"Turn Your Gaze Upon Jesus"
Located deep within the Old Testament book of Numbers is a obscure story about snakes and the strange way God went about saving His chosen people from their venomous assault. This story may be strange at the outset, but it becomes readily apparent that its really about Jesus and fallen humanity. God in his providence could have destroyed or driven these deadly snakes away, but He chose not to. Why? The reason becomes clear very quickly. He wanted His people to trust Him to provide their deliverance! Their obedience to His command to fix their gaze upon the bronze serpent lifted high upon the pole demonstrated their desperate trust in His power to save.
Jesus would later retell this story when Nicodemus came to him having failed to understand how a person is able to enter the Kingdom of God. Jesus went on to clarify his own role in the story of divine redemption when he said "The Son of Man must be lifted up" just as "Moses lifted up the serpent in the wilderness" (John 3:14) All that was required of Nicodemus, and by extension us, is to place our trust in Christ and follow Him and we will receive the forgiveness of our sins and eternal life.
This Jesus, on whom we fix our eyes, is both the author and perfecter of our faith. By gazing at Him, we come to know Him and are transformed by Him. Jesus didn't come to remove every poisonous snake from our lives. He came so that we could, by fixing our gaze upon Him, be healed from the venomous bites that every one of us suffer from during the course of the journey of our lives. Jesus came to make us whole, heal us, and provide the only way to have restored relationship with the God whom we have been created for. This very same God pursues us with passion in the midst of our pain. Join me today in releasing pain to Him and find freedom to become whom you desperately desire to be.
From Mount Hor they set out by the way to the Red Sea, to go around the land of Edom. And the people became impatient on the way. And the people spoke against God and against Moses, “Why have you brought us up out of Egypt to die in the wilderness? For there is no food and no water, and we loathe this worthless food.” Then the Lord sent fiery serpents among the people, and they bit the people, so that many people of Israel died. And the people came to Moses and said, “We have sinned, for we have spoken against the Lord and against you. Pray to the Lord, that he take away the serpents from us.” So Moses prayed for the people. 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.
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. For God so loved the world, that he gave his only Son, that whoever believes in him should not perish but have eternal life.