The Cloud of Witnesses
Former title Lessons From the People of the Bible
Lesson 2: Nicodemus – Received God’s Love
Received God’s Love
When Jesus heard Nicodemus’ question, He saw into his heart. He saw the longing for the answer to reality and the purpose for life itself. Nicodemus knew the Torah. He wasn’t ignorant of the law of God or the history of God’s people, the Jews. He just knew there had to be more to life than tradition and religion. He knew what existing without life is all about.
In order to reach into Nicodemus’ mind, Jesus went from where Nicodemus was and took Him forward to where He would satisfy the claims of an Almighty and Holy God. Jesus took Nicodemus back to Moses and the people of Israel in the wilderness. He reminded him that the people had rebelled – yet again, and God had to intervene and sent snakes in to get the people’s attention.
God then told Moses to make a snake out of bronze and to attach it to a tall pole so everyone could see it. He then had to tell the people that whoever looked at the snake would be healed and live. And that’s how it worked. Those that looked lived! Those that didn’t look died. The people were reconciled to God once more, by faith.
Jesus said in effect – Nicodemus, you remember what Moses did in the wilderness to reconcile the people to God. He took a snake, representing their sentence and punishment, and put it high up on a pole and whoever looked - by faith, would be forgiven – the bronze snake would be their substitute and bear their sin and rebellion for them and they would be healed, forgiven and set free.
Well, time had gone on and the people still rebelled against God so He had to step in to save the people once more. Jesus said to Nicodemus – just as the snake was used to forgive the people and reconcile them to God, in a similar way I am going to die for their sins.
I’m going to die on a Cross to bring hope, forgiveness and healing. A permanent reconciliation with God for all mankind – whoever looks to the Son of God will be saved, healed and live life to the full. It will take faith, but it is the answer you are looking for.
I’m going to give them eternal life, which is not just ongoing for ever, but life in a whole new dimension. Without Me you don’t know what it is to live. I am the only One who can satisfy the deep hunger in your heart. It’s a spiritual hunger that can only be satisfied by a spiritual answer.
I am the Answer to your need and longing. I didn’t come to judge or condemn the world but to save it.
For God so loved the world that He gave His one and only Son that whoever believes in Him shall not perish but have eternal life.
Put your faith and trust in Me, Nicodemus, because then and then alone will you live the life you long to live. You will experience forgiveness for your sins, peace with God and a whole new joy you have never known before.
Why don’t you try it and give God a go?
Nicodemus would say to us today...
Jesus didn’t die on a pole. He not only died to bring reconciliation vertically between God and mankind, He died on a Cross. That had the added dimension – it brought us reconciliation man to man, man to spouse, parents to children, family to family, tribe to tribe, and nation to nation. Outside the Cross there is no forgiveness and no real and lasting reconciliation.
Thank You Jesus for dying on the Cross for me. Thank You that through Your death, not only do I have reconciliation and access to God as my loving Heavenly Father but You have opened up the way for me to have reconciliation with everyone else on earth. Help me to release my so-called rights and receive Your love so that I can love my fellow pilgrims on this earth. Help me realise that outside of the Cross there is no forgiveness and no reconciliation with others. Help me live in the forgiveness I have received and to give forgiveness to all those who need it from me. Amen.
Numbers 21:4-9; 1 Corinthians 1:18-31; 1 Corinthians 12:12-26.
How is Christ’s death on the Cross similar to the raising of the serpent on the pole by Moses?
How is it different?
Why is it a stumbling block to both Jews and Gentiles?