The Gospel of John has the teachings of Jesus on a higher level of understanding than the synoptic Gospels, at times not very easy for everyone to understand. In this passage Jesus is engaged in a conversation with Nicodemus, a sympathetic unbelieving Pharisee, a renowned Jewish teacher and probably belonging to a high class Jerusalem family. When he heard Jesus teach and saw his works, the things which others could not do, he wanted to know more about Him. But his social status does not allow him to be seen meeting Jesus, so he visits Jesus by night. He wanted to hide his identity else he too will be looked down upon by his fellow Pharisees and the rulers.
Nicodemus’ intention was good, he is just not another person in the crowd who follows Jesus only to see signs, he wants to know more about Jesus, he is willing to humble himself and have a deeper and proper understanding of Jesus’ teachings. He identifies Jesus as a teacher who came from God and that in all that he did, God was with him, unlike the hostile authorities who explicitly rejected Jesus, because he did not fit the common ideas of what the Messiah should be.
Being a ruler (leader) of the Jews he is presumably a member of the Sanhedrin. In verse 3 Jesus tells Nicodemus with double affirmation “Truly, truly” twice that unless one is born anew he cannot see the kingdom of God and unless one is born of water and Spirit, he cannot enter the kingdom of God. What Jesus is trying to teach him is that unless a person is born from above, like in baptism, giving up his old self and becoming a new creation, a child of God, following God’s way of life, and his righteous ways, one cannot enter eternity with Jesus. Nicodemus seems to understand this literally and asks Jesus how it is possible to enter into one’s mothers womb and take re-birth.
Verse 8 talks of the mysterious way the Spirit works in our lives, which we cannot predict, and it is likened to the wind that blows not knowing the direction and destination. You will also find Nicodemus mentioned in the Gospel of John Chap 19 vs 39, he brought a mixture of myrrh and aloes about a hundred pounds for Jesus’ burial. We all have some characteristics of Nicodemus in us. Let us like him, gather courage and dare to bring more of Jesus in our lives, read and study his word and one day like him become a true follower of Jesus.