Week 21 | Sections 32 a,b

You Must Be Born AgainNicodemus a pharisee and member of the ruling class of the Jewish council is curious about the miracles Jesus had performed during his first visit to Jerusalem since his baptism. So curious he came in the dead of night, to learn more. His struggles are like many today, for its hard to change our way of thinking. The gospel of God’s grace runs contrary to so many things we’ve been taught. Still, it is the Good News we wish to hear – that God has so much love for us that he provided a way to reconcile us. Al we need do to experience that is believe.


Scripture:
Section 32a | John 2:23-25
23 Now when he was in Jerusalem at the Passover, during the feast, many believed in his name, observing his signs which he did. 24 But Jesus didn’t entrust himself to them, because he knew everyone, 25 and because he didn’t need for anyone to testify concerning man; for he himself knew what was in man.

Section 32b | John 3:1-21
1 Now there was a man of the Pharisees named Nicodemus,1  a ruler of the Jews.2 The same came to him by night,3 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.”4 Jesus answered him,“Most certainly, I tell you, unless one is born anew, he can’t see God’s Kingdom.”5 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?” Jesus answered,“Most certainly I tell you, unless one is born of water and spirit, he can’t enter into God’s Kingdom. That which is born of the flesh is flesh. That which is born of the Spirit is spirit.6  Don’t marvel that I said to you, ‘You must be born anew.’7 The wind blows where it wants to, and you hear its sound, but don’t know where it comes from and where it is going. So is everyone who is born of the Spirit.”8¯9 Nicodemus answered him, “How can these things be?”10 10 Jesus answered him, “Are you the teacher of Israel, and don’t understand these things?11 11 Most certainly I tell you, we speak that which we know, and testify of that which we have seen, and you don’t receive our witness. 12  If I told you earthly things and you don’t believe, how will you believe if I tell you heavenly things?12 13  No one has ascended into heaven but he who descended out of heaven, the Son of Man, who is in heaven.13 14  As Moses lifted up the serpent in the wilderness, even so must the Son of Man be lifted up, 15  that whoever believes in him should not perish, but have eternal life. 16  For God so loved the world, that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him should not perish, but have eternal life.14 17 For God didn’t send his Son into the world to judge the world, but that the world should be saved through him.15 18 He who believes in him is not judged.16 He who doesn’t believe has been judged already, because he has not believed in the name of the one and only Son of God.17 19 This is the judgment, that the light has come into the world, and men loved the darkness rather than the light; for their works were evil. 20  For everyone who does evil hates the light, and doesn’t come to the light, lest his works would be exposed. 21  But he who does the truth comes to the light, that his works may be revealed, that they have been done in God.”18


Group Dialog:

  1. Have we ourselves been “born again”?
  2. How has the grace of God allowed you to walk in love and obedience differently than obedience to the commandments of God and the customs of the church?
  3. Read and discuss the passages in study note #_.
  4. What patterns of your life (thought and deed) still need to change?
  5. What are the ways your life has changed since becoming born again?

Learning Objectives:

Be born again, justification then sanctification, availability of Jesus, The Messiah will break the adamic curse, our identity will be changed as we are born again Christ’s, let your mind be renewed, we need also to be bonded as the children of God – as one family, propitiation by the sacrifice of Jesus, the affective experience of those who do not receive the effective grace of God.


Study Notes:

  1. Nicodemus was a pharisee, either the brother or an uncle of Josephus Ben Gurion. The ben Gurion family was rich, and members of the ruling class. They were pharisees, and teachers of the law. Josephus was a the most prominent Jewish historian of the time.
  2. Remember that this is just after Jesus had turned over the tables in the temple and the other pharisees were upset with him. Yet Nicodemus, well studies in the law, recognizes Jesus’ authority and power. Nicodemus appear before Jesus two more times, Once there at the cross with Joseph of Arimathea.
  3. He comes to Jesus by night, no doubt fearing consternation from the other pharisees.Still Jesus does not refuse him, but welcomes his earnest question and seeking heart.
  4. Nicodemus tips the hand of the conversation among the Sadducees and Pharisees.  They seem to have determined that God is “with him”.
  5. People often talk about starting life anew, a new job, a new home, a new year, a new town. In each circumstance we have the opportunity to create a new understanding of the way things are. Like being born again, or traveling to a new country, you will see things with fresh eyes.
  6. Read these passages to get a better understanding of this important lesson: Gal 5:16-22; Rom 8:4-9, 13; Job 25:4, 14:4; Ezek 36:26-27; 2Cor 5:17; Eph 2:3
  7. Read Eph 2:22-24. Rather than relying on the bloodline of Abraham (or our habit of attending church) we must rely on the God of grace. The seed of the spirit will create a new family of God. Each will become an heir of the eternal kingdom. In this new covenant our relationship and love of God will trump obedience because of the law, but the same love will cause us to consider first the desire of God, our First love (Rev 2:4).
  8. There is no pinning down the work of God into a pattern and set of traditions.
  9. Read 1Cor 2:11; 1Jn 3:8-9
  10. Though wanting to learn, Nicodemus was struggling to rethink, reform his thinking. Read Rom 12:2; John 5:39-40. Nicodemus was stuck in an old mindset. Sophocles wrote in Antigone, “A man, though wise, should never be ashamed of learning more, and must unbend his mind.” Don’t feel ashamed of your own wrestling to “have your mind renewed” (Ps 51:10; 1Pet 2:1-3) for the disciples wrestled too (Jn 6:60; Lk 1:34) yet devoted themselves to further study allowing the Holy Spirit to illuminate its meaning as you ponder every part of Scripture (Is 42:16; Prov 4:18). Do not resist the endeavor showing your arrogance to be as the pharisees (Jn 6:52; Mt 15:14; Heb 5:11) or, blind as those deceived (2Cor 4:4; Isa 65:2), or as the defiant as the devil and his minions.
  11. Read Mt 22:29; Ezek 18:31-32; Ezek 37:23-24; Jer 8:-9; Jer 31:33; Jer 32:39-40; Isa 9:16; Isa 45:21-23.
  12. Read 2Cor 2:7-9; 2Cor 3:1-2
  13. Jesus is speaking of his eternal nature. The term “son of Man” appears 100 times in the Old Testament. Perhaps the most clear prophetic voice is in Daniel Chapter 7, especially Dan 7:9-10, 13-14, 19. Later John reflects his understanding of this prophecy and the teachings of Jesus in Rev 20:11.
  14. This is the Good News. As this is the central verse of the Good News there are countless scriptures to read. Among those we encourage you to read Jn 6:4-; 1Jn 5:1,11-13; Jn 3:36; Heb 7:25; Gal 2:16; Rom 6:22-23; Rom 10:9-16; Isa 45:22; Luke 19:10; Rom 5:8; 1Jn 4:9-10,15-16.
  15. Read 1Tim 1:15-16; 1Tim 2:5-6
  16. This is a key lesson for the disciple, for many still seem to walk in fear of their past, fear shame of their sins and shortcomings. But when the believer’s mind is renewed and his identity is firmly established by the Word of God, then he is strong, confident in the Lord (Rom 8:1) and able to accomplish much for the purposes of God [Heb 13:21) – most importantly the ministry of reconciliation (2Cor 5:11-21) accomplished by the fulfillment of the Great Commission (Mt 28:19-20).
  17. Those who do not believe and trust in God will be at enmity with God, or nothing less feel so and be numb, apathetic, or indifferent to his grace (Jn 12:47-48; Jn 8:15-16).
  18. Our lives should show forth the light of Christ which resides in our hearts and minds, and his mercy should pour forth from our hands as his grace has been bestowed to us. Read 1Jn 1:6; ps 139:23-24; 2Pt 1:5-10,22