Key verse: John 3:14
Big idea: The sign of God's salvation is the cross.
John 3 is one of the most famous chapters in the Bible, and with good reason. Nicodemus, a member of the Jewish Senate (the Sanhedrin), came to Jesus under the cover of darkness and Jesus told Him what it took to enter the Kingdom of God. You must, Jesus explained, be born again. There is no substitute for becoming a new creation, where we are a part of God's family and citizens of His realm. Birth is an interesting metaphor because it is so passive. We did not work our way up to being born or do anything to deserve it, we were simply brought into the world. No single analogy captures ever facet of salvation, but this metaphor is uniquely powerful in showing how salvation is a fresh start, inexplicable in its timing and irrevocable in its results.
Jesus does not explain much about how salvation works. It is a mystery, like the changing currents of the wind. The only explanation He gives of the mechanism is that salvation comes when we believe and is like when Moses lifted up a bronze serpent in the wilderness, and those who looked on it were healed of their snake bites. In the same way, those who look on Jesus when He is lifted up will be born again into His Kingdom, healed of the serpent's sting. The sign of God's salvation, the place we look for our redemption, is the cross where Jesus was lifted up. His death brings us life and His suffering brings us peace. There is no greater sign of love.
Discussion idea: During Hezekiah's reign, the serpent was destroyed because people had begun using it as an idol. How can we mistake the things which should point us to Jesus with Jesus?
Prayer focus: Lord, thank You for the gift of Your Son and the simple promise that if I look I will live. Help me to keep Him before me all the time, and trust Him alone.