Bible Reading: John 3:14-18
Just as Moses lifted up the snake in the wilderness, so the Son of Man must be lifted up,
that everyone who believes may have eternal life in him."
For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son,
that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life.
For God did not send his Son into the world to condemn the world,
but to save the world through him.
Whoever believes in him is not condemned,
but whoever does not believe stands condemned already
because they have not believed in the name of God's one and only Son.
The Old Testament book of Numbers records an event when the Israelites, wandering in the wilderness, sinned by complaining about God because of the difficulties they faced. As a result of their complaints they were plagued by snakes, and many died. Having prayed for their deliverance, Moses held up a bronze replica of a snake on a pole and everyone who had been bitten by a snake and who looked to the bronze snake was healed. (Numbers 21:4-9)
John relates the image of the snake on the pole to that of Jesus on the cross as an introduction to the most famous verse from the bible, For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life. Whoever looks to Jesus will be delivered from the consequences of sin in their lives and will receive eternal life.
Could anything be more simple or more inclusive?
Have you turned to Jesus, to look to him to receive both forgiveness and eternal life?
Some of the imagery of the Old Testament can seem quite harsh. When that happens, let us try to understand that the cost of sin is so high that it could finally be met only by the death of the Son of God himself, and that God paid the price himself because he loves us so much.
God’s love for you is unconditional and is shown by the lengths he was prepared to go in order to restore your relationship with him. If you had been the only person in the world, Jesus would have died for you. That’s how much he loves you.
Eternal life is a gift we receive once and for all when we turn to Jesus and believe in him. Forgiveness is something we need to receive continually. But receiving forgiveness is not complicated, it is just a matter of looking to Jesus and believing in the sacrifice he made for us on the cross.
Thank you Jesus that you loved me so much that you went to the cross so that I could receive forgiveness and eternal life.
God loved the world so much.