Series: The Gospel According to John
Title: Jesus Teaches the Teacher – The Son of Man Must Be Lifted Up – Like the Serpent, Pt. 6
Text: John 3:14-15; Numbers 21:4-9
Purpose: In this lesson, these verses teach us: Just as those who looked to the serpent in the wilderness were healed, so those who look in faith to the
lifted-up Son of Man will have eternal life.
Speaker: Bishop Jake Givan, Jr., D. Min
Date: May 20, 2018
Introduction: At the end of Jesus’ interview with Nicodemus (most scholars think that Jesus’ words to Nicodemus end at 3:15 and 3:16-21 are John’s
words), Jesus answers Nicodemus’ question (3:9), “How can these things be?” Or, “How can these things happen?” Nicodemus doesn’t understand how the
new birth can happen or how it can gain a person's entrance into God’s eternal kingdom. So, Jesus tells Nicodemus (3:14-15), “As Moses lifted up the
serpent in the wilderness, even so must the Son of Man be lifted up; so that whoever believes will in Him have eternal life.”
Jesus is saying that the Spirit of God cannot just brush away sin when He grants the new birth. For sin to be dealt with, God’s justice must be satisfied. The
Son of Man must be lifted up to satisfy God’s wrath on behalf of sinners who believe in Him. Jesus takes this strange story and applies it to Himself, telling
Nicodemus, just as those who looked in faith to the serpent in the wilderness were healed, so those who look in faith to the lifted-up Son of Man will have
As we think about how Jesus was like this snake in the wilderness, we can learn five things about why we need the new birth and how Jesus provides it for
I. Because of sin, all people are under the curse of death.
2. God graciously provided the remedy for the curse.
3. The remedy must be lifted up.
4. The only thing that cursed people have to do to be healed is to look in faith to God’s remedy.
5. The result of looking was life.
In his Exposition of the Gospel of John, A. W. Pink wrote:
Man became a lost sinner by a look, for the first thing recorded of Eve in connection with the fall of our first parents is that “The woman saw that the tree
was good for food” (Gen. 3:6). In like manner, the lost sinner is saved by a look. The Christian life begins by looking: “Look unto me, and be ye saved, all the
ends of the earth: for I am God, and there is none else” (Isa. 45:22). The Christian life continues by looking: “Let us run with patience the race which is set
before us, looking unto Jesus the author and finisher of faith” (Heb. 12:2). And at the end of the Christian life we’re still to be looking for Christ: “For our
conversation (citizenship) is in heaven; from whence also we look for the Savior, the Lord Jesus Christ” (Phil. 3:20). From first to last, the one thing required
is looking at God’s Son.
So, the question is, “Have you looked to the crucified, risen, and exalted Lord Jesus to save you from the curse of sin?” Are you still looking to Him as you
run the race of faith?
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