Bible Reading: John 3:1-21

“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”  [John 3:16]

Jesus continues His sharing with Nicodemus but now explains to him the basis upon which a person can be born from above. In other words, He is summing up the Gospel. The bad news is that humanity is utterly lost because of sin, but the Gospel is good news. Let’s take a closer look at John 3:16.

The Gospel is God initiative. He first loved us [1 John 4:19]. Paul wrote, “God put His love on the line for us by offering His Son in sacrificial death while we were of no use whatever to Him” [Romans 5:8 The Message].

The Gospel is God’s love in action. God loved fallen humanity. He loved us so much that He was prepared to give His only Son to bear the penalty of our sin. God doesn’t just love – He is love! Love always gives the best. In the words of Darlene Zshcech, He gave the “darling of heaven” to be crucified. Oswald Chambers said, “The love of God is not in accordance with human standards in any way.”

The Gospel is for everybody. It does not matter what culture we come from, or what depths of failure, shame and depravity we may have fallen to. You can replace the word “whoever” in our text today with your own name. No one is beyond the reach of God’s love.

The Gospel gives us hope. Jesus promises us eternal life! It was once said, “Born once die twice, Born twice die once. It is not that one day we will receive eternal life – if you have been born again you already have eternal life! To be born again is to be in Christ, the hope of glory!

The Gospel is received by Faith. In John 1:12-13 the writer explained that we are not saved because of our family background, or of human effort, or by the will of someone else. Billy Graham once said, “because you were born in a garage it doesn’t make you a car, and because you were born in a church it doesn’t make you a Christian!” We have to make the personal choice to believe on Jesus Christ. We confess our sin and receive His forgiveness and as we do that we are born again. Our spirit is made alive. To believe on Him means to trust Him, to lean upon Him, adhere to Him, to honour Him and to let Him be the Lord of every part of your life!


We may have heard this message many times but we should never lose its freshness and vibrancy. Is this still as real and exciting for you today as the day that you received Christ as Saviour?

Will you rejoice today in the simplicity of the Gospel and share it with someone today?


Bible Reading: John 3:11-14; Numbers 21:4-9

Jesus told Nicodemus that His authority for speaking about the new birth was that He had come down from heaven and He was the Son of Man. To help Nicodemus understand this Jesus to him back to a story that he would have been familiar with in the Book of Numbers. Jesus begins with something that Nicodemus understands rather than that which he does not understand.

The Lord sent judgment upon Israel in the wilderness, when they were complaining and speaking against both God and Moses. Fiery serpents bit the people and many of them died. Recognising their sin, the Israelites asked Moses to pray that the serpents would be taken away. The Lord told Moses to make a bronze image of the fiery serpent and put it on a pole. Any of the children of Israel who had been bitten by a fiery serpent would be healed and would live when they looked at the bronze serpent on the pole.

Jesus immediately linked Himself to that story, and said that in the same way the serpent was lifted up in the wilderness, so He, the Son of Man, must be lifted up. Here is the heart of the new birth. It was made possible by the death of Christ upon the cross. Jesus specifically uses the words “lifted up” when referring to His death. He said, “When you lift up the Son of Man, then you will know that I am He” [John 8:28]. They would remember from the Old Testament the story of the brazen serpent in the wilderness. Jesus promised, “And I, if I am lifted up from the earth, will draw all peoples to Myself” [John12:32,33].

In the wilderness it was the fiery serpents that caused the disease, and it was a brazen serpent that was placed upon the pole and which brought life and healing. Stung by serpents and healed by looking at a dead serpent! Jesus who knew no sin became sin – the very thing he came to destroy. He was made sin for us, so that we might be set free from sin.

On 6th January 1850 Charles H. Spurgeon was forced by inclement weather to turn into a Methodist Chapel in Colchester, Essex. The preacher did not turn up and a leader in the chapel had to speak. Totally unprepared, he just kept repeating, “Look unto me, and be ye saved, all the ends of the earth, for I am God, and there is none else” [Isaiah 45:22]. That day the man who became the “Prince of Preachers” was born again. The cross is the basis of new birth. Perhaps that is why Paul wrote to the Corinthians, “I am determined not to know anything among you except Jesus Christ and Him crucified.”

To many the cross is foolishness and a stumbling block, but it is the only way to be born again and be saved.

In the mid-nineteenth century Amelia M. Hull wrote this verse of a hymn:

“There is life for a look at the crucified One,

There is life at this moment for thee;

Then look, sinner, look unto Him and be saved,

Unto Him, who was nailed to the tree.”

Will you take some time today to focus on the cross and be grateful?