In our last message on this passage, we left Jesus saying to Nicodemus that just like Moses lifted up a bronze serpent so that those that looked up to it could live, so must the Son of Man also be lifted up so that those who believe in him should have eternal life. We then now continue with verse 16.
16 “ For God so loved the world, that he gave his only Son, that whoever believes in him should not perish but have eternal life. 17 For God did not send his Son into the world to condemn the world, but in order that the world might be saved through him. 18 Whoever believes in him is not condemned, but whoever does not believe is condemned already, because he has not believed in the name of the only Son of God.
Verse 16-18 is a further expansion by Jesus on why he was talking about the serpent. You must remember that the reason why Moses made a bronze serpent was at the instruction of God, after God sent fiery serpent to bite the Israelites after complaining about everything that God was doing for them. The bronze serpent was there to save the lives of those that had already being bitten. So, the fiery serpent that came down, came down to bite and to kill but the bronze serpent was there to save.
Now Jesus is saying in verse 16 that God loved the world so much, that he gave his only Son, that whoever believes in him should not perish but have an eternal life. This verse highlights a very important condition for having eternal life. I simply do not understand how people can misunderstand this verse. Does this verse say that you must believe and pay tithe? Does this verse say that you must believe and obey the law? Does this verse say you must believe and be baptized? Does this verse say you must believe and go to church? In all these questions, the answer is no, no, no and no! This verse simply says that you must believe, full stop. If you believe plus nothing, you will have eternal life.
Verse 17 then says that, for God did not send his son to condemn the world like he send the fiery serpent, but He send his only son that through him, the world may be saved. The fiery serpent were send to condemn the Israelites abut Jesus was send to save the world.
Then verse 18 says whoever believes in Jesus is not condemned. It does not say he will not be condemned but it says he is not condemned. Just like the Israelites looked at the bronze serpent and did not die, so is everyone who believes in Jesus will not spiritually die but will have eternal life. Those that do not believe in Jesus, are condemned already. Just like those that were bitten by fiery serpents (snakes) were already dead if they did not look up to the bronze serpent. Everyone was bitten by the snake and everyone was going to die but those that looked up to the bronze snake, were saved and lived. Just like us, all of us have been bitten by sin, we are all sinners and the wages of sin is spiritual death. We are all going to die but those that will and do believe in Jesus, those that look up to Jesus, are saved and will not spiritually die but will have eternal life. Just like the fiery snake venom was flowing in the blood of those that were bitten, so is the venom of sin. The venom of sin is also flowing in our blood streams and destroying every sense of morality and fear of God and driving us slowly away from eternal life to eternal death. The longer we wait the wider the venom of sin spreads and the more difficult it is to be cured. If you right now look up to Jesus as your saviour and believe in your heart, then you will be saved and the venom of sin will be cured. You have been bitten already and the only cure is Jesus the Son of God.
Are you going to look up to Jesus or are you going to allow the venom to continue to destroy you?
19 And this is the judgment: the light has come into the world, and people loved the darkness rather than the light because their works were evil. 20 For everyone who does wicked things hates the light and does not come to the light, lest his works should be exposed. 21 But whoever does what is true comes to the light, so that it may be clearly seen that his works have been carried out in God.”
Evil people hates the light because the light exposed their evil and wicked things that they do. Those that are true and does what is true, come to the light for they have nothing to hide. Jesus is the light that came down to shine through the darkness so that darkness can be defeated and exposed for what it is.
The questions is, do you rejoice and accept the light or are you worried that the light will expose the evil things that you have been doing and continue to do?
Father thank you for everything you continue to do for us and we hope that you will give us the strength and wisdom to first understand your word and secondly to spread as far and wide as you allow your word to go. In Jesus name amen.