I’m coming to you with 2 “Verily, verily” statements by Jesus. And we will talk about them together because the second one is a further detailing of the first one. It is very important to understand this concept being taught here. Here are two men: one being Jesus and the other being Nicodemus. Nicodemus was a member of the Pharisees. And if you have read the Gospels through before, you know that the Pharisees did not like Jesus for He upset the way things have become with the Jews.
The Pharisees were a Jewish religious group who zealously followed the Old Testament laws as well as their own religious traditions. They were highly respected in the community, but they hated Jesus because He challenged their proud attitudes and dishonorable motives. The Pharisees were to teach the people God’s laws, and yet, they were breaking those laws themselves by plotting to murder Jesus. Their hearts were corrupt, and Jesus called them out on it.
However, Nicodemus genuinely wanted to know who Jesus was and what He was teaching. He was possibly the only Pharisee that wanted to hear Jesus out and research the Scriptures for what He was teaching. So he asked to speak with Jesus somewhere private and at night. That setting tells us that this was something Nicodemus did not want to get out to the general public and especially not to the other Pharisees because he did not want to be publicly exposed as Jesus’ follower. Anyone that talked to Jesus and heard Him out were ostracized by the Pharisees and the Sadducees. Nicodemus did not want to be put out of the synagogue. He was an important figure and teacher. But he also was searching for the one thing Jews of his time – and believers now – were looking for and that is how to enter into the Kingdom of God, God’s presence, the Holy of Holies.
Here in the third chapter of John, verses 1-8 say:
1 Now there was a man of the Pharisees named Nicodemus, a ruler of the Jews. 2 This man came to Jesus by night and said to him, "Rabbi, we know that you are a teacher come from God, for no one can do these signs that you do unless God is with him." 3 Jesus answered him, "Truly, truly, I say to you, unless one is born again he cannot see the Kingdom of God." 4 Nicodemus said to him, "How can a man be born when he is old? Can he enter a second time into his mother's womb and be born?" 5 Jesus answered, "Truly, truly, I say to you, unless one is born of water and the Spirit, he cannot enter 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 Do not marvel that I said to you, 'You must be born again.' 8 The wind blows where it wishes, and you hear its sound, but you do not know where it comes from or where it goes. So it is with everyone who is born of the Spirit.(ESV)"
So here in this passage we see TWO “Verily, Verily” (“Truly, truly”) statements from Jesus, and we will go through them both at the same time because the second one is a furthering of the truth of the first.
Nicodemus wanted to know who Jesus was. He was truly listening to Jesus’ information as opposed to being jealous of the fame he was receiving. The lesson that most needed to be conveyed to Nicodemus at this time was how. Nicodemus knew the Scriptures. He studied them and attempted to teach them as best as he could. Surely, the position he was in caused some turbulence within him, but he still attempted to learn more about God and His people.
Jesus taught him that “You must be born again.” Nicodemus said what I think most of us have asked at one point or another: “How?” And then, Jesus explains in a somewhat cryptic way. He says, “you must be born by water (natural) and spirit (spiritual).” If you are reading this, you are born of the flesh. Those not reading this are also born of the flesh. However, some of you reading this may be born of the Spirit.
The Spirit goes where it goes. We cannot know where it goes, just like Jesus said. Jesus said that the Spirit is like the wind. It goes wherever like the wind blowing around from here and from there. Sometimes the wind seems to swirl around you from every which way. But it does exactly what the Father calls it to do.
Later in the book of John, we will discuss more about the Holy Spirit. But there is one thing I want you to know now. In the Gospels, the disciples were eyewitnesses to Jesus’ life and teachings, and the Holy Spirit helped them remember without taking away their individual perspective. We can be confident that the Gospels are accurate accounts of what Jesus taught and did. It says in 1 Corinthians 2:10-14 (ESV),
10 these things God has revealed to us through the Spirit. For the Spirit searches everything, even the depths of God. 11 For who knows a person's thoughts except the spirit of that person, which is in him? So also no one comprehends the thoughts of God except the Spirit of God. 12 Now we have received not the spirit of the world, but the Spirit who is from God, that we might understand the things freely given us by God. 13 And we impart this in words not taught by human wisdom but taught by the Spirit, interpreting spiritual truths to those who are spiritual. 14 The natural person does not accept the things of the Spirit of God, for they are folly to him, and he is not able to understand them because they are spiritually discerned.
The Holy Spirit can help us in the same way. He brings to remembrance the principles and ideas that God has taught us either by Jesus, His Word, or directly speaking to us via our spirits. The Spirit is the One who causes us to understand what the Father is talking about and what Jesus taught us. The Scriptural truths are only unlocked by the Spirit. This is why in verse 14 of first Corinthians, it says that the things of God are a “folly” (foolishness) to the natural person (one who does not believe in Jesus). The Spirit indwells combines with our spirit once we accept it. Then, and only then, are we born of the Spirit. And when we are born of the Spirit can we “enter the Kingdom of God”. It is then that we can enter into the presence of God, which is perfect love, peace, and good. He is perfection.
I hope this helps in the understanding of these “Verily, verily” statements. Until, next time, I will be working on the next one.
Gotta go fill up my cup…..