Thursday, March 24, 2016

The Greatest Event in History

In John 3:14, Jesus says, "And as Moses lifted up the serpent in the wilderness, even so must the Son of Man be lifted up." 

We know the old testament story that Jesus is referring to. It is found in Numbers 21:4-9 

           The Israelites had sinned. Discouraged and angry, they grumbled against God and against Moses. God sent fiery serpents to punish them for their sin and the bite of the serpent was fatal. Then, when they cried out to God for deliverance, God commanded Moses to erect a bronze serpent, and everyone who simply ‘looked’ at the bronze serpent lived.
        It is interesting to note that the Hebrew word used in verses six and eight in our Numbers passage,  and is  translated into our English ‘bit’ or ‘bitten’, is a word that means ‘to strike with a sting’. Then when we go to I Corinthians 15:56, we see that Paul uses that word ‘sting’ in reference to sin, “the sting of death is sin.”  
     We are familiar with scripture references to Satan being called a serpent; therefore, we can see that the serpents that bit the people represent the sin that bites us and causes our death.  When the serpent bit the people, they died.  When Adam and Eve sinned and brought death upon the whole human race, we all, in turn, are bitten by sin and are condemned to die.  Only when Jesus was lifted up on the cross did salvation come - people could look to Him and live!   
       I used to wonder why Moses was commanded to lift up a bronze serpent - after all, it was the serpent that was responsible for the death of the people. Why was it now commanded by God to be the instrument of giving life?
       Then, I understood.  It was sin that caused us to die, and until our sin was lifted up on the cross of Jesus - placed upon Him - we could not have deliverance. 
Though the bronze serpent had the power to give everyone life, simply lifting it up in the wilderness was not enough.  Every person that was bitten had to look up at the bronze serpent believing that, as Moses had promised, it would give them life.
        To live spiritually, each one of us must look up at the cross of Christ and see our own sin hanging there.  And we must believe that only Jesus, through His supreme sacrifice, can save us - by taking our sin upon Himself and suffering our punishment. Through Him, we have life, now and forever!
        That is the conclusion we see in John 3:15, which follows the verse we began with, And as Moses lifted up the serpent in the wilderness, even so must the Son of Man be lifted up,  that whoever believes in Him should not perish but have eternal life’.

May the Lord bless you, dear reader, this Easter season, 
and as you think on His sacrifice and His resurrection, 
may you remember that "the joy set before Him" 
was YOU! 


ellen b said...

That last thought is an amazing one to ponder...

Anneliese said...

Thank you, Julie for this wonderful message that just never get old.