Abstract

Jesus' demand that Nicodemus must be born again does not concern personal regeneration, rather it points to a shift in the locus of salvation from Israel to the Messiah in the coming age. The numerous references in the pericope to the exodus suggest that “born of water” alludes to the birth of Israel at the exodus. Jesus' demand to be born of water and spirit (v. 5) points to the inadequacy, in the coming age, of belonging to national Israel and the ensuing need for those born into Israel to now be born of spirit, or for Jews like Nicodemus to be “born again” (v. 3). This approach resolves several difficulties and the passage better fits the wider context.

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