October 20, 2023 – Friday
John 3:14-15 NKJV
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.
John 3:14-15 NET
14 Just as Moses lifted up the serpent in the wilderness, so must the Son of Man be lifted up, 15 so that everyone who believes in him may have eternal life.”
Don’t worry, we will get to John 3:16, a verse which almost everyone knows, and beyond, but here Jesus provides crucial context for it. Only yesterday we looked at verse 13 (NET), 13 No one has ascended into heaven except the one who descended from heaven—the Son of Man. And today we go two verses deeper into what Jesus said to prepare Nicodemus for John 3:16.
Our two verses begin with 14 And as Moses lifted up the serpent in the wilderness, even so must the Son of Man be lifted up. Many may wonder “What serpent or snake in what wilderness?” After all what has this to do with u? Frankly, very little, but it has a great deal to do with Nicodemus. He would understand Jesus is referring to what happened in the book of Numbers.
When we look in Numbers 21 which occurs during the exodus from Egypt and after receiving manna (bread from heaven) 4 Then they traveled from Mount Hor by the road to the Red Sea, to go around the land of Edom, but the people became impatient along the way. 5 And the people spoke against God and against Moses, “Why have you brought us up from Egypt to die in the wilderness, for there is no bread or water, and we detest this worthless food.”
God had provided the bread they now detested, and He had Moses lead them out of slavery in Egypt. Now they spoke against Moses and God while calling the bread worthless meaning good for nothing. And speaking against Moses and God means they likely cursed both. God was not pleased. Thus, 6 So the Lordsent fiery serpents among the people, and they bit the people; and many of the people of Israel died. It doesn’t take a genius to figure out what happened next, 7 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. And then, 8 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.” 9 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.
Nicodemus would know this story inside and out. He would get it when he heard Jesus say, 14 And as Moses lifted up the serpent in the wilderness, even so must the Son of Man be lifted up, 15 that whoeverbelieves in Him should not perish but have eternal life. He would not know how Jesus would be lifted up, not yet, nor would he understand how belief in Jesus would lead to eternal life. Not yet anyway.
Bottom Line: Those in Numbers 21 had to look at a bronze serpent on a pole. We look upon the cross died on and upon His empty tomb and our faith in the risen Christ saves us. Or as Christ told Thomas in John 20:29, 29 Thomas, because you have seen Me, you have believed. Blessed are those who have not seen and yet have believed. We are blessed!
Prayer: Heavenly Father, Thank You for tying the Old Testament to the New Testament for us so we can see how they fit together. As an elder once told me, the Old Testament is the New Testament concealed and the New Testament is the Old Testament revealed. – In Jesus’ Name. Amen.
Riley D. Driver – Pastor
Still writing and working for the Glory of God