Must the Son of Man be Lifted Up?
A Sermon on John 3:14-15
14And just as Moses lifted up the serpent in the wilderness, so must the Son of Man be lifted up, 15so that everyone who believes will have eternal life in Him.
14¶ And as Moses lifted up the serpent in the wilderness, even so must the Son of man be lifted up: 15That whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have eternal life.
In this sermon on John 3:14–15 titled “Must the Son of Man be Lifted Up?” Dr. Martyn Lloyd-Jones focuses on a key word from the passage: “must.” Jesus is having a conversation with a religious leader named Nicodemus, and Jesus retells an account from the Old Testament to show Nicodemus what he came to do— to be lifted up. According to Dr. Lloyd-Jones, the word “must” tells that the Lord’s death upon the cross was no accident. He asserts that it is in the teaching throughout Scripture that what happened on Calvary’s hill was predetermined and foreordained before a single person breathed in this world, before there ever was a world. Dr. Lloyd-Jones argues further that “must” tells that the forgiveness of sin cannot occur apart from Christ’s death upon the cross. It must take place because God in His holiness hates sin and must punish it by way of His wrath. The perfect Son of Man, Jesus Christ took the punishment for sin upon Himself by being lifted up on the cross. There was no other way. God’s justice must be satisfied and His wrath appeased. That is why the Son of Man must be lifted up. He must.
- Christ's death on the cross was not an accident. It was predetermined before the foundation of the world.
- Christ's death on the cross was not something that God forgave. Rather, forgiveness was impossible without it.
- Christ died on the cross because it was absolutely essential and unavoidable. It had to happen.
- Christ died on the cross to render a perfect satisfaction to God's holy law and nature. God's justice and wrath had to be appeased.
- There was no other way for God to forgive sins except through Christ's death on the cross.
- We are all perishing in our sinful nature and estranged from God. We will perish eternally unless we believe in Christ.
- All we have to do is look to Christ in faith, like the Israelites looked at the bronze serpent. We will then have eternal life.
The Book of John
Dr. Martyn Lloyd-Jones
Dr. Martyn Lloyd-Jones (1899-1981) was a Welsh evangelical minister who preached and taught in the Reformed tradition. His principal ministry was at Westminster Chapel, in central London, from 1939-1968, where he delivered multi-year expositions on books of the bible such as Romans, Ephesians and the Gospel of John. In addition to the MLJ Trust’s collection of 1,600 of these sermons in audio format, most of these great sermon series are available in book form (including a 14 volume collection of the Romans sermons), as are other series such as "Spiritual Depression", "Studies in the Sermon on the Mount" and "Great Biblical Doctrines". He is considered by many evangelical leaders today to be an authority on biblical truth and the sufficiency of Scripture.