Summary: In John Chapter 3 Jesus points us to the Prophetic Record that maps out Palm Sunday, Good Friday and Easter Sunday. In this golden chapter of the Bible Jesus lays out the path of salvation for Nicodemus and for the rest of us.
It Was No Secret
This week marks the fourth week in Lent as we travel with Jesus toward His passion and glory.
At this time Jesus is preparing the Disciples for what lies ahead, namely His arrest, torture and crucifixion. After three years of ministry it has come to this? They just can’t believe it. They hear the words but wrestle to accept them.
In Luke 18:31-33 Jesus tells them for the third time.
31 Jesus took the Twelve aside and told them, “We are going up to Jerusalem, and everything that is written by the prophets about the Son of Man will be fulfilled.
32 He will be delivered over to the Gentiles. They will mock him, insult him and spit on him; 33 they will flog him and kill him. On the third day he will rise again.”
Jesus never made this eventuality a secret and in fact in the Gospel of Luke Jesus points the Disciples to the prophets so they can know Jesus speaks the truth. The Disciples remain in a kind of disbelief concerning Jesus imminent demise. It just doesn’t figure in their thinking that this man of miracles could be killed.
After all they have seen Jesus demonstrate His command over life and death. Even nature itself bends to His will. Most recently they were eye witnesses to the raising of Lazarus. Still they could not figure out how Jesus could or would suffer such a horrible death.
What had they missed?
They had missed “The Prophetic Record”.
To learn what that record was we will have to go back three years to when it all began.
Jesus lays it out for the great teacher of Israel Nicodemus.
Jesus gives one of the greatest Biblical scholars of all time a private Bible lesson.
to John Chapter 3:10-21.
If we are to understand why Jesus had to face such a horrible death we need to start here. In John Chapter 3 Jesus points us to the Prophetic Record that maps out Palm Sunday, Good Friday and Easter Sunday. In this golden chapter of the Bible Jesus lays out the path of salvation for Nicodemus and for the rest of us.
It is here that the Disciples should have looked to understand why Jesus would have to die just as He described it.
3 Jesus replied, “Very truly I tell you, no one can see the kingdom of God unless they are born again.” John 3:3
Jesus amplifies the teaching for Nicodemus and lets him know that God calls those who are born of water and the spirit. Our Father’s call to His children is like the blowing of the wind.
Nicodemus may be listening to what Jesus is saying but he is not necessarily hearing it. Many of us fall into this same category. When Jesus talks it’s like double speak, having two or more meanings.
Jesus has spoken about Earthly things and Nicodemus has not believed them so how could he possibly believe in Heavenly things that Jesus shares?
Then Jesus reveals His identity to Nicodemus and gives Nicodemus a Biblical reference to draw upon a Prophetic Record.
13 No one has ever gone into heaven except the one who came from heaven—the Son of Man.
14 Just as Moses lifted up the snake in the wilderness, so the Son of Man must be lifted up,
15 that everyone who believes may have eternal life in him.” John 3:13-15
In these words Jesus makes His first reference to His death. In these words Jesus gives the reason why He must die and how He must die. This was the missing clue for Nicodemus. It explained what the Disciples wrestled with.
Jesus points Nicodemus to what seems like an obscure incident involving Moses and the children of Israel that we find in our Bibles in Numbers 21:4-9.
In this passage we discover that the people rebelled against God and against Moses. In fact the Bible records that it was the eighth time they rebelled.
God the Father has had enough and they are punished for their sin. God sends poisonous snakes into the camps and many die as a result.
It takes this physical reminder of sin; the snake, to bring them to their senses and seek God’s forgiveness for their continuous acts of rebellion and sin.
God orders Moses to make a bronze serpent and to stick it on a pole. Only by looking at the serpent can anyone who was bitten be healed. Miraculously those who are bitten are healed when they look upon the representation of the origin of their sin.
The snake, that same snake that first brought Adam and Eve into sin against God in the Garden of Eden is made the object of sin as a physical reminder for the people.