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John 3:14

Context
3:14 Just as 1  Moses lifted up the serpent 2  in the wilderness, 3  so must the Son of Man be lifted up, 4 

1 tn Grk “And just as.”

2 sn Or the snake, referring to the bronze serpent mentioned in Num 21:9.

3 sn An allusion to Num 21:5-9.

4 sn So must the Son of Man be lifted up. This is ultimately a prediction of Jesus’ crucifixion. Nicodemus could not have understood this, but John’s readers, the audience to whom the Gospel is addressed, certainly could have (compare the wording of John 12:32). In John, being lifted up refers to one continuous action of ascent, beginning with the cross but ending at the right hand of the Father. Step 1 is Jesus’ death; step 2 is his resurrection; and step 3 is the ascension back to heaven. It is the upward swing of the “pendulum” which began with the incarnation, the descent of the Word become flesh from heaven to earth (cf. Paul in Phil 2:5-11). See also the note on the title Son of Man in 1:51.



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