DAILY DEVOTIONALS BY PASTOR BILL MUIR
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By: Pastor Bill Muir
“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
Jesus used the Old Testament to illustrate important truths. Nicodemus would have known exactly what Jesus was talking about. He was referring to an incident that happened in the middle of the Exodus epic. The Israelites are moving from Egypt toward the Promised Land, and they start grumbling. They forget the warnings and punishment for complaining against God and Moses. (Numbers 11:1, 14:2) They continued to bellyache. God’s judgment for this sin is found in Numbers 21:6-9:
“Then the Lord sent fiery serpents among the people, and they bit the people, so that many people of Israel died. 7 And the people came to Moses and said, “We have sinned, for we have spoken against the Lord and against you. Pray to the Lord that he takes away the serpents from us.” So, Moses prayed for the people. 8 And the Lord said to Moses, “Make a fiery serpent and set it on a pole, and everyone who is bitten, when he sees it, shall live.” 9 So Moses made a bronze [c] serpent and set it on a pole. And if a serpent bit anyone, he would look at the bronze serpent and live.”
When the grumbling Israelites looked to the bronze serpent held high on a pole, they were saved from the punishment they deserved. Mercifully, God used the emblem of His judgment to draw His people back to Himself. That’s good news for them that points to even better news for us.
The point of the story is that one who was bitten by the snake, could be saved only by ‘looking up at the serpent.’ It didn’t matter who they were, what they had done, what position they held, or whether they had gone to the tabernacle that morning. If they didn’t look up in faith, they died. If they didn’t believe God’s instruction, they died. Nicodemus knew immediately that Jesus was saying to him, salvation is a faith issue, Nicodemus, not a works issue.
The next time you see an ambulance, look for the blue symbol of a snake wrapped around a pole. But pay attention, friend. That obscure little symbol is preaching the gospel that salvation is only found through faith in Jesus Christ on the Cross.
Table Rock Fellowship
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