Today’s Scripture: And the LORD said unto Moses, Make thee a fiery serpent, and set it upon a pole: and it shall come to pass, that every one that is bitten, when he looketh upon it, shall live. And Moses made a serpent of brass, and put it upon a pole, and it came to pass, that if a serpent had bitten any man, when he beheld the serpent of brass, he lived. Numbers 21:8-9
Often when you ask people what it will take to get to Heaven, they will talk about living a good life and how their good deeds outweigh their bad deeds. In John 3, we read of such a man. Nicodemus was a good man. In today’s language, we would call him a church-going man. He was very spiritual, lived a good life, and did what was right. So, when he asked Jesus what it would take to get to heaven, he was astonished at Jesus’ reply: “Ye must be born again.”
We have all been bitten – that is the problem. We are all going to face eternal separation from God in what is called the Second Death – Hell. That is really bad news – we all have sin and that sin sends us to hell. Our good works do not save us, but rather, we need a second birth to avoid a second death. How can we be born again?
In John 3:14, Jesus brings up a historical event involving snakes. As a student of the Scriptures, Nicodemus certainly would have been familiar with this story from the Exodus. The children of Israel were being led through the wilderness, and they began to murmur and complain against Moses and against God.
The Lord sent fiery serpents into the camp. Many people were bitten and died. This shows what distrust and rebellion brings.
However, God is merciful. He provided the antidote. Moses was instructed to form a serpent out of brass, set it upon a pole, and raise the pole in the middle of the camp. Those who would look on the serpent in faith would be healed and would live.
Just as it took faith for one who was suffering from a snakebite, it takes faith for us to have victory over the venom of sin. The cure is not found anywhere but in the finished work of Jesus Christ.
Devotional by Jim Scudder, Jr.