Jesus said to Nicodemus, “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.”
- St. John 3:14, 15
God had no more rescued the Children of Israel from slavery in Egypt before they started to complain because the journey was difficult, and they didn’t like the food, the manna, which God provided for them. As a result of their sin they were afflicted with serpents in the wilderness. But God showed mercy, and He instructed Moses: "Make a fiery serpent, and set it on a pole; and everyone who is bitten, when he sees it, shall live.”
The visible sign of the "fiery bronze serpent" being lifted up in the sight of the people reminded them of two important facts: that sin leads to death, but repentance leads to God's mercy and healing. And, of course, the lifting up of the bronze serpent on a wooden pole points to Jesus Christ being lifted up on the wooden cross at Calvary where He took our sins upon Himself to make atonement to the Father on our behalf.
The sacrifice of Jesus' life on the cross is the ultimate proof of God's love for us. The cross broke the curse of sin and death and won pardon, healing, and everlasting life for all who believe in Jesus, the Son of God and Saviour of the world.
[Pictured: "The Brazen Serpent" by James Tissot (1836-1902)