“Just as Moses lifted up the snake in the desert, so the Son of Man must be lifted up, that everyone who believes in him may have eternal life.”
Look up! Time after time God has given people this invitation. Look up from your failure and disappointment. Look up from your guilt and shame. Look up and see the rescue I have provided.
Jesus reminded Nicodemus of the history which prompted this invitation. God’s people were in the wilderness. They felt their wants and desires were not being sufficiently met. So they grumbled, complained, and eventually rebelled against the Lord. In response to their open rejection, God sent venomous snakes. As the death toll mounted, people realized their sin and repented. The Lord promptly showed mercy and commanded Moses to make a bronze snake, lift it up on his staff, and offer the invitation to look up! Those who looked up were rescued from the Lord’s just judgment.
Jesus used this account to teach a precious lesson. The value of this lesson is seen in what Jesus adds, “so the Son of Man must be lifted up, that everyone who believes in him may have eternal life.” It is a lesson we need to learn well and cherish.
Like God’s Old Testament people, it is easy for us to complain, get frustrated with God, and even turn away from him. With our rejection we soon recognize the burden that our action carries. It separates us from his love. It places us under his just judgment. It soon makes us desperate to find help.
This is when we rejoice to hear those precious words, look up! When we look up, we see Jesus lifted up on the cross. Yes, he was crucified and his life ended brutally. Yet, in his perfect and willing sacrifice, our guilt, punishment, and sentence of death were taken away. Through faith in Jesus we are rescued from God’s just judgment.
Look up! These are words we need to hear, long to hear, and rejoice to hear.
Prayer:[Christian Worship: A Lutheran Hymnal – 111]
Sweet the moments, rich in blessing, which before the cross we spend,
Life and health and peace possessing from the sinner’s dying Friend.
Lord, in loving contemplation fix our hearts and eyes on you
Till we taste your full salvation and your unveiled glory view.