John 3:14-15  The Serpent and the Savior” 

John 3:14)  And as Moses lifted up the serpent in the wilderness, even so must the Son of man be lifted up: 15)  That whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have eternal life.

          Jesus is speaking to Nicodemus the words contained in these verses.  He is a ruler of the Jews.  He is a Pharisee.  Jesus referred to him as “the master of Israel” indicating he was a doctor of the law and a teacher of the people.   Nicodemus is a very intelligent man especially when it comes to the Old Testament.  Up unto this point Nicodemus has been confused by the words of Jesus.  There were three things which Nicodemus did not understand.  The first is the condition which must be met in order for a person to see or understand the Kingdom of God.  That condition is “born again” or  born from above”.   The second is the condition which must exist for a person to enter into the kingdom of God.  This condition is “being born of water even the Spirit”.  The third thing is the inability of man to see spiritual things.  He can only see manifestations of the spiritual birth the spiritual birth itself can not be seen.  Jesus said “so is everyone that is born of the Spirit.”    

          Jesus has cause Nicodemus to admit that his intelligence is inadequate.  Nicodemus had to see that if you put his brain on the edge of a razor blade it would look like a bee bee rolling down a four lane highway.  Nicodemus has mental knowledge of the law but not heart knowledge.  Nicodemus has had to admit that he does not understand the kingdom of God and certainly has not entered that kingdom.  For Jesus, who Nicodemus has admitted comes from God, tells him that the ones who understand the kingdom and have entered or become a part of that kingdom have been born again.  By his own admission Nicodemus is a lost man, an outsider to the kingdom of God. This is seen in the fact that he does not understand kingdom principles.  This is the point at which a person may begin to be saved.  They must admit their own inadequacies and lost, sinful, condition before they may be saved.

          Jesus will now tell Nicodemus what he needs to know.  God requires faith and trust in the savior which He has provided in order for one to be saved.  What better illustration than that of the brazen serpent in the wilderness.


The brazen serpent was certainly no type of Jesus Christ; but from our Lord’s words we may learn,

1. That as the serpent was lifted up on the pole in the wilderness, so Jesus Christ was lifted up on the cross.  Yet the brazen serpent did not die.  It did not have the sins of the people laid upon it.  It did not suffer for the sins of the people in any way.  Thus it falls short of being a true type of Christ.

2. That as the Israelites were to look at the brazen serpent to be saved from physical death, so sinners must look to Christ for salvation from spiritual death.  The serpent had no power to heal but our Savior does.

3. That as God provided no other remedy than this looking for the wounded Israelites, so he has provided no other way of salvation than faith in the blood of his Son.

4. That as he who looked at the brazen serpent was cured and did live, so he that believeth on the Lord Jesus Christ shall not perish, but have eternal life.

5. That as neither the serpent, nor looking at it, but the invisible power of God healed the people, so neither the cross of Christ, nor his merely being crucified, but the pardon he has bought by his blood saves the souls of men.

6.  The serpent represents sin and its curse and brass, being the color of fire, represents judgment on sin.  Christ, who knew no sin, became sin on the cross suffering its judgment for you and me.

7. In each case those who are to be benefited can he aided in no other way. The bite of the serpent was deadly, and could be healed. Only by looking on the brass serpent could they be healed.  Sin is deadly in its nature, and can be removed only by looking to the savior who died on the cross.

8. The mode of their being lifted up.  The brass serpent was in the sight of the people.  So Jesus was exalted from the earth raised on a tree or cross.  Jesus said “and I, if I be lifted up from the earth, will draw all men unto Me.”

9. The design was similar. The one was to save the life, the other the soul; the one to save from temporal death, the other from eternal death.

10. The manner of the cure was similar. The people of Israel were to look on the serpent to be healed.  They were not made to look.  The offer of life was free.  Sinners may look on the Lord Jesus Christ and be saved.  They are not forced to look.  The offer of life is free and the choice is yours.


W. A. Ogden wrote these words:

I’ve a message from the Lord, Hallelujah!

The message unto you I’ll give;

Tis recorded in His Word, Hallelujah!

It is only that you look and live.


I’ve a message full of love, Hallelujah!

A message, O my friend, for you.

Tis a message from above, Hallelujah!

Jesus said it and I know tis true.


I will tell you how I came, Hallelujah!

To Jesus when he made me whole.

Twas believing on His name, Hallelujah!

I trusted and He saved my soul.


Look and live, my brother, live.

Look to Jesus now and live.

Tis recorded in His word, Hallelujah!

It is only that you look and live.


Conclusion:  The people of Israel were faced with certain death when bitten by a serpent.  When this happened to a person they had to make a decision.   Would they believe in what seemed to be a preposterous notion that all you had to do is look at a piece of brass on a pole and you would be healed.  The idea may very well have seemed ludicrous to the intelligent, reasonable mind.  Would they decide to try their own remedies for snake bite and hope for the best.  It took faith to look at the brazen serpent and be healed.  What would you have done?  Would you have looked at the serpent and trusted that that simple act would save you?  You have just such a decision to make today.  You are dead in your trespasses and sins.  You are condemned already.  Will you wait until your death bed to look and live.  You are ever bit as smitten as those of Moses’ day.  You are sin sick and you need to look to Jesus Christ in faith and trust Him to save your soul.  You must go to Jesus in prayer and ask Him to forgive you of your sin and to have mercy on your soul.  If you will ask Him to save you He will.  Romans 10:13 say “whosoever shall call upon the name of the Lord shall be saved.”  Will you trust in Him today?