Today we will begin our  series on THE LIFE OF CHRIST, starting in:


John 2:13 Now the Passover of the Jews was at hand, and Jesus went up to Jerusalem.  14 And He found in the temple those who sold oxen and sheep and doves, and the money changers doing business.  15 When He had made a whip of cords, He drove them all out of the temple, with the sheep and the oxen, and poured out the changers' money and overturned the tables.  16 And He said to those who sold doves, "Take these things away! Do not make My Father's house a house of merchandise!"  17 Then His disciples remembered that it was written, "Zeal for Your house has eaten Me up."


Jesus always kept the Passover, but this was the first one He would observe since He began His public ministry. There was nothing in the Law of Moses forbidding the sale of animals and it was convenient for those who had to travel a great distance. Once they bought an animal without blemish, it would be considered as a part of their flock. There were also money changers there as well. The temple tax was half a shekel, but Jews could not use foreign money with images because they were considered idolatry. So, the money changers would exchange their foreign money for acceptable money for the temple. Again, there was nothing wrong with these practices.


So, why did Jesus make a whip of cords, turn over their tables, and run them out? I believe the answer is found in Jesus’ statement, “Do not make My Father's house a house of merchandise!” Apparently, what the problem was is that these merchants were taking advantage of the people and charging them outlandish prices making the temple area into a place of profit. We can this thought emphasized again, when Jesus does this same thing again toward the end of His. When He does the second time, He say, "It is written, 'My house shall be called a house of prayer,' but you have made it a 'den of thieves.'” (Mt. 21:13).


This event shows that Jesus did not ignore their sins or the injustice that was being done. Instead, He took matters into His own hands and stood up for righteousness. This event also shows that Jesus is the Messiah because He called the temple, “My Father’s house.” When Jesus said this, He was clearly saying that He is the Son of God. Jesus’ actions that day reminded His disciples of Psalm 69:9, which was a prophecy of Jesus’ zeal to keep the house of God pure and holy.


John 2:18 So the Jews answered and said to Him, "What sign do You show to us, since You do these things?"


The Jews had just witnessed what Jesus had done, and they wanted Him to provide some proof of His authority for doing what He did.


John 2:19 Jesus answered and said to them, "Destroy this temple, and in three days I will raise it up."  20 Then the Jews said, "It has taken forty-six years to build this temple, and will You raise it up in three days?"  21 But He was speaking of the temple of His body.  22 Therefore, when He had risen from the dead, His disciples remembered that He had said this to them; and they believed the Scripture and the word which Jesus had said.


The answer Jesus gave was not understood by the Jews or by His own disciples. In fact, it was not until Jesus was raised from the dead that His disciples understood what Jesus had meant (Jn. 20:9). When we think about it, we can understand why they were confused because Jesus was standing in the temple when He said this. However, we have the advantage of knowing what He was talking about because we have the fully revealed Word of God.


So, Jesus was talking about His body and how it would be raised up on the third day. This would be the greatest sign that would prove Jesus is the Son of God. As Pauls writes in:


Romans 1:1 Paul, a bondservant of Jesus Christ, called to be an apostle, separated to the gospel of God  2 which He promised before through His prophets in the Holy Scriptures,  3 concerning His Son Jesus Christ our Lord, who was born of the seed of David according to the flesh,  4 and declared to be the Son of God with power according to the Spirit of holiness, by the resurrection from the dead.


We also discover that at some point, some of the Jews figured out what Jesus was talking about because they asked Pilate to secure the tomb where Jesus was buried as we read in:


Matthew 27:62 On the next day, which followed the Day of Preparation, the chief priests and Pharisees gathered together to Pilate,  63 saying, "Sir, we remember, while He was still alive, how that deceiver said, 'After three days I will rise.'  64 "Therefore command that the tomb be made secure until the third day, lest His disciples come by night and steal Him away, and say to the people, 'He has risen from the dead.' So the last deception will be worse than the first."  65 Pilate said to them, "You have a guard; go your way, make it as secure as you know how."  66 So they went and made the tomb secure, sealing the stone and setting the guard. 


While it is true that some people were confused and unaware of Jesus’ teachings in the first century, we cannot use excuses today because we have the fully revealed Word of God:


2 Timothy 3:16 All Scripture is given by inspiration of God, and is profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness,  17 that the man of God may be complete, thoroughly equipped for every good work.


2 Peter 1:3 as His divine power has given to us all things that pertain to life and godliness, through the knowledge of Him who called us by glory and virtue,


Everything we need to know about being pleasing to God and having confidence in our salvation is freely provided to us in the Word of God. We must never forget the warnings in the following verses:


Acts 17:30 "Truly, these times of ignorance God overlooked, but now commands all men everywhere to repent,  31 "because He has appointed a day on which He will judge the world in righteousness by the Man whom He has ordained.


2 Thessalonians 1:7 and to give you who are troubled rest with us when the Lord Jesus is revealed from heaven with His mighty angels,  8 in flaming fire taking vengeance on those who do not know God, and on those who do not obey the gospel of our Lord Jesus Christ.


Let us always strive to be students of God’s  Word and be humble enough to live by what it says.


John 2:23 Now when He was in Jerusalem at the Passover, during the feast, many believed in His name when they saw the signs which He did.  24 But Jesus did not commit Himself to them, because He knew all men,  25 and had no need that anyone should testify of man, for He knew what was in man.


There are many signs and miracles that Jesus did that were not recorded for us, but the ones we have are enough for us to believe as:


John 20:30 And truly Jesus did many other signs in the presence of His disciples, which are not written in this book;  31 but these are written that you may believe that Jesus is the Christ, the Son of God, and that believing you may have life in His name.


Jesus had the ability to know the hearts of the people, and He knew they were not ready to fully embrace that He was the Son of God. Sure, some believed in His authority because of the things He did, but as they would soon find out it takes more than just belief. A person must be willing to follow Jesus all the way by obeying Him and remaining faithful (Rev. 2:10). Most likely, some of these same people who believed in Him are some of the same people who said, “Crucify Him! Crucify Him!” (Lk. 23:21).


John 3:1 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."


Nicodemus was a ruler of the Jews, which means he was considered to be a great man, and he was a teacher of the Law (Jn. 3:10). He was convinced that Jesus was a teacher who had come from God because of the signs He had performed. Since he came to Jesus at night, some have suggested he did this to be secretive so none of his fellow Jews would know what he was doing. However, this is just an assumption because he could have spoken to Him at night because it was convenient. The only thing we know for sure is that he spoke to Jesus at nighttime. Nicodemus is only mentioned two other times in Scripture (Jn. 7:50; 19:39), and both instances refer to this meeting at night he had with Jesus.


John 3:3 Jesus answered and said to him, "Most assuredly, 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, "Most assuredly, I say to you, unless one is born of water and the Spirit, he cannot enter the kingdom of God.


Jesus’ answer confused Nicodemus because all he could think of was the physical. He knew that he belonged to the physical kingdom of Israel, and as Jew, he was considered to be part of God’s chosen nation. Jesus is telling him, you must be born again or you cannot enter the kingdom of God or even see it.


In verse 4, Nicodemus is trying to make sense of Jesus’ statement from a physical point of view, which is why he asked, "How can a man be born when he is old? Can he enter a second time into his mother's womb and be born?" He thought Jesus’ statement was crazy because he knew it was impossible to be physically reborn.


So, Jesus restates what He said to help Nicodemus understand that He was talking about a spiritual rebirth and not a physical one. Jesus makes it clear that a person cannot enter the kingdom of God, which John the Baptist said was at hand (Mk. 1:15), unless he is born again. This teaching means a person cannot be saved unless he is born of water and the Spirit. Since these two elements are necessary for salvation, we need to take a closer look at what they are and how we are born again.


First, let’s examine the word “water” and how it relates to being born again. The word “water” comes from the Greek word “hudor,” which simply means water. Obviously, water is one of the elements necessary to be born again, which points to baptism.


In fact, we can see that water is required for baptism. For example, when John was baptizing, he baptized with water:


John 3:23  Now John also was baptizing in Aenon near Salim, because there was much water there. And they came and were baptized.


When the apostles and disciples were carrying out The Great Commission, they baptized with water as well:


Acts 8:36  Now as they went down the road, they came to some water. And the eunuch said, "See, here is water. What hinders me from being baptized?"


So, Philip baptized the eunuch in water, and next verse shows Peter commanding that the household of Cornilus to be baptized.


Acts 10:47 "Can anyone forbid water, that these should not be baptized who have received the Holy Spirit just as we have?"  48 And he commanded them to be baptized in the name of the Lord.


When Paul wrote to the Ephesians, he taught that there is only one baptism that saves (Eph. 4:4-5), and Peter taught that one baptism is by water:


1 Peter 3:20 who formerly were disobedient, when once the Divine longsuffering waited in the days of Noah, while the ark was being prepared, in which a few, that is, eight souls, were saved through water.  21 There is also an antitype which now saves us -- baptism (not the removal of the filth of the flesh, but the answer of a good conscience toward God), through the resurrection of Jesus Christ,


Notice, just as water played a role in the salvation of Noah and his family, water plays a role in our salvation in that it is where the Bible says our sins are washed away by the power of Jesus’ blood.  In Romans 6:3ff and Col 2:13, Paul describes baptism as a burial in which we die to our sins and we are made alive with Jesus, which is exactly what Jesus was describing to Nicodemus about being born again. At the point of baptism, we put to death our old man of sin as we are buried under the water, and we are “born again” as a new creature of Christ without our sins. All this evidence proves that water baptism is one of the essential elements necessary to enter the kingdom of God and be saved.  In fact, all the early writers, known as the “church fathers,” agree that John 3:5 is talking about water baptism.


Wayne Jackson notes:

In his monumental work, History of Infant Baptism, William Wall, a leading scholar in the Church of England, asserted that not a single writer of antiquity denied the identification of the “water” of John 3:5 with baptism. He suggested that John Calvin was the first to disassociate the two items, and that Calvin even conceded that his interpretation was “new” (Oxford, 1862, Vol. I, p. 443 -

Not only does the Bible prove that Jesus is talking about water baptism, which is all we need, all these early non-inspired writers understood that Jesus was talking about water baptism as well.

Second, let’s take a look at the word “Spirit” and how it relates to being born again. We need to keep in mind there is only one birth and it consists of water and spirit. Therefore, there are not two births as some teach, but only one. Jesus is teaching that the Holy Spirit is involved with us being born again. But the question is, how? To answer this question, we must go beyond this one passage and look at the whole counsel of God. When we do this, we will discover that the Holy Spirit instructs us through the Word of God on how to be saved, which is the role He plays in our being born again.

The Holy Spirit’s main role was to reveal the Word of God to us as can be seen verses like:

John 14:26  "But the Helper, the Holy Spirit, whom the Father will send in My name, He will teach you all things, and bring to your remembrance all things that I said to you.

John 16:13 "However, when He, the Spirit of truth, has come, He will guide you into all truth; for He will not speak on His own authority, but whatever He hears He will speak; and He will tell you things to come.  14 "He will glorify Me, for He will take of what is Mine and declare it to you.  15 "All things that the Father has are Mine. Therefore I said that He will take of Mine and declare it to you.

He spoke through some of Jesus’ disciples, who in turn recorded these revelations for us in our Bibles (2 Tim. 3:16-17; 1 Cor. 2:12-13; 2 Pet. 1:20-21). These men would prove that they were speaking by the inspiration of the Holy Spirit by working a miracle by the power of the Holy Spirit:

Mark 16:20 And they went out and preached everywhere, the Lord working with them and confirming the word through the accompanying signs. Amen. See also Acts 2:43; 5;12; 6:8; 8:13; Rom. 15:19.

Jesus said, "It is the Spirit who gives life; the flesh profits nothing. The words that I speak to you are spirit, and they are life” (Jn. 6:63). Paul refers to the New Testament as being a spirit (2 Cor. 3:6), which teaches us that the Holy Spirit works through the Word to show us how we are to enter the kingdom of God. Paul says this:

Ephesians 6:17  And take the helmet of salvation, and the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God;

So, the Word of God is the sword of the Spirit. The Word of God is how the Holy Spirit convicts, rebukes, encourages, etc. It is through the Word, or we could say by the Spirit, that we learn how to be saved :

James 1:18 Of His own will He brought us forth by the word of truth, that we might be a kind of firstfruits of His creatures.

21 Therefore lay aside all filthiness and overflow of wickedness, and receive with meekness the implanted word, which is able to save your souls.  See also 1 Pet. 1:23; Rom. 1:16.

 To further show how the Holy Spirit works in our conversion with water baptism, notice the following parallel passages:

“Husbands, love your wives, just as Christ also loved the church and gave Himself for her, that He might sanctify and cleanse her with the washing of water by the word” (Ephesians 5:25-26)

Notice, the 3 elements: “the word”, “washing of water”, and “sanctify and cleanse”. The “word” is obviously a reference to the Word of God. “Washing of water” refers to water baptism. “Sanctify and cleanse” refers to being saved with our sin being removed.

“…He saved us, through the washing of regeneration and renewing of the Holy Spirit” (Titus 3:5).

Notice the 3 elements: “Holy Spirit”, “washing of regeneration” and saved. “Renewing of the Holy Spirit” refers to how the Holy Spirit works through the Word to save us (Jas. 1:21). “Washing” is defined as “Washing, cleansing; water (USB). “Regeneration” is defined as a new birth or renewal or restoration of life after death (Thayer). So, “washing of regeneration” is referring to water baptism and “saved” means salvation.

“For by one Spirit we were all baptized into one body” (1 Cor. 12:13).

Notice the 3 elements: “Spirit”, “baptized”, “one body”. Please notice Paul says, “By one Spirit” and not “With one Spirit.” This detail is important because it shows the baptism being spoken of is not Holy Spirit baptism because it is by the Holy Spirit. The Holy Spirit instructs us through the Word that we must be baptized in water into the name of Jesus for the remission of our sins (Acts 2:38). So, “baptism” refers to water baptism. “One body” is the same as saying the kingdom because the body is the church (Col. 1:18, 24), and the church is the same as the kingdom (Mt. 16:18-19). This truth can be seen in following chart:

John 3:5




Eph. 5:26




Tit. 3:5

Holy Spirit



1 Cor. 12:13




All these verses prove that the Holy Spirit works through the Word of God, which teaches us what we must do to be born again. To be born again, we must believe that Jesus is the Son of God (Jn. 8:24), repent (Lk. 13:3), confess Jesus as Lord (Rom. 10:9-10) and be baptized (Acts 2:38; 1 Pet. 3:21; Acts 22:16). When we obey the Holy Spirit’s instructions, we are added to the kingdom by God (Acts 2:47), which is Jesus’ church or body (Col. 1:18, 24) that He will save (Eph. 5:23).

 Whenever we are born again, we receive the gift of the Holy Spirit (Acts 2:38; 5:32), which means we have been sealed by Him as the following verses teach:

Ephesians 1:13  In Him you also trusted, after you heard the word of truth, the gospel of your salvation; in whom also, having believed, you were sealed with the Holy Spirit of promise,  14 who is the guarantee of our inheritance until the redemption of the purchased possession, to the praise of His glory.

Ephesians 4:30  And do not grieve the Holy Spirit of God, by whom you were sealed for the day of redemption. Also 2 Cor. 1:22.

The word “seal” means To mark with a seal as a means of identification, mark, seal so that the mark denoting ownership also carries with it the protection of the owner (BDAG).”

This fits perfectly with The Great Commission (Mt. 28:19), which teaches that we are baptized into the name of, or into the possession of the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit. This seal is our guarantee of a home in heaven if we remain faithful (Rev. 2:10). Just as the Holy Spirit was a witness for Jesus as we read in:

1 John 5:6 This is He who came by water and blood -- Jesus Christ; not only by water, but by water and blood. And it is the Spirit who bears witness, because the Spirit is truth.


He also bears witness that we are children of God as can be seen in:

Romans 8:16 The Spirit Himself bears witness with our spirit that we are children of God,

Once we are born again, we are considered to be the temple of God, and all three members of the Godhead will dwell in us (Holy Spirit: 1 Cor. 3:16; 6:19; Rom. 8:9, 11; Father: 2 Cor. 6:16; Jn. 14:23; Jesus: Rom. 8:10; 2 Cor. 13:5; Jn. 6:56).

How do they dwell in us? It is by our faith:

Ephesians 3:17 that Christ may dwell in your hearts through faith; that you, being rooted and grounded in love,

We can know that they dwell in us just like we can know that our sins are being removed, and we are being united with Christ at the point of our baptism:

Colossians 2:12  buried with Him in baptism, in which you also were raised with Him through faith in the working of God, who raised Him from the dead.

Notice, it is by us putting our faith in the working of God that we can know these things are happening.  

So, Jesus has taught Nicodemus and us a valuable lesson. If we want to be saved and be able to enter the kingdom of God, we must be born again by obeying the instructions of the Holy Spirit, which includes being water baptized in the name of Jesus for the remission of our sins.

I hope you will join us for the next part of our  lesson because I will start out by looking at some of the objections that people make who try to say that Jesus was not talking about water baptism, but something else. We will also finish take a close look at the remainder of John 3.