Just as the Serpent

Giuseppe Guarino

dedicated to pastor David. Thank you.

In John 3:14 we read:

And as Moses lifted up the serpent in the wilderness, even so must the Son of Man be lifted up“.

For years I could not understand the meaning of this sentence. Who knows may be you had or still have my same perplexity.  If it is so, this article is for you.

In fact, what could ever Jesus have in common with the serpent lifted up by Moses? And why did God give that strange order to Moses?

God said to the serpent: “you are cursed” (Genesis 3:14). Notwithstanding this curse, when the people were dying bitten by snakes because of their sins against God, the Lord gave Moses a specific order:

Then the Lord said to Moses, “Make a fiery serpent, and set it on a pole; and it shall be that everyone who is bitten, when he looks at it, shall live.”  So Moses made a bronze serpent, and put it on a pole; and so it was, if a serpent had bitten anyone, when he looked at the bronze serpent, he lived.” (Numbers 21:8-9)

Quoting from Deuteronomy 21:23, Paul writes that Jesus

“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)

The eternal design of God, His Wisdom! The people in the desert had to look at one that had been “cursed” and put on a pole in order to live. What a confirmation of God’s plan to save us: today we need to look at Christ, the spotless lamb that became a curse for us, so that looking at him we might live.

And another Scripture confirms:

“And this is the will of Him who sent Me, that everyone who sees the Son and believes in Him may have everlasting life”  (John 6:40).

Who knows if Nicodemus really understood those words that are so clear for us today. Words of life and life eternal.

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)