Jesus and Nicodemus
1There was a man named Nicodemus who was one of the Pharisees. He was an important Jewish leader. 2One night Nicodemus came to Jesus. He said, “Teacher, we know that you are a teacher sent from God. No one can do the miracles you do, unless God is with him.”
3Jesus answered, “I tell you the truth. Unless you are born again, you cannot be in God’s kingdom.”
4Nicodemus said, “But if a man is already old, how can he be born again? He cannot enter his mother’s body again. So how can he be born a second time?”
5But Jesus answered, “I tell you the truth. Unless you are born from water and the Spirit, you cannot enter God’s kingdom. 6A person’s body is born from his human parents. But a person’s spiritual life is born from the Spirit. 7Don’t be surprised when I tell you, ‘You must all be born again.’ 8The wind blows where it wants to go. You hear the wind blow. But you don’t know where the wind comes from or where it is going. It is the same with every person who is born from the Spirit.”
9Nicodemus asked, “How can all this be possible?”
10Jesus said, “You are an important teacher in Israel. But you still don’t understand these things? 11I tell you the truth. We talk about what we know. We tell about what we have seen. But you don’t accept what we tell you. 12I have told you about things here on earth, but you do not believe me. So surely you will not believe me if I tell you about the things of heaven! 13The only one who has ever gone up to heaven is the One who came down from heaven—the Son of Man.# Some Greek copies continue, “who is in heaven.”
14“Moses lifted up the snake in the desert.# The people of Israel were dying from snake bites. God told Moses to put a bronze snake on a pole. The people who looked at the snake were healed (Numbers 21:4–9). It is the same with the Son of Man. The Son of Man must be lifted up too. 15Then everyone who believes in him can have eternal life.
16“For God loved the world so much that he gave his only Son. God gave his Son so that whoever believes in him may not be lost, but have eternal life. 17God did not send his Son into the world to judge the world guilty, but to save the world through him. 18He who believes in God’s Son is not judged guilty. He who does not believe has already been judged guilty, because he has not believed in God’s only Son. 19People are judged by this fact: I am the Light from God that has come into the world. But men did not want light. They wanted darkness because they were doing evil things. 20Everyone who does evil hates the light. He will not come to the light because it will show all the evil things he has done. 21But he who follows the true way comes to the light. Then the light will show that the things he has done were done through God.”
Jesus and John the Baptist
22After this, Jesus and his followers went into the area of Judea. There Jesus stayed with his followers and baptized people. 23John was also baptizing in Aenon, near Salim, because there was plenty of water there. People were going there to be baptized. 24(This was before John was put into prison.)
25Some of John’s followers had an argument with a Jew about religious washing.# The Jews washed themselves in special ways before eating, before worshiping in the Temple, and at other special times. 26So they came to John and said, “Teacher, remember the man who was with you on the other side of the Jordan River, the one you spoke about? He is baptizing, and everyone is going to him.”
27John answered, “A man can get only what God gives him. 28You yourselves heard me say, ‘I am not the Christ. I am only the one God sent to prepare the way for him.’ 29The bride belongs only to the bridegroom. The friend who helps the bridegroom waits and listens for him. He is glad when he hears the bridegroom’s voice. That is the same pleasure I have. And my time of joy is now here. 30He must become greater. And I must become less important.
The One Who Comes from Heaven
31“The One who comes from above is greater than all. He who is from the earth belongs to the earth and talks about things on the earth. But the One who comes from heaven is greater than all. 32He tells what he has seen and heard, but no one accepts what he says. 33The person who accepts what he says has proven that God is true. 34God sent him, and he tells the things that God says. God gives him the Spirit fully. 35The Father loves the Son and has given him power over everything. 36He who believes in the Son has eternal life. But he who does not obey the Son will never have that life. God’s anger stays with him.”