Bronze Serpent

Bronze serpent on a pole

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John 3 Bible Study
John 3:3-12 Born Again

John 3:13-21 Bronze Serpent

John 3:22-36 Judea
JOHN 3:13-16  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.

What is Jesus referring to in John 3:14?
The bronze serpent in Numbers 21:7-9: "Therefore the people came to Moses, and said, 'We have sinned, for we have spoken against the LORD and against you; pray to the LORD that He take away the serpents from us.' So Moses prayed for the people. Then the LORD said to Moses, 'Make a fiery serpent, and set it on a pole; and it shall be that everyone who is bitten, when he looks at it, shall live.' So Moses made a bronze serpent, and put it on a pole; and so it was, if a serpent had bitten anyone, when he looked at the bronze serpent, he lived.'"

The bronze serpent on a pole is an image of whom?
Jesus.

After what moment?
When He is hanging on the cross after he had taken on the sins, cried out, "Why have you forsaken me?" (Mark 15:34) to God the Father, followed by, "It is finished!" (John 19:30) and His death. The snake wasn’t foreshadowing the baby Jesus in a manger. It was foreshadowing Jesus stricken on the cross for our sins, and this is what the next two verses, John 3:15 and 16, are referring to in "believing in Him."

Believing in what about Him?
That He is God who loved us so much that He came and paid the death penalty for your our sins, and it is that substitutional death which has cleared our way to heaven. So, to go to heaven, we need to realize and believe THAT about Jesus.

What if I don't feel like a sinner?
According to the Bible, a sinner isn't just a murderer or a rapist. It's everyone who has failed to meet God's standard of perfect holiness. The Bible declares that every single person has "sinned and fall short of the glory of God" (Romans 3:23) and that "the wages of sin is death" (Romans 6:23).

JOHN 3:17-18   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.

Did Jesus come to "condemn the world"?
No, John 3:17 says that He came to save it.

But how do those who don’t believe in Jesus end up?
"Condemned" (John 3:18).

JOHN 3:19-21   19 And this is the condemnation, that the light has come into the world, and men loved darkness rather than light, because their deeds were evil. 20 For everyone practicing evil hates the light and does not come to the light, lest his deeds should be exposed. 21 But he who does the truth comes to the light, that his deeds may be clearly seen, that they have been done in God.”

Why do people have trouble believing in Jesus?
They love their sins, referred to as "darkness" and "deeds" that are "evil" in John 3:19-20.

Are there any sins in your life, your love for which is making you turn away from the "light"?
 

How do you think Nicodemus felt as he left Jesus that night?
Probably somewhat overwhelmed, if not confused.

Do you know what happened to Nicodemus thereafter?
We will read about Nicodemus twice more in the remainder of this Gospel. In John 7:45-52, he stands up for Jesus in front of his peers, and John 19:38-39 shows him a disciple so close to Jesus that he is one of two who cleaned His body and buried it in a tomb. So if you feel overwhelmed at first, take heart. All of us are like Nicodemus. We are all God’s work in progress.

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