Behold the Continental Divide of Scripture, the international date line of faith. Nicodemus stands on one side, Jesus on the other, and Christ pulls no punches about their differences.
Nicodemus inhabits the land of good efforts, sincere gestures, and hard work. Give God your best, his philosophy says, and God does the rest. Jesus’ response? Your best won’t do. Your works don’t work. Your finest efforts don’t mean squat. Unless you are born again, you can’t even see what God is up to.