Robertson's Word Pictures of the New TestamentJohn 3:14
- Moses lifted up the serpent (Mwushv upswsen ton opin).
- Reference to Numbers 21:7 where Moses set the brazen serpent upon the standard that those who believed might look and live. Jesus draws a vivid parallel between the act of Moses and the Cross on which he himself (the Son of man) "must" (dei, one of the heavenly things) "be lifted up" (upswthnai, first aorist passive infinitive of upsow, a word not used about the brazen serpent). In John upsow always refers to the Cross (8:28; 12:32,34), though to the Ascension in Acts (Acts 2:33; 5:31). Jesus is complimenting the standing and intelligence of Nicodemus as "the teacher of Israel" by telling him this great truth and fact that lies at the basis of the work of the kingdom of God (the atoning death of Christ on the Cross).