Today’s Reading: Numbers 21:4-9
“Make a fiery serpent and set it on a pole, and everyone who is bitten, when he sees it, shall live” – Numbers 21:8
Maybe you’ve seen it on an ambulance or medical uniform: a snake (or two) on a pole. It’s a sign for healing, traced back to Greek mythology. Might you see a snake on a pole as artwork in a church? If so, it would be from an artist who had John 3:14 in mind, “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.”
In John 3, Jesus gives the proper interpretation to the events of Numbers 21. He says it’s really all about Him. The Israelites, bitten by poisonous snakes, needed more than a medical doctor. Their snakebites were only the outward sign of the real problem, sin and the eternal death that it brings. Only God could provide the required cure. Thus the fiery serpent was put on a pole with God’s promise that whoever saw it would live.
Just as the fiery serpent was lifted high on the pole to give life to all who saw it, so Jesus, God’s Son, is lifted high on the cross to give eternal life to all who believe. Heed God’s invitation; look to Him in faith and live! Believe God’s promises; Jesus took the poison of our sin upon Himself. He experienced the death that our sins deserved. Whoever believes in Him has eternal life.
Prayer: If my sins give me alarm and my conscience grieve me, Let your cross my fear disarm; Peace of conscience give me. (Jesus I Will Ponder Now, LSB 440:5)
This devotion was written by Rev. David Rempfer, pastor of Grace Lutheran Church in Blairstown, IA.