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. 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. 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." 22 After these things Jesus and His disciples came into the land of Judea, and there He remained with them and baptized.
Question to Consider:
In the rest of Jesus' time with Nicodemus He talks about God's plan to rescue humanity from sin. He starts by drawing a parallel between the bronze serpent that Moses lifted up to save the Israelites that had been bitten by deadly snakes. to Jesus (the Son of Man) who would be lifted up on a cross. If an Israelite was bitten, all they needed to do was look upon the bronze serpent to be healed. In the same way, when people "look" and believe on the Christ, He is able to save them.
God's motivation for sending Jesus to earth was for "love." If you read the description of love (Agape) in 1 Corinthians, it is a love that is persistent and unilateral. The Apostle Paul also gives us this insight to God's love: Romans 5:8 (NKJV) But God demonstrates His own love toward us, in that while we were still sinners, Christ died for us.
John 3:16 is arguably the most well-known verse in the New Testament. It reveals the simplicity of the Gospel. A person believes in Jesus and they are rewarded with everlasting life. It is surprising how complicated we "try" to make the issue of salvation. It comes down to one thing, "believing in Jesus." John 1:12 "To as many as believed." v.16 "Whoever believes." v.18 "He who believes." The narrative of "believing in Jesus for salvation" is a theme that is restated time and time again throughout the Gospels.
When Jesus arrived, the earth was already under the curse of sin. The earth was already condemned. Mankind was already guilty, and the price for our sin was death. Jesus represents God's alternative to death and judgment. The Father sent Jesus on a mission to rescue us from our sins, so that "we" would have an opportunity to be saved.
v.19 Answers a question that is often asked. Why don't people accept the gift of salvation. The answer: "Men loved darkness rather than light." Hard to imagine that salvation is available, but some people would rather remain cursed.
Lead Teaching Elder: