John 3:13-15, “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.”
In the beginning of this chapter we saw how Nicodemus recognized Jesus a teacher from God based on the signs that He performed and His teaching, and concluded that it was not possible for someone to do such unless God is with him. He had no understanding that Jesus was more than a teacher, a miracle worker and one with and from God. Jesus was and is God, the Savior of the world. Jesus then begins to talk to him about the things of the kingdom which made no sense to him.
As He continues to speak with him, He helps us all understand what the gospel (good news) entails and He declares it in the next few verses. We must define the gospel for us to understand well the next few verses. What is the Gospel of our New Birth? The gospel is an announcement of good news of what God has done in Christ on the cross by grace to give eternal hope to those who have faith in Him. Lets see in the next few verses how He lays it out.
The Gospel must be God centered (His kingdom). In Vs. 11 To Nicodemus “11 Most assuredly, I say to you, We speak what We know and testify what We have seen…” This refers to Christ Himself and those to whom He has revealed Himself to. Jesus establishes His deity and teaching by declaring that “13 No one has ascended to heaven but He who came down from heaven, that is, the Son of Man who is in heaven”. This is not to suggest that no one had gone to heaven when we know Enoch and Elijah from OT were taken to heaven, but rather to make it clear that no one had ascended and brought back the message of the kingdom. He is from above and in Him is life, therefore He has not sent it, He has come for He is the message. This is why He is not sending the way, the truth and the life, no, “He is the way, the truth and the life…”, John 14:6. Many of our churches today do not preach Christ and His message as He ought to be preached. Most of the messages are man (earthly) centered, appealing to man rather than Christ and have no power. The gospel that saves must be God centered.
This gospel must be cross centered. Vs. “14 And as Moses lifted up the serpent in the wilderness, even so must the Son of Man be lifted up,” The people in Moses’ day were rebellious, they spoke against God and Moses (Numbers 21), for that reason God sent fiery serpents that bit many Israelites and they died. Numbers 21:8, “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.” God who had plagued provided a remedy, a bronze serpent lifted up by Moses on a pole that whoever looked upon it was healed and lived.
Jesus comes later in the NT and refers back to the serpent Moses made and raised up on a pole. The Israelites needed the serpent of bronze on a pole to live, we needed Jesus being lifted up on the cross to die for our salvation. But how can a serpent have similarity to Jesus? “The serpent signified Christ, who was in the likeness of sinful flesh, though without sin, as this brazen serpent had the outward shape, but not the inward poison, of the other serpents: the pole resembled the cross upon which Christ was lifted up for our salvation: and looking up to it designed our believing in Christ”, John Wesley. They could not look to Moses for healing, neither can anyone look to another man for their salvation or deliverance. Jesus lifted up on the cross is the hope for everyone. “For He made Him who knew no sin to be sin for us, that we might become the righteousness of God in Him”, 2Corinthians 5:21; “For the message of the cross is foolishness to those who are perishing, but to us who are being saved it is the power of God, “1Corinthians 1:18. The gospel that saves must be cross centered. To Continue, Blessings Ev