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The Serpent On A Pole



"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." John 3:14-15 What on earth is Jesus talking about here? What was Moses doing when he lifted up the serpent on a pole in the wilderness? In the story of the serpent on a pole, let's note the context: as usual, the Israelites were complaining. "And the people spoke against God and against Moses: 'Why have you brought us up out of Egypt to die in the wilderness? For there is no food and no water, and our soul loathes this worthless bread.'” Numbers 21:5 Imagine, he had fed them daily with manna from heaven, but they had the audacity to tell God they were sick of it and called it "worthless bread." Ouch! By this time the Lord was so fed up with their complaining that he allowed fiery serpents to go among the people, severely biting them, some even died. There are a few things the Lord particularly hates, and one of them is complaining. Why? Because God takes care of his people and sees to their needs. So when these Israelites perceived a lack, instead of praying for provision they turned on God and against Moses. Let this be a lesson to us: don't complain! We can bring our needs and desires to the Lord, but when we descend into complaining, that is actually a huge insult to God - so much so that judgment may come upon us. "Fiery serpents" might pop up in our lives to attack us. It's all in the attitude. Notice that Moses was eating and drinking the same provisions that they were, yet he kept his attitude respectful before God and approached him in humility. He had the same needs, but his attitude was entirely different. Well ...the fiery serpents made the suffering Israelites realize that they sinned in their complaining, and they repented. In response, God directed Moses to make a fiery serpent and set it on a pole. Then, whoever looked upon that serpent was healed. Why a serpent on a pole? All these stories in the Old Testament carry a vital lesson for us. In this case, that serpent on the pole represented the One who would come later and become A CURSE on our behalf, as he hung on a pole, a Cross, and bore the judgment due us. "Christ has redeemed us from the curse of the law, having BECOME A CURSE for us, for it is written, 'Cursed is everyone who hangs on a tree.'" Galatians 3:13 What that means for us is that when one has recognized his guilt, the remedy is to confess his sin and look at the Cross where Jesus Christ hung with the full force of the judgment due us - laid upon him. When one realizes the extent to which he went in order to secure our salvation, our hearts should rise up in heart-felt praise and worship to the One who was willing to give all - that we might be saved. "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." John 3:14-16 So much does he love us! Enough to hang upon a cross – in our place. "Greater love has no one than this, than to lay down one’s life for his friends." John 15:13 Look upon him on that cross, the one bearing the curse on your behalf. Instead of complaining, bow in humble humility confessing your sins and laying them at the foot of the cross. Instead of complaining, bring to him the thanksgiving and appreciation due him. He has done SO much for you! More about Jesus Christ