John 3:3-6



A question was submitted this week through the web form which will be addressed in this weeks study. John 3:5 - What does it mean that we need to be 'born of water and the Spirit if we are to enter the Kingdom of Heaven'? How does this relate to John 3:16 - Believing in Jesus?


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

4Nicodemus said to Him, "How can a man be born when he is old? He cannot enter a second time into his mother's womb and be born, can he?"

5 Jesus answered, "Truly, truly, I say to you, unless one is born of water and 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.

Interestingly, the answer to the above questions is related to the previous 3 studies. Before you proceed with this study, it would be in your best interest to read the studies on Matthew 3, Matthew 9 and Matthew 26.

To understand John 3:5, we first need to understand the relationship between being 'born of water' and 'believing in Jesus'. In the study of Matthew 3:13-17, we illustrated the parallel between Jesus' baptism (in water),  and His Death and Resurrection on the cross.

When Jesus was baptized He was thrust into the water, foreshadowing His death on the cross. On the cross, Jesus first 'yielded His Spirit', suffering spiritual death. He then suffered physical death. Jesus was spiritually dead when He physically died.  He then beared the wrath due for your sins.

Without Jesus you are spiritually dead. This is a repercussion of sin (Gen 3:3). Without Jesus, you are spiritually dead when you physically die. After physical death, you would then suffer the consequence of your sin, eternally separated from God in the Eternal Fire. Jesus suffers BOTH spiritual and physical death in your place, and then bears the wrath for your sins. Jesus become your exact SUBSTITUTE. He dies and suffers in your place.

'Believing in Him' means believing that Jesus is God, and that He acted as your SUBSTITUTE on the cross. Underlying this belief is an understanding that:

  1. You are a sinners (we are unclean)

  2. You are spiritually dead (due to sin)

Being 'born of water' means repenting- that is why John baptized with water for Repentance (Matt 3:11).

Once cleansed, you are prepared to receive His Holy Spirit. The Spirit He yielded for you on the cross.

First you are cleansed by His sacrifice on the cross, then you receive His spirit.

You are 'born of the water' when you are cleansed (i.e. you repent), You are 'born of the spirit' when you receive 'His Spirit'.


Other notes:

  • When Jesus comes out of the Water in Matthew 3, The Spirit (a dove) comes to rest on Him. This is The Spirit He yielded on the cross (The Holy Spirit). It is The Spirit you receive after being cleansed.

  •  In Matthew 9:18-26, Jesus illustrates the process of being born of water and spirit, by first 'cleansing' the bleeding woman, and then giving the mans daughter new life (i.e. she was born again).

  • In Mathew 26:26-28, Jesus illustrates the process through the 'cleansing' properties of wine. He also reminds us that our Spirit requires spiritual food: teaching.



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