“You may not be astonished that I said to you, ‘It is imperative for you to be born from above.’ The spirit blows wherever it wants, and you hear the voice of it, but you do not discern how it comes and to where it is going. In that way is everyone born of the spirit.” Nicodemus answered and said to him, “How are these things able to come to be?”
Nicodemus “may not be astonished” because the spirit which accompanies the new birth may already be at work in him. And Nicodemus wants it.
Jesus answered and said to him, “You are the teacher of Israel, and you do not know these things. Amen, amen I state to you, we speak what we know, and we testify what we have discerned, and you do not receive our testimony! If I say to you earthly things and you do not believe, how will you believe if I may say to you heavenly things? And no one has ascended into heaven except the one who stepped down from heaven—the Son of Man.”
Strange that a religious leader knows nothing about the new birth….. And yet, the explanation for Nicodemus must start with the heavenly origin of Jesus.
“And just as Moses lifted up the serpent in the wilderness, in this way it is imperative for the Son of Man to be lifted up, in order that everyone believing in him may have eternal life.”
That explanation continues with the essential fact that Son of Man must die so that those who believe in him may receive new birth and “have eternal life.” The “serpent in the wilderness” was “lifted up” by Moses at God’s command so that any one of the people bitten by a plague of serpents might look upon it and thereby live and not die.
“Because in this way God loved-in-action the world, that as a result he gave his one and only Son, in order that everyone believing into him may not self-destroy, but may have eternal life.”
The heavenly origin of this new birth out of darkness into “eternal life” for human beings arises from the “love-in-action” of God.
“Because God did not send out his Son into the world in order that he might judge the world, but in order that the world might be saved through him.”
That “love-in-action” of God includes the postponement of judgment.
“The one believing into him is not judged. In fact the one not believing has already been judged, in that he has not believed into the name of the one and only Son of God.”