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?”
Jesus’ idea about how to get right with God completely puzzled Nicodemus. Nicodemus thought that the second birth that Jesus referenced was a physical birth. Throughout this conversation with Jesus, Nicodemus showed no sign of resentment to the Lord.
4 Nicodemus said to Him,
Nicodemus did not grasp the nature of regeneration. He thought in strictly human terms and physical birth.
“How can a man be born when he is old?
Nicodemus clearly misunderstood Jesus. He took Jesus’ words literally rather than metaphorically. This statement set up Jesus’ answer about “water and the Spirit.” The context compares physical birth with spiritual birth.
Can he enter a second time into his mother’s womb and be born?”
The Greek indicates that Nicodemus expected a negative answer to his question. Nicodemus was full of doubt and uncertainty. His entire consideration revolved around obstetrics.
Religious people view things from an inadequate human viewpoint.
Nicodemus came to Jesus full of religion and good works. Most of his colleagues did not approve of Jesus. He spoke for a few of those in the Sanhedrin so he gave Jesus a hearing.
Evidently, Nicodemus recognized that he had a need before God that he could not meet by “operation bootstraps.” He accepted Jesus as a spiritual teacher even though He did not have academic credentials. Nicodemus was a good man, but lost. However, he saw something in Jesus that attracted him to what He had to offer.