From the beginning of His ministry on earth Jesus was proving His authority. He performed supernatural healings, miracles, deliverances and fulfilled prophecy. He tried to explain His God-given authority to the religious leaders but they would not listen.
“And I assure you that the time is coming, indeed it’s here now, when the dead will hear my voice—the voice of the Son of God. And those who listen will live. The Father has life in himself, and he has granted that same life-giving power to his Son. And he has given him authority to judge everyone because he is the Son of Man. Don’t be so surprised! Indeed, the time is coming when all the dead in their graves will hear the voice of God’s Son, and they will rise again. Those who have done good will rise to experience eternal life, and those who have continued in evil will rise to experience judgment. (John 5:25-29 NLT)
Jesus proved His divine authority in several ways in those three days (see previous posts), but here, He told them the dead (in faith) would hear His voice and live. They were set free from Sheol, however, those remaining in rebellion were judged. Their sentence was spending eternity separated from God. There was no turning back. This scripture was partially fulfilled during those three days but will be finalized (5:28 all the dead) at His Return when He comes for the final judgment.
The Lord, being a good teacher, was always trying to direct His followers to spiritual thinking. He used parables and referred to Old Testament stories often.
If I have told you earthly things and you do not believe, how can you believe if I tell you heavenly things? No one has ascended into heaven except he who descended from heaven, the Son of Man. And 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 3:12-15 ESV)
Nehushtan. Num. 21:6-10 tells us that story. As God’s people rebelled He punished them by sending fiery serpents to kill them. Moses interceded and God gave him the remedy for life: a simple solution. Look at Nehushtan. What is Nehushtan? A bronze serpent that Moses attached to a pole for all to look at and be healed. My question was, “Why a serpent? Why not a lamb?” Seems more fitting for a foreshadow of Messiah. Simply put, the serpent represented sin. Jesus was made sin itself as He hung on the cross (2 Cor. 5:21). The people were to look intently at the image of sin and be made whole. Isn’t that what Jesus was saying? Look at Him and believe. Is. 53 tells us God laid all sin on Him and He bore it on a tree (1 Peter 2:24). Jesus became Nehushtan so that we could be made whole by trusting in Him. A simple solution.