A text from the Gospel according to John is not very surprising during the season of Lent. Already in the first chapter, John the Baptist says of Jesus, 'Behold, the Lamb of God, who takes away the sins of the world (1:29).' You might say that the story begins by going quickly to the end.
The symbol most strongly connected to the Gospel according to John is the eagle, and as that symbol is significantly different from the others (a man, a lion, and an ox--all three of them are usually found on the ground), that account is significantly different from the others. With an eagle eye, the account begins by looking back to the very beginning ('In the beginning was the Word....'), and, as the account nears the end, it looks to the one reading or listening (20:31): 'These things have been written that you may believe....'
With such a symbol, you might think that some extended conversations of Jesus are not important, but there are many within this account. The eagle eye not only sees far distances, but it sees great details as well. And the details of this text are significantly important.
Within the text for this Sunday is the famous 'Gospel in a Nutshell' (John 3:16). Although that certainly is an important verse, even more noteworthy is the contrast that this chapter has with the one immediately following. Some of the extremes within this gospel account are extremely noteworthy.
Within this chapter, Jesus talks with Nicodemus, a Pharisee and ruler of the Jews, and he does so at night. Within the next chapter, Jesus will talk with a Samaritan women, one who's had five husbands, and he talks to her at noon.
Such extremes are a good reminder that Jesus is for all. No one is left out of Jesus' view. No one is left out of Jesus' influence. He significantly influences Nicodemus, and we hear about him again in the end (John 19:39). No one's the same after an encounter with Jesus. And that's a good thing.