In order to become certified as a life-guard with the American Red Cross, an applicant must take a 25-hour training course and pass two examinations. Applicants must also master and demonstrate 61 different safety skills. Only then will they be deemed competent to serve as a lifeguard.
In today’s passage, Jesus declares Himself competent to save all kinds of people. He reminds us of the bronze snake that Moses made to save the Israelites from dying of venomous snake bites. Anyone who looked at the bronze snake lived (see Num. 21:4–9). So, too, any person—our verses use words like “whoever” and “everyone” and “anyone”—who looks to Christ for salvation will receive life.
The testimony of Scripture bears this out. God saved Jacob, a liar and swindler. He saved Rahab, a prostitute, and King David, a murderer. He saved thieves like Matthew and violent men like Paul. He saved us. Like the members of the Corinthian church, we were once great sinners, but we have been redeemed by a Savior who is greater still (see 1 Cor. 6:9–11).
And Jesus declares Himself competent to save into eternity. Nineteenth-century theologian J. C. Ryle writes: “Christ will never allow any soul that is committed to him to be lost and cast away. He will keep it safe, from grace to glory.” Christ’s death guarantees eternal life for all who feed on Him by faith (v. 54).
We can proclaim the gospel to all kinds of people caught in all kinds of sin in all kinds of situations because there is no one whom Christ cannot save. Every person who comes to Christ in faith will be rescued and welcomed (v. 37). And all whom Christ redeems are held securely by Him until their sure and certain resurrection (v. 40).
We are encouraged in our evangelism because Christ is an all-powerful Savior. He saves all who come to Him in faith, and no one who comes will be turned away. Memorize or write down this verse to orient your perspective: “Surely the arm of the Lord is not too short to save, nor his ear too dull to hear” (Isa. 59:1).