June 2

John 3:14-16 14Just as Moses lifted up the snake in the desert, so the Son of Man must be lifted up, 15that everyone who believes in him may have eternal life. 16"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.

In trying to help Nicodemus understand His mission, Jesus related what He had come to do with a story from the Law (Numbers 21). Nicodemus studied the Law daily and would have immediately understood the implications. When the Children of Israel were complaining about their circumstances, God sent fiery serpents among them. Those who were bitten died in a short time. Moses asked God what he could do to save them. God told him to make a brazen serpent and put it on a pole. Anyone that had been bitten could look at the image and be healed. That is the source of our medical symbol.

Jesus related this story to His mission. To be hung on a pole was to be cursed according to the Law. The brass in the image represented judgment. Jesus was saying that He would be cursed and judged so that the sin poisoned world could look to Him and live.

Why? Because God loved the world so much that He was willing to send His only Son to save the world from their deadly condition. He was the only sinless one who could take the curse and sins of the world upon Himself and satisfy the justice of God. Those who lived before Christ looked forward in time to what Jesus would do for them. Those of us who live after the cross look back in time to what He did there. We all gaze upon the cross and in believing are healed from this deadly poison of sin. God so loved you that He gave His only Son, that if you will believe in Him, you will not die from the poison of sin in you. You will have eternal life.

Meditation: Put your name in place of "world" and "whosoever" in this verse.