Today, as we celebrate the Feast of the Exaltation of the Cross, the Gospel cites one of the most popular and widely known Bible verses.
“For God so loved the world that he gave his only Son, so that everyone who believes in him might not perish but might have eternal life.” John 3:16
This verse is so familiar that even nonbelievers have heard it. Why is it so popular and why does it ring so true, its message imbedded into the mind of everyone who reads it? The words may have become slightly mundane and people may have forgotten why it is so powerful. I myself have read it too many times to grasp the meaning entirely.
The Gospel connects to the first reading for the feast. It is part of the story of Moses in the desert, when God took pity on his people and saved them from deadly seraph serpents by giving them a bronze serpent to look upon and be healed.
“And just as Moses lifted up the serpent in the desert, so must the Son of Man be lifted up, so that everyone who believes in him may have eternal life.” John 3:15
In a sense, as Christians today, we are wandering in the desert and still complaining like the Israelites did. We need a Savior. Fortunately, God loved us so much that He sent His Son that we can believe in and we can be saved from death itself.