Category Archives: The snake bite

The snake bite

“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

It seems like an unusual picture to speak of to show mercy and peace. A snake on a pole is not a naturally attractive image to endear a person to hope. Yet, God used this picture and the reality of it to save His own people from the effect of their own sin and His own righteous judgment.

The people of God had wandered far away from Him and were sinning and complaining about their lot in life. God was very angry with His people and sent a judgement that would cause them to die. He sent them serpents to bite them and they died very quickly from the poison. This seems like a harsh judgement but it was to teach them seriousness of sin and the outcome of sin in the life of a person.

“The soul who sins, he shall die. The son shall not bear the iniquity of the father, neither shall the father bear the iniquity of the son. The righteousness of the righteous shall be on him, and the wickedness of the wicked shall be on him.”

Ezekiel 18:20

This is the righteous judgement of a holy God on the sinner and each one of us is under the same condemnation. Many of God’s people died this horrible death and we can only imagine the horror that it had on the community. In moments of wisdom they cried out to God for help and for some way to recompense the sins that they have committed. God is merciful and He is not willing that anyone should perish, so He sent a remedy. He told His servant Moses what to do to help the people.

“Then the people came to Moses and said, “We have sinned by speaking against the LORD and against you. Intercede with the LORD so He will take the snakes away from us.” So Moses interceded for the people.”

“Then the LORD said to Moses, “Make a fiery serpent and mount it on a pole. When anyone who is bitten looks at it, he will live.” So Moses made a bronze snake and mounted it on a pole. If anyone who was bitten looked at the bronze snake, he would live.”

Number 21:7-9

All the person had to do to save their lives was to look at the bronze servant on the pole – all they had to do was look and live. It was that simple. They didn’t even have to pray – they didn’t have to do anything; didn’t have to pay for anything; it was just a simple look of faith to the serpent nailed to the pole. It was a simple look of obedience to what God had told them to do, that was going to set them free from the condemnation, which they so righteously deserved.

Anyone who was bitten by thepoisonous snakes and looked up to the bronze snake, was instantly made whole and cured from the poisonous snake bite. They saved their lives through a simple look of faith.

The serpent on the pole was set up as a spectical and placed where everyone could see it. It was a replica of the one thing that was killing the people. The remedy became the sacrifice for the sins of the people.

“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

I am sure you can see the analogies already…

The Lord Jesus became sin for us. He bore away the punishment for sin, so that we might never have to suffer. He was lifted up on a cruel cross, and made a public humiliation, so that we could look to Him and live.

“For him who knew no sin he made to be sin on our behalf; so that in him we might become the righteousness of God.”

2 Corinthians 5:21

We need this remedy, for without Him we will die in our sins we will perish before a holy God. Sin is so serious. We do not understand because we are so deep dyed sinners, and we think we are okay. We think the things that we do are okay and we soft-pedal on our sins. But God is not like us – He is holy and he knows what sin is doing in our lives. God knows our lives and our souls are ruined if we do not confess our sins and repent to him. He has made it so easy. All we have to do is look to the cross and put our trust and our faith in the Lord Jesus Christ. He alone is the remedy for sin.

“And I, when I am lifted up from the earth, will draw all people to myself.” He said this to show by what kind of death he was going to die.”

John 12:32-33

The Son of Man is already lifted up. We see Him in the holy Scriptures with the eyes of faith, and all who believe are saved and have eternal life. We don’t have to perish, we can have an amazing quality of life forever in peace and love with God. All for a look of faith. The love of Christ for us is amazing- He has made it so easy, He has taken the guilt and the pain all on Himself and He called us to look and live.

This Old Testament picture was a foretaste for the people of God of the realty of the cross of Christ. They knew the Messiah was coming and would bring the healing for the nations. We are those nations, and God calls us to come and be healed spiritually of our moral disease of sin, which will surely kill us forever. We will perish in our sins if we do not look to Jesus Christ and find the only remedy for our souls.

Will we be wise or foolish? Will we look or look away? Will we believe or keep our unbelief in our hearts? It is a viper that will bite us to death and poison our souls. Only the healing balm of the Lord Jesus Christ can cleanse us for its sinful power and make us alive to God.