Nicodemus, whose very name means “a ruler of the people,” came to see Jesus at night. He was one of the Pharisees, who were in control of the Jewish ruling council at that time. The Pharisees knew that anyone who did the miracles that Jesus had been doing had to have come from God. So, Nicodemus, representing at least some number of them, goes secretly to ask Jesus some questions. He wants to know if Jesus is the Messiah that they’ve been waiting for, but Jesus gives him an unexpected answer:
“You must be born again to enter the kingdom of God”
- Read John 3:1-21. What stands out to you from the text and/or sermon that Pastor Bill preached? Is there something that you did not know/notice before?
- What do we know about Nicodemus from this passage? Why did he want to visit Jesus?
What does the fact that he was a Pharisee and a ruler of the Jews tells us specifically about Nicodemus? Was he a religious man? Did he know Old Testament Scripture? Did he obey the Law?
- Does Nicodemus think that new birth applies to him? Why or why not
- Compare Nicodemus’ and Jesus’ ideas of what ‘Born Again’ means. What kinds of things do people wrongly trust in, for salvation? What is Jesus’ message for them?
- Why is Nicodemus so confused as he compares what he thinks about salvation with what Jesus says about salvation?
- Read Numbers 21:4-9. What is going on in this Old Testament story? What parallel does Jesus make by using this story? Do you think that Nicodemus understood what Jesus was telling him? Why or why not.
- Nicodemus was a ruler and teacher of Israel. He would have been morally upright, well- respected, and knowledgeable about the Bible. If Nicodemus needed a new birth, what does that tell us about the human condition?
All Christians must rely upon the blood of Jesus alone for entrance into the kingdom of God. It’s not church attendance, or the amount of money given to religious organizations, or being good that qualifies us for the kingdom. We only qualify based on the blood of Jesus and believing in him.
What can you do in your LifeGroup to spread the message that people “must be born again”?
(Steve’s answer: Invite someone to church to hear the message of salvation)