First of all, that was not a typo. I want to briefly take a look at an incident the happened with the Israelites in the wilderness. God was judging them with poisonous serpents. The nation chose to repent, and God gives Moses a cure for the snake bites that is very unusual.

The LORD sent fiery serpents among the people and they bit the people, so that many people of Israel died. So the people came to Moses and said, “We have sinned, because we have spoken against the LORD and you; intercede with the LORD, that He may remove the serpents from us.” And Moses interceded for the people. Then the LORD said to Moses, “Make a fiery serpent, and set it on a standard; and it shall come about, that everyone who is bitten, when he looks at it, he will live.” And Moses made a bronze serpent and set it on the standard; and it came about, that if a serpent bit any man, when he looked to the bronze serpent, he lived. (Numbers 21:6-9 NASB)

One of the things I wonder is how many people rejected the solution because it was just too easy, or because it didn’t make any sense to them. Many people are that way about salvation even now. Many reject it because it can’t be that easy. There has to be something we have to do to earn salvation rather than just receiving the free gift by faith in the resurrection in baptism! Or even reason that they are not worthy of it because they have so much sin.

But what does this story really have to do with us today? It was a shadow of what Jesus would do for us so many years later. Jesus himself said so.

As Moses lifted up the serpent in the wilderness, even so must the Son of Man be lifted up; so that whoever believes will in Him have eternal life. (John 3:14, 15 NASB)

Just as the serpent was lifted up for the salvation of all those who will look to Him. But why was it a serpent? In the whole Bible, the serpent represents sin, and Jesus was without sin. How could a serpent represent salvation? Here’s how:

Therefore, we are ambassadors for Christ, as though God were making an appeal through us; we beg you on behalf of Christ, be reconciled to God. He made Him who knew no sin to be sin on our behalf, so that we might become the righteousness of God in Him. (2 Corinthians 5:20, 21 NASB)

When we look to Jesus, we need to see Him as the one bearing sin. Not just the sin of the world in general, but our personal sin debt. As we look at Him as our atoning sacrifice for sin, we can claim the freedom that He purchased for us from that sin. In fact, we did provide something that day at Calvary. We provided our sins for Jesus to bear for us. When He died, we died with Him so that we can be free from the power of sin.

Therefore we have been buried with Him through baptism into death, so that as Christ was raised from the dead through the glory of the Father, so we too might walk in newness of life. For if we have become united with Him in the likeness of His death, certainly we shall also be in the likeness of His resurrection, knowing this, that our old self was crucified with Him, in order that our body of sin might be done away with, so that we would no longer be slaves to sin; for he who has died is freed from sin. (Romans 6:4-7 NASB)

Now that the sin debt has been paid, we should continue to look to Jesus for the strength to endure. As we look upon Him and what He has done, we also look forward to the day when we, too, will be before the throne of God.

fixing our eyes on Jesus, the author and perfecter of faith, who for the joy set before Him endured the cross, despising the shame, and has sat down at the right hand of the throne of God. (Hebrews 12:2 NASB)

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