Friday, July 22, 2022


John chapter 3 verse 14 says this;

Just as Moses lifted up the snake in the wilderness, so the Son of Man must be lifted up,

This verse is an excerpt from an inscrutable teaching that Jesus was giving to a visiting pharisee named Nicodemus.

Jesus had just told Nicodemus that a person could never see or experience the kingdom of God unless they were born again.

This perplexed Nicodemus. He asked how a person who was already old, could be born again from his mother's womb.

Jesus explained to him that he was thinking in  fleshly terms while Jesus was speaking to him in spiritual terms. To be born again meant that one had to be born of the Spirit.

The flabberghasted Nicodemus exclaimed, "How can these things be?"

Jesus responded to Nicodemus' incomprehension by asking him in verse 12, "I have spoken to you of earthly things and you do not believe; how then will you believe if I speak of heavenly things?"  

The Lord then came to the centerpiece of His explanation by referencing Moses in the book of Numbers chapter 21. 

When the people of Israel were in the desert, they complained bitterly about the conditions they were enduring. The judgement for complaining against God was that their camp was invaded by poisonous snakes which bit the people and many of those who were bitten, died.

In response, the children of Israel repented for their complaining ways  to God and to Moses and God relented and provided reprieve for the snake bites.

Moses was told by God to lift a bronze serpent up on a pole so that those who had been bitten by snakes could look up at the bronze serpent and they would be healed from the venom.

The children of Israel, having complained against God, were judged and they encountered serpents which bit them and caused many of them to die. 

This harkened back to Adam and Eve in the garden of Eden who encountered the serpent and by heeding the words of the serpent, ingested the serpent's venom of rebellion against God and they fell from God's grace and died spiritually.

For the children of Israel to survive the serpent bites, they needed to look to the bronze serpent that Moses lifted up in sight of the whole camp.

Jesus then gave the meaning of that historical metaphor. He said that He Himself, the Son of Man, would be lifted up in the sight of the whole world and we, the human race, all of whom have the venom of rebellion we received through Adam and Eve, could look to the One who was crucified and made sin for us and we would be healed from spiritual death by being born again in the Spirit.

The hope of all the ages was sitting with Nicodemus patiently explaining to him how the salvation of mankind from death was going to be obtained by His own crucifixion and each person who turned to Him, would not perish but gain everlasting life.


No comments:

Post a Comment