KENDRA GRAHAM’S ONLINE BIBLE STUDY — John 3:14

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Kendra Graham notes from :  John 3:14

“As Moses lifted up the serpent in the wilderness, even so must the Son of Man be lifted up; so that whoever believes in Him will have eternal life.”

Step 1

THE FACTS:  

As Moses was lifted up the serpent in the wilderness, the Son of Man must be lifted up, whoever believes in Him will have eternal life.

Step 2

THE LESSONS:   

I’ve been processing some things since my trip to Israel.  So many things are going around and around in my head and my heart.  Early one morning, my family and I went to visit the garden tomb – the place that is accepted to be the tomb of Jesus.  It was so surreal because the sun had risen just 30 minutes beforehand and as we entered through the gate, I began thinking about what that Sunday morning was like for the women who came to the tomb to dress the body of Jesus — early that glorious morning.

The caretaker of the garden met us at the gate to give us a walking tour of the garden.  Before you get to where the tomb is, you’re taken to a place where you can look outside the gate to the mountain, which resembles a skull, the place known as Calvary.

Skull Hill from Kendra

The caretaker was explaining Roman crucifixions: typically, the Romans would set a cross on a main thoroughfare into the city, so that those traveling would be reminded and warned not to cross the Roman Government.  It’s a little hike to the top of the place of the skull, which overlooks a main road into the city. The caretaker asked us several questions:  Why would the Romans haul criminals up a hill?  It made more sense to him, that crucifixions would have taken place at ground level.  This way of thinking shocked me… I had always “seen” the crucifixion high on a hill, so people far off could see Jesus bearing the sin of the world.

What if Jesus was crucified on ground level?  What if Jesus, was taken outside the gate of the city, and His cross was placed along the path that led into Jerusalem, at the time of Passover.  How many more people would see Jesus?

Just as Moses lifted up the serpent in the wilderness…. the Hebrews – with Moses in the wilderness – were dying from snake bites, so Moses did as God had commanded him, and put a serpent of bronze on a staff.  If the people looked to the serpent on the staff, they would be healed, but if they refused, they would die in their diseased state.

Can you see the people trying to hustle into the city before sundown for Passover?  Can you hear the chatter?  Can you hear the gasps, as those people: man, woman, and child would have to pass Jesus at street view — the Passover Lamb, who was slain for them?  In order NOT to see Jesus, (crosses were at eye level, or just above), the people would have to physically move and go another direction away from Jesus. Even if they put their heads down as they passed the horrific sight at the base of the mountain, they call Skull Hill, could they not see the shadow that the Lamb upon the cross was casting in the setting sun?  Jesus could not be missed at this level.  Jesus had to be dealt with at this level.  Jesus, God with skin on did not wait for eternity to come, only to be out of reach or out of sight from the very ones He came to save.  Jesus would not have been missed by anyone that Passover.

Still today, Jesus must be dealt with.  You can’t go anywhere and not see a cross on a chain, or a cross on a church, or a cross on the internet.  A decision must be made about Jesus.  You have already made a decision about Jesus.  Not making a decision is making a decision in the negative.  Jesus came to save.  Jesus came to heal.  Jesus came to deliver us.  We were created to know God, walk with God and need God.  Sin has separated us from the God who came to walk with us.  Romans 3:23, For all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God.  Romans 6:23, For the wages of sin is death (just like those in the wilderness so long ago), BUT the gift of God is eternal life through JESUS.  IF we believe that Jesus came to be that perfect Passover Lamb, and take our sin as far as the east is from the west, we will be saved.  Jesus conquered sin at the cross and death at the grave.  The tomb is empty.  If that garden tomb that I saw that day in Jerusalem is not the actual tomb Jesus was laid in, just be sure the one that truly is His tomb, is just as empty.

Today, at the base of Skull Hill is still a main thoroughfare into the city.  What does it look like?  There are bags of trash piled upon each other all the way across the base of the hill.  It is a bus depot for tour buses.  My heart almost can’t handle it.  Trash.  Unkempt.  Not even noticed by so many who pass in and out and around.

Trash at base of Skull Hill from Kendra
Modern day with trash lined along the road.

This moment in time, in my life gave me so much to ponder.  I thought I would share.

Step 3

APPLY IT:  

What say you about Jesus?  Will you look to the cross and be saved?  Jesus was lifted up in the wilderness, outside the city…will you now look to Him and be saved?

LIVE IT OUT:  

Today, I thank you Jesus for being lifted up on that cross for my sin.  I believe you died for my sin on that cross, and I believe that the grave was empty that third and glorious day!  Help me look to you when everything within me wants to look away.


What Scripture are you studying now? What have you learned? How has the Lord spoke to you? Share with us in the comments section.

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