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The text for this lesson is John 3:1–21

Key Point

  • Since the fall into sin, we are born spiritually blind, sinful, and unclean. As children of God, we are reborn—born again—of water and the Spirit, so that we can see our sinfulness and the salvation that is ours in Jesus Christ.
  • Law: As a child of Adam, I am by nature sinful and unclean.
  • Gospel: As a child of God, I am by grace righteous and pure in God’s sight. I have been born of water and the Spirit in Holy Baptism, through which God the Holy Spirit created and sustains faith in my heart to believe and trust in Jesus and gives me the gift of eternal life.

Discussion Points

  1. Suppose that you are walking down the street and you meet up with a friend. After you greet each other, your friend asks in a very kind, caring voice, “Are you born again?” How do you respond?
  2. Read John 3:1–8. Who was Nicodemus, and why did he come to Jesus “by night” (John 3:2)? What does Jesus mean by being “born again” and seeing “the kingdom of God” (John 3:3). How does Nicodemus understand Jesus’ words at first? How does Jesus correct his faulty understanding in John 3:5 and thus show that “born again” has a double meaning?
  3. In John 3:6–8, Jesus once again plays on words with a double meaning. What does this verse say about the Holy Spirit? What does it say about Christians, who are born again by the Holy Spirit?
  4. Read John 3:9–15. In John 3:11, who is the “we” who speak and bear witness “to what we have seen”? In John 3:14–15, how does Jesus fulfill the Old Testament story of the bronze serpent in Numbers 21:4–9?
  5. Read John 3:16–21. John 3:16–17 is appropriately called the “Gospel in a nutshell.” What does it mean in John 3:16 that “God so loved the world”? See also 1 John 4:10. How does John 3:17 prevent us from viewing God as a bitter, angry, vindictive deity intent on punishing us unless we believe in Jesus?
  6. How can this lesson help you be renewed in the “new birth” and the life of faith and love that the Spirit has worked in you by means of your Baptism?


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