Jesus and Nicodemus
1There was a Pharisee called Nicodemus. He was one of the Jewish leaders. 2He came to speak with Jesus at night. He said to Jesus, ‘Teacher, we know that God has sent you to us. We have seen the miracles that you are doing. Nobody could do these things unless God was with him.’ 3Jesus replied, ‘What I am telling you is true. Unless a person is born from above#3:3 from above or again, they cannot see the kingdom of God.’ 4Nicodemus asked, ‘How can a man be born when he is old? He cannot return into his mother's body. He cannot be born a second time.’ 5Jesus explained, ‘I am telling you what is true. Unless a person is born by water and by God's Spirit, he cannot come into the kingdom of God. 6Human people give birth to what is human. But God's Spirit gives birth to spirit. 7I said to you, “You must be born from above.” What I said should not surprise you. 8When someone is born by God's Spirit, it is like the wind that blows. The wind blows where it wants. You can hear it. But you cannot say where it came from or where it is going.’
9Nicodemus asked, ‘How can this happen?’ 10Jesus replied, ‘You are an important teacher of people in Israel. You ought to understand these things! 11I am telling you what is true. We speak about things that we know. We tell you about what we have seen. But even then, you people do not believe our message. 12I have told you about things that happen in this world. And you do not believe me. But now I am telling you about things that happen in heaven. So, I do not think that you will ever believe me about those things. 13The Son of Man came down from heaven. Nobody else has gone up to heaven except him. 14Long ago Moses lifted up the metal snake in the wilderness to save his people. In the same way, people must lift up the Son of Man on a cross. #3:14 See Numbers 21:4-9. 15As a result, everyone who believes him will be able to live for ever with God. 16God loved the people in the world so much that he gave his one and only Son on their behalf. So, as a result, everyone who believes in the Son will not die. Instead, they will live for ever with God.’
17God did not send his Son into the world because he wanted to punish people. He sent his Son to save the people in the world from punishment. 18God will not punish anyone who believes in his Son. But some people refuse to believe who his one and only Son is. God has already decided that he must punish people like that. 19Light has come into the world. But some people did not love the light. They loved the dark instead. That was because they were doing bad things. That is why God has already decided to punish those people. 20Everyone who does bad things hates the light. A person like that will not come to the light because he is afraid. He does not want the bad things that he has done to show clearly. 21But anyone who does what is true will come to the light. The light will show clearly that he has been doing what is right. Everyone can see that he has been obeying God.
Jesus and John the Baptist
22After this, Jesus and his disciples went to the country places in Judea. Jesus stayed there with his disciples for some time, and they baptized people there. 23John was also baptizing people. He was at a place called Aenon, near Salim, because there was a lot of water there. People were coming to him and John was baptizing them. 24(This happened before the rulers put John in a prison.) 25John's disciples began to argue with a certain Jew about some Jewish rules. Those rules told people how they should wash properly. 26The disciples then came to John. They said to him, ‘Teacher, remember the man, Jesus, that you spoke to us about. He was with you on the other side of the Jordan river. Now he is baptizing people and everyone is going to him.’
27John replied, ‘A man can receive only what God gives to him, nothing else. 28You yourselves will remember that I said, “I am not the Messiah, but God sent me to prepare things for the Messiah.” 29When a man marries a wife, she belongs to him. The man's special friend listens carefully. He wants to know when the man will come with his wife. That friend is very happy when he hears the man's voice. I am like that friend, so I am completely happy now. 30Jesus must become greater, but I must become less important. #3:30 John the Baptist said that God sent him before the Lord Jesus Christ. He was like someone who brings a message from a king. He had to tell people that the king was coming to visit them. The prophet Malachi had told Israel's people that someone would come before the Christ. This person would tell them that their Messiah (Christ) would come soon.
31The one who comes from above is greater than all things. A person who comes from the earth belongs to the earth. A person like that speaks only about things that belong to the earth. But the one who comes from heaven is greater than all things. 32He tells people about the things that he has seen. He tells about what he has heard. But people do not believe his message. 33Anyone who does believe his message agrees that God is true. 34The one that God has sent speaks God's words. God has given his Spirit to fill that person completely. 35The Father loves the Son. He has given his Son authority over all things. 36Anyone who believes in the Son has life with God for ever. But anyone who refuses to obey the Son will never have life with God. God will continue to be angry with people like that.’