Dear church,

The only kind of person who will come into the church and make his home there is the person who recognizes he is dying. Something fatal has gotten ahold of that person, and he has become desperate.

It’s not clear Nicodemus understood this at first. “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 brought clarity to a deep mystery in Israel’s history. Why did God use the image of a snake – an unclean animal that represented sin itself – to bring healing to the nation? God did this because he was going to put his very Son in the same position as that copper snake. A dead body on a cross – an unclean and despised thing – would represent the sins of the entire world. 

It is to Jesus we are to look for our salvation.

Many people call this foolishness (1 Corinthians 1:23). But to the person who knows he has been snake-bitten, this is the greatest news of all. 

“And if a serpent bit anyone, he would look at the bronze serpent and live.” God has provided for our salvation. Every one of us has been afflicted by sin. The realization of this ought to make us desperate for a cure – and thankful we’ve received it.

Of course, we aren’t the only ones afflicted by sin. There are others. And the cross of Christ is there for everyone to “see” – to believe in. Continue to “preach” Christ crucified.


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