That whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have eternal life.John 3:15(KJV)
Nicodemus was a teacher of the Law but he had to come to a deeper understanding of salvation by grace through faith. He had to come to see that we are all sinners and that there is a price that has to be paid - not only for the sins we commit but also because we are born sinners with a sin nature that is inherently sinful.
Nicodemus had to come to accept that no one is exempt from God's righteous judgement. For not only was sin imputed to the human race from the fall of Adam.. but we have all sinned - Jew and Gentile alike. All have sinned and all have fallen short of the glory of God and ALL need a Saviour.
Nicodemus.. like us had to come to accept that we are all sinners and that every sin we commit must be punished. And unless the price for sin is paid in full on our account.. we have no access to the kingdom of heaven and eternal life can never be earned by our own merit. This pious, religious rabbi also had to be brought to the understanding that the sacrifice for sin could only be paid by God Himself, for He alone is holy and He alone is good enough to pay the price for sin.
But God is Spirit and had to come to earth in human flesh.. in order to be qualified to become man's kinsman-Redeemer. God had to become a Man in order to die for all men for He had to be made sin on our account in order to become our kinsman-Redeemer and to pay the price for our sin. And that price was paid by Jesus Christ the sinless Son of God at Calvary - but it is only by faith in the sacrificial offering of Himself upon the cross can that heavenly forgiveness become ours - for we must be born from above.. by faith in HIM.
And so Jesus used a beautiful Old Testament illustration to demonstrate to this highly educated Jewish rabbi that salvation is a free gift of grace.. which can be accepted or rejected by faith - for as Moses lifted up the serpent in the wilderness, even so must the Son of Man be lifted up.. on the cross, to pay the price for the sin of the world.
The people of Israel had sinned and plagues were ravaging the nation, but God instructed Moses to raise up a brass serpent on a pole to represent their sin - and it represented your sin, my sin and the sin of the whole world. And God said that whoever looked upon the serpent - by faith in His Word would live.
But that brass serpent also represented the Lord Jesus Christ.. for in the same way that Moses lifted up the serpent in the wilderness, so that all who looked on it would live.. in the same way the Lord Jesus was lifted up on the cross, so that all who look to Him and believe on Him would not perish but be made whole.
A literal, historical fact was used by Jesus to illustrate a beautiful spiritual truth. That serpent was an illustration of the One Who was to be made sin for us.. and was lifted up on the cross in our place.. so that whoever looks to the Lord Jesus as the sacrificial offering for their sins, will be forgiven of their sins.. given the free gift of eternal life and become a citizen of heaven.
Jesus came from heaven to be the full and final payment for the spiritual healing of Adam's fallen race. Jesus came to receive the punishment for the sin of the world so that whosever believes in Him would be redeemed - spirit, soul and body. Jesus came to be the sin-sacrifice for all mankind..so that whoever believes in Him will have eternal life. And it was out of love that God sent His only begotten Son so that all who trust in Him for their redemption are saved by grace through faith... transferred from being a member of the kingdom of Satan through physical birth into Adam's fallen race.. into becoming a member of Christ' Body.. child of God through and a citizen of heaven - through spiritual birth into Christ - by faith .
Heavenly Father, thank You that just as Moses lifted up the serpent in the wilderness - even so the lovely Lord Jesus came to earth to be made sin on my account and was lifted up on Calvary's cross so that by faith in Him I have life eternal. I pray that many today would come to saving faith in our precious Saviour, in Whose name I pray, AMEN.