1 And there was a man of the Pharisees, named Nicodemus, a ruler of the Jews.
(Nicodemus was a religious leader of the Jews, the ruling class.)
2 This man came to Jesus by night, and said to him: Rabbi, we know that thou art come a teacher from God; for no man can do these signs which thou dost, unless God be with him.
(Nicodemus believed that the Lord was a prophet as He could perform miracles.)
3 Jesus answered, and said to him: Amen, amen I say to thee, unless a man be born again, he cannot see the kingdom of God.
(To be born again here means to be transformed into a spiritual creation by the Spirit of God, to believe in Jesus Christ and His Teaching, to abandon the old way of sinful living according to the flesh and human inclination and to begin anew with compassion and selfless love.)
4 Nicodemus saith 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 again?
(Nicodemus misunderstood the Lord as he thought of being born again in a physical sense, to be delivered from a mother's womb.)
5 Jesus answered: Amen, amen I say to thee, unless a man be born again of water and the Holy Ghost, he cannot enter into the kingdom of God.
(Being born again by water is to be baptized,; to be born again in the Holy Ghost or the Holy Spirit means to be confirmed or to become the dwelling of the Holy Spirit. Here two Catholic Sacraments were mentioned.)
6 That which is born of the flesh, is flesh; and that which is born of the Spirit, is spirit.
( Man first is born by the flesh to be just a carnal man who often is guided by human sinful inclinations and carnal instincts. Born-again man is given birth by the Holy Spirit when the carnal man is replaced by a spiritual being who believes in Jesus Christ and in whom Love resides and governs his conscience and actions.)
7 Wonder not, that I said to thee, you must be born again.
(We must change, must be born again or converted to live our life in a righteous, unselfish, spiritual, and loving way.)
8 The Spirit breatheth where he will; and thou hearest his voice, but thou knowest not whence he cometh, and whither he goeth: so is every one that is born of the Spirit.
(Other translations use the "wind" instead of "Spirit". Here Our Lord tried to tell Nicodemus that what they were discussing was the spiritual matter, not physical one. Thus it is abstract and invisible concept which could be comprehended but not seen, just like wind blowing which could be realized but not seen.)
9 Nicodemus answered, and said to him: How can these things be done?
(Nicodemus did not know how a person could be converted or born again.)
10 Jesus answered, and said to him: Art thou a master in Israel, and knowest not these things?
(Jesus said: "You are the religious leader and you do not know these things?")
11 Amen, amen I say to thee, that we speak what we know, and we testify what we have seen, and you receive not our testimony.
("...You receive not our testimony" means "Nicodemus, you do not
know how to be born again because you do not believe in what I had taught
in public." To be born again into a spiritual being, the sons and daughters
of God, we must follow the Teaching of Jesus Christ.
As the carnal man can be born and die, so does a spiritual man. The conversion or being born again is not a one-time event but a life-long process in which a person will move back and forth between a carnal and spiritual state. He will sin and then be sorry for it and amend his life, and only to give in to temptations, and this zig-zag pattern will not stop until one dies. This is illustrated in the the Old Testament when the Lord God said a wicked man would be made whole to God if he resented his sinful way even before he died; contrarily, a man who was righteous all his life but turned evil at the end of his life would be lost forever. Being born again when we live in the Spirit of God, when we are enlivened by the spirit of Truth. Being dead again when we live in sin, when we are blinded by the spirit of falsehood and deceits.)
12 If I have spoken to you earthly things, and you believe not; how will you believe, if I shall speak to you heavenly things?
(He Lord wanted to tell the Jews about earthly matter concerning man and his spiritual being; and also Heavenly matters revealing the Nature of God and His Kingdom.)
13 And no man hath ascended into heaven, but he that descended from heaven, the Son of man who is in heaven.
( Before Jesus was incarnated, no man had ascended into Heaven except He Who descended from Heaven as the son of man Who walked on earth but also was present in Spirit in the Heavenly Court.)
14 And as Moses lifted up the serpent in the desert, so must the Son of man be lifted up:
(Just as the Jews of old could be healed from the bites of poisonous snakes by looking up to the bronze serpent, we too could be healed and live by looking up to the Son of God Who was hung on the Cross to redeem us.)
15 That whosoever believeth in him, may not perish; but may have life everlasting.
16 For God so loved the world, as to give his only begotten Son; that whosoever believeth in him, may not perish, but may have life everlasting.
17 For God sent not his Son into the world, to judge the world, but that the world may be saved by him.
(Heavenly Father sent His Son, our Lord Jesus Christ, not to judge or condemn the world but to save it.)
18 He that believeth in him is not judged. But he that doth not believe, is already judged: because he believeth not in the name of the only begotten Son of God.
(Whoever believes in Jesus as the Son of God and believes in His Teaching is not condemned but is blessed. He who does not believe already condemns himself as he rejects God and his Divine Truth.)
19 And this is the judgment: because the light is come into the world, and men loved darkness rather than the light: for their works were evil.
( If one does not believes in Jesus Christ and His teaching, he already condemns himself. And this how he condemns himself: Men by their imperfect nature tend to be more inclined in doing evils or immersing in darkness of sin, and Jesus is the Light of the world, the Divine Truth which can enlighten the soul and mind of sinful men if they do not reject Him.)
20 For every one that doth evil hateth the light, and cometh not to the light, that his works may not be reproved.
( Evil does not like to be revealed such as abortion and parental counseling. Wicked men will hate Jesus Who is the Light of the world and everything He stands for. And His disciples or Christians are also persecuted by wicked men because the former by their presence alone reprove the latter's wrondoings as the Spirit is stirring up their conscience which is still the mirror of God.)
21 But he that doth truth, cometh to the light, that his works may be made manifest, because they are done in God.
(But he who loves the Divine Truth and goodness shall be attracted to Jesus and His Gospel. His works shall be manifested openly as they are done in God and for God.)
22 After these things Jesus and his disciples came into the land of Judea: and there he abode with them, and baptized.
(The Lord did not baptize Himself but His disciples did.)
23 And John also was baptizing in Ennon near Salim; because there was much water there; and they came and were baptized.
24 For John was not yet cast into prison.
25 And there arose a question between some of John's disciples and the Jews concerning purification:
(Baptism was considered as an act of purification, renewal, repentance for adults.)
26 And they came to John, and said to him: Rabbi, he that was with thee beyond the Jordan, to whom thou gavest testimony, behold he baptizeth, and all men come to him.
27 John answered, and said:
28 You yourselves do bear me witness, that I said, I am not Christ, but that I am sent before him.
29 He that hath the bride, is the bridegroom: but the friend of the bridegroom, who standeth and heareth him, rejoiceth with joy because of the bridegroom's voice. This my joy therefore is fulfilled.
(The bride is Jesus 's followers; the bridegroom is the Lord; and St. John the Baptist is the friend of the bridegroom.)
30 He must increase, but I must decrease.
(Put Jesus first in your life. He must be more evident in my life while my sinful self should diminish in me.)
31 He that cometh from above, is above all. He that is of the earth, of the earth he is, and of the earth he speaketh. He that cometh from heaven, is above all.
(The Lord Jesus Christ came down from Heaven, was above all men as He was not only a Man but also God. The earthly man can only talk of the trivial matters of the earthly things. )
32 And what he hath seen and heard, that he testifieth: and no man receiveth his testimony.
( On the other hand, coming down from heaven Jesus revealed to us what He had seen and heard from the Father. He testified for the Heavenly Father, He showed men Who God was but the Jews rejected Him.)
33 He that hath received his testimony, hath set to his seal that God is true.
(He who received Jesus and His Gospel believed that God is Truth, the Ultimate Wisdom.)
34 For he whom God hath sent, speaketh the words of God: for God doth not give the Spirit by measure.
(Any prophet sent by God, in this case Jesus Christ whom St. John the Baptist was talking about, spoke the Words of God as the Spirit of God dwelled in His spokesman. Merciful and generous God bestows his Grace and Mercy upon His creatures in abundance especially in the perilous times such as our time.)
35 The Father loveth the Son: and he hath given all things into his hand.
36 He that believeth in the Son, hath life everlasting; but he that believeth not the Son, shall not see life; but the wrath of God abideth on him.
(Believe in the Son of God also means living out His Gospel daily,
otherwise it is just a deceit against the Almighty God, in human term just
like lying under oath, just like saying to God, "Lord, I believe that You
are my Saviour, my God, but I do not believe in what you commanded me,
no need for me to change my way of living, I still commit sins against
You and Your Gospel." Satan also believes in God in this manner and he
can never be saved!)
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