You should not be surprised at my saying, “You must be born again.”—Jesus is laying down a principle here that should be obvious to everyone: in order to experience life in the Spirit I must be born into the Spirit. I have already been born by water, that is, my natural birth. In order to follow Jesus I must also be born into the Spirit, that is, my spiritual birth. Jesus is contrasting here what comes to me by way of my natural birth, and what comes to me by way of my spiritual birth. God is spirit and what he’s doing in me is spiritual. I cannot please God by living by way of things that come to me naturally. Pleasing God requires spirituality. As long as I try to please God outside of the Spirit, I will fail and my life will be all the less for it.
The wind blows wherever it pleases.—This is a pun. The word in Greek for “wind” is the same word translated “Spirit.” This word has two words in English, but only one in Greek. Jesus is comparing the way the Spirit operates to the way the wind operates.
You hear its sound, but you cannot tell where it comes from or where it is going.—The Spirit operates in a way that is completely foreign to the natural realm. Just like wind is unpredictable and unseen, so the Spirit of God operates in ways not common to the natural world and is unseen by the natural world. I need not be afraid of what the Spirit is doing. While it may feel foreign, it is completely natural in the spiritual world. My problem is that I want to know everything and control everything. This is not the way of those led by the Spirit. I must abandon my desire for control in order to allow God’s Sprit to blow through my life. I don’t know where he will take me. I don’t know what he will ask me to do. I only know it is infinitely better than anything I could have imagined.
So it is with everyone born of the Spirit.—To be God’s man I will need to allow God’s Spirit to blow through me in ways that may seem quite foreign. To be God’s man I will need to blow through life in ways that seem quite foreign to me. I cannot be of God’s man without being led by the Spirit. Spirit living is the goal of my life and this requires that I release the ways of the natural world and embrace the ways of the spiritual. I must be born of water AND Spirit.