Jesus answered, “Most assuredly, I say to you, unless one is born of water and the Spirit, he cannot enter the kingdom of God. That which is born of the flesh is flesh, and that which is born of the Spirit is spirit. Do not marvel that I said to you, ‘You must be born again.’ 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." (John 3: 5-8)
What did Nicodemus know about the kingdom? From the Bible he knows it would be ruled by God, it would be restored on earth, and it would incorporate God’s people. Jesus revealed to the devout Pharisee that the kingdom would come to the whole world (John 3:16), not just the Jews, and that Nicodemus wouldn’t be a part of it unless he was personally born again (John 3:5).
This was a revolutionary concept: the kingdom is personal, not national or ethnic, and its entrance requirements are repentance and spiritual rebirth. Jesus later taught that God’s Kingdom has already begun in the hearts of believers (Luke 17:21). It will be fully realized when Jesus returns again to judge the world and abolish evil forever (Rev. 21:22)
“Of water and the Spirit” could refer to: 1) The contrast between physical birth (water) and spiritual birth (Spirit), or 2) being regenerated by the Spirit and signifying that rebirth by Christian baptism. The water may also represent the cleansing action of God’s Holy Spirit (Titus 3:5). Nicodemus undoubtedly would have been familiar with God’s promise in Ezekiel 36:25, 26. Jesus was explaining the importance of a spiritual rebirth, saying that people don’t enter the kingdom by living a better life, but by being spiritually reborn. Nicodemus clearly understood Jesus to be speaking of a second birth—being born again. Jesus explains this new or heavenly birth in John 3:6–8, contrasting being born of the flesh with being born of the Spirit.
Word Focus - born again: (Gk. Gennao - ano - then) (3:3, 7) G1080; G509: The Greek word translated again can mean either “from above” or “anew.” The new birth, or regeneration (see Titus 3:5), is the act by which God imparts spiritual life to one who trusts Christ. Without this spiritual birth, a person cannot perceive spiritual things (see 1 Cor. 2:10, 13–16), nor can he or she enter the kingdom of God (John 3:5).
Who is the Holy Spirit? God is three persons in one – the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit. God became a man in Jesus so that Jesus could die for our sins. Jesus rose from the dead to offer salvation to all people through spiritual renewal and rebirth. When Jesus ascended into heaven, his physical presence left the earth, but He promised to send the Holy Spirit so that His spiritual presence would still be among mankind (see Luke 24:49). The Holy Spirit first became available to all believers at Pentecost (Acts 2:1-4). Whereas in Old Testament days the Holy Spirit empowered specific individuals for specific purposes, now all believers have the power of the Holy Spirit available to them.
Jesus used the wind as an illustration of the work of the Holy Spirit. The Greek word translated Spirit also means “wind.” As the wind seemingly blows where it wills, so the Holy Spirit sovereignly works. Likewise, no one knows the origin or destination of the wind, but everyone knows it is there. The same is true of the Holy Spirit. Jesus explained that we cannot control the work of the Holy Spirit. He works in ways we cannot predict or understand. Just as you cannot control your physical birth, so you cannot control your spiritual birth. It is a gift from God through the Holy Spirit (Romans 8:16; 1 Cor. 2:10-12; 1 Thes. 1:5, 6).
Father God, it is my prayer this morning that those who have not accepted Jesus as their Savior and Lord that they do so today. Lord, I pray that You continue to give me the courage and wisdom to reach out to the lost world whether it is in my own neighborhood or on this blog. Lord You are the Way, the Truth, and the Life. Lord I humbly thank you for my Salvation that You have given too me. I pray this all in Jesus’ name. Amen.
References: NKJV Holy Bible, Life Application Bible (NIV), the Nelson Study Bible.