THE GOSPEL OF JOHN
LESSON SIX

I    
John 3:1-21
   1.   There was a man of the Pharisees, named Nicodemus, a ruler of the Jews:
   2.   The same came to Jesus by night, and said unto him, Rabbi, we know that thou art a teacher come from God:
          for no man can do these miracles that thou doest, except God be with him.

   [A] Nicodemus was a Pharisee
           [1]  The Pharisee’s were both a religious and a political group in Israel, in New Testament times
           [2]  The Pharisee’s were known for insisting that the Law of God be observed as the scribes interpreted it
                   and for their special commitment to keeping the laws for tithing and ritual purity.

  [B]  Nicodemus came to Jesus by night -
           [1]  The question has to be asked, why did he come in the night instead of in the day?
                   [a]  Possibly, he was ashamed to be seen with Jesus
                   [b]  Possibly he was afraid of what the other Pharisee’s would say if he was to be seen talking to Jesus.
                           [1]   Keep in mind that the Pharisees were those who were threatened by Jesus
                           [2]  Keep also in mind that the Pharisees were those who eventually wanted Jesus put to death
           [2]   Although he was a Pharisee, Nicodemus seen in Jesus something that others did not see.
                   [a]  What remarks did Nicodemus make that makes me say this?
                           [1]  Rabbi, we know you are a teacher come from God.
                           [2]  No man can do these miracles except God be with him.
           [3]    Questions:   
                   [a]   Why was Nicodemus able to perceive who Jesus was and the other Pharisee’s did not?        
                   [b]  What happened to Nicodemus?
                   [c]  Is there any other mention of him in the New Testament?
                           [1]   Look with me at John 19:38-40
                       
            John 19:38-40
                                   38. And after this Joseph of Arimathaea, being a disciple of Jesus, but secretly for fear of the
                                         Jews, besought Pilate that he might take away the body of Jesus: and Pilate gave him     
                                         leave. He came therefore, and took the body of Jesus.
                                    39. And there came also Nicodemus, which at the first came to Jesus by night, and brought a
                                          mixture of myrrh and aloes, about an hundred pound weight.
                                    40. Then took they the body of Jesus, and wound it in linen clothes with the spices, as the
                                          manner of the Jews is to bury.                                                        
                           [2] The same Nicodemus who came to Jesus by night helped take Jesus from the cross and
                                   prepare him for burial
                   [c]  The question is, where was Nicodemus the rest of the time?
                   [d]  What was he doing when the Pharisee’s wanted to put him to death?

II.  
John 3: 3:4
    3.   Jesus answered and said unto him, Verily, verily, I say unto thee, Except a man be born again, he cannot see
          the kingdom of God.
    4.   Nicodemus saith unto him, How can a man be born when he is old? can he enter the second time into his
          mother's womb, and be born?

   [A]   Jesus reply to Nicodemus’s statement about his being from God was Except a man be born again, he cannot
           see God.
           [1]  As we see in verse four, this was confusing to Nicodemus,
           [2]  It was not only confusing to Nicodemus, it is confusing to many today as well.

   [B]  Nicodemus said, how can a man be born again, can he enter a second time into his mother’s womb?
           [1]  It is obvious that Nicodemus was trying to understand what he could about Jesus.
           [2] Even so, it seemed to him that Jesus was making it very difficult.

III.  
John 3:5-9
   5.   Jesus answered, Verily, verily, I say unto thee, Except a man be born of water and of the Spirit, he cannot
         enter into the kingdom of God.
   6.   That which is born of the flesh is flesh; and that which is born of the Spirit is spirit.
   7.   Marvel not that I said unto thee, Ye must be born again.
   8.   The wind bloweth where it listeth, and thou hearest the sound thereof, but canst not tell whence it cometh,
         and whither it goeth: so is every one that is born of the Spirit.
   9.   Nicodemus answered and said unto him, How can these things be?

   [A] To Nicodemus’s question, Jesus answered, unless a man be born of the water and the spirit, he cannot enter
           the kingdom of God,
   [B]  Now Nicodemus is really confused,
           [1]   First Jesus said he had to be born again
           [2]   Secondly, he told him man had to be born of water and of the Spirit
   [C]  Nicodemus asked Jesus, How can these things be.\?
           [1]   How can I enter my mother’s womb again and be born a second time?
           [2]   How can I be born of the water and of the Spirit?
           [3]   Question:
                   [a]  Like Nicodemus, we too must be born again - What does this entail?
                           [1]  Consider what a new born baby is like - consider also the lack of sin that newborn has. When
                                   a child is born, it is sinless, but never-the-less it is born into a sinful world. A child is like a
                                   blank tape, which is inserted into a recorder, with record presses. Everything it learns and
                                   does it  learns from someone else.
                           [2]  To be born again, is to be allowed to start afresh, with a sinless life, with all our sins washed
                                   away and we are made new        
                           [3]  To be born again is to be converted, turning from the wickedness of the world and following
                                   the teaching and directions of Jesus  
                   [b]  How can we go into our mother’s womb and be born a second time?
                           [1]  The truth is, we can’t enter into her womb and start again in actuality.
                           [2]  But symbolically, we can
                   [c]  What does it mean to be born of the water and of the Spirit?
                           [1]  When a person is in their mother’s womb, they are surrounded by water.
                           [2]  Before the baby is born, the sack that the baby is in, breaks and the water gushes out.
                           [3]   The baby is then born and begins to breathe the breath air, taking it’s first breathe of life in
                                   the world
                           [4]  At that moment it is dependent on it’s mother to help it survive and make it to adulthood
                           [5]   When a man of woman is baptized, they enter the water, and are submerged under the water,
                                   in a symbolic cleansing - but it is much more than that, Baptism is symbolic of entering into
                                   our mother’s womb again, being encircled with water, and being born a second time.
                           [6]   This is where the Spirit comes in - When a man of woman is born again, the Spirit of God
                                   breaths into them the breath of life. He enters the heart and cleanses it with Holy cleansing,
                                   taking away all the former sins and transgressions and making the person new, and a child of
                                   God.
                           [3]   When all this transpires, the person is then given a new lease on life. He or she, begins again
                                   in a world of sin, just as they did when they were born the first time, except this time they
                                   have the knowledge of the past, and the hope of the future in them. The Spirit who came into
                                   their heart, is there to guide them even as their Mother tried to guide them. From that    
                                   moment on, we are dependent on the Holy Spirit, to guide us, and help us make it, not only to
                                   adulthood, but to eternal life where we will live with Jesus for all eternity

IV.   
John 3:10-12                                 
    10. Jesus answered and said unto him, Art thou a master of Israel, and knowest not these things?
    11. Verily, verily, I say unto thee, We speak that we do know, and testify that we have seen; and ye receive not
           our witness.
   12. If I have told you earthly things, and ye believe not, how shall ye believe, if I tell you of heavenly things?

   [A]   Jesus asked Nicodemus, why is it that you are a Pharisee, a ruler of the people one who claims to know the
           way to heaven and yet you do not know these things.

   [B]   Questions:           
           [1]   Why do you think that Jesus asked him such a question?        
           [2]   What was Jesus trying to convince Nicodemus of?
           [3]  Do you think Nicodemus believed him?

V.  
John 3:13-15
    13. And no man hath ascended up to heaven, but he that came down from heaven, even the Son of man, which0
           is in heaven.
    14. And as Moses lifted up the serpent in the wilderness, even so must the Son of man be lifted up:
    15. That whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have eternal life.

   [A]  Nicodemus would have understood what Jesus was referring to when he spoke of the Son of Man because of
           the teaching the Jew’s held to about the coming messiah, the son of man.
   [B]  He would also understood about the serpent Moses lifted up.
           [1]   
Numbers 21:6-9
                   6.  And the Lord sent fiery serpents among the people, and they bit the people; and much people of
                           Israel died.
                   7.   Therefore the people came to Moses, and said, We have sinned, for we have spoken against the
                           Lord, and against thee; pray unto the Lord, that he take away the serpents from us. And Moses
                           prayed for the people.
                   8.   And the Lord said unto Moses, Make thee a fiery serpent, and set it upon a pole: and it shall come
                           to pass, that every one that is bitten, when he looketh upon it, shall live.
                   9.  And Moses made a serpent of brass, and put it upon a pole, and it came to pass, that if a serpent
                           had bitten any man, when he beheld the serpent of brass, he lived.

   [C]  What Nicodemus didn’t understand was what Jesus was talking about by the son of man being lifted up, and
           whoever believed in him would not perish but have eternal life.

   [D]  Lets look at these things Nicodemus did not understand.
           [1]  The only person who ascended to heaven was the son of man who came down from heaven
                   [a]  We understand this., because we know that Jesus came from heaven, was sent from heaven by the
                           father, as a baby born to Mary. We know also that He lived his live as a man, that he did all
                           manors of miracles and was then put to death. We know too that he arose from the dead and after
                           forty days ascended back to heaven where he now sits at the right hand of the father interceding
                           for you and me.
                   [b]  This brings up a very interesting thought, If Jesus was the only one who went up to heaven, how
                           about all those who died before him and how about those who died as a believer after he
                           ascended to heaven.
                           [1]  Do you remember the story Jesus told of the rich man and Lazarus?
                                 
  John 16:20-26
                                   20. And there was a certain beggar named Lazarus, which was laid at his gate, full of sores,
                                   21. And desiring to be fed with the crumbs which fell from the rich man's table: moreover the
                                           dogs came and licked his sores.
                                   22. And it came to pass, that the beggar died, and was carried by the angels into Abraham's
                                           bosom: the rich man also died, and was buried;
                                   23. And in hell he lift up his eyes, being in torments, and seeth Abraham afar off, and
                                           Lazarus in his bosom.
                                   24. And he cried and said, Father Abraham, have mercy on me, and send Lazarus, that he
                                           may dip the tip of his finger in water, and my tongue; for I am tormented in this flame.
                                   25. But Abraham said, Son, remember that thou in thy lifetime receivedst thy good things,
                                           and likewise Lazarus evil things: but now he is comforted, and thou art tormented.
                                   26. And beside all this, between us and you there is a great gulf fixed: so that they which
                                           would pass from hence to you cannot; neither can they pass to us, that would come
                                           from thence.
                           [2]   When the rich man died, he opened his eyes in hell, and was in torment.
                           [3]   Lazarus, died and was carried by angels to Abraham’s bosom
                           [4]  The two was separated only by a wide gulf that no one could pass over.
                           [5]  All who died before Jesus went to one of these two places, but with the death and resurrection
                                   of Jesus, all this changed.
                               
    Isaiah 5:14-15
                                   14. Therefore hell hath enlarged herself, and opened her mouth without measure: and their
                                         glory, and their multitude, and their pomp, and he that rejoiceth, shall descend into it.
                                   15. And the mean man shall be brought down, and the mighty man shall be humbled, and the
                                         eyes of the lofty shall be humbled:
                           [6]  When Jesus died, and ascended back to heaven - Those saints who were in the bosom of
                                   Abraham were transported to heaven where they are now in the bosom of Jesus, or to say it
                                   in words easier to understand, with Jesus. This was made possible because Jesus, according
                                   to Peter, went to where they were and preached to them and they were able to believe in
                                   him. From that moment, all who believe in Jesus go to be with him   in heaven, because we
                                   go to the bosom of Jesus, and since Jesus in heaven, we go to be with him   
           [2]  The second thing Nicodemus did not understand was about the serpent in the
                   wilderness,                         
                   [a]  When the serpents bit the Israelites, they would look upon the serpent Moses had made and hung
                           on a pole, when they did, they would not die.
                   [b]   Jesus was hung on the cross as a sacrifice for our sins, unless we believe in him, and believe that
                           he was indeed the son of God, sacrificed for our sins, we cannot have eternal life. But if we
                           believe in him, we can have eternal life. Even as the Children of Israel were given life by looking at
                           the serpent, we are given live by looking at the one who was hung on the cross for our sins.

VI.  Questions
   [A]  Do you find it interesting that in the wilderness, it was a serpent that was attacking the Children of Israel and
           it's bite was killing them?

   [B]  Do you find it interesting that Satan is often referred to as a Serpent?

   [C]  Do you find it interesting to think of how the an image of the Serpent was placed on a pole and when the
           people were bitten, all they had to do was look at the image and they lived?
           [1]  God  caused to snaked to be there in the first place to punish the Children of Israel - Why didn’t he just
                   remove them from their midst, why make them look at the image after they were bitten?
           [2]  Do you know what happened to the image of the snake after the plague was over?

   [D]  Who was behind the crucifixion of Jesus?
           [1]  Satan was the one who was instigating the crucifixion, even though others did the actual deed.        

   [E]  Consider this, in the wilderness, snakes were killing the people so Moses under the directions of God, made
           an image of a snake and placed it on a pole, When the people were bitten they would look at the image and
           they were healed. Jesus was crucified by those under the influence of Satan, sometimes referred to as the
           Serpent. That same serpent is devouring as many people as he can, ruining as many lives as possible, and
           causing them to be separated from Almighty God, where they will be case into and eternal hell with Satan,
           into what can also be called eternal death. Jesus, like the serpent in the wilderness, was hung on a pole, or
           rather a tree, a cross, where he died for the sins of all mankind. When Satan has done his worst in the
           hearts of man, if they but look to the cross, and he who hung on it, and believe on him, he gives them live
           everlasting.