Christ had a very clear understanding of why He was born into our world. He expressed that purpose to Nicodemus [Nic, for short] in a late-night conversation recorded in the third chapter of John. Nic was a very religious man, having devoted his life to the study of the Scriptures. But as he heard of the miraculous healings Jesus was performing, he was honest to admit that his religious traditions paled in comparison to Christ’s power. Therefore, he arranged a private meeting with the Lord. During their brief encounter, Jesus explained that He came to this world so that people of all backgrounds could go to Heaven.
Jesus said, “And as Moses lifted up the serpent in the wilderness, even so must the Son of Man be lifted up, that whoever believes in Him should not perish but have eternal life. 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. For God did not send His Son into the world to condemn the world, but that the world through Him 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.”
If you are not familiar with the Bible, let me explain the background to the Lord’s statement. Thousands of years earlier, the people of Israel were a nomadic nation under the leadership of Moses. Because of their constant complaints and disobedience to God, He sent poisonous snakes into their camp. As people were crying out in agony and panic, God told Moses to make a bronze replica of a snake, and raise it high on a pole. God promised that if a person would “look at” the bronze viper, they would not die from the venom.
Physiologically, that didn’t make sense. How could looking at an inanimate object alter the effects of poison coursing through the bloodstream? It wasn’t simply the act of looking. It has to be combined with faith in the miraculous promise of God. Jesus used this historical fact to explain to Nic that He would be “lifted up” on a pole (crucified) to save mankind from the poison of sin.
Whether we know it or not, all of us have the poison of sin coursing through our veins. Sin is the reason our bodies grow old and die. Because of our sin, each of us will “perish” (be declared guilty) under God’s condemnation. But because of God’s great love for us, He sent His Son [Jesus] from Heaven to take our condemnation upon Himself. Like looking at the snake in faith, now if anyone looks to Jesus in faith, he is given “everlasting life.” This is the ONLY means to step out from under God’s condemnation.
Epilogue: At some point this made sense to Nic. He had always thought Heaven was reserved for “religious” people. But the Lord showed him, it is available to all people. When he finally grasped this, he put his faith and trust in the Lord, and began the adventure of being a Christ-follower.
If this doesn’t make sense to you, I’d love to buy you coffee and have a discussion. Simply respond with the word, coffee.