That whosoever believeth - Bp. Pearce supposes that this verse is only the conclusion of the 16th, and that it has been inserted in this place by mistake. The words contain the reason of the subject in the following verse, and seem to break in upon our Lord's argument before he had fully stated it. The words, μη αποληται αλλα, may not perish but, are omitted by some very ancient MSS. and versions.
That whosoever - This shows the fulness and freeness of the gospel. All may come and be saved.
d Believeth in him - Whosoever puts confidence in him as able and willing to save. All who feel that they are sinners, that they have no righteousness of their own, and are willing to look to him as their only Saviour.
Should not perish - They are in danger, by nature, of perishing - that is, of sinking down to the pains of hell; of being “punished with everlasting destruction” from the presence of the Lord and from the glory of his power, 2 Thessalonians 1:9. All who believe on Jesus shall be saved from this condemnation and be raised up to eternal life. And from this we learn:
1.that there is salvation in no other.
2.that salvation is here full and free for all who will come.
3.that it is easy. What was more easy for a poor, wounded, dying Israelite, bitten by a poisonous serpent, than to look up to a brass serpent? So with the poor, lost, dying sinner. And what more foolish than for such a wounded, dying man to refuse to look on a remedy so easy and effectual? So nothing is more foolish man for a lost and dying sinner to “refuse” to look on God‘s only Son, exalted on a cross to die for the sins of men, and able to save to the uttermost “all” who come to God by him.
Here is another case Christ presented before Nicodemus—the serpent that was lifted up in the wilderness—and declared, “Even so must the Son of man be lifted up” (John 3:14). And if He is lifted up, He will draw all men unto Him, “that whosoever believeth in Him should not perish but have eternal life” (Verse 15). Now just look at that brazen serpent. The children of Israel had not realized that God had been keeping them by His angels sent to be their help and their protection. The people had not been destroyed by the serpents in their long travels through the wilderness. They had been an ungrateful people. FW 69.1Read in context »
1, 2 (Matthew 4:1-11; Luke 2:51; 4:1-13). Between the Temptation of Christ and the Marriage at Cana—There was to be a marriage in Cana of Galilee. The parties were relatives of Joseph and Mary. Christ knew of this family gathering, and that many influential persons would be brought together there, so, in company with His newly made disciples, He made His way to Cana. As soon as it was known that Jesus had come to the place, a special invitation was sent to Him and His friends. This was what He had purposed, and so He graced the feast with His presence. 5BC 1132.1
He had been separated from His mother for quite a length of time. During this period He had been baptized by John and had endured the temptations in the wilderness. Rumors had reached Mary concerning her son and His sufferings. John, one of the new disciples, had searched for Christ and had found Him in His humiliation, emaciated, and bearing the marks of great physical and mental distress. Jesus, unwilling that John should witness His humiliation, had gently yet firmly dismissed him from His presence. He wished to be alone; no human eye must behold His agony, no human heart be called out in sympathy with His distress. 5BC 1132.2Read in context »
In the wilderness, when the Lord permitted poisonous serpents to sting the rebellious Israelites, Moses was directed to lift up a brazen serpent and bid all the wounded look to it and live. But many saw no help in this Heaven-appointed remedy. The dead and dying were all around them, and they knew that without divine help their fate was certain; but they would lament their wounds, their pains, their sure death, until their strength was gone, and their eyes were glazed, when they might have had instant healing. 1SM 352.1
“As Moses lifted up the serpent in the wilderness,” even so was “the Son of man lifted up: that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have eternal life” (John 3:14, 15). If you are conscious of your sins, do not devote all your powers to mourning over them, but look and live. Jesus is our only Saviour; and although millions who need to be healed will reject His offered mercy, not one who trusts in His merits will be left to perish. While we realize our helpless condition without Christ, we must not be discouraged; we must rely upon a crucified and risen Saviour. Poor, sin-sick, discouraged soul, look and live. Jesus has pledged His word; He will save all who come unto Him. 1SM 352.2
Come to Jesus, and receive rest and peace. You may have the blessing even now. Satan suggests that you are helpless, and cannot bless yourself. It is true; you are helpless. But lift up Jesus before him: “I have a risen Saviour. In Him I trust, and He will never suffer me to be confounded. In His name I triumph. He is my righteousness, and my crown of rejoicing.” Let no one here feel that his case is hopeless; for it is not. You may see that you are sinful and undone; but it is just on this account that you need a Saviour. If you have sins to confess, lose no time. These moments are golden. “If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just to forgive us our sins, and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness” (1 John 1:9). Those who hunger and thirst after righteousness will be filled; for Jesus has promised it. Precious Saviour! His arms are open to receive us, and His great heart of love is waiting to bless us. 1SM 352.3Read in context »
Moses was divinely commanded to make a serpent of brass resembling the living ones, and to elevate it among the people. To this, all who had been bitten were to look, and they would find relief. He did so, and the joyful news was sounded throughout the encampment that all who had been bitten might look upon the brazen serpent and live. Many had already died, and when Moses raised the serpent upon the pole, some would not believe that merely gazing upon that metallic image would heal them; these perished in their unbelief. Yet there were many who had faith in the provision which God had made. Fathers, mothers, brothers, and sisters were anxiously engaged in helping their suffering, dying friends to fix their languid eyes upon the serpent. If these, though faint and dying, could only once look, they were perfectly restored. PP 430.1
The people well knew that there was no power in the serpent of brass to cause such a change in those who looked upon it. The healing virtue was from God alone. In His wisdom He chose this way of displaying His power. By this simple means the people were made to realize that this affliction had been brought upon them by their sins. They were also assured that while obeying God they had no reason to fear, for He would preserve them. PP 430.2
The lifting up of the brazen serpent was to teach Israel an important lesson. They could not save themselves from the fatal effect of the poison in their wounds. God alone was able to heal them. Yet they were required to show their faith in the provision which He had made. They must look in order to live. It was their faith that was acceptable with God, and by looking upon the serpent their faith was shown. They knew that there was no virtue in the serpent itself, but it was a symbol of Christ; and the necessity of faith in His merits was thus presented to their minds. Heretofore many had brought their offerings to God, and had felt that in so doing they made ample atonement for their sins. They did not rely upon the Redeemer to come, of whom these offerings were only a type. The Lord would now teach them that their sacrifices, in themselves, had no more power or virtue than the serpent of brass, but were, like that, to lead their minds to Christ, the great sin offering. PP 430.3Read in context »
These are the things we are never to forget. The love of Jesus, with its constraining power, is to be kept fresh in our memory. Christ has instituted this service that it may speak to our senses of the love of God that has been expressed in our behalf. There can be no union between our souls and God except through Christ. The union and love between brother and brother must be cemented and rendered eternal by the love of Jesus. And nothing less than the death of Christ could make His love efficacious for us. It is only because of His death that we can look with joy to His second coming. His sacrifice is the center of our hope. Upon this we must fix our faith. DA 660.1
The ordinances that point to our Lord's humiliation and suffering are regarded too much as a form. They were instituted for a purpose. Our senses need to be quickened to lay hold of the mystery of godliness. It is the privilege of all to comprehend, far more than we do, the expiatory sufferings of Christ. “As Moses lifted up the serpent in the wilderness,” even so has the Son of man been lifted up, “that whosoever believeth in Him should not perish, but have eternal life.” John 3:14, 15. To the cross of Calvary, bearing a dying Saviour, we must look. Our eternal interests demand that we show faith in Christ. DA 660.2
Our Lord has said, “Except ye eat the flesh of the Son of man, and drink His blood, ye have no life in you.... For My flesh is meat indeed, and My blood is drink indeed.” John 6:53-55. This is true of our physical nature. To the death of Christ we owe even this earthly life. The bread we eat is the purchase of His broken body. The water we drink is bought by His spilled blood. Never one, saint or sinner, eats his daily food, but he is nourished by the body and the blood of Christ. The cross of Calvary is stamped on every loaf. It is reflected in every water spring. All this Christ has taught in appointing the emblems of His great sacrifice. The light shining from that Communion service in the upper chamber makes sacred the provisions for our daily life. The family board becomes as the table of the Lord, and every meal a sacrament. DA 660.3Read in context »