Now there was a Pharisee, a man named Nicodemus who was a member of the Jewish ruling council. He came to see Jesus at night…
I am Nicodemus. I confess to not understanding all the words, signs, language and meaning of Jesus' words, and I have the benefit of 2,000+ years of scholarly interpretations to assist me. Poor Nicodemus had only the local gossip, and his own sense that there was something special and unique about this Rabbi, this Jesus of Nazareth, to motivate him to reach out under the cloak of darkness to find out more.
And what Jesus told Nicodemus didn't help a lot. I easily put myself in Nicodemus’ sandals, wondering what exactly does "born of the spirit" mean? And then being chided for not understanding -- that would have stung a bit. But Jesus must have said these things in a loving way to Nicodemus, rather than a condescending way, because Nicodemus "got it" enough to become a follower of Jesus (see John 7:50 & 19:39)
Jesus saw Nicodemus as a child of God, made in God's image. Instead of sending him away due to his initial inability to understand, Jesus taught him. Jesus accepted Nicodemus. Jesus loved Nicodemus.
This very personal encounter between two men is magnified and expanded to include all of us (ALL of us). As it is proclaimed in the final verse of this passage: For God did not send his Son into the world to condemn the world, but to save the world through him.
May each of us seek Jesus this Lent, and learn ever more about how to love each other like Jesus loves us.