Berean Bible Study Notes

John 2:13-25, 3:1-5

W3Schools.com

 

Last time we talked about the wedding in Cana. The Holy Spirit uses the symbolism of marriage over and over again in Scripture, so it's interesting that the first thing that Jesus does when He begins His public ministry is to go to a wedding.

John 2:11 This beginning of signs Jesus did in Cana of Galilee, and manifested His glory; and His disciples believed in Him.

12 After this He went down to Capernaum, He, His mother, His brothers, and His disciples; and they did not stay there many days.

After the wedding, He and His mother, brothers and disciples go to Capernaum. Jesus seems to set up headquarters there for the rest of His time on earth, although He never seems to stay there for very long at a time.

 

John 2:13 (Jesus Cleanses the Temple)

(Matt 21:12-17; Mark 11:15-19; Luke 19:45-48)

Now the Passover of the Jews was at hand, and Jesus went up to Jerusalem. 14 And He found in the temple those who sold oxen and sheep and doves, and the money changers doing business. 15 When He had made a whip of cords, He drove them all out of the temple, with the sheep and the oxen, and poured out the changers' money and overturned the tables. 16 And He said to those who sold doves, "Take these things away! Do not make My Father's house a house of merchandise!" 17 Then His disciples remembered that it was written, "Zeal for Your house has eaten Me up."

18 So the Jews answered and said to Him, "What sign do You show to us, since You do these things?"

19 Jesus answered and said to them, "Destroy this temple, and in three days I will raise it up."

20 Then the Jews said, "It has taken forty-six years to build this temple, and will You raise it up in three days?"

21 But He was speaking of the temple of His body. 22 Therefore, when He had risen from the dead, His disciples remembered that He had said this to them; and they believed the Scripture and the word which Jesus had said.

 

John 2:13 Now the Passover of the Jews was at hand, and Jesus went up to Jerusalem.

There are several things to notice right away. It was time for Passover - the first of three feasts when every able-bodied Jewish male was required to go to Jerusalem. Passover takes place in the spring - on the 14th of Nisan, which is around March or April. It is followed immediately by the Feast of Unleavened Bread on the 15th of Nisan. The Feast of Unleavened Bread is a seven-day feast and begins and ends with a special Sabbath. By Jesus' day, the Jews had already begun to call the whole eight days "Passover."

Jesus never breaks the law of God in any way, and so, of course, He was going to Jerusalem for Passover. Note what the verse says, however: the Passover of the Jews was at hand. It doesn't say the Passover of the Lord as it should. It had become an empty ritual - a tradition of man. In last study's symbolism, it had become an empty stone waterpot, with no true Spirit or joy.

Deuteronomy 16:1 Observe the month of Abib and celebrate the Passover of the LORD your God, because in the month of Abib he brought you out of Egypt by night. (Abib was renamed "Nisan" after the Babylonian captivity and is still known as Nisan today)

2 Sacrifice as the Passover to the LORD your God an animal from your flock or herd at the place the LORD will choose as a dwelling for his Name. 3 Do not eat it with bread made with yeast, but for seven days eat unleavened bread, the bread of affliction, because you left Egypt in haste - so that all the days of your life you may remember the time of your departure from Egypt. 4 Let no yeast be found in your possession in all your land for seven days. Do not let any of the meat you sacrifice on the evening of the first day remain until morning.

Remember that it is in the days leading up to Passover that houses are cleaned from top to bottom (spring cleaning comes from this) and every speck of yeast is removed. Throughout the Bible, yeast symbolizes sin and evil. Last year we went through every verse to test that. God is very serious about the symbolism:

Exodus 12:15 Seven days you shall eat unleavened bread. On the first day you shall remove leaven from your houses. For whoever eats leavened bread from the first day until the seventh day, that person shall be cut off from Israel.

We'll go through the Passover symbolism more thoroughly when we come to John's account of Holy Week.

John 2:13 Now the Passover of the Jews was at hand, and Jesus went up to Jerusalem.

Jesus is going "up" to Jerusalem. That is both geographic (geographic because Jerusalem is at a higher elevation than Capernaum) and symbolic:

Matthew 5:34 But I say to you, do not swear at all: neither by heaven, for it is God's throne; 35 nor by the earth, for it is His footstool; nor by Jerusalem, for it is the city of the great King.

You may know that old maps made Jerusalem the center of the world, and how the world's languages seem to point to Jerusalem. Those originating to the west of Jerusalem read left to right and those originating east of Jerusalem read right to left.

So, Passover is at hand, and Jesus prepares for it by cleaning His Father's house, the center and symbol of purity for Israel:

John 2:14 And He found in the temple those who sold oxen and sheep and doves, and the money changers doing business. 15 When He had made a whip of cords, He drove them all out of the temple, with the sheep and the oxen, and poured out the changers' money and overturned the tables. 16 And He said to those who sold doves, "Take these things away! Do not make My Father's house a house of merchandise!"

Now, just so you understand what was going on here. . .the Jews were required to pay a Temple tax, but the priests didn't allow it to be paid with foreign coins. So, when these travelers arrived in Jerusalem from all over the place, they had to exchange their money for the approved Temple coins. As a convenience, these money changers did their business at the Temple. Other people wanted to offer a sacrifice, but needed an animal to sacrifice. It wouldn't have been easy to bring one with them and have it arrive in perfect condition. So, there were animals for sale at the Temple.

Most commentators believe that there were a couple of things going on. First, the word translated "temple" in verse 14 is the word used for the outer court, the Court of the Gentiles. This was the place where the Gentiles went to worship. They weren't allowed to go any further. So, there were money changers and merchants with livestock (and all that that implies) where there was meant to be worship. They could have done their business outside of the Temple, but they were actually inside the Court of the Gentiles.

Secondly, there may have been some cheating going on. Here is what Jon Courson says about it:

Courson, J. 2003. Jon Courson's Application Commentary . Thomas Nelson: Nashville, TN

The People's Bible: John, Baumler, G., 1997, Northwestern Publishing House, Milwaukee, says this:

The other Gospels all mention a similar incident, Matt 21:12-17; Mark 11:15-19; Luke 19:45-48, but they all place it at the end of Jesus' ministry, right after the triumphal entry. It's possible that there are two times that Jesus cleanses the temple - at the beginning of His ministry and again at the end. Or, it's possible that the Holy Spirit places it here in John's narrative for a particular reason. Please note that there is no contradiction. John sets no time that this happens, only that Passover was at hand. For whatever reason, the Holy Spirit wanted to record a wedding followed by Jesus in an act of judgment.

We don't really think about Jesus - the lamb of God - in these kinds of situations. Our paintings of Him portray Him as meek and gentle, and we fall into the trap of always thinking of Him that way. Remember, though, that up until now, Jesus was a carpenter, and there were no power tools in those days. All the accounts in all the Gospels show Jesus acting alone. Think about it! He drove out a number of men, who probably didn't want to leave, all by Himself.

We don't usually think of Jesus, who says "Let the little children come to me" as being like this, but it's every bit as biblical. Remember that the Kinsman Redeemer was also the Avenger of Blood. It reminds me of the bumper sticker that you see sometimes: Beware the Wrath of the Lamb! Notice, though, that Jesus is perfectly in control. He's not in an emotional rage. John makes a point of saying that He didn't just dump the cages of doves over, which would have harmed the birds. Instead, He says to them, "Take these things away." If you've ever seen a movie that shows Jesus dumping over cages, that's not accurate.

One of the reasons that people suspect that there was cheating going on is the reaction of the Jewish leadership:

John 2:18 (NKJV) So the Jews answered and said to Him, "What sign do You show to us, since You do these things?"

They weren't outraged. It must have been obvious that things were not as they should be. They just wanted to know by whose authority He was doing it.

What was the disciples' reaction to all this?

John 2:17 Then His disciples remembered that it was written, "Zeal for Your house has eaten Me up."

The word "then" or "and" in the King James is not actually in the Greek. It really reads more like in the NIV:

John 2:17 His disciples remembered that it is written: "Zeal for your house will consume me."

So, chances are, His disciples didn't remember it right then. There were a lot of things that they just didn't put together in their minds until AFTER Jesus' death and resurrection.

John 2:17 (NIV) His disciples remembered that it is written: "Zeal for your house will consume me."

18 Then the Jews demanded of him, "What miraculous sign can you show us to prove your authority to do all this?"

19 Jesus answered them, "Destroy this temple, and I will raise it again in three days."

20 The Jews replied, "It has taken forty-six years to build this temple, and you are going to raise it in three days?" 21 But the temple he had spoken of was his body. 22 After he was raised from the dead, his disciples recalled what he had said. Then they believed the Scripture and the words that Jesus had spoken.

The disciples remembered that it was written in the Psalms:

Psalm 69:8 I am a stranger to my brothers, an alien to my own mother's sons; 9 for zeal for your house consumes me, and the insults of those who insult you fall on me.

In the NIV, it's clearer that the Jews - which in John always refers to the Jewish leadership - were asking for a miraculous sign. It would seem that they were asking Him to prove that He was the Messiah with a sign. His answer was exactly what they were asking, but they didn't get it:

John 2:19 Jesus answered them, "Destroy this temple, and I will raise it again in three days."

The word translated "temple" here is a different word than the word used earlier. Jesus uses the word naos {nah-os'}that would refer to the innermost areas, including the Holy of Holies:

naos {nah-os'}
1) used of the temple at Jerusalem, but only of the sacred edifice (or sanctuary) itself, consisting of the Holy place and the Holy of Holies (in classical Greek it is used of the sanctuary or cell of the temple, where the image of gold was placed which is distinguished from the whole enclosure)

This, and the other references to the same thing:

Mark 14:58 "We heard him say, 'I will destroy this man-made temple and in three days will build another, not made by man.'"

are the only times in the Gospels when "temple" means something other than the physical building. Before Jesus' ascension, when the Holy Spirit had not come, yet, the only reference to a spiritual temple was about Jesus Himself. Why? Used in this sense, the temple was the place where God's Spirit dwelt. The Bible doesn't mention that God's Spirit was truly present in Herod's Temple, as it had been in the Tabernacle or in Solomon's Temple:

You remember that first, there was the tabernacle, the portable structure from the wilderness. We talked about that a couple of sessions ago. Next, there was the first Temple, which is often called Solomon's Temple. David had wanted to build it, but God told him he couldn't, because he was a man of war. Instead, David gathered the materials, so that Solomon could build the Temple. That temple remained until it was destroyed in 586 BC by Nebuchadnezzar. The Bible records the "glory of the Lord" being present in both the tabernacle and the first temple:

Exodus 40:34 Then the cloud covered the Tent of Meeting, and the glory of the LORD filled the tabernacle.

1 Kings 8:10 When the priests withdrew from the Holy Place, the cloud filled the temple of the LORD. 11 And the priests could not perform their service because of the cloud, for the glory of the LORD filled his temple

The second temple, usually called Zerubbabel's Temple, was constructed after the return of some of the Jews after the Babylonian captivity. It was finally completed in 516 BC, but people wept at how it compared to the one that had been destroyed (Ezra 3:12). This temple remained unchanged for hundreds of years, until King Herod made it much larger and ornate. Herod was not a Jew, and so he thought to get in good with the people with his tremendous building projects. The work to improve Zerubbabel's Temple began around 18-21 BC (different accounts say different things) and had continued for 46 years by this time (see below). It was finally finished in 64 AD. Some people call this the third temple, since it was so different from what it had been originally.

The Bible never says anything about God's Spirit being present in either Zerubbabel's Temple or when it was enlarged and known as Herod's Temple. Where was the Spirit of the Lord present? In Jesus. He WAS "His Father's house" because the Spirit of His Father was within Him. Later, after the Holy Spirit comes on believers, we are also called God's temple:

1 Corinthians 3:16 Don't you know that you yourselves are God's temple and that God's Spirit lives in you?

OK, back to our verse:

John 2:19 Jesus answered them, "Destroy this temple, and I will raise it again in three days."

The word He chooses that has been translated "destroy" is luo -{loo'-o}. It means to loose or untie. He could have chosen a word like apollumi {ap-ol'-loo-mee}, as here:

Matthew 21:41 They said to Him, "He will destroy those wicked men miserably, and lease his vineyard to other vinedressers who will render to him the fruits in their seasons."

Apollumi means:

a) to put out of the way entirely, abolish, put an end to ruin

b) render useless

The Jewish leadership couldn't utterly destroy the Son of God even if they wanted to. The most they could do was to kill His human body - and that only for a little while. Needless to say, the Jewish leadership had no idea what He was talking about:

John 2:20 Then the Jews said, "It has taken forty-six years to build this temple, and will You raise it up in three days?"

21 But He was speaking of the temple of His body. 22 Therefore, when He had risen from the dead, His disciples remembered that He had said this to them; and they believed the Scripture and the word which Jesus had said.

The disciples didn't understand it either at the time. Only later, when He had risen from the dead, did they go back and review things He had said to them. Then, it all started to make sense to them. Now, a couple things to note before we leave this section. Jesus said, "destroy this temple" and who will raise it up? Jesus will raise Himself up. Is that a contradiction of other passages, like this one?

1 Thessalonians 1:9 for they themselves report what kind of reception you gave us. They tell how you turned to God from idols to serve the living and true God, 10 and to wait for his Son from heaven, whom he raised from the dead - Jesus, who rescues us from the coming wrath.

Or this one:

Romans 8:11 And if the Spirit of him who raised Jesus from the dead is living in you, he who raised Christ from the dead will also give life to your mortal bodies through his Spirit , who lives in you.

No, that is just evidence of the Trinity. It's easy to get confused when there are three persons - Father, Son and Spirit - but there is just one God, not three.

So, what are we getting out of this section? Remember that it was almost time for Passover, the time when Jews are commanded to rid their homes of yeast. Jewish homes are cleaned from top to bottom. It's likely that some yeast fungus escapes detection, but the obvious yeast is consciously removed. Yeast is symbolic of sin and evil. The way that John's account reads, Jesus, in his first public act of his ministry (the wedding miracle was a quiet, private one) goes to the temple and rids it of the obvious sin and evil. He cleans His Father's house prior to Passover. In one sense, Jesus' entire days on earth are represented by the Feast of Unleavened Bread, which comes next. After the yeast is removed, it doesn't come back until the Feast of Unleavened Bread is over. Jesus' days on earth were completely sinless - completely "yeastless."

Herod's Temple

Photos of a model of Herod's Temple

 

John 2:23 (NKJV) The Discerner of Hearts

Now when He was in Jerusalem at the Passover, during the feast, many believed in His name when they saw the signs which He did. 24 But Jesus did not commit Himself to them, because He knew all men, 25 and had no need that anyone should testify of man, for He knew what was in man.

This says that many believed in His name when they saw the signs which He did. Yet, Jesus knows what's in their hearts, and He knows there is not truly saving faith there. As one commentator puts it, they "believe" in Him, but He doesn't believe in them. They are "here today, gone tomorrow" followers. He didn't need anybody to testify that "here is a true believer" because He knew what was in their hearts. This passage reminds me of this one:

Matthew 13:5 Some fell on rocky places, where it did not have much soil. It sprang up quickly, because the soil was shallow. 6 But when the sun came up, the plants were scorched, and they withered because they had no root.

The plants that grew on rocky soil appeared to be growing and alive - for a short time - but they quickly died. That seems to be what John is saying about the "many believed in His name" at Passover. They had no root.

 

Now, the next chapter is best read as a continuation of the previous couple of verses (in other words, Chapter 3 should have started a couple of verses earlier. Remember that the Bible was not written with chapters and verses. Those were added much later):

John 2:23 Now when He was in Jerusalem at the Passover, during the feast, many believed in His name when they saw the signs which He did. 24 But Jesus did not commit Himself to them, because He knew all men, 25 and had no need that anyone should testify of man, for He knew what was in man.

3:1 There was a man of the Pharisees named Nicodemus, a ruler of the Jews. 2 This man came to Jesus by night 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."

Now, we have the believers with no root contrasted with Nicodemous, one who is - or will be - a genuine believer. He is a ruler of the Jews, one of the Sanhedrin. In fact, his name even means "rule over the people." Nikao (nik-ah'-o) means to conquer, overcome, prevail, get the victory, and demos means the general public or people. When you read in Revelation about the Nicolaitans, that word means "to rule over" the laos, which is where we get our word laity.

Some quick information from Chuck Missler about Nicodemus:

Nicodemus came to Jesus by night, which isn't all that unusual, but it implies that he came secretly. With John's tendency to use pictures, it also implies that Nicodemus still walks in darkness:

John 11:9 Jesus answered, "Are there not twelve hours in the day? If anyone walks in the day, he does not stumble, because he sees the light of this world. 10 But if one walks in the night, he stumbles, because the light is not in him."

Later, in this same section, you'll see Jesus tell Nicodemus that he must come out of the darkness:

John 3:18 "He who believes in Him is not condemned; but he who does not believe is condemned already, because he has not believed in the name of the only begotten Son of God. 19 And this is the condemnation, that the light has come into the world, and men loved darkness rather than light, because their deeds were evil. 20 For everyone practicing evil hates the light and does not come to the light, lest his deeds should be exposed. 21 But he who does the truth comes to the light, that his deeds may be clearly seen, that they have been done in God."

Nicodemus, at this point, represents the leadership of the Jews. The leadership walked in darkness. Jesus wants Nicodemus to come out of that darkness:

John 12:46 I have come into the world as a light, so that no one who believes in me should stay in darkness .

We're going to run into Nicodemus two more times in the Gospel of John. The next time, you'll see Nicodemus come a little further into the light, when he (sort of) stands against his fellow Pharisees:

John 7:47 Then the Pharisees answered them, "Are you also deceived? 48 Have any of the rulers or the Pharisees believed in Him? 49 But this crowd that does not know the law is accursed."

50 Nicodemus (he who came to Jesus by night, being one of them) said to them, 51 "Does our law judge a man before it hears him and knows what he is doing?"

Finally, after Jesus' crucifixion, he comes openly into the light:

John 19:38 Later, Joseph of Arimathea asked Pilate for the body of Jesus. Now Joseph was a disciple of Jesus, but secretly because he feared the Jews. With Pilate's permission, he came and took the body away. 39 He was accompanied by Nicodemus, the man who earlier had visited Jesus at night. Nicodemus brought a mixture of myrrh and aloes, about seventy-five pounds.

Notice how he still carries the title, though, "the man who visited Jesus at night."

OK, back to our verse.

John 3:1 There was a man of the Pharisees named Nicodemus, a ruler of the Jews. 2This man came to Jesus by night 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."

Nicodemus says, Rabbi, we know that You are a teacher come from God. Now, who is the "we?" It could mean that Nicodemus represents some group that is sympathetic to Jesus. However, the way the first part of the verse read, it seems to mean the rulers of the Jews! Doesn't that put an entirely different slant on things? We know that You are a teacher come from God. The Pharisees KNEW that Jesus had come from God? And, yet they plotted to put Him to death? Yikes!

Now, Jesus knows the questions that Nicodemus hasn't asked: Are you the Messiah? Are you going to save us from the Romans? Are you going to rule as our political king? Is it finally time for the kingdom of God to begin? Jesus bypasses all that and gets to the heart of the matter - what it will really mean to participate in the kingdom of God:

John 3:3 Jesus answered and said to him, "Most assuredly, I say to you, unless one is born again, he cannot see the kingdom of God."

This isn't the first time that the Apostle John brings up being "born again." He had already mentioned it way back in chapter 1:

John 1:12 Yet to all who received him, to those who believed in his name, he gave the right to become children of God- 13 children born not of natural descent, nor of human decision or a husband's will, but born of God.

Now, poor Nicodemus is probably confused for a number of reasons. For one, he doesn't yet realize that the spiritual aspect of the kingdom of God must take precedence over anything else he is wondering about. For Nicodemus, it probably seems like a statement that comes out of nowhere. Didn't it for you, the first time you read it? So, he's trying to get his bearings on where this conversation is going. Perhaps to give himself time to figure it out, he wants Jesus to define his terminology:

John 3:4 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 answers:

John 3:5 Jesus answered, "Most assuredly, I say to you, unless one is born of water and the Spirit, he cannot enter 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 Do not marvel that I said to you, 'You must be born again.' 8 The wind blows where it wishes, and you hear the sound of it, but cannot tell where it comes from and where it goes. So is everyone who is born of the Spirit."

There is so much packed into this answer. Do I understand it? No, I don't. I'll just give you a little bit of what I know now (not much). You know that the Holy Spirit is the best teacher, and He'll keep teaching us about these things as we stay in God's Word. Just a quick plug for that - I hope that you're doing daily Bible reading of some kind. If you've never read the Bible before, you might want to start in the New Testament. Try for at least 1-4 chapters every day. You can get through the whole Bible in a year at a pace of 3.25 chapters a day. I really encourage you to skip all the commentary (except perhaps for maps and dates) the first time through. Just let God show you what He's going to show you, teach you what He's going to teach you. Every time you read through, you'll see more and learn more. If you want to study a particular section in depth, then read the commentaries - but don't necessarily limit yourself to just one. I know this is practically sacrilege to say this, but I honestly think you can short circuit some of what God may want to show you by limiting yourself to one person's interpretation of what something means. Please - I include myself in that. Don't accept that what I say about something is necessarily the way it is!!! That's what being a Berean is all about. Search the Scriptures daily to see if these things are true or not.

OK, back to our verses.

John 3:5 Jesus answered, "Most assuredly, I say to you, unless one is born of water and the Spirit, he cannot enter the kingdom of God.

There are three major views on this verse. I'm just going to give you all of them, as objectively as possible. One view is that is born of water means water baptism. Remember that the forerunner of Jesus - John the Baptist - was preaching that the kingdom of heaven was near, and was baptizing people in preparation for that. We saw John the Baptist already in chapter one, so this statement born of water isn't just dropping out of nowhere. As a ruler of the Jews, Nicodemus would certainly know of the Pharisees that went to see John the Baptist and what their report had been. Repent, for the kingdom of heaven is near! And, John's baptism was a baptism of repentance.

Mark 16:16 Whoever believes and is baptized will be saved, but whoever does not believe will be condemned.

Acts 2:38 Peter replied, "Repent and be baptized, every one of you, in the name of Jesus Christ for the forgiveness of your sins. And you will receive the gift of the Holy Spirit.

1 Peter 3:20 In it only a few people, eight in all, were saved through water, 21 and this water symbolizes baptism that now saves you also - not the removal of dirt from the body but the pledge of a good conscience toward God. It saves you by the resurrection of Jesus Christ

 

The People's Bible: John, Baumler, Gary. 1997. Northwestern Publishing House, Milwaukee, says:

One question I have for this view is that word "cannot." According to Strongs, that word ou {oo} [also (before a vowel) ouk {ook} and (before an aspirate) ouch {ookh}] is an absolute negative. If I understand this correctly, then, it would mean that water baptism was absolutely necessary to be born again, without exception. So, my question is - what about the thief on the cross? He was not baptized, yet promised paradise. Luke 13:28 shows Abraham, Isaac and Jacob in the kingdom of God yet they were not baptized. Now, I am not questioning this view, just asking why such a strong word was chosen when there would seem to be exceptions.

WELS Q & A's on Baptism

Another view is that born of water means the water of the word. In that case, this would mean that being born again comes through the Spirit and the Word. In support of that would be several passages:

1 Peter 1:23 For you have been born again, not of perishable seed, but of imperishable, through the living and enduring word of God.

James 1:18 He chose to give us birth through the word of truth, that we might be a kind of firstfruits of all he created.

2 Thessalonians 2:13 But we ought always to thank God for you, brothers loved by the Lord, because from the beginning God chose you to be saved through the sanctifying work of the Spirit and through belief in the truth. 14 He called you to this through our gospel, that you might share in the glory of our Lord Jesus Christ. 15 So then, brothers, stand firm and hold to the teachings we passed on to you, whether by word of mouth or by letter.

Romans 10:17 Consequently, faith comes from hearing the message, and the message is heard through the word of Christ.

John 15:3 You are already clean because of the word I have spoken to you.

John 6:63 The Spirit gives life; the flesh counts for nothing. The words I have spoken to you are spirit and they are life.

Ephesians 5:25 Husbands, love your wives, just as Christ loved the church and gave himself up for her 26 to make her holy, cleansing her by the washing with water through the word

Water can represent the Spirit itself, too:

Isaiah 44:3 For I will pour water on the thirsty land, and streams on the dry ground; I will pour out my Spirit on your offspring, and my blessing on your descendants.

Ezekiel 36:25 I will sprinkle clean water on you, and you will be clean; I will cleanse you from all your impurities and from all your idols. 26 I will give you a new heart and put a new spirit in you; I will remove from you your heart of stone and give you a heart of flesh. 27 And I will put my Spirit in you and move you to follow my decrees and be careful to keep my laws.

Titus 3:4 But when the kindness and love of God our Savior appeared, 5 he saved us, not because of righteous things we had done, but because of his mercy. He saved us through the washing of rebirth and renewal by the Holy Spirit, 6 whom he poured out on us generously through Jesus Christ our Savior,

1 Corinthians 6:11 you were washed, you were sanctified, you were justified in the name of the Lord Jesus Christ and by the Spirit of our God.

John 4:13 Jesus answered, "Everyone who drinks this water will be thirsty again, 14 but whoever drinks the water I give him will never thirst. Indeed, the water I give him will become in him a spring of water welling up to eternal life."

John 7:37 On the last and greatest day of the Feast, Jesus stood and said in a loud voice, "If anyone is thirsty, let him come to me and drink. 38 Whoever believes in me, as the Scripture has said, streams of living water will flow from within him."

 

Here is one article (there are many - just look up "born of water", word) that shows this position: BORN OF WATER AND THE SPIRIT and a portion of the article:

A question I have for this position is: Why the awkward wording? If Jesus really meant, unless one is born of [the word] and the Spirit, he cannot enter the kingdom of God, then why didn't He say it that way? There seems to be quite a bit of support for this view elsewhere in Scripture, but that's a really weird way of saying it here, if that is what it really means. It's not that obtuse elsewhere.

John 3:5 Jesus answered, "Most assuredly, I say to you, unless one is born of water and the Spirit, he cannot enter the kingdom of God.

A third view is that born of water means the physical act of being born. The next verse in Jesus' discourse seems to support that:

John 3:5 Jesus answered, "I tell you the truth, no one can enter the kingdom of God unless he is born of water and the Spirit. 6 Flesh gives birth to flesh, but the Spirit gives birth to spirit.

In that case, the "born of water" would go along with "flesh gives birth to flesh," and "the Spirit" would go along with "the Spirit gives birth to spirit." So, in this view, the water refers to amniotic fluid that flows out when a baby is born. Jesus would be kind of referring back to the question that Nicodemus had asked:

John 3:4 "How can a man be born when he is old?" Nicodemus asked. "Surely he cannot enter a second time into his mother's womb to be born!"

So, in this view, Jesus is kind of saying, "Yes, Nicodemus, you were born that way, but you must also be born of the Spirit." Here are a couple of articles that support that view:

Born of water

The New Birth

It's a simple view and seems to also have some support. However, a question that comes to mind: Why would Jesus be making that point? If this is indeed what it means, it almost sounds as though there is the possibility of "people" that weren't born of water. That would be really weird, but I suppose once we cross the human clone threshold, scientists will be ready to try the next step. And, believe it or not, you can actually find Scripture that MAY refer to that.

So, here are three views. Each one has merit and each one raises questions. I encourage you to read and pray about it.

Next time we'll continue with the discussion with Nicodemus at night.







The Berean Bible Study of the Gospel of John




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Now the Bereans were of more noble character than the Thessalonians, for they received the message with great eagerness and examined the Scriptures every day to see if what Paul said was true. - Acts 17:11

© 2012 This study was written by Jacqui Komschlies and last updated 2/1/2012. If you have questions, comments, corrections or concerns, please write me.

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