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John’s gospel post 23: Look up!

September 20, 2013

“A little less conversation, a little more action” – Elvis Presley – A little less conversation (from the film “Live a little, love a little”)

John 3: 14 & 15

And so we carry on in our journey. How you getting on? Maybe not what you expected? Have to say it’s not what I expected even though I’ve been this way many times before. So far there seems to be a lot less action and a lot more talking than I thought? Anyway we are coming towards one of the most famous parts of the gospels. Some of Jesus’ most choice and loved words. Any surprises though I wonder.

After the mystery of the Spirit, Jesus takes Nicodemus back to Moses. And the story of a snake. Nic would have known the story well. The people of Israel were in the wilderness, behaving not particularly well – as was often the case. And they were attacked by venomous snakes – with large fatalities. To prevent even larger numbers, God told Moses to make a snake out of bronze and put it on a pole. People who had been bitten just had to look at the metal snake and they were healed. 

Jesus now compares himself to that snake. Just as that snake was lifted up on a pole, Jesus would have to be lifted up. Just as the snake provided the cure for the people of Israel, so Jesus provided an even greater cure. Is this it? Is this the way to being born again? And is that all it takes? To look at Jesus?

The key is to believe. Somehow Jesus is to be lifted up. We will see clearly what he is referring to later in John’s Jesus biography. But the key to being born spiritually is to believe – to believe in Jesus. There is no long list of rules to obey, achievements to tick off. It’s Jesus who is the key. Look up to him and believe.

So what is it to be born again. Is it just to start another life? No it’s much bigger than that. Jesus promises eternal life for the believer. That’s huge. But it is even bigger than that because the word eternal does not just mean everlasting (never-ending on and on and on), but talks about a massive quality of life. It talks about life in the here and now being much bigger than we could ever imagine. To be a follower of Jesus is not about buying an insurance policy for the afterlife, but it is about living NOW.

Look up!


From → Christianity

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