To have a through understanding of John, Chapter 3, we must clearly understand the last two or possibly three verses of John, Chapter 2. I will list the last three verses”
Verse 23 – Now when he was in Jerusalem at the Passover, during the feast, many believed on his name, beholding the signs which he did.
Verse 24 – But Jesus did not trust himself unto them, for that he knew all men.
Verse 25 – And because he needed not that any should bear witness concerning man; for he himself knew what was in man.
The group had faith in Jesus because of the miracles they had seen or heard about. But they did not have the life-saving faith of accepting him as the Lord and Savior or the Baptism of being born again and all things becoming new. They saw him as the leader of a mighty army that has come to set them free from Roman Rule instead of the Son of God that has come to offer eternal life. Jesus, knowing men’s hearts, knew the ones that was giving him glory and honor now would soon be denouncing his name, scorning him, and yelling, “Crucify Him, King Of The Jews”.
Now while in Jerusalem, at Passover, a man named Nicodemus, a Pharisee and a member of the ruling council came to Jesus during the darkness of the night. When Nicodemus truly believed that Jesus was the Son Of God, he spoke and acted boldly for the Messiah. He knew the Kingdom of God was going to for everyone and not just the Jews. He knew the Kingdom was going to be restored on earth and God would rule it. Nicodemus also knew he had to be born again!
Jesus spoke of being born of water and baptism. Verse 3 and Verse 5 are exactly parallel. Jesus is restating His point so Nicodemus can understand what He meant the first time. The restatement shows that “born again” means, “born of water and the Spirit.” Verse 5 is not describing two different births, as many people claim. It is describing further the new birth, stating that the new birth involves two elements: water and Spirit.
Other important passages regarding the new birth help us understand this one. One can only be born again by obeying the gospel: 1 Peter 1:22-25. Hearing and believing gives one the right to become a child of God, but does not automatically make one a child of God: John 1:12. To be born again, one must come into Christ : 2 Cor. 5:17. To come into Christ and thereby become a child of God, one who believes must be baptized : Rom. 6:3,4; Gal. 3:26,27 (see also Mark 16:15,16; Acts 2:38; 22:16; 1 Pet. 3:21).
“Born of the water” must refer to water baptism. Reason being: (1) Baptism is the only command in the New Testament that requires the use of water (Acts 8:35-39; 10:47; John 3:23; Heb. 10:22; etc.). (2) Many other passages, already cited, show that water baptism is essential to forgiveness. (3) Further, other passages, already cited, show specifically that water baptism is an essential element of the new birth. (4) We will also notice later several verses that tie baptism to hearing the gospel like John 3:5 does.
Some people claim the water of John 3:5 refers to the physical birth (the “water” surround-ing the baby in the mother’s womb). However, (1) the parallel to v3 (above) shows that v5 is not talking about two separate births nor about physical birth at all. It is explaining two elements involved in one birth, the new birth. (2) “Water” is nowhere in the New Testament used to refer to physical birth. (3) V6 refers to physical birth as born of the “flesh.” If physical birth is meant in v5, why say “water” in v5 and then say “flesh” in v6? Why not use the same term both times if He meant the same thing?
(4) Physical birth is mentioned in John 3; but it was brought up, not by Jesus, but by Nicodemus as a result of his confusion and misunderstanding (v4). Jesus restated the truth about the new birth (v5), then He contrasted the physical birth to the new in v6. But He never included physical birth, along with the new birth, as something essential to enter the kingdom in v5. He discussed physical birth only to correct the confusion Nicodemus had introduced.
So Jesus here emphatically stated that baptism is essential to enter the kingdom of God. No one can be born again without it. When people seek to deny that Jesus ever taught the necessity of baptism to salvation, they need to consider carefully this passage along with Mark 16:16 and the other passages cited above.
The Holy Spirit revealed the message of the gospel, which one must learn and believe in or-der to be forgiven. The word is the “seed” by which one is born again (1 Peter 1:23; etc.). The word is the “sword of the Spirit” (Eph. 6:17). It is the tool or means used by the Spirit to accomplish His word in conversion (2 Peter 1:21; Eph. 3:3-5; John 14:26; 16:13; 1 Cor.
“Born of the spirit” must refer to receiving the Holy Ghost. Scripture specifically states 9 gifts from the Holy Spirit: (Galatians 5:22)
A manifestation of the Holy Spirit is the gift of speaking in a heaven language called “tongues’. Many denominations do not practice this. However, the Pentecostal do.
After the meeting with Nicodemus, Jesus went about baptizing like his cousin, John The Baptist. For those who seek God’s face and accepts His son Jesus, eteranl life will be given. For those who reject the Son of God, will face eternal damnation.
In closing, I would like to leave you with this thought: Mark Twain once said, “It is not what I don’t know about the Bible that troubles me, it is what I do know!” He was not doing what he knew. This is the real problem. Most people know what is right but they do not do what is right. The reason they do not do what is right is because there is something wrong about who they are. That is true of us all.
God Bless you and Merry Christmas