Waters of Life

Biblical Studies in Multiple Languages

Search in "English":
Home -- English -- John - 024 (The cross)
This page in: -- Albanian -- Arabic -- Armenian -- Bengali -- Burmese -- Cebuano -- Chinese -- Dioula -- ENGLISH -- Farsi? -- French -- Georgian -- Greek -- Hausa -- Hindi -- Igbo -- Indonesian -- Javanese -- Kiswahili -- Kyrgyz -- Malayalam -- Peul -- Portuguese -- Russian -- Serbian -- Somali -- Spanish -- Tamil -- Telugu -- Thai -- Turkish -- Twi -- Urdu -- Uyghur? -- Uzbek -- Vietnamese -- Yiddish -- Yoruba

Previous Lesson -- Next Lesson

JOHN - The Light Shines in the Darkness
A Bible Study Course on the Gospel of Christ according to John
PART 1 - The Shining of the Divine Light (John 1:1 - 4:54)
C - Christ's First Visit to Jerusalem (John 2:13 - 4:54) -- What is True Worship?
2. Jesus speaks with Nicodemus (John 2:23 – 3:21)

c) The cross, agent of rebirth (John 3:14–16)

JOHN 3:14-16
14 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 one and only Son, that whoever believes in him should not perish, but have eternal life.

Jesus continued to teach Nicodemus and assured him that spiritual birth is not completed without true repentance, a mental turn about, and faith in Christ’s vicarious death for mankind. These principles, Jesus clarified to Nicodemus by referring to a historical event in Israel.

Those who journeyed in the wilderness of Sinai murmured against God, and rebelled against His guidance (Numbers 21:4–9). God sent fiery serpents as a result to bite them, punishing their obstinacy; a large number died as a result.

At that point some realized their sin, they begged Moses to intercede with God to lift His wrath off them. God commanded Moses to make a brazen serpent symbolizing God’s judgment. This he raised high over the people; proof that the divine wrath was ended. As a result anyone who looked to this sign that punishment had ended, and believed in God’s grace, was cured of the fiery serpent’s poison.

Ever since Eve’s temptation, the serpent had become a symbol of evil. When Jesus came he bore humanity’s sin. So he who knew no sin became sin for us. Jesus is like the brazen serpent in the wilderness which was free of poison, so Jesus was innocent of sin, while bearing our sin.

God’s Son did not appear on earth in radiant form, but in humility as Son of Man, carrying wounds and pain, bearing the curse of the Law. In human form he was able to die in our stead. ‘Son of Man’ is a mark of distinction for him. Just as the serpent lifted up symbolized the removal of divine wrath, so also Christ crucified becomes a symbol of extinguished divine wrath. All our sins were placed on His Son to free us through His death.

Anyone in the wilderness looking at the lifted up serpent, and believing God’s promise, was healed of the serpent’s sting. Confidence in this sign of grace granted life and survival to the believer. Whoever looks at the cross and clings to the Crucified receives eternal life. Paul writes, "I am crucified with Christ yet I live, not I but Christ lives in me." His death is mine, so is his life. Whoever believes and accepts Christ’s vicarious death is justified and lives with him forever. This bond also gives us the fellowship of his resurrection.

Condemned as we are, to look at Jesus is to be saved. He creates in us a new birth. There is no other way to God save through the Crucified. That is why Satan attacks fiercely, night and day the two principles of Salvation: Divine Sonship and Christ’s Crucifixion, but on these two rests the world’s salvation.

God is love; His mercy is like the endless ocean. In love he did not abandon our apostate world, but continues to love us. He does not reject sinful rebels but has mercy. The sacrifice of His Son fulfills all the requirements of righteousness for our salvation, there is no salvation apart from the Son.

Brother, would you sacrifice a hundred pounds for a friend’s sake? Would you be ready to go to prison in his place? Or die in his stead? Maybe if you loved him, but never if he was your enemy. This tells of the greatness of God’s love in sacrificing His Son for criminals to save them.

Christ accomplished the salvation of the world on the cross. All of us need the sacrifice of Jesus. All types of men, cultured or ignorant, polite or rude, rich or poor, virtuous or vicious, there is none who is righteous in himself. Christ has reconciled the world to his Father.

Strangely, this truth has not been grasped by humans except those who have believed in the Crucified. Your relationship of trust with the Savior decides your salvation. Without faith you will continue to be under God’s wrath. Your works are deemed dishonest and filthy in the light of God’s holiness. Nicodemus, the legalist and righteous teacher had to hear these words, words that shocked him.

Whoever accepts the salvation of the cross, believing in the Son lifted up on the tree of shame will live and not find a barrier between him and God. Have you thanked Jesus for his pardon? Have you devote your life to him?

Whoever believes in Christ lives; whoever abides in Christ will never die. Whoever receives Christ receives eternal life. Faith assures us of the Holy Spirit’s indwelling. If you realize the depth of meaning in verses 14 to 16 you will discover the essence of the gospel in one text.

PRAYER: Heavenly Father, we worship you for your infinite love. You gave your only Son to die in our stead. He bore our sins and punishment, and freed us from your wrath. We look towards the cross, trusting, adoring and thankful. You have pardoned our sins and reconciled the world to yourself. Help us to tell others about this message, so that they may receive eternal life through our word Jesus Christ.


  1. How does Christ resemble the Serpent in the wilderness?


Page last modified on January 29, 2022, at 09:08 AM | powered by PmWiki (pmwiki-2.3.3)