Snake on a Pole and Jesus Christ
Moses lifted up the serpent in the wilderness, even so must
the Son of Man be lifted up, that whoever believes in Him
should not perish but have eternal life." (1)
a Pharisee and ruler of the Jews came to Jesus by night and
said to Him, "Rabbi, we know that You are a teacher come
from God; for no one can do these signs that You do unless
God is with him." (2) The conversation between Jesus
and Nicodemus is recorded in John 3:1-21.
conversation, Jesus talked about Moses lifting up the serpent
in the wilderness and stated that He Himself must also be
lifted up in order to give eternal life to all who would believe
Jesus refer to a snake on a pole during Israel's wandering
in the wilderness? As the Children of Israel traveled through
the wilderness they became very discouraged. They complained
against God and Moses and against the manna that God provided
that sustained their lives, which they referred to as "worthless
bread". The Bible records that fiery serpents came in
among the people and many of the people of Israel died.
came to Moses and asked for his intercession with the Lord
that the Lord would take away the serpents from among them.
"So Moses prayed for the people. Then the Lord said to
Moses, 'Make a fiery serpent, and set it on a pole; and it
shall be that everyone who is bitten, when he looks at it,
shall live. So Moses made a bronze serpent, and put it on
a pole; and so it was, if a serpent had bitten anyone, when
he looked at the bronze serpent, he lived.' " (3)
God use the figure of a snake on a pole in the wilderness
as a symbol for the people to look at to be saved from the
poisonous venom of the snake infested camp of Israel? A snake
is a symbol of Satan and of sin. Why would God use a poisonous
snake as a symbol to look at and live?
this! "For He (God) made Him (Jesus) who knew no sin
to be sin for us, that we might become the righteousness of
God in Him." (4) Wow, Jesus was made to be sin for us.
On the cross, Jesus represented that snake on the pole when
He died for us.
snake on the pole in the wilderness was the perfect symbol
of Jesus when He died on the cross for you and me. Jesus took
the sins of the world upon Himself at the cross and buried
them forever by His death, so that in His resurrection, you
and I might receive His life, His Spirit and His character,
His righteousness, and be made like Him.
a transference. As the Israelites, poisoned by the snakes
infesting their camp, looked upon the snake on a pole and
lived, so we today, in the snake infested environments in
which we live may keep our eyes fixed on Jesus and receive
His life sustaining grace and His Holy Spirit to lead us through
this temporal existence in preparation for the eternal life
that He has promised.
is the antidote for the venom of the snakes of sin in our
lives. He takes our sins upon Himself and shares His righteousness
recorded that Nicodemus yielded His life to Jesus when He
witnessed Christ's sacrifice on the cross. And he participated
with Joseph of Arimathea who took the body of Jesus and bound
it in strips of linen with the spices, "a mixture of
myrrh and aloes, about a hundred pounds" provided by
it shall be that everyone who is bitten, when he looks at
it, shall live." (6)
2. John 3:2.
3. Numbers 21:7-9.
4. 2 Corinthians 5:21.
5. John 19:39, 40.
6. Numbers 21:8.