Friday of the Third Week of Lent – March 13, 2015

Today’s Reading: John 3:14-15

And 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

We have been bitten. The ancient serpent’s venom has entered our blood stream. The devil’s venom (which we call sin) is already at work in us causing spiritual blindness, hard hardheartedness, and apathy toward God and our neighbor. Eventually this venom will kill us. So how do we deal with this venomous sin problem?

In many ways we are no different than Israel of old. We are impatient. We grumble and complain. We are unthankful. Like ancient Israel, we often suffer the consequences of our unjust lips. Yet for those in Moses’ day who were bitten by a venomous snake, everyone who gazed upon the uplifted bronze serpent would be spared death.

Just like the bronze serpent, Jesus became the embodiment of our problem as He hung from the cross. As Israel beheld the bronze serpent, so we must behold the Crucified Christ. We regard Him who was lifted up, confident that Jesus has imbibed the venom that has poisoned us. Jesus has drunk from the cup of God’s wrath. We look to Him who was lifted up, trusting that the Living, Crucified Christ suffered, died, and came back to life for us.

Prayer: If you are sick, if death is near, this trust your troubled heart can cheer; Christ Jesus saves your soul from death; that is the firmest ground of faith (God Loved the World So That He Gave, LSB 571:5).

This devotion was written by Rev. Dean Duncan, pastor of First Lutheran in Belle Plaine, IA.

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