 – After these things Jesus and His disciples came into the land of Judea, and there He remained with them and baptized. (Jesus baptized His disciples.)
Verse 23 – Now John also was baptizing in Aenon near Salim, because there was much water there. And they came and were baptized.
Verse 24 – For John had not yet been thrown into prison.
Verse 25 – Then there arose a dispute between some of John’s disciples and the Jews about purification.
Verse 26 – And they came to John and said to him, “Rabbi, He who was with you beyond the Jordan, to whom you have testified – behold He is baptizing and all are coming to Him!”
John’s disciples were upset that Jesus had been with them a little while and was now off baptizing on His own. They didn’t understand that Jesus was the Christ. John was about to “school them.”
Verse 27 – John answered and said, “A man can receive nothing unless it has been given to him from heaven.
John continued to baptized even after Jesus came because he was going to continue pointing people to Christ until God gave him another assignment. Even with Jesus beginning His ministry, John was still influential in turning people to Christ.
Verse 28 – “You yourselves bear me witness, 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 bridegrooms voice. Therefore this joy of mine is fulfilled.
Verse 30 – “He must increase, but I must decrease.
Verse 31 – “He who comes from above is above all; he who is of the earth is earthly and speaks of the earth. He who comes from heaven is above all.
Verse 32 – “And what He has seen and heard, that He testifies; and no one receives His testimony.
Verse 33 – “He who has received His testimony has certified that God is true.
Verse 34 – “For He whom God has sent speaks the words of God, for God does not give the Spirit by measure.
Verse 35 – “The Father loves the Son, and has given all things into His hand.
Verse 36 – “He who believes in the Son has everlasting life, and he who does not believe the Son shall not see life, but the wrath of God abides on him.”
Everything John was saying was the dynamic truth that Jesus was God’s Son, the Messiah, the Savior.
God’s Spirit was on Jesus without limitation, without measure. Eternal life begins at the moment of spiritual rebirth. The wrath of God is the final judgment and rejection of the sinner. Indecision is a fatal decision.