“And as Moses lifted up the serpent in the wilderness, even so must the Son of Man be lifted up, that whosoever believes in Him should not perish but have eternal life.” John 3: 14 and 15 [NKJV]
I must admit I hate snakes; along with mice and bats. They make me squirm and send shivers up my back although they too are God’s creatures. I can accept them if they’re in their own habitat like the woods or the fields or in the zoo, then I find them kind of cute; but not in my back yard or garage. And they better not dare come into my house. Jesus compared His death on the cross for our sins with a snake being lifted up in the wilderness.
Many of the church leaders, the Scribes and Pharisees, during Jesus’ days on earth did not believe Jesus was the Son of God. But Nicodemus, a very rich man and a Pharisee, was intrigued with Jesus’ miracles and teachings and wanted to know more about Him. So Nicodemus came to visit Jesus one night.
Jesus explained to him that no one could enter God’s kingdom unless he was born again. Of course these thoughts were all new to Nicodemus but he wanted to know more. So Jesus explained the new birth, or change of heart, to him. Jesus told him that God loves all the people of the world so much He wanted them to have a relationship with Him. His love caused Him to give Jesus, His only Son, to die for us that whosoever believes in Jesus would not die because of their sin but have life forever.
Jesus compared this to the time in history when the Israelites had sinned and God sent fiery snakes into their camp in the wilderness where they lived. At that time God told Moses to put up a brass snake, or serpent, on a pole. Then when some one was bitten by one of these poisonous snakes and they were about to die they could look at the brass serpent and God healed them.
In the same way if we believe in Jesus’ death on the cross for our sins we obtain eternal life. This does not mean we won’t die a physical death. We all have to die some day. But it means we have life in Christ Jesus spiritually, here on earth and in heaven eternally after we die physically.
In the same way that Nicodemus chose God’s way and received eternal life by looking to Jesus we too can have the same relationship with Him today when we too believe. Jesus comes into our life and communes with us and empowers us to live according to His Word.