There was a Pharisee named Nicodemus. He was one of the Jewish rulers.
He came to Jesus at night and said, "Rabbi, we know you are a teacher who has come from God. We know that God is with you. If he weren't, you couldn't do the miraculous signs you are doing."
Jesus replied, "What I'm about to tell you is true. No one can see God's kingdom without being born again."
"How can I be born when I am old?" Nicodemus asked. "I can't go back inside my mother! I can't be born a second time!"
Jesus answered, "What I'm about to tell you is true. No one can enter God's kingdom without being born through water and the Holy Spirit.
People give birth to people. But the Spirit gives birth to spirit.
You should not be surprised when I say, 'You must all be born again.'
"The wind blows where it wants to. You hear the sound it makes. But you can't tell where it comes from or where it is going. It is the same with everyone who is born through the Spirit."
"How can this be?" Nicodemus asked.
"You are Israel's teacher," said Jesus. "Don't you understand these things?
"What I'm about to tell you is true. We speak about what we know. We give witness to what we have seen. But still you people do not accept our witness.
I have spoken to you about earthly things, and you do not believe. So how will you believe if I speak about heavenly things?
"No one has ever gone into heaven except the One who came from heaven. He is the Son of Man.
Moses lifted up the snake in the desert. The Son of Man must be lifted up also.
Then everyone who believes in him can live with God forever.
"God loved the world so much that he gave his one and only Son. Anyone who believes in him will not die but will have eternal life.
"God did not send his Son into the world to judge the world. He sent his Son to save the world through him.
Anyone who believes in him is not judged. But anyone who does not believe is judged already. He has not believed in the name of God's one and only Son.
"Here is the judgment. Light has come into the world, but people loved darkness instead of light. They loved darkness because what they did was evil.
"Everyone who does evil things hates the light. They will not come into the light. They are afraid that what they do will be seen.
But anyone who lives by the truth comes into the light. He does this so that it will be easy to see that what he has done is with God's help."
After this, Jesus and his disciples went out into the countryside of Judea. There he spent some time with them. And he baptized people there.
John was also baptizing. He was at Aenon near Salim, where there was plenty of water. People were coming all the time to be baptized.
That was before John was put in prison.
Some of John's disciples and a certain Jew began to argue. They argued about special washings to make people "clean."
They came to John and said to him, "Rabbi, that man who was with you on the other side of the Jordan River is baptizing people. He is the one you gave witness about. Everyone is going to him."
John replied, "A person can receive only what God gives him from heaven.
You yourselves are witnesses that I said, 'I am not the Christ. I was sent ahead of him.'
The bride belongs to the groom. The friend who helps the groom waits and listens for him. He is full of joy when he hears the groom's voice. That joy is mine, and it is now complete.
He must become more important. I must become less important.
"The One who comes from above is above everything. The one who is from the earth belongs to the earth and speaks like someone from the earth. The One who comes from heaven is above everything.
He gives witness to what he has seen and heard. But no one accepts what he says.
Anyone who has accepted it has said, 'Yes. God is truthful.'
The One whom God has sent speaks God's words. God gives the Holy Spirit without limit.
"The Father loves the Son and has put everything into his hands.
Anyone who believes in the Son has eternal life. Anyone who says no to the Son will not have life. God's anger remains on him."