14 And as Moses lifted up the bronze snake on a pole in the wilderness, so the Son of Man must be lifted up,
From: Our Daily Journey
The origins of crucifixion are unknown, but the Roman Empire was infamous for inflicting the debasing practice on society’s lowest. Yet today, the cross—the representative symbol of crucifixion—is often prominently displayed, cherished by believers in Jesus around the world.
The Israelites experienced a similar turnaround during their sojourn in the wilderness. After an exhilarating victory (Numbers 21:1-3), God led His people through a detour to avoid engaging another nation in battle. “But the people grew impatient with the long journey, and they began to speak against God and Moses. . . . So the Lord sent poisonous snakes among the people, and many were bitten and died” (Numbers 21:4-6).
Moses prayed for the people and received this divine instruction: “Make a replica of a poisonous snake and attach it to a pole. All who are bitten will live if they simply look at it!” (Numbers 21:8).
This likely would have struck Moses as odd, given the commandment forbidding graven images (Exodus 20:4) and the understanding that anyone who hung on a tree or pole was cursed (Deuteronomy 21:23). Yet he obeyed, and, as God had promised, anyone who’d been bitten found healing when they looked at the bronze snake (Numbers 21:9).
In that wilderness, a symbol of death and judgment was transformed into an instrument of life and healing. But God didn’t stop there—just “as Moses lifted up the bronze snake on a pole in the wilderness, so the Son of Man [was] lifted up, so that everyone who believes in him will have eternal life” (John 3:14-15).
In difficult times, remember—God can transform even what’s most painful in your life into a place where you experience His healing power. Wait on Him for new life and hope.
A Strange Night-Light
Lessons can be learned with just about anything or in everyday life experiences.
The other night, my son was up late and he was looking for our cat, Bella, in the dark. He didn’t want to wake me as the kitchen is next to my bedroom, and I had left the door cracked for my cat to come in since she likes to lie under the desk.
I heard him in the kitchen because I am a light sleeper and as quiet as he was trying to be, I noticed a small light in the kitchen. I don’t have a night-light in there, just a small lamp but this was just a small stream of light.
Seeing that light, I ventured into the kitchen out of curiosity. I saw that he had opened the refrigerator door to peer around the corner to the living room to see if Bella’s shadow was in the window sill. It worked! The tiniest light can brighten up a room.
Are we lights for Jesus for all to see? The curious will wonder why we are different. We should dispel the darkness wherever we go.
Do you remember the story about the ten virgins? They had oil lamps, but some had used up their oil and did not have any. They had failed to keep their lights burning and when they needed it, they were frantically searching for some light. But, it was too late.
Others were wise and kept their lights shining brightly. Jesus is the way, the truth, and the light, and He is the light of the world. When we accept Him in our hearts that light also shines in us for others to see.
As His followers, we must continue to read the Bible, fellowship with believers in church to grow and pray for direction, and pray for others to keep our lights shining at all times for the world to see.
If we keep our focus, and our gaze fixed upon the Lord, then others will see us shine and be drawn to the light of God’s love. They are groping in darkness without the knowledge of Jesus and how much He loves them, so we must keep our lamps filled with the oil of the spirit of God.
There is something in the countenance of the ones who stay close to Jesus. It comes from the inside to the outside. It comes from our hearts, and His love is reflected in our eyes and in our smiles to a lost and hurting world.
I have a replica lampstand from Jerusalem of the seven candlesticks. It was an important piece in the tabernacle of Moses, and it reminds me to keep my light burning and to pray for those who need to know that Jesus is the Light of the World.
If a matchstick flame can lighten up a room, can you imagine how much our lights can dispel the darkness in the world? I urge you to not let your flame grow dim.
Matthew 15:1-3 says,
“At that time the kingdom of heaven will be like ten virgins who took their lamps and went out to meet the bridegroom. Five of them were foolish and five were wise. The foolish ones took their lamps but did not take any oil with them.” (NIV)
“Make a lamp stand of pure gold and hammer it out, base and shaft; its flowerlike cups, buds and blossoms shall be of one piece with it. Six branches are to extend from the sides of the lamp stand—three on one side and three on the other. Three cups shaped like almond flowers with buds and blossoms are to be on one branch, three on the next branch, and the same for all six branches extending from the lamp stand. And on the lamp stand there are to be four cups shaped like almond flowers with buds and blossoms. One bud shall be under the first pair of branches extending from the lamp stand, a second bud under the second pair, and a third bud under the third pair—six branches in all. The buds and branches shall all be of one piece with the lamp stand, hammered out of pure gold.
Then make its seven lamps and set them up on it so that they light the space in front of it. Its wick trimmers and trays are to be of pure gold. A talent of pure gold is to be used for the lamp stand and all these accessories. See that you make them according to the pattern shown you on the mountain.” Exodus 25:31-40 (NIV)
Co-Eternal Life. Eternal life is the life which Jesus Christ exhibited on the human level. And it is this same life, not simply a copy of it, which is made evident in our mortal flesh when we are born again. Eternal life is not a gift from God; eternal life is the gift of God. The energy and the power which was so very evident in Jesus will be exhibited in us by an act of the absolute sovereign grace of God, once we have made that complete and effective decision about sin.
“You shall receive power when the Holy Spirit has come upon you…” (Acts 1:8)— not power as a gift from the Holy Spirit; the power is the Holy Spirit, not something that He gives us. The life that was in Jesus becomes ours because of His Cross, once we make the decision to be identified with Him. If it is difficult to get right with God, it is because we refuse to make this moral decision about sin. But once we do decide, the full life of God comes in immediately. Jesus came to give us an endless supply of life— “…that you may be filled with all the fullness of God” (Ephesians 3:19). Eternal life has nothing to do with time. It is the life which Jesus lived when He was down here, and the only Source of life is the Lord Jesus Christ.
Even the weakest saint can experience the power of the deity of the Son of God, when he is willing to “let go.” But any effort to “hang on” to the least bit of our own power will only diminish the life of Jesus in us. We have to keep letting go, and slowly, but surely, the great full life of God will invade us, penetrating every part. Then Jesus will have complete and effective dominion in us, and people will take notice that we have been with Him.