Snakes, Sinners and the Savior
"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." But do you know what He said one second before that verse?
John 3:12-18 "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.17 "For God did not send His Son into the world to condemn the world, but that the world through Him might be saved.18 "He who believes in Him is not condemned; but he who does not believe is condemned already, because he has not believed in the name of the only begotten Son of God. NKJV
One of the best-known verses in the Bible is framed by one of the strangest scenes in the Bible. What are we learning today? John 3:16 and the story of Nicodemus.
What is the setting? Snakes, Sinners and the Savior. Jesus uses a strange scene, snakes attacking and killing people as the backdrop for John 3:16 and the God who so loved that He gave. Wow what a lesson, what a passage, and what a joy to learn from Jesus the Message of Salvation!
Welcome to the Gospel of Jesus Christ!
What is the Gospel? Christ Jesus answers through the book He prompted John to write as the Apostle captures numerous powerful scenes where our Lord Jesus Christ explains the truth about salvation. We have already seen Jesus describing believers as those who:
Possess Jesus Christ; understand salvation is only by substitution; have been overwhelmed by the Holy Spirit; hang on to Christ alone; and finally -- get to start life over again -only this time brand new and in the right way
Jesus is in an evening visit by seeking Bible Teacher named Nicodemus. The Nicodemus of the New Testament, may have been the Nicodemus known in secular history as Nicodemus ben Gurion. If so he was the 3rd richest man of early 1st Century Israel. His brother was Josephus ben Gurion, as in the world famous historian we read today called Josephus.
This may explain why Jesus refers to being "born of water". This may point to John's Baptism of humble repentance. Nicodemus may have been in that delegation sent to query John at the Jordan River. If so that explains why Jesus dealt so directly with him in John 3. But in our text in the midst of Christ's talk with Nicodemus, in the midst of His explanation of the New Birth, being Born Again, He says you need another birth, you need to become a baby again.
That is a very striking to think about. Why? Because, a baby has no past, just a future!
Our passage this morning reveals Christ's present mission.
The Son came down (3:13)
To be lifted up (3:14)
In order for man to enter in (3:15)
And get out of perishing and into everlasting life (3:16)
For more resources from Dr. John Barnett visit our website at www.DiscoverTheBook.org