John Chapter 3: 9-16


JOHN 3:9-16  9 Nicodemus answered and said to Him, “How can these things be?” 10 Jesus answered and said to him, “Are you the teacher of Israel, and do not know these things? 11 Most assuredly, I say to you, We speak what We know and testify what We have seen, and you do not receive Our witness. 12 If I have told you earthly things and you do not believe, how will you believe if I tell you heavenly things? 13 No one has ascended to heaven but He who came down from heaven, that is, the Son of Man who is in heaven. 14 And as Moses lifted up the serpent in the wilderness, even so must the Son of Man be lifted up, 15 that whoever believes in Him should not perish but have eternal life. 16 For God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him should not perish but have everlasting life.

What is happening in this passage?
Nicodemus, one of the rulers and "teacher" of Israel is completely lost and is being chastised by Jesus, a street preacher.

What is Jesus referring to in John 3:14?
It's Numbers 21:7-9: "Therefore the people came to Moses, and said, 'We have sinned, for we have spoken against the LORD and against you; pray to the LORD that He take away the serpents from us.' So Moses prayed for the people. Then the LORD said to Moses, 'Make a fiery serpent, and set it on a pole; and it shall be that everyone who is bitten, when he looks at it, shall live.' So Moses made a bronze serpent, and put it on a pole; and so it was, if a serpent had bitten anyone, when he looked at the bronze serpent, he lived.'"

The bronze serpent on a pole is an image of whom?

After what moment?
When He is hanging on the cross after he had taken on the sins, cried out, "Why have you forsaken me?" (Mark 15:34) to God the Father, followed by, "It is finished!" (John 19:30) and His death. The snake wasn’t foreshadowing the baby Jesus in a manger. It was foreshadowing Jesus stricken on the cross for our sins, and this is what the next two verses, John 3:15 and 16, are referring to in "believing in Him."

Believing in what about Him?
That He is God who loved us so much that He came and paid the death penalty for your our sins, and it is that substitutional death which has cleared our way to heaven. So to go to heaven, we need to realize and believe THAT about Jesus.

What if I don't feel like a sinner?
According to the Bible, a sinner isn't just a mass murderer or rapist. It's everyone who has failed to meet God's standard of perfect holiness. The Bible declares that every single person has "sinned and fall short of the glory of God" (Romans 3:23) and that "the wages of sin is death" (Romans 6:23).

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