Blog #16 Lifted Up
When we think of being lifted up, usually that means first being down. So often, we get into a position where we are down and need help getting back up. With Jesus Christ, we cannot imagine Him ever being down and needing help up, yet He did need to be lifted up in two senses of the word to accomplish the reconciliation between mankind and God. In His conversation with Pharisee Nicodemus, Jesus explains the process of reconciling humans with their Creator.
Lifted up in Shame by Man
Jesus explains, in verse fourteen, that “as Moses lifted up the serpent in the wilderness, even so must the Son of Man be lifted up.” The event that Jesus is referring to comes from Numbers 21. Israel had sinned, and were punished with a deadly disease which killed many. In repentance, the survivors came to Moses asking for a solution to stop the death. A bronze serpent was made, and lifted up on a pole for people to gaze at, according to God’s instructions. Those who listened to God and looked at the serpent were healed. Likewise, mankind as a whole are infected with a deadly disease called sin. We need the solution for reconciliation with God to put an end to the death. God’s solution was for Jesus Christ to be ‘lifted up’ like the bronze serpent, to hang on a pole for people to see, bringing life in the midst of death. A couple years later, Jesus would be lifted up on the cross to fulfill this need, being put to shame by the Pharisees and the Romans despite being innocent of all wrongdoing. The result of this action is given in verse fifteen: “Whoever believes in Him should not perish but have eternal life.” In order to receive the life offered through the ‘lifting up’ one has to have faith, which is an active belief that obeys the command. In Numbers, the command that brought life was to look. In John, the command that brings life is to believe in Jesus.
Lifted up in Love by God
Many people have this next verse as their favorite, or at least as the most well known. “For God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him should not perish but have everlasting life.” Jesus was lifted up in shame by people, but because of His obedience, even to death on the cross (Philippians 2:8), He was then lifted up in love by God, His Father. It was God’s love that brought Him to earth to die in your place! It was His love for you that brought Him to giving us the greatest gift ever given. It is His love for all mankind that has the Almighty God offering the gift of freedom and forgiveness to all who want it. Since it is a gift, this freedom must be received, and it is received by faith in Jesus Christ. When you believe what God says about who Jesus is, and what He did for you, then it changes your life from dead in sin to alive in Christ, even eternal life!
Lifted up in Grace by Choice
You have a choice to make. God does not give eternal life to those who do not want it. Just do not get confused: God does not send anyone to hell, but rather honours your choice. If you choose Jesus, then you get eternal life with God. If you choose self, then you get eternal punishment. The choice is yours, and it is given by God’s grace (undeserved favor) to all people without discrimination. “For God did not send His Son into the world to condemn the world, but that the world through Hi
m might be saved. He who believes in Him is not condemned, but he who does not believe is condemned already, because he has not believed in the name of the only begotten Son of God.” Free will says that you have a choice. God says, you have two choices only. The world tries to confuse us, by saying that we have many choices, but the truth is the same that it was in the Garden of Eden: choose God’s way, or choose your way. God’s way leads to everlasting life. The other choice leads to condemnation. Choose wisely! Christ was lifted up so that those who believe could also be lifted up ... in glory!