Contemporary English Version (CEV)
You can almost hear Nicodemus' mind racing as he tries to grasp all of this. "How can this be?" he asks, as everything he has come to know about faith is shifting over the years, from a set of rules that punish you if something goes wrong to a grace-based relationship that is based in forgiveness.
We get so tied up in trying to know everything, trying to find certainty. We worry that we're not getting it right, that something unexpected might happen, that we can't rely on ourselves. What Christ is teaching us is that we won't get it right, and we haven't gotten it right, but that recognition is the perfect starting point for us -- because then we can acknowledge our failures and our need for a Savior, and give thanks that we worship a God kind enough to send his own Son to atone for our sins, that we may have life that would be impossible for us to otherwise obtain.
Jesus focuses us on a grace-based relationship and the gift of eternal life that comes through him. It turns our eyes from the self and roots us in the love of God, that we might stand forever grateful in adoration of our King.