THE SERPENT ON THE POLE
“How can a man be born when he is old?” John 3:4 “How can these things be?” John 3:9
Without a doubt the third chapter of John’s Gospel is on top of the list of great chapters in the Word of God. It is said that John 3:16 is the Gospel in a nutshell. Of course, we have the great dialogue between the Lord Jesus and one called Nicodemus who was a ruler of the Jews. He was one of their leaders and teachers with great knowledge of Old Testament Scripture. However within the conversation Nicodemus asks these two questions that have resounded down thru the ages. They are questions asked long ago by one named Nicodemus but are questions that must be answered for us as well. We too must be born again. Jesus said in this chapter in verse three, “Except a man (person) be born again, he cannot see the kingdom of God.” When Jesus made this statement to Nicodemus that is when these two questions came up in the conversation.
In verse 14 of this chapter, we have a verse beginning with the conjunction “AND”. Jesus now answers Nicodemus with this great happening in the Book of Numbers chapter 21. The “and” connect the conversation that had been going on with what happened in the Book of Numbers. Many of us are familiar with this situation that happened to the Children of Israel on their way into the Promised Land. Because of their disobedience, God sent “firey serpents. These people were bitten and many were dying.
The people cried out to Moses and Moses cried out to God for help. God told Moses to make a brazen serpent and place it upon a pole and those who “looked would be delivered”. No doubt this man who was so taught in the Old Testament Scriptures was immediately reminded of this historical incident in the life of his ancient brethren. But now for the first time he had been brought face to face with the wonderful truths that Jesus was saying, “And as Moses lifted up the serpent in the wilderness, even so must the Son of man be lifted up.” (Verse 14).
May I encourage you to read this great dialogue and conversation between the Savior here in John chapter three and His reference to the passage in Numbers 21? But more than this, we need to see the wonderful application that the Lord Jesus is making between these two encounters. Jesus wants each of us and others that may read this passage to see that it is now the Son of God who is being lifted up because each of us have been bitten by the serpent called sin. It is deadly to the soul unless one “looks to the uplifted and crucified one.”
We often read this passage in John three and make comment to the fact that not only were these dear ones bitten and dying but then we see the simplicity of the Serpent on the Pole. Many were lying on the ground with death all around them and they were invited and instructed “to look and live”. We often ask why not someone who was bitten by the serpent would not turn their eye upward toward the means of deliverance. We must also ask the same question as to why someone in our day and hour would not turn and look to the Cross of Christ for cleansing by the power of the shed blood of Christ.
Moses lifted up the Serpent on the pole but God lifted up His Son on the cross. Numbers 21 & John 3.