Today’s Reading: Numbers 21:4-9
Daily Lectionary: Numbers 8:5-26; Luke 15:11-32
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.” So Moses made a bronze serpent and set it on a pole. And if a serpent bit anyone, he would look at the bronze serpent and live. (Numbers 21:8–9)
In the Name of Jesus. Amen. Wait a minute! This sounds an awful lot like idolatry! Moses makes a bronze snake, sets it on a pole, and people are healed from a venomous snakebite if they look at it? Why not look to God? Isn’t He the one through whom true healing is given?
Yes, He is. And it may seem weird that the One True God would direct Moses to do something that appears to be so out of character for a God who demands such diligent adherence to His Law, until you look behind the snake, behind the bronze. Why does God tell Moses to do it this way? A snake is the cause of death so they, at God’s command, look upon its representation and are then healed. They look on the lifted-up one in faith, but not with just a blind glance or a quick look. They believe they will be healed because God said to look and live.
In John 3 Jesus says that He must be lifted up just like the bronze snake was, so that sinful humanity might look upon Him and live. Again, it isn’t an idle glance at a crucifix that saves. It isn’t “Hey, God, I looked at your Jesus, what’s in it for me?” Rather, one who has faith that God’s promise is true looks upon the crucified Son of God and is healed, saved from the death of sin. Jesus was lifted up on the pole of the Cross so that the snakebite of sin, its deadly venom coursing through your veins, would be cured forever.
Trust this promise of the Lord. Trust His Holy Word of salvation for you. Trust, with the faith that He gave you in your Baptism, that this Word of the Lord is faithful and true: “Believe on the Lord Jesus Christ and you shall be saved.” It isn’t because you took a chance on Him, but because He gave everything for you and created saving faith within you, so that you may live forever in His kingdom. In the Name of Jesus. Amen. –Rev. Duane Bamsch
God would not have the sinner die; His Son with saving grace is nigh; His Spirit in the Word declares How we in Christ are heaven’s heirs. Be of good cheer, for God’s own Son Forgives all sins which you have done; And, justified by Jesus’ blood, Your Baptism grants the highest good. (God Loved the World So That He Gave, LSB 571:3-4)