1) Listen to Podcast
2) GG Questions 09/16/2018
Birthday Sunday: Born Again! John 3:1-21
1. Close Reading: After praying for God to enlighten your mind, read through John 3:1-21 a couple times, slowly. Look for these three things: LIGHTBULB – something that shines from the passage, draws your attention; QUESTION MARK – something difficult to understand; ARROW – a personal application. Share the results of your study with your group.
2. Is Nicodemus an Ignoramus?: Nicodemus was an interesting character. He shows signs of budding, genuine faith later in the narrative (John 7:45-52; 19:38-40), but where is he at the present in John 3? How does Jesus evaluate his signs-based ‘faith’ (2:23-25; 3:2)? Though Jesus mildly scolds Nicodemus (3:7, 10) for his confusion (3:4, 9), how does Jesus’ patient interaction with him exemplify God’s dealings with us in our long, rarely linear, ‘journey of faith’ along which we too experience many doubts and confusions?
3. Biological Impossibility: ‘If re-entrance into my mother’s womb is a necessary prerequisite to entering the kingdom,’ Nicodemus admits, ‘I’m out!’ (John 3:4, 9). Whether his over-literaliam was sarcastic or merely ignorant, Nicodemus has failed to grasp the nature and necessity of the new birth. What does it mean to be born again? And what is its connection to “the water and the Spirit” (3:5)? HINT: a true “teacher of Israel” (3:10) would have thought of passages like Isaiah 44:3; Ezekiel 36:25-27; Joel 2:28-29.
4. The Cross Precedes the Crown: We will enter the kingdom if we are born again (John 3:3, 5), but how are we born again? Rebellious Jews in Moses’ day were given a second chance at life in the wilderness (Num. 21:4-9). How does this story parallel the means by which God gives us new life today (John 3:14-16)?