Jesus Teaches the Professor

“Will the Real Jesus Please Stand Up?”

Investigative Bible Discussions by Mark Ashton


  • Describe a time when you felt like you needed a fresh start. Were you given the opportunity to wipe the slate clean and start over?
  • Read John 3:1-21

Discussion Questions

  • What are some of the things that we can gather about Nicodemus from v1-2?
    • Pharisee of Ruling council = Member of Jewish governing body with both spiritual and political power. Also respected as a religion professor.
    • Afraid for his reputation – came at night
    • Teachable and curious
  • Jesus initial response does not seem to go with the flow of the conversation; Why would he respond as he did?
    • He saw through to the real needs and questions of Nicodemus and began to talk about them.
  • Compare Nicodemus’ and Jesus’ ideas of what ‘Born Again’ means.
    • Note: If there are questions about verses 13 and 14 the OT account of Moses and the bronze snake can be found in Numbers 21:4-9. You should be sure that you are familiar with this as well as it’s parallels to Jesus in case someone asks you about it. However, you should not purposely delve into it because of the limitations on time.
  • According to Jesus, what is his identity and purpose? v16-17
  • How is it that one can gain eternal life?
  • If a person truly believes in something, how is it reflected in his/her life?
  • What does a person’s lifestyle look like if he truly beleives in Jesus and follows him?
    • Note: If their thoughts are way off on this question, you may wish to challenge them to read the Sermon on the Mount, Matt 5-7 during the week.
  • What happens to those who do not believe in Jesus?
  • What do light and dark represent in these verses?
  • What must people do to come into the light?
    • You may wish to refer to John 14:6 at this point.
  • Why don’t people in the darkness move to the light?
  • Where are you in your understanding of spiritual life? Still in the dark? Moving closer to the light?

Review Questions

  • According to Jesus, what must happen in order to have eternal life and enter into the kingdom of God?
  • How would you compare your own search for God compared to Nicodemus? More straightfoward? More intellectual?