John 3:1 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. 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?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.
Nicodemus was a member of the Sanhedrin and was a Pharisee. Sanhedrin was the equivalent of our US Supreme Court. He was the cream of the crop of Israel so to speak. The 70 members came from the chief priests, scribes, and elders. They made religious decisions and laws of the land. So Nicodemus was as religious as you could get in Jesus day. He knew all the beliefs and had a hand in making those decisions into law for Israel.
There has been a lot said about Nicodemus and these passages, but I believe that Nicodemus was investigating the words of Jesus not so much for himself at the time although I believe Nicodemus ended up believing the words of Jesus. But, I also believe he was concerned about the people of Israel because, after all he was one of those on the council that made the laws of religion and an interrupter of the Old Testament. He believed the Bible but most Jews couldn’t see that Jesus was the Messiah to come.
Many today can’t see that prophecy is being fulfilled right before their eyes but it is. The investigation and open mind of Nicodemus lead him to being saved I believe, but the truth is it was a divine meeting set up by our Lord. I also believe that if Nicodemus hadn’t come to Jesus at night or in secret, he could have been scolded by the other leaders by not having a witness with him and may have never heard the saving words of Jesus. He could have been thrown out of the council altogether I believe.
Jesus statement; John 3:3 Except a man be born again, he cannot see the kingdom of God. Nicodemus response was a logical one with; Verse 4 How can a man be born when he is old? Can he enter the second time into his mother’s womb, and be born? Nicodemus was eliminating the simplest explanation. But, Jesus explains exactly what it takes to be saved, born again. 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.
There are many explanations on these verses but let’s look at Jesus words close in verses 5, 6. Many believe be born of water means to being born of a woman, the fluid or water that the baby is carried in the mother. Makes since you must be born human. Many believe what Jesus meant about born of water was speaking of the Word of God which is referred to all through the Bible as water. (John 4:4) (John 7:37-39). Makes since because we must hear Gods word to be saved. Some believe that Jesus meant you must be baptized in the Holy Spirit. That makes since also because God sends the Holy Spirit to live in those who ask Him into their life.
So, I say it takes all the above. Jesus said in this same chapter 3 that for God so love the world, he came to this earth as a human born of a woman. The spirit of God in the flesh as a man called Jesus Christ. That’s what it means to be born again. This is also the reason Jesus said That which is born of the flesh is flesh; and that which is born of the Spirit is spirit. Marvel not that I said unto thee, Ye must be born again. We are born in the flesh to mend the relationship with God because of sin. We hear Gods word, it draws us by His love. If we ask Him into our life we receive the Holy Spirit that that seals us and gives us a new identity with God that we belong to Him through Jesus. So, we are born again when we receive the Holy Spirit. We are born with a choice, we hear Gods word as a choice and we receive Him as our choice. What eternal choice have you made? Jesus didn’t make salvation complicated. He made it your choice.