When Jesus spoke to Nicodemus he prophesied that his death on the cross would bring healing and forgiveness and a "new birth in the Spirit" (John 3:3) and eternal life (John 3:15).
Jesus explained the necessity of his crucifixion and resurrection by analogy with Moses and the bronze serpent in the desert.
When the people of Israel journeyed in the wilderness, they complained against the Lord and regretted ever leaving Egypt. God punished them for their stubborn and rebellious hearts by sending a plague of deadly serpents.
When they repented and cried to the Lord for mercy, God instructed Moses: "Make a fiery serpent, and set it on a pole; and every one who is bitten, when he sees it, shall live" (Numbers 21:8). The bronze serpent pointed to the cross of Christ which defeats sin and death and obtains everlasting life for those who believe.
The result of Jesus "being lifted up on the cross" and his rising and exaltation to the Father's right hand in heaven, is our "new birth in the Spirit" and adoption as sons and daughters of God.
God not only redeems us, but he fills us with his own divine life and power that we might share in his glory. Jesus gives us the Holy Spirit that we may have power to be his witnesses and to spread and defend the gospel by word and action, and to never be ashamed of the Cross of Christ.
The Holy Spirit gives us his seven-fold gifts of wisdom and understanding, right judgment and courage, knowledge and reverence for God and his ways, and a holy fear in God's presence (see Isaiah 11) that we may live for God and serve him in the power of his strength.
Do you thirst for new life in the Spirit? How do we know, beyond a doubt, that God truly loves us and wants us to be united with him forever? For God so loved the world that he gave his only Son, that whoever believes in him should not perish but have eternal life (John 3:16). God proved his love for us by giving us the best he had to offer – his only begotten Son who freely gave himself as an offering to God for our sake and as the atoning sacrifice for our sin and the sin of the world.
This passage tells us of the great breadth and width of God's love. Not an exclusive love for just a few or for a single nation, but an all-embracing redemptive love for the whole world, and a personal love for each and every individual whom God has created in his own image and likeness.
God is a loving Father who cannot rest until his wandering children have returned home to him. Saint Augustine of Hippo says, "God loves each one of us as if there were only one of us to love."
God gives us the freedom to choose whom and what we will love.
Jesus shows us the paradox of love and judgment. We can love the darkness of sin and unbelief or we can love the light of God’s truth, beauty, and goodness.
If our love is guided by what is true, and good and beautiful then we will choose for God and love him above all else. What we love shows what we prefer.
Do you love God above all else?
Do you give him first place in your life, in your thoughts, decisions and actions?