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Wednesday, October 3, 2018

John 3:16 The Rest of the Story

We all know John 3:16, but did you know this backstory?

John 3:14-15 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 compares himself to the serpent from the book of Numbers 21:4-9.  If the children of Israel sinned, they would get bitten by serpents and have to look upon the serpent to get healed.

Numbers 21:4-9  And they journeyed from mount Hor by the way of the Red sea, to compass the land of Edom: and the soul of the people was much discouraged because of the way.  5  And the people spake against God, and against Moses, Wherefore have ye brought us up out of Egypt to die in the wilderness? for there is no bread, neither is there any water; and our soul loatheth this light bread.  6  And the LORD sent fiery serpents among the people, and they bit the people; and much people of Israel died.  7  Therefore the people came to Moses, and said, We have sinned, for we have spoken against the LORD, and against thee; pray unto the LORD, that he take away the serpents from us. And Moses prayed for the people.  8  And the LORD said unto Moses, Make thee a fiery serpent, and set it upon a pole: and it shall come to pass, that every one that is bitten, when he looketh upon it, shall live.  9  And Moses made a serpent of brass, and put it upon a pole, and it came to pass, that if a serpent had bitten any man, when he beheld the serpent of brass, he lived.

Later, the children of Israel began to burn incense to the serpent. King Hezekiah destroyed the serpent because it had become idolatry.

2 Kings 18:4 He removed the high places, and brake the images, and cut down the groves, and brake in pieces the brasen serpent that Moses had made: for unto those days the children of Israel did burn incense to it: and he called it Nehushtan.

Looking through this lens of the fiery serpent in the wilderness We next need to examine the word 'so' that we find in John 3:16.

John 3:16  For God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life.

When we think of the word 'so' in John 316 we may be tempted to think  'in vast quantity' or 'in large amounts'. But the actual underlying Greek word for 'so' means something completely different. 

G3779 οὕτω houtō hoo'-to
Or, before a vowel, οὕτως houtōs hoo'-toce.
From G3778; in this way (referring to what precedes or follows): - after that, after (in) this manner, as, even (so), for all that, like (-wise), no more, on this fashion (-wise), so (in like manner), thus, what.

When we say 'God so loved the world'  the bible means 'in like manner'. When the world is experiencing tribulation because of their sin, they need to look unto Jesus and rely upon Him for salvation. 

Now you know, the rest of the story.