April 2, 2000

John 3:14-21

... the Son of Man must be lifted up, just as that metal snake was lifted up by Moses in the desert. Then everyone who has faith in the Son of Man will have eternal life.

God loved the people of this world so much that he gave his only Son, so that everyone who has faith in him will have eternal life and never really die. God did not send his Son into the world to condemn its people. He sent him to save them! no one who has faith in God's Son will be condemned. But everyone who doesn't have faith in him has already been condemned for not having faith in God's only Son.

The light has come into the world, and people who do evil things are judged guilty because they love the dark more than the light. People who do evil hate the light and won't come to the light, because it clearly shows what they have done. But everyone who lives by the truth will come to the light, because they want others to know that God is really the one doing what they do. [CEV]


1. The reference is of the metal snake is from Numbers 21:4-9. It is worth your reading. A key element is that the folks being led forth from captivity became impatient and complained about such things as no food and lousy food.

Presume for the moment that you are being led forth from captivity to whatever it is that is keeping you from the "fullness of life" intended by GOD. What are you impatient about? What are you complaining about these days?

May your complaints be about injustice and sin in the world, rather than your comfort level.

2. The image here is that a snake icon takes precedence over snakes biting at one's ankles. It's like that old game rock, paper, scissors. Snake icon beats biting snakes. I imagine, though, that keeping one's eye on the icon while being bit takes a bit of concentration. Don't you find it easy to be distracted from loving GOD, much less loving your neighbor or your faith family, and certainly more than loving your enemies.

3. While it would be easy to focus in on probably the best known verse of the Bible, the one that shows up at sporting events -- John 3:16 -- how much GOD loves the people of this world (how much?.....sooooooo much!) we do need some way to keep our eye on that prize while being so easily distracted.

In the midst of distraction there is a fine model in the Numbers passage. Confess your distraction, your fear of dying, and pray for others. Look it up. In doing this you will be following in the way of Jesus to help provide a focal point of healing in a most unwell world. Confess and pray for others -- it is the ground from which springs forth joy.

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