John 3:1-21 – Jesus and Nicodemus

Read John 3:1&2

1 There was a man named Nicodemus, a Jewish religious leader who was a Pharisee.

2 After dark one evening, he came to speak with Jesus. “Rabbi,” he said, “we all know that God has sent you to teach us. Your miraculous signs are evidence that God is with you.”

*What do you know about Pharisees?

  • Jewish group mentioned, either collectively or as individuals, ninety-eight times in the New Testament, all but ten times in the Gospels.
  • Believed in strict interpretation of  law
  • at the time of Herod they numbered only about six thousand
  • The Sadducees and Pharisees comprised the ruling class of Israel.
  • Pharisees were mostly middle-class businessmen,
  • Religiously, they accepted the written Word as inspired by God. At the time of Christ’s earthly ministry, this would have been what is now our Old Testament.
  • Unlike the Pharisees, we are not to treat traditions as having equal authority as Scripture, and we are not to allow our relationship with God to be reduced to a legalistic list of rules and rituals.


*Why did Nicodemus come see Jesus at night?  He did not want other Pharisees to see him come and speak to Jesus.  He could lose his job and face public ridicule if he believed in Jesus.

*Do we sometimes do that?  Not say we know Jesus?

*The Pharisees were jealous of Jesus, why? Jesus teachings challenged their authority and rule.

Read John 3:3&4

3 Jesus replied, “I tell you the truth, unless you are born again, you cannot see the Kingdom of God.”

4 “What do you mean?” exclaimed Nicodemus. “How can an old man go back into his mother’s womb and be born again?”

*Did Nicodemus ask a silly question?

*What does it mean to be born again? Spiritual birth, this was a new concept for them

Read John 3:5

5 Jesus replied, “I assure you, no one can enter the Kingdom of God without being born of water and the Spirit.

*What is birth by water? Physical birth.  In your mom’s womb you grew in water, you breathed in water

*What is birth by Spirit? Born into God’s spiritual kingdom


Read John 3:6

6 Humans can reproduce only human life, but the Holy Spirit gives birth to spiritual life.

*How does the Holy Spirit give birth to spiritual life?


Read John 3:7&8

7 So don’t be surprised when I say, ‘You must be born again.’

8 The wind blows wherever it wants. Just as you can hear the wind but can’t tell where it comes from or where it is going, so you can’t explain how people are born of the Spirit.”

*Can you decide who gives birth to you?

*Can people control the wind?

*Can we even predict the wind? 

*What do you think about predestination?  What does this verse say about predestination?  Is it fair?  Just like the wind, the Holy Spirit comes into people’s lives.


Read John 3:9-10

9 “How are these things possible?” Nicodemus asked.

10 Jesus replied, “You are a respected Jewish teacher, and yet you don’t understand these things?

*What did Jewish Teachers understand? The Pharisees knew the Old Testament really well.  They would memorize l chapters, even whole books of the Old Testament.

*Is Jesus in the Old Testament?  In prophesies, in Daniel, came to see Abraham

*Is the Holy Spirit in the Old Testament? Spirit in creation, came on leaders in the Old Testament, spoke to people in OT


Read John 3:11

11 I assure you, we tell you what we know and have seen, and yet you won’t believe our testimony.

*Who is the we? Holy Spirit and Jesus – the trinity

*What testimony won’t Nicodemus believe? Jesus is the Savior


Read John 3:12-13

12 But if you don’t believe me when I tell you about earthly things, how can you possibly believe if I tell you about heavenly things?

13 No one has ever gone to heaven and returned. But the Son of Man has come down from heaven.

*What are the earthly things compared to heavenly things?

*No one has ever gone to heaven and returned, what do you think about those books and movies where people say they did come back from heaven?

Read John 3:14-15

14 And as Moses lifted up the bronze snake on a pole in the wilderness, so the Son of Man must be lifted up,

15 so that everyone who believes in him will have eternal life.

*What is the snake in the desert?  When the Israelites were wandering in the desert, during the time of Moses, God told Moses to make a snake on a pole.  If the Israelites looked at the snake they were healed.

*How is this bronze snake like Jesus? If only we look towards Jesus and believe, we too are saved from the death of our sins.


Read John 3:16  

16 “For this is how God loved the world: He gave his one and only Son, so that everyone who believes in him will not perish but have eternal life.

*What does this verse say about God’s sacrifice for us?

*What does this verse say about the simplicity of salvation?

*What does this verse say about our free will?

Read John 3:17&18 

17 God sent his Son into the world not to judge the world, but to save the world through him.

18 “There is no judgment against anyone who believes in him. But anyone who does not believe in him has already been judged for not believing in God’s one and only Son.

*How different would Jesus’ ministry been if he came to judge the world rather than save it?

*Jesus is our judge, when? The final judgement

*Anyone who does not believe in Jesus already been judged, does that mean they are judged here on earth? 


Read John 3:19-21

19 And the judgment is based on this fact: God’s light came into the world, but people loved the darkness more than the light, for their actions were evil.

20 All who do evil hate the light and refuse to go near it for fear their sins will be exposed.

21 But those who do what is right come to the light so others can see that they are doing what God wants. ”

*Why do people not believe in God’s light?  *Why do they love the darkness?

*What does the light show?  What is in the darkness, Sins

*Should we want to go into the light? Why?

*Do you think Nicodemus became born again?