John 3:1-21 Seeking And Finding Eternal Life

by | May 1, 2024 | John, New Testament

I. Nicodemus- Profile Of A Sincere Seeker

A. Sincere Spiritual Seeker Vs. 1, 2

1. V. 1– He was a ruler of the Jews.

a. There were many rulers of the Jews that were more into religiosity than true spiritual seeking, but Nicodemus was an exception.
b. He was a teacher, a Pharisee, and a member of the Sanhedrin: 70 rulers of Israel.
c. He rebuked the Pharisees for condemning Jesus w/o hearing Him. (John 7:50, 51)
d. He also helped with Jesus’ burial. (John 19:39, 40)

2. V. 2a- He sought Jesus out.

a. Some have faulted Nicodemus for coming at night, suggesting that he was trying to remain unnoticed, and trying to keep his visit to Jesus a secret.
b. That may or may not have been true, but he sought him out nevertheless.

3. V. 2b- Nicodemus paid attention to spiritual events around him.

a. John 2:23 says that Jesus had done miracles during that Passover week.
b. Nicodemus was not so committed to his views on God so as to miss the obvious.
c. NOTE- We all have views on God. He is important, marginal, not important, non-existent. Our views on God are the real signifier of how we live our lives.

B. Humble Vs. 4, 9, 10

1. V. 4, 9– Even though he was a religious ruler, he was willing to ask questions, not presuming to know everything.
2. V. 10- Nicodemus was willing to be rebuked and corrected.

a. Jesus implies that Nicodemus should have understood the idea of the new birth.
b. Ezekiel 36:26, 27 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. 27 I will put My Spirit within you and cause you to walk in My statutes, and you will keep My judgments and do them.

II. Jesus Responds To Nicodemus

A. The New Birth Vs. 3, 5-8

1. V. 3- The Jews believed that their nationality guaranteed them entrance into God’s kingdom. Many people have incorrect views of what makes them acceptable to God.
2. Jesus bypassed lesser conversation regarding Nicodemus’ first statement, and He went right to the heart of the matter.
3. In essence, Nicodemus asked a question that He was not ready to hear an answer for.

a. The more important thing for Nicodemus was that he be born again, before beginning to understand more about the Kingdom of God.

4. Born again- Also, born from above. To have new life, to be regenerated.

a. This has morphed into a political description.
b. We should not reduce these words to just a description of what we are.
c. They describe what must happen if a person is to be saved from the wrath of God.
d. Personal reform and good intentions are not enough. New birth is mandatory.

5. Kingdom of God– speaks of God’s kingdom presence on Earth, and later in eternity.

a. Simply speaks of the inability of perceiving God without being born again.
b. NOTE- Jesus said that this is a non-negotiable. We need to understand this.

6. Vs. 5, 6- Born of water– some say this means water baptism.

a. Some say this speaks of the “living waters” of the Holy Spirit. (John 7:37-39)
b. Others say the water of the “Word of God”.
Ephesians 5:25, 26 25Husbands, love your wives, just as Christ also loved the church and gave Himself for her, 26 that He might sanctify and cleanse her with the washing of water by the word.

7. Probably speaks of physical birth, the water of the womb.

a. All people are born in a fleshly way.
b. Not all people are born spiritually; that results from man’s choice to follow Jesus.
c. Even if a man could enter his mother’s womb again and be physically born a second time, he would still sin, and would still need the spiritual birth.

8. V. 7– Apparently, Nicodemus was marveling.
9. V. 8– There is a mysterious, somewhat undefinable aspect to this process, but there is no confusion when it happens to someone. There are discernable changes.

a. Though there is an undefinable aspect to being born again, there is part of the process that is deliberate and definable. The choice to believe in Jesus.

B. Correcting Wrong Thinking Vs. 10-12

1. V. 10- Nicodemus should have known from the Old Testament that a heart change was needed, and that God was able to regenerate a man’s heart unto spiritual life.
2. Vs. 11, 12- Jesus implies that Nicodemus hadn’t even been able to understand basic spiritual truths. Since Nicodemus was spiritually dull, he wouldn’t be naturally able to understand higher spiritual truths.

C. Jesus Speaks Of Himself Vs. 13-16

1. V. 13- Jesus begins to point out that he has authority to speak of these things, for He came down from heaven.
2. This event is found in Numbers 21:4-9.

a. The poison was the judgment of God against the peoples’ sins.
b. The snake was a symbol of sin, put upon a pole.
c. The metal used was bronze, symbolic of sin judged.
d. The people only needed to believe to be healed.
e. There was nothing they could do to heal themselves, but they needed to believe in God’s remedy for their judgment.
f. This is a very accurate illustration for what Jesus accomplished on the cross.

3. V. 16- God’s motive: love; God’s action: give; God’s goal: to save

D. Salvation And Condemnation Vs. 17-21

1. V. 17- Jesus came to save, not condemn.

a. But we must remember that the world is already condemned.
b. Jesus announced that truth, but He is not the cause of the condemnation.
c. He is the remedy and rescue. See John 5:24

2. V. 18- Mankind currently stands guilty as charged and condemned to God’s judgment.
3. V. 19Evil- poneros- wicked.
4. V. 20- Evil- phaula- that which is useless.
5. V. 21- Many claim to have intellectual roadblocks that keep them from coming to Jesus.

a. There may be intellectual challenges that people have regarding believing in a God they cannot see, but Jesus said that that was not the main cause of unbelief.
b. The main cause of unbelief is a love of darkness, love of self.
c. Those who choose God are choosing spiritual light.
d. They have no reason to hide from God or reject God.
2 Peter 3:9 9The Lord is…not willing that any should perish but that all should come to repentance.