Being born of water and of the Spirit was taught by Jesus to Nicodemus about 3 years before the outpouring of The Holy Spirit on The Day of Pentecost.
“Verily, verily, I say unto thee, Except a man be born again, he cannot see the kingdom of God.” …
…Verily, verily, I say unto thee, Except a man be born of water and of the Spirit, he cannot enter into the kingdom of God. That which is born of the flesh is flesh; and that which is born of the Spirit is spirit.” John 3:3, 5-6.
When The Holy Spirit was poured out on the day of Pentecost, the converts from Judaism now believed in Messiah Jesus the Son of God asked Peter and the rest of the apostles, “Brothers, what shall we do?”
“Peter said to them, “Repent and be immersed, every one of you, in the name of Yeshua the Messiah for the forgiveness of sins, and you will receive the gift of The Holy Spirit.For the promise is to you and to your children, and to all who are far off, even as many as the Lord our God will call to himself.”
With many other words he testified and exhorted them, saying, “Save yourselves from this crooked generation!” Then those who gladly received his word were immersed. There were added that day about three thousand souls. They continued steadfastly in the emissaries’ teaching and fellowship, in the breaking of bread, and prayer.” Acts 2:38-42.
The converts were born of water and of the Spirit, just as Jesus told Nicodemus.
John the baptist prepared the way for Messiah Jesus by calling Jews to acknowledge their sin and repent, turn away from it.
When Jesus came to be baptized, John first resisted his request, then relented and Jesus was born of water, born of the Spirit and received the baptism of the Spirit.
“In those days, Yochanan the Immerser came, proclaiming in the wilderness of Judea, saying, “Repent, for the Kingdom of Heaven is at hand!” For this is he who was spoken of by Isaiah the prophet, saying, “The voice of one crying in the wilderness, make the way of the Lord ready! Make his paths straight!”<
Now Yochanan himself wore clothing made of camel’s hair with a leather belt around his waist. His food was locusts and wild honey. Then people from Jerusalem, all of Judea, and all the region around the Jordan went out to him. They were immersed by him in the Jordan, confessing their sins.
But when he saw many of the Pharisees and Sadducees coming for his immersion, he said to them, “You offspring of vipers, who warned you to flee from the wrath to come? Therefore produce fruit worthy of repentance! Don’t think to yourselves, ‘We have Abraham for our father,’ for I tell you that God is able to raise up children to Abraham from these stones. Even now the ax lies at the root of the trees. Therefore every tree that doesn’t produce good fruit is cut down, and cast into the fire.
I indeed immerse you in water for repentance, but he who comes after me is mightier than I, whose sandals I am not worthy to carry. He will immerse you in The Holy Spirit.* His winnowing fork is in his hand, and he will thoroughly cleanse his threshing floor. He will gather his wheat into the barn, but the chaff he will burn up with unquenchable fire.”
Then Yeshua came from Galilee to the Jordan† to Yochanan, to be immersed by him. But Yochanan would have hindered him, saying, “I need to be immersed by you, and you come to me?” But Yeshua, answering, said to him, “Allow it now, for this is the fitting way for us to fulfill all righteousness.”
Then he allowed him. Yeshua, when he was immersed, went up directly from the water: and behold, the heavens were opened to him. He saw the Spirit of God descending as a dove, and coming on him. Behold, a voice out of the heavens said,“This is My beloved Son, with whom I AM well pleased.”” Matthew 3:1-16 (Acts 19:4, 1 Peter 3:21)
Peter was raised as a devout old covenant Jew and was steeped in the law. So, he was concerned about proclaiming the gospel to the Gentiles [non-Jews], for they were uncircumcised, heathen, and regarded unclean.
That all changed when he had the vision.
“Now on the next day as they were on their journey and got close to the city, Peter went up on the housetop to pray at about noon. He became hungry and desired to eat, but while they were preparing, he fell into a trance. He saw heaven opened and a certain container descending to him, like a great sheet let down by four corners on the earth, in which were all kinds of four-footed animals of the earth, wild animals, reptiles, and birds of the sky. A voice came to him, “Rise, Peter, kill and eat!”
But Peter said, “Not so, Lord; for I have never eaten anything that is common or unclean.”
A voice came to him again the second time, “What God has cleansed, you must not call unclean.” This was done three times, and immediately the thing was received up into heaven.
Now while Peter was very perplexed in himself what the vision which he had seen might mean, behold, the men who were sent by Cornelius, having made inquiry for Simon’s house, stood before the gate, and called and asked whether Simon, who was also called Peter, was lodging there. While Peter was pondering the vision, the Spirit said to him, “Behold, three‡ men seek you. But arise, get down, and go with them, doubting nothing; for I have sent them.”
Peter went down to the men, and said, “Behold, I am he whom you seek. Why have you come?”
They said, “Cornelius, a centurion, a righteous man and one who fears God, and well spoken of by all the Jewish nation, was directed by a holy angel to invite you to his house, and to listen to what you say.” So he called them in and provided a place to stay.
On the next day Peter arose and went out with them, and some of the brothers from Joppa accompanied him. On the next day they entered into Caesarea. Cornelius was waiting for them, having called together his relatives and his near friends. When Peter entered, Cornelius met him, fell down at his feet, and worshiped him. But Peter raised him up, saying, “Stand up! I myself am also a man.” As he talked with him, he went in and found many gathered together. He said to them, “You yourselves know how it is an unlawful thing for a man who is a Jew to join himself or come to one of another nation, but God has shown me that I shouldn’t call any man unholy or unclean. Therefore I also came without complaint when I was sent for. I ask therefore, why did you send for me?”
Cornelius said, “Four days ago, I was fasting until this hour; and at the ninth hour, I prayed in my house, and behold, a man stood before me in bright clothing and said, ‘Cornelius, your prayer is heard, and your gifts to the needy are remembered in the sight of God. Send therefore to Joppa and summon Simon, who is also called Peter. He is staying in the house of a tanner named Simon, by the seaside. When he comes, he will speak to you.’ Therefore I sent to you at once, and it was good of you to come. Now therefore we are all here present in the sight of God to hear all things that have been commanded you by God.”
Peter opened his mouth and said, “Truly I perceive that God doesn’t show favoritism; but in every nation he who fears him and works righteousness is acceptable to him. The word which he sent to the children of Israel, proclaiming good news of peace by Yeshua the Messiah — he is Lord of all — you yourselves know what happened, which was proclaimed throughout all Judea, beginning from Galilee, after the immersion which Yochanan preached; how God anointed Yeshua of Nazareth with The Holy Spirit and with power, who went about doing good and healing all who were oppressed by the devil, for God was with him. We are witnesses of everything he did both in the countryside of Judea and in Jerusalem; whom they also killed, hanging him on a tree. God raised him up the third day and gave him to be revealed, not to all the people, but to witnesses who were chosen before by God, to us, who ate and drank with him after he rose from the dead. He commanded us to proclaim to the people and to testify that this is he who is appointed by God as the Judge of the living and the dead. All the prophets testify about him, that through his name everyone who believes in him will receive remission of sins.”
While Peter was still speaking these words, The Holy Spirit fell on all those who heard the word. They of the circumcision who believed were amazed, as many as came with Peter, because the gift of The Holy Spirit was also poured out on the Gentiles. For they heard them speaking in other languages and magnifying God.
Then Peter answered, “Can anyone forbid these people from being immersed with water? They have received The Holy Spirit just like us.” He commanded them to be immersed in the name of Yeshua the Messiah. Then they asked him to stay some days.” Acts 10:9-48.
So the Gentiles were born of water and baptized in The Spirit.
~ Bill Bremer
Bill Bremer is Founder and Managing Director at Kingdom Relationships Colorado.