John 3:1-36 - Born Again

Click here for a pdf.

On Sunday Jeremy discussed the cleansing of the Temple, pointing out that when Jesus shows up he doesn’t always bring wine (as we discussed last week). Sometimes he brings a “whip,” to drive out of his temple (and our lives) what should not be there. Jeremy also introduced a simple 3-step process to guide study of the Bible: What does it say? (observation) What does it mean? (interpretation) What does it mean to me? (application). 

 

Note:Today we have a whole chapter to get through.You may want to engage at a quicker pace than normal! If you don’t get it all done in the group, finish reading the chapter at home, reflecting on the questions on your own.

 

Opening Discussion:

Write down the first five words that come to your mind when you think of the word “childbirth.” Briefly share with your group what you wrote and why.

 

 

 

 

 

Looking at Scripture:

Read John 3:1-15.

 

Observation - what does it say?

What kind of person was Nicodemus? Why do you think he came to Jesus “after dark”? (See notes in Study Bible for help answering both questions).

 

 

What are the two things Jesus tells Nicodemus can’t happen unless he is “born again?” What do you think Jesus is trying to get across to him?

 

 

Do you have any other observations?

 

 

Interpretation – what does it mean?

What do you think it means to be “born again” (or the word could also be translated “born from above”)? How does the opening discussion on childbirth shed light on what this experience might be like?

 

 

Application – what does it mean to me?

How have you experienced spiritual rebirth in your life? Where is God at work now?

 

Read John 3:16-21.

 

Observation – What does it say?

How does this passage relate back to John’s prologue for the book (1:1-18)?

 

 

 

What is the bronze serpent referred to in v. 14? What are the parallels John is making between what happened to the Israelites and what is happening through Jesus? (Have someone in your group read the note and look up the passage in the book of Numbers).

 

 

 

Interpretation – What does it mean?

John 3:16 is one of the most famous passages in the Bible, often used as a way to sum up the entire gospel in one verse. What extra meaning does the verse take on when read in the surrounding context? What has chapter 3 been trying to teach about Jesus and what it means to follow him (or be a Christian) so far?

 

 

 

Application – What does it mean to me?

How can you “lift Jesus up” in your life? What other points of application can you see here?

 

Read John 3:22-36.

 

Observation - What does it say?

In point form, summarize how John responds to his jealous disciples:

 

 

 

Interpretation – What does it mean?

What kind of character traits does John display in his response? How does this enable him to better serve God in his specific calling/vocation (as the one to prepare the way for the Lord)?

 

 

 

 

Application – What does it mean to me?

How can John the Baptist be an example to us as we try to fulfill our own vocations? What can we learn from his attitude and actions?