John 3 divides nicely into 2 separate but related sections. The first is about Nicodemus. The second deals with John the baptizer. Though there is much to be said on v.22-36, I'm only going to comment on the first 21 verses here.
Nicodemus (I'm going to call him Nick) is the first century night traveler who comes to see Jesus under cover of darkness because he's got some questions, isn't yet sure, and doesn't yet want to be identified as a Jesus-seeker. Note that Jesus doesn't condemn or reprimand Nick's desire to be discrete. Jesus never pushes him, either. He just tells Nick the truth and let's him make his decision in his own time.
This may sound a little self serving, but I find this text a refreshing reinforcement for me and the practice of NOT having an 'invitation' or 'alter call' at our services. In fact, I've met Nick many times. He slips into a service and slips out just as quickly. Last one in, first one out. He comes once. A month later, he slips in again. Always sits in the back. Near a door. Over time, using back channels, he asks a question or two. First, the question is benign. Then they become deeper. Finally, Nick is on an all out search for Truth. We let this person move at their pace, not ours. If they want to be anonymous, it's just fine with PCC. Nicodemus slipped in at night so he could hide. Plenty begin their faith journey today the same way. We're good with that.
The message Jesus gives is compelling. There are 2 worlds: physical and spiritual. You can be in one and not the other. If you want to have a life with Jesus Christ, you must be 'born again'. This is where we get that phrase that has long been used to identify religious extremists within the Christian faith. Jesus didn't intent for it to become a phrase of manipulation or one wiht negative connotations. He simply meant this: If you want to live the Jesus life, you've got to be willing to let God make a new person in you. It reminds me of Paul's words in 1Corinthians 15:39- where he talks about different kinds of bodies.
So, if someone asked you, "are you born again?" What would you say? Personally, I dislike the phrase because of all the negative baggage that modern history has assigned to it, but in it's purest form, I would have to say, "yes, I am." Or, maybe it would be more accurate to say, "I am still in the process of it."