In John 3:14-15, Jesus references Moses and the people of Israel.
In Numbers, people are bitten by a venimous snakes sent from God because the people had sinned against God. The bite was deadly, and many died and were dying.
Once again we see sin leading people to death.
But as the people began to see what it was that they had done, they cried out to God through Moses for help. God heard his people and instructed Moses to craft a bronze serpent on a stick. If the people looked at the bronze serpent,
they would be saved.
In John 3, Jesus begins to teach about the change that he represented. New life had come to the people. Specifically, Jesus say that you must be born again to see the kingdom of God.
Nicodemus, a Pharisee, and member of the Sanhedrin, came to Jesus at night, to talk with Jesus. Nicodemus represented the old religion of the people; the Law of Moses and the temple rituals.
Jesus said that LIFE, would come when one was born again. This was not a physical rebirth, but a spiritual birth. Not by flesh, for flesh gives birth only to flesh. But a spiritual birth because spirit gives birth to spirit. In other words, you and all your effort to live a religious life with the hope of doing what's right will only lead to you doing what you think is right. In doing so, you will fall short of God's standard of what's right and wrong. Flesh gives birth to flesh. And flesh leads to death. You cannot save yourself by
doing what you think is right.
But when you are born by the spirit, the spirit gives life because it comes from God alone. In verses 14 and 15, Jesus makes a powerful statement of his true identity as the one who brings life. In verse 14, Jesus says that when Moses lifted the bronze serpent and the people looked upon it they were saved from certain death. Like the serpent, He too would be lift up as a sacrifice for
the people. In verse 15, he says, anyone who believes in him will receive LIFE.
From the old religion of Nicodemus, to the opportunity for life through Jesus, we see that it is God who saves. Not religion. Not a bronze serpent on a stick. But God and only God.
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