From John 3-4
Jesus can be quite cryptic when he wants to be. I guess he recognizes it is the Spirit’s work to reveal these things. Those who He does will have entered the kingdom and will see as they are intended to. Whoever believes in Jesus, the one who died for us, has eternal life. Can someone be born more than once? How many times?
This post is part of my bible in a year series.
Passage and Comments
As promised I wrote yesterday I would write on being born of God. Jesus says some more about that here.
1 Now there was a man of the Pharisees named Nicodemus, a ruler of the Jews. 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.” Jesus answered him, “Truly, truly, I say to you, unless one is born again he cannot see the kingdom of God.” (Jn 3.1-3)
Huh? Jesus gives a left field response to Nicodemus. Jesus changes the subject from his miracles (signs) to the kingdom of God and being born again. Here is where the concept ‘born again Christian’ comes from.
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. 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.” (Jn 3.4-8)
Verse 4 earthly-not understanding response. Verse 5 spiritual-difficult to understand reply. Water and Spirit possibly refers to baptism and being indwelt by the Spirit. Jesus has changed from ‘seeing the kingdom of God’ to ‘entering the kingdom of God’. Once people have entered they see. In verse 7 Jesus stresses that he must be born again but doesn’t say how. Rather this is the mysterious work of the Spirit, not by mans will or desire.
9 Nicodemus said to him, “How can these things be?” Jesus answered him, “Are you the teacher of Israel and yet you do not understand these things? 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. If I have told you earthly things and you do not believe, how can you believe if I tell you heavenly things? No one has ascended into heaven except he who descended from heaven, the Son of Man. And as Moses lifted up the serpent in the wilderness, so must the Son of Man be lifted up, that whoever believes in him may have eternal life. (Jn 3.9-15)
Jesus refers to his and the apostles ministry as their ‘testimony’. Nicodemus, like other Pharisees does not accept what they say. He does not believe the kingdom of God has come. Jesus finishes with a prophecy. He depicts his death using the analogy of the bronze serpent Moses hoisted up in Numbers. The sin that brought life (Link to blog).
Jesus can be quite cryptic when he wants to be. I guess he recognizes it is the Spirit’s work to reveal these things. Those who He does will have entered the kingdom and will see as they are intended to. Whoever believes in Jesus, the one who died for us, has eternal life. Sounds like Jn 3.16.
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