Salvation is Amazingly Simple When Jesus explains it
Jesus explains to Nicodemus the scholar, the man who had done it all how these obscure verses from Numbers 21, were actually an Old Testament picture of salvation only through Jesus Christ. As Peter later says, He is Jesus who “bore our sins in His own body on the tree” (1 Peter 2:24). So Jesus Himself said to Nicodemus: “As Moses lifted up the serpent in the wilderness, even so must the Son of Man be lifted up: That whosoever believeth in Him should not perish, but have eternal life” (John 3:14-15) .
Now, take an Old Testament Sunday School story ask why did Jesus use that picture? What exactly was Jesus saying that the Brazen Serpent story pointed at that Nicodemus needed to understand?
The great similarity between the condition of the sinful and doomed Israelites of 3500 years ago, Nicodemus in Christ’s time, and each of us today is incredible! Have you ever thought about this?
First, we all share the same deadly infection, And all those infected will die.
All the doomed rebels in the wilderness of Numbers 21 who were infected by the poison of the serpents would die. Nicodemus the moral and outwardly righteous man was just as infected and also would die. So each of us today was also born with the same deadly serpent bite of sin and are all doomed just like the Israelites of Moses’ day and Nicodemus of Christ’s day.
The lesson Nicodemus needed was the one Jesus gives first and that is: All infected by the SIN virus, will die.
Second, we all share a similar offer of a cure, Because there is only one cure.
In the wilderness of tents, sand, and these deadly snakes that could come into any home at any time and bite anyone, God Himself devised a plan. God prescribed only one antidote against the fiery serpent’s venom. Nothing else would work. Many other remedies could be tried, many other plans could be designed, but only God’s plan and remedy were able to save the snake-bitten.
To Nicodemus Jesus was saying, you are trusting your own remedy and not Mine, and yours won’t work. To each of us today, Jesus is saying the same thing! God only offers salvation purchased by Christ’s death on the Cross. That is God’s only plan.
As Moses lifted the Brass Serpent on the pole, so Christ was lifted up upon the cross (John 12:33-34). The word used in Numbers 21 for a pole signifies a banner or ensign, and on the cross, Jesus was lifted up and displayed for all the world to see that He was God’s only remedy for sin.
There is only one cure: “Neither is their salvation in any other”, Peter says in Acts 4:12 “for there is no other name under heaven given among men by which we must be saved.”
We all share a similar choice, Because only God’s way will work.
IT WAS SIMPLE. They looked up from where ever they were and lived. No matter how far distant the pole was from their place of death, God touched them and saved their life. Loved ones rushed to friends and relatives and earnestly explained the provision God had made, and all who would believe and respond were miraculously saved from the venom of the serpent.
• So today, two thousand years distant from the Cross salvation is simple. We only need to look at Christ by faith, for His salvation, and we have all our sins forever forgiven and eternal life.
IT WAS SPECIFIC. The brazen serpent’s lifted up did not cure unless looked upon with a heart of faith. Self-medication without looking at the brazen serpent inevitably led to their death.
• So today, salvation is specific and only faith in Jesus as the One who took our place, and only placing my faith in His sacrifice can save me. No church, no works, no experience, just faith in Him.
IT WAS POWERFUL. Everyone one of the thousands who looked upon this pole, even from the outer fringes of the camp, even with burning and blurred eyes half-open, were completely healed.
• So today, salvation is powerful so that anyone who lives and believes in Jesus Christ has everlasting life and forgiveness and will never die!
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