Jesus and Nicodemus
1There was a man named Nicodemus, one of the Pharisees. He was an important Jewish leader. 2One night he came to Jesus and said, “Teacher, we know that you are a teacher sent from God. No one can do these miraculous signs that you do unless they have God’s help.”
3Jesus answered, “I assure you, everyone must be born again. Anyone who is not born again cannot be in God’s kingdom.”
4Nicodemus said, “How can a man who is already old be born again? Can he go back into his mother’s womb and be born a second time?”
5Jesus answered, “Believe me when I say that everyone must be born from water and the Spirit. Anyone who is not born from water and the Spirit cannot enter God’s kingdom. 6The only life people get from their human parents is physical. But the new life that the Spirit gives a person is spiritual. 7Don’t be surprised that I told you, ‘You must be born again.’ 8The wind blows wherever it wants to. You hear it, but you don’t know where it is coming from or where it is going. It is the same with everyone who is born from the Spirit.”
9Nicodemus asked, “How is all this possible?”
10Jesus said, “You are an important teacher of Israel, and you still don’t understand these things? 11The truth is, we talk about what we know. We tell about what we have seen. But you people don’t accept what we tell you. 12I have told you about things here on earth, but you do not believe me. So I’m sure you will not believe me if I tell you about heavenly things! 13The only one who has ever gone up to heaven is the one who came down from heaven—the Son of Man.
14“Moses lifted up the snake in the desert.#3:14 Moses lifted … desert When God’s people were dying from snake bites, God told Moses to put a brass snake on a pole for them to look at and be healed. See Num. 21:4-9. It is the same with the Son of Man. He must be lifted up too. 15Then everyone who believes in him can have eternal life.”#3:15 Some scholars think that Jesus’ words to Nicodemus continue through verse 21.
16Yes, God loved the world so much that he gave his only Son, so that everyone who believes in him would not be lost but have eternal life. 17God sent his Son into the world. He did not send him to judge the world guilty, but to save the world through him. 18People who believe in God’s Son are not judged guilty. But people who do not believe are already judged, because they have not believed in God’s only Son. 19They are judged by this fact: The light#3:19 light This means Christ, the Word, who brought to the world understanding about God. has come into the world. But they did not want light. They wanted darkness, because they were doing evil things. 20Everyone who does evil hates the light. They will not come to the light, because the light will show all the bad things they have done. 21But anyone who follows the true way comes to the light. Then the light will show that whatever they have done was done through God.
Jesus and John the Baptizer
22After this, Jesus and his followers went into the area of Judea. There he stayed with his followers and baptized people. 23John was also baptizing people in Aenon, a place near Salim with plenty of water. People were going there to be baptized. 24This was before John was put in prison.
25Some of John’s followers had an argument with another Jew about religious washing.#3:25 religious washing The Jews had religious rules about washing in special ways before eating, before worshiping in the Temple, and at other special times. 26Then they came to John and said, “Teacher, remember the man who was with you on the other side of the Jordan River? He is the one you were telling everyone about. He is also baptizing people, and many are going to him.”
27John answered, “A person can receive only what God gives. 28You yourselves heard me say, ‘I am not the Messiah. I am only the one God sent to prepare the way for him.’ 29The bride always belongs to the bridegroom. The friend who helps the bridegroom just waits and listens. He is happy just to hear the bridegroom talk. That’s how I feel now. I am so happy that he is here. 30He must become more and more important, and I must become less important.
The One Who Comes From Heaven
31“The one who comes from above is greater than all others. The one who is from the earth belongs to the earth. He talks about things that are on the earth. But the one who comes from heaven is greater than all others. 32He tells what he has seen and heard, but people don’t accept what he says. 33Whoever accepts what he says has given proof that God speaks the truth. 34God sent him, and he tells people what God says. God gives him the Spirit fully. 35The Father loves the Son and has given him power over everything. 36Whoever believes in the Son has eternal life. But those who do not obey the Son will never have that life. They cannot get away from God’s anger.”