Snakes on a Plain (Part 3)October 29, 2012 at 12:07 pm | Posted in Uncategorized | 3 Comments
Tags: brazen serpent, John 3, Moses in the wilderness, Numbers 21, pride, rebellion, snakes, unbelief, wilderness wandering
Previously, we saw:
Now, we will see the Snake on a Pole.
And the LORD said unto Moses, Make thee a fiery serpent, and set it upon a pole: and it shall come to pass, that every one that is bitten, when he looketh upon it, shall live.
Notice first what God did not tell Moses. He didn’t tell Moses to get the people together and pass anti-snake legislation. He didn’t tell them to make an antidote or antivenin. He didn’t tell them to beat the rocks and the bushes and kill all the snakes. He didn’t tell them to start doing better, to start being more positive, to get happy, to change their attitude and everything would be alright. He didn’t tell them – and this is the best thing He didn’t tell them – He didn’t tell them that it’s too late, too bad, there’s no hope. No, He said make a brazen serpent – a serpent of brass or of bronze. Again, though, God did not then instruct Moses to go around and touch every person with it. Or to hide it in a box and tell the people to come pray to it. He told Moses to lift it up.
And Moses made a serpent of brass, and put it upon a pole, and it came to pass, that if a serpent had bitten any man, when he beheld the serpent of brass, he lived.
And as Moses lifted up the serpent in the wilderness, even so must the Son of man be lifted up: That whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have eternal life.
The snake had to be lifted up – and the people had to look. The famous preacher, Charles H. Spurgeon, related in his personal salvation testimony how powerful this truth was to him. Even a young child can look. But each snake-bitten Israelite in the wilderness had to look for himself or herself. Those who looked lived. Those who didn’t look died. Why would anyone not look?
The Snake on a Pole: Snakes Produce Parting
We might say the people were “parted” into those who looked and those who didn’t look. Some didn’t look because of rebellion: “I don’t have to do what you say.” Some didn’t look because of pride: “I’m not going to look foolish, staring at a snake on a pole.” Some didn’t look because of unbelief: “There’s no way it could be that simple – I’m strong – I can beat this poison on my own, and then I’ll be able to say that I deserved to live.”
It’s happening even now. There’s Jesus Christ – the Son of Man – the Son of God – God incarnate – God made flesh and blood – lifted up. You’re going to have to look with eyes of faith – we don’t have a brazen Savior mounted on a cross. The symbol of our faith is the Cross without Christ still on it – because His story didn’t end there. You’re going to have to admit that you need to look – and you’re going to have to actually look.
Why did God choose a serpent – an animal associated with sin – to also be a symbol for the Savior?
For he hath made him to be sin for us, who knew no sin; that we might be made the righteousness of God in him.
II Corinthians 5:21
Jesus Christ was made sin on the Cross. Just as the snake on the pole produced parting, there will be a parting also produced by Christ on the Cross.
Then shall ye begin to say, We have eaten and drunk in thy presence, and thou hast taught in our streets.
People are going to say that they knew about the “snake on the pole.” They heard about it in church. They ate and drank and took communion, observing the Lord’s Supper. They saw many crosses.
But he shall say, I tell you, I know you not whence ye are; depart from me, all ye workers of iniquity.
But Jesus will say that they knew “about” Him, but that they never “looked upon” Him – they never had faith that He could save them.
There shall be weeping and gnashing of teeth, when ye shall see Abraham, and Isaac, and Jacob, and all the prophets, in the kingdom of God, and you yourselves thrust out.
There will be a parting. You can look away now, and be told to depart later. Or you can look to Jesus now, and live. Please don’t say, “I’m not in any kind of shape to come to Jesus … I don’t dress like a church person – I don’t talk like a church person – I don’t look like a Christian is supposed to look.” Christianity is not about what you look like. It’s about Whom you look to. God in His grace and mercy has allowed you to make it this far despite your sin and rebellion. Don’t walk away from His invitation and command with the poison still in your system. Look to Jesus today – look and live.
If you’ve already looked, what a world of good it will do you to look again. Look often – look every chance you get. There’s nothing more encouraging for Christian who’s on a long journey home than to look upon the One Who saved you at the start.