The Power of the Cross
The serpent is a symbol of rebellion against God. In the wilderness the children of Israel rebelled. For this reason God sent poisonist serpents into their camp. Many of the Israelites died. As a remedy, God had Moses place a bronze serpent up on a pole so that everyone who was bitten would be spared if they looked upon the serpent. The first step in receiving forgiveness for one’s sin is the acknowledgment of that sin. The Israelites were required to look at a symbol of their rebellion:
So Moses made a serpent of bronze, and put it upon a pole; and whenever a serpent bit someone, that person would look at the serpent of bronze and live. (Numbers 21:9)
Acknowledging sin is vital, particularly for Christians. Jesus is our Savior but we need to acknowledge who He is and what He has done for us. Many of the religious leaders in Jesus’s day would not acknowledge their sin. They were blinded about many things, but particularly about who Jesus was. For this reason they hung him on a cross. Jesus explained that after they had done this, they would see him in a different light:
Then said Jesus unto them, When ye have lifted up the Son of man, then shall ye know that I am he, and that I do nothing of myself; but as my Father hath taught me, I speak these things. (John 8:28)
Our acts of rebellion against God have crucified Jesus as much as anyone’s. If we truly look upon Jesus on the cross and realize his act of great sacrifice and love, then our hearts will convict us and bring us to repentance. Do we look the other way or do we see Jesus high and lifted up?
And just as Moses lifted up the serpent in the wilderness, so must the Son of Man be lifted up, that whoever believes in him may have eternal life. (John 3:14-15)