BOOK BY BOOK BIBLE STUDY
BIBLE STUDY LESSON
For the week beginning Sunday January 5, 2014
(Being born again)
Nicodemus was a member of the “Sanhedrin”, the ruling council, or, governing body of religion and state under Rome. He was a Pharisee who had zealous dedication to GOD’s Law. He was also “a teacher of Israel” and held the distinctive position of being an authoritative interpreter of Scripture.
Here in John chapter 3, however, we see Nicodemus is coming to JESUS with an open mind, and he is intent on listening to the Man WHOM, he himself, had seen perform many miracles. Right away JESUS stuns the seasoned scholar by saying to him, “Except a man be born again, he cannot see the Kingdom of GOD” (John 3:3 - KJV).
In other words, here JESUS was telling Nicodemus, who was thought to be “spiritual” by almost everyone, including himself, that, before any spiritual questions can be dealt with, a man must be born anew, spiritually. He would have to be baptized in the “SPIRIT” that JESUS HIMSELF would later impart to anyone that believes in HIM. And even though the concept of a “spiritual rebirth” is clearly evident in the Old Testament, here, Nicodemus is still clearly confused by this divine revelation of truth that JESUS was now sharing with him (John 3:4).
In verses 5-7, JESUS further elaborates on HIS prior statement regarding spiritual rebirth, by stating, “The truth is, no one can enter the Kingdom of GOD without being born of water, and, the SPIRIT”. Humans can reproduce only human life, but the HOLY SPIRIT gives “new spiritual life” from Heaven” (NLT).
Here JESUS is saying that, the first requirement for a person to be eligible for the kingdom of GOD is that GOD has to allow that person to exist in the first place. When a woman’s “water” breaks after the fullness of the time of her pregnancy, a person, or persons are born into the world and human life begins its journey in earnest in the physical realm. However, only through accepting CHRIST JESUS, first with our lips, and then, in our hearts, and thereby, inviting the HOLY SPIRIT to dwell within us, can a person ever receive a new spiritual, eternal life in Heaven.
To be “born again” is the phrase that clearly describes the goal of the aspiring Christian. It is the true Christian’s desire, that GOD will exact HIS divine power upon our lives with a moral infusion that will transform us into a people that can, at all times, reflect HIS image to others, through our own behavior. And just as “Natural Birth” marks the beginning of our new life in the physical world, and makes us “children of man”, “Spiritual Birth” marks the beginning of our new life in CHRIST JESUS, and makes us “children of GOD” (John 3:5-6).
In verse 10, JESUS responds with a question of HIS OWN, by asking Nicodemus, “Art thou a master of Israel, and knowest not these thing? (KJV) In other words, HE was asking him, “aren’t you a respected Jewish teacher, and yet, you don’t understand these things?” If you don’t believe the things that GOD is doing here on earth, you can’t possibly believe the things that are done in Heaven” (Vs.10-12).
After giving Nicodemus a prophetic revelation of how HIS earthly ministry would end (Vs.13-15), JESUS goes on to utter what is, arguably, the most well known verse in all of Scripture, when HE states, “For GOD so loved the world, that HE gave HIS only begotten SON, that whosoever believeth in HIM should not perish, but have everlasting life” (John 3:16 - KJV).
It is “the statement” in Scripture that, perhaps, more clearly than all other statements, reveals to us that “GOD’s motivation towards HIS people here on earth is “love”. It is a love that is not limited to a few, or, just to a single group of people, but rather, GOD’s gifts of Love and Salvation are for everyone who dares to believe. GOD’s purpose in sending HIS OWN SON is for “communication” and for our “Salvation”, and was never intended to be for our “condemnation”. In fact, JESUS says, that, there is no judgment awaiting those who believe (v.18a).
The “lost sinners” are those who do not accept CHRIST JESUS as their LORD and SAVIOR, and by rejecting HIM, they already stand condemned. They will remain lost, unless they put their trust and faith in CHRIST JESUS, while they yet live (v.18b).
JESUS further states, that the lost sinner’s judgment is based on this fact:
“The LIGHT from Heaven came into the world, but they loved the darkness more than the LIGHT, for their actions were evil. They hate the LIGHT because they want to sin in the darkness. They stay away from the LIGHT for fear their sins will be exposed and they will be punished. But those who desire to do what is right come to the LIGHT gladly, so everyone can see that they are doing what GOD wants” (Vs. 19-21 - NLT).
A Sunday school lesson by,
Larry D. Alexander
LARRY D. ALEXANDER- Official Website