Questions on John 3:14-15 for Group Leaders

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The Bible in Your life and Your Life in the Bible

"whoever believes in him may have eternal life" (John 3:3)


  1. Why do you think Jesus is often seen in relation to Moses? What do they have in common?
  2. What was the context of Moses uplifting the serpent on the pole or standard? Read Numbers 21:1-9.
  3. Where were the Israelites heading when this episode takes place?
  4. Why did Moses uplift the serpent on the pole or standard?
  5. Were those who had been bitten by the snakes healed by the snake on the standard? Did the snake itself have any power of healing?
  6. What was the real source of healing and salvation? The snake or God?
  7. What did the people have to do to benefit from God's healing and salvation?
  8. Was it logical to look up at a snake on a pole to be cured from the mortal bite of snakes?
  9. Why do you think God chose an object that was both illogical and apparently ineffective to bring salvation to his people?
  10. How was this a test? What did God require from them?
  11. Could they do anything practical to save themselves or did they have to rely entirely on God?
  12. What were they saved from?
  13. What was the destination of those that survived? Where were they heading?
  14. What does all of this have to do with Jesus Christ being lifted up?
  15. What two events does the expression "lifted up" point to?
  16. Is there in the figure of Jesus on the cross anything that would logically induce us to think that there lies salvation?
  17. In itself is the cross a sign of defeat or triumph?
  18. Is it a sign of weakness or of power?
  19. What is it that transforms the cross into sign of triumph and power?
  20. How should we see the cross and subsequent resurrection?
  21. Do you think we should gaze at the cross just as the Israelites gazed on the uplifted serpent? Why?
  22. What kind of reactions does looking at the cross evoke in different people?
  23. How do you explain opposing reactions to the cross?
  24. Do you think the cross is a dividing line?
  25. What characterises those who see in the cross a bloody, frightening scene and those who see in it a source of peace, hope and life? How do you account for these opposing reactions?
  26. Who can benefit from the effects of the cross?
  27. What is the meaning of the word "believe", to believe in someone? What does believing in someone entail? Can you suggest another word meaning the same?
  28. Can you list some of the characteristics of someone who trusts in another? How does he express his trust?
  29. What is "eternal life"?
  30. Is it something that comes only after death?
  31. Who is eternal? Who is the source of eternal life?
  32. On what level of our being is eternal life born?
  33. In what way does the cross reverse the effects of the fall of man in Genesis?
  34. A suggestion: gaze at the cross and prayerfully reflect on its relation to your life using the thoughts on the last page in this section.

Robert Walsh

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