“13 No one has ascended to heaven but He who came down from heaven, that is, the Son of Man who is in heaven.[a] 14 And as Moses lifted up the serpent in the wilderness, even so must the Son of Man be lifted up, 15 that whoever believes in Him should not perish but[b] have eternal life. 16 For God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him should not perish but have everlasting life. 17 For God did not send His Son into the world to condemn the world, but that the world through Him might be saved.”
How easy it can be to overlook the importance of the cross of Jesus Christ. The message of the cross even seems incomprehensible to many. Still, the cross is at the heart of our Christian faith because through it, Jesus conquered the power of sin, Satan, and the world. By the power of his cross, we now share in the victory of his resurrection. Since the fall, all people had been under the dominion of the powers of darkness. With the triumph of the cross, however, these powers have been broken, and we can begin to live the resurrected life God wants for all his people. The victory of the cross was so important that Jesus’ entire life was directed toward it. It was prophesied of him, even from the days of his infancy (Luke 2:34-35), and as an adult, Jesus himself spoke of what was to come: “As Moses lifted up the serpent in the wilderness, so must the Son of man be lifted up, that whoever believes in him may have eternal life” (John 3: 14-15; see also Matthew 17:22-23; Mark 9:30-31; Luke 9:43-44).
Jesus recognised the need for atonement for sin and he held on to the promise that all people would be given new life through his obedience to the Father. All those who have been baptised into Christ share in his victory. In faith, we can proclaim with Paul: “Our old self was crucified with him so that the sinful body might be destroyed, and we might no longer be enslaved to sin …. If we have died with Christ, we believe that we shall also live with him” (Romans 6:6-8). Jesus’ triumph is our triumph. His cross is our salvation; it is our pledge of eternal life. God our heavenly Father wants his people to have life, and life to the full (John 10:10). Let us remember the hopeful proclamation of the gospel: “God so loved the world that he gave his only Son, that whoever believes in him should not perish but have eternal life. For God sent the Son into the world, not to condemn the world, but that the world might be saved through him” (John 3: 16-17). The triumph of the cross has brought us this life. Let us put our hope in it.