Sunday 30 May 2021

Bible Book:

'No one can see the Kingdom of God without being born from above…you must be born from above…born of the spirit' (vs 5-8)

John 3:1-17 Sunday 30 May 2021

Psalm 29


Nicodemus is a learned person. He is described as a 'leader' and a 'teacher'. He comes to Jesus in the veil of the night seeking illumination and understanding, being quite clear that no one can work wonders “apart from the presence of God” (verse 2).

Scriptural wisdom affirms that when it is dark the spirit of God is present generating life, making things new (Genesis 1:2).

Jesus responds to Nicodemus reminding him that “no one can see the Kingdom of God without being born from above” (John 3:3).The Greek word 'anothen', used in verse 3 and 7 is translated as 'from above'. It can also be translated as 'anew' or 'born again'. It is a rich term. It is intimately related in both these verses to the 'Kingdom of God'.

In spite of all his learning and leadership qualities, Nicodemus fails to grasp the concept and connection, and can only imagine that to be born anew must mean entering the womb and being born a second time. He finds the idea of being 'born from above/born of water and spirit' difficult to understand.

A distinction is made between physical birth, 'of the flesh', and spiritual birth, 'of the Spirit', a concept introduced earlier as being born 'of God' (John 1:13).

John’s Gospel relates 'spirit' to 'wind (verse 8), a theme that draws deeply on Hebrew theology where wind and spirit are symbols of the breath of God and new life (see for example Genesis 1:1; 2:7 and Ezekiel 37:5). In John 20:22 it is noted that Jesus 'breathed' on his disciples to give them new life.  

A life born 'from above' or 'of God' is a life grounded in Jesus, and sustained by the breath and spirit of God, attuned to the Kingdom of God. This is an insightful picture of the Holy Trinity.

To Ponder:

  • In this passage there is an interplay between God, Jesus and Holy Spirit. Does it offer you help to explain the concept of Trinity to people who think a Christian worship three Gods?


Holy God, give to us new life by your spirit day by day, so that we may truly follow Christ, and see and serve you. Amen.

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