Abide Together: Reflections on John 3
John 3 – containing what quite possibly is the most well-known verse of the Bible, John 3:16“For God so loved the world, that He gave His only Son, that whoever believes in Him should not perish but have everlasting life.” I’ve had this verse memorized since the time I was taught it in the 2nd grade during Sunday School. You probably have too.
However, let’s consider the context a bit. Verses 14-15 say, “And as Moses lifted up the serpent in the wilderness, so must the Son of man be lifted up, that whoever believes in Him may have eternal life.”
If you go back to Numbers 21:4-9 you can reread the story. As you do so, I’d encourage you to ask yourself what it meant to “believe.” It seems to me that “believing” was certainly not just some sort of mental assent, but this belief called people to action – to respond. If you were bit by a snake, then you could look upon Moses’ serpent to be saved, however there was a huge crowd of people who would have been clamoring for this position. Each of them had venom coursing through their bodies and grew weaker with every step. “Belief” meant lots of effort in spite of the odds – in spite of their own emotions and strength. Belief was a battle for position to look upon the serpent.
Isn’t this what were are called to? Our belief in Jesus should motivate us to action. We should clamor for a position to look upon Jesus. Nothing is of greater importance. The venom of sin coursing through our bodies requires immediate and complete commitment. We must be saved. We must look upon Him. In spite of our emotional state, our strength, our reputations – in spite of the odds against us, we are called to look upon Him for salvation. Let us LOOK intently without distraction – unhindered.
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