Just as Moses lifted up the snake in the wilderness, so the Son of Man must be lifted up, that everyone who believes may have eternal life in him”. John 3:14-15 NIV
Burt has very long, lanky legs. He can easily jump on our bed but mostly, he stands beside it looking at you with his soulful, brown eyes. He gently lifts his paw and swipes the bed. My husband gathers him in his arms and lifts him to the bed where he receives all the love and attention he requires and deserves.
Lucy is another story. She is like a kangaroo and does not need lifted up onto anything. She is happy to jump even though she weighs thirty pounds less than Burt.
In Numbers 21, the Israelites are on their journey to the Promised Land. They have left slavery behind in Egypt and God has provided them bread from heaven called Manna to eat on a daily basis. Just like us when we’ve been trapped in our cars or our houses too long, God’s people started to gripe and complain against him and his provisions. Why did we have to leave Egypt? I’m sick of the desert. This food you’ve given us is gross and boring. There’s no water. Their grumbling continued against God until he sent venomous snakes.
The snakes bit the Israelites and many died. The people approached Moses confessing their sin and asking him to pray to God for them. Verse 8 records the Lord telling Moses to make a snake and put it up on a pole. Anyone who is bitten can look at it and live. Moses did as he was commanded and anyone who looked at the bronze snake that had been lifted up, lived through the poisonous snake bites.
In John 3, Jesus is speaking to Nicodemus and uses the same illustration and compares it to himself. In John 12:32, he tells us, “And I, when I am lifted up from the earth, will draw all people to myself”. Jesus is predicting his death and how he would die on a cross, lifted up from the earth.
David speaks of Jesus death on a cross many years before Christ was born. Psalm 22:16 states that they pierced his hands and feet. It goes on to say that people stare and gloat over me. They divide his garments among them and cast lots for his clothing. All things that took place at the crucifixion of Jesus Christ of Nazareth. One thousand years before Jesus lived, King David wrote a psalm depicting his death on a cross.
700 hundred years before Jesus lived, Isaiah prophesied in Chapter 53 of the man of sorrows who carried our sins. A man pierced for our transgressions and bruised for our iniquities. Jesus the lamb that was slaughtered. Verse 12 tells us that he was numbered with the transgressors and made intercession for them. A prophet tells 700 hundred years before it happens that Jesus will be hung with two thieves and will pray to God for their forgiveness.
As we go through life grumbling and complaining about our journey, snakes of sin, temptation, and discontent are biting at our feet just like the snakes in the desert. Jesus has already been lifted up and when we lift our eyes to Him for our salvation, we shall live. Prophets foretold it, history records it, and we must believe it.
Just like Burt stands by our bed, looking to us to lift him up, stand at the foot of the cross. Look up! Jesus is there waiting to lift you up and give you all of the love and attention you need. You are forgiven! You are loved! You are cleansed! Though bitten by sin, you shall live!