Jesus Is Our Bronze Snake

14 And as Moses lifted up the bronze snake on a pole in the wilderness, so the Son of Man must be lifted up,
15 so that everyone who believes in him will have eternal life.
John 3:14-15 (NLT)

If I do not insert the above verses, I am sure the religious people will jump in and accuse me of blasphemy. How can we call Jesus a snake? After all, snakes in the Bible were viewed negatively. Being called a snake is an insult, not compliment. Yet Jesus himself tells us to see him as a snake, particularly the bronze snake that Moses lifted on a pole in the wilderness. What is he up to? In this article, we shall attempt to understand his words and find out how we can benefit from it.

In the above verses, Jesus was referring to an event in the past. Let us look into them.

4 Then the people of Israel set out from Mount Hor, taking the road to the Red Sea to go around the land of Edom. But the people grew impatient with the long journey,
5 and they began to speak against God and Moses. “Why have you brought us out of Egypt to die here in the wilderness?” they complained. “There is nothing to eat here and nothing to drink. And we hate this horrible manna!”
6 So the Lord sent poisonous snakes among the people, and many were bitten and died.
7 Then the people came to Moses and cried out, “We have sinned by speaking against the Lord and against you. Pray that the Lord will take away the snakes.” So Moses prayed for the people.
8 Then the Lord told him, “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!”
9 So Moses made a snake out of bronze and attached it to a pole. Then anyone who was bitten by a snake could look at the bronze snake and be healed!
Numbers 21:4-9 (NLT)

Here is the short version. Throughout the journey to the Promised Land, the Lord had been providing for his people. He gave them the necessity, riches and victories over their enemies. However the Israelites were still quite ungrateful. Instead of giving thanks to God, they were looking to things to complain about. Their sin had caused God to sent poisonous snakes out. Many people were bitten and died.

Those who were still alive begged Moses to pray for their healing. Moses did. The Lord told Moses to make a replica of a snake and attach it to a pole. Anyone who looked at it will live. Moses used bronze to make the replica. Thus the bronze snake.

What does that mean to us? Those Israelites faced a serious problem due to their sins. Their problem was in the form of poisonous snakes attacking them. God told Moses to make a replica of the snake and attached it to a pole. In other words, a representation of the problem was at a pole. Why pole? So that it can be lifted up high. Many people will be able to see it. Anyone who looked at it will live while those who looked elsewhere will die.

What has that got to do with Jesus? The pole represents the Cross. When Jesus was crucified at the Cross, he was lifted up for all to see. The Bible tells us the wages of sin is death. Since Jesus has no sin, he could not have died. The only way he can experience death is to take on all our sins with him when he was at the Cross. When Jesus was at the Cross, he was like the bronze snake that Moses lifted up in the wilderness. Jesus, at when he was at the Cross represented all our sins. In the wilderness, the Israelites who looked at the bronze snake were immediately healed from the effects of the snakes’ poison. Likewise today when we “look” at Jesus at the Cross we will be immediately healed from all the effects of our sins.

How do we benefit from this? Jesus is the solution for all our sins. Are you troubled by sins? Do you find your sins to be to powerful for you to overcome? Fear not. Jesus wants you to turn to him. Instead of looking at your sins and focus on them, Jesus wants you to look to him. Focus your attention on him. At the Cross, Jesus became your sins. When he was crucified, all our sins were crucified with him. Once we are fully aware of this truth, we can overcome all sins because we know that sin has no power over us. Sin has been crucified with Jesus at the Cross. To look at Jesus is to believe in him. The result of that is eternal life. When God says eternal life, it is not limited to our hearts pumping for eternity. It covers lives of riches, health and prosperity in every area forever.

This is the Gospel of Jesus Christ.

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12 Responses to “Jesus Is Our Bronze Snake”

  1. tam Says:

    Why use snake as the symbol

  2. Yeap Chee Seng Says:

    The problem was snake bites.

  3. lin Says:

    By the way,

    jesus did mention, did I not say “ye are gods”
    and who said that earlier on , good old snake to eve in genesis.

  4. Yeap Chee Seng Says:

    If you are interested, I can guide you to the truth. However, if you are only one of the doctrine worshippers who are under the bondage of theology, I suggest you bring your bondage elsewhere.

  5. Sarah Aitkenhead Says:

    This proves that snakes are NOT evil. The effects of their venom,and maybe the venom itself,symbolized sin. However,snake venom is not a snake and a snake is not snake venom,in the same way that milk is not a cow and a cow is not milk. Jesus,being sinless,would never be symbolized by an evil creature. But John,chapter 3 compares Jesus to this bronze snake. As for the Garden of Eden,the Tempter was Satan,not a snake. Even if the Devill took the form of a snake,which is debatable,no real snake is responsible. Animals cannot choose to side with Satan. Only demons and humans are capable of that. Also,when God created snakes on day six,he said they were very good. Snakes are innocent of all evil,and Jesus loves them too.

  6. Yeap Chee Seng Says:

    Being good or evil implies sentience and intelligence. You do not nee this article to prove snakes are not evil. Neither is their venom.

  7. Tesha Gibbs Says:

    I enjoyed the teaching on the bronze snake. I very much so agree with the story. Throughout the bible God(Jesus) took on many forms to show us he is supreme. He also prove he’s more powerful, then Satan. Both God and Satan take on the form of living things. The spirit enters them, which cause them to do good or evil. We have a choice, and the animals don’t. We even have dominion over the animals. I also like what Sarah said in the above statement, because some people only look at part of the bible instead of the full counsel to find truth.

  8. Dale Ray Akridge Says:

    i. Serpents are often used as pictures of evil in the Bible (Genesis 3:1-5 and Revelation 12:9). However, Moses’ serpent in Numbers 21 was made of bronze, and bronze is a metal associated with judgment in the Bible, because bronze must be made by passing through the “fires” of judgment.

  9. chitembwe brighton Says:

    Powerful. I will definitely use the notes in my forthcoming sermon.

  10. Emily Says:

    This example was used to show us what was to come. A snake was used to represent Jesus and the pole was the cross. As Jesus hung on the cross he became sin (the snake) so that we could be forgiven of ours. Read Numbers 21 then read Luke 23.

  11. robert Says:

    I seek the truth

  12. Matthew Perri Says:

    Which is the most important?
    Jesus was asked twice, by two different men, the same basic question about which is the most important or greatest commandment in the Law. Here is how Jesus answered that question:

    #1
    “One of the teachers of the law… asked him [Jesus],
    ‘Of all the commandments, which is the most important?’

    “The most important one,” answered Jesus, “ is this: ‘Hear, of Israel, the Lord our God, the Lord is one. Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind and with all your strength.’ The second is this: ‘Love your neighbor as yourself.’ There is no commandment greater than THESE.” [Mark 12:28-31, Deuteronomy 6:4-5, Leviticus 19:18]

    #2
    …an expert in the law, tested him [Jesus] with this question: ‘Teacher, which is the greatest commandment in the Law?’”

    Jesus replied: “’Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind.’ This is the first and greatest commandment. And the second is like it: ‘Love your neighbor as yourself.’ All the Law and the Prophets hang on these TWO commandments.” [Matthew 22:36-40, Deuteronomy 6:5, Leviticus 19:18]

    But in contrast with Jesus, Paul the Pharisee didn’t know the greatest, most important, first commandment according to Jesus. Paul made up his own rule. Paul wrote:
    “The entire law is summed up in a SINGLE command: ‘Love your neighbor as yourself.’” [Galatians 5:14, Leviticus 19:18]

    And again, Paul wrote:
    “He who loves his fellowman has fulfilled the law. The commandments, “Do not commit adultery, Do not murder, Do not steal, Do not covet, and whatever other commandment there may be, are summed up in this ONE RULE: ‘Love your neighbor as yourself.’ Love does no harm to its neighbor. Therefore love is the fulfillment of the law.” [Romans 13:8-10, Leviticus 19:18]

    Jesus said it’s TWO commandments, with the greatest, most important, first command to
    .1) first, love God with everything you’ve got, and
    .2) second, love people.
    Paul said no, it ONE commandment- to love people.

    This is very similar to The Beatles- “All you need is love. Love is all you need. Love, Love, Love.” (In other words, the second commandment, the love of man, without the love of God. Love as me, myself and I define love to be, and continuously redefined by sinful men.)

    In essence, it is also the same principle as what Eve did in the Garden of Eden, forgetting about the Tree of Life, which is the first tree in the middle of the Garden, and instead referring to the second tree as “the tree that is in the middle of the garden.” [Genesis 3:3 & 2:9 2:17, 3:24]

    Kind of like the Pharisees with Jesus, who were pushing the false idea that we can consider ONE commandment in the Law, alone in isolation, to be “the greatest commandment in the Law.”

    Or like today, false teachers in the Chrislam – Purpose Driven – Seeker Sensitive – Emergent – Liberal – Ecumenical – New Age – world church movement pushing the false idea that the ONE RULE is “Loving God and Neighbor together.”

    The Lord God Jesus the Jewish Messiah, Son of Yahweh the Most High God of Israel, said:
    “All the Law and the Prophets hang on these TWO commandments.”
    Not one. TWO.

    Sometimes, Paul was wrong. Jesus is always right. I’m following Jesus.

    Here are answers to 2 common objections:
    .a) What about the so-called “Golden Rule”?
    Jesus spoke the 3 chapters of the Sermon on the Mount, Matthew 5-7, including 7:12. Jesus didn’t make PART of this one verse out of context into “The Golden Rule” or “one rule.” Jesus did not use the term “Golden Rule,” it’s simply a tradition of men. The sentence begins with “So” in the NIV and Amplified Bibles, and “Therefore’ in the NASB and King James Bibles, which ties 7:12 to the previous sentences. So 7:12 cannot stand alone as One Commandment.

    .b) What about the so-called “Great Commission”?
    Jesus spoke the words recorded in Matthew 28:18-20, including “make disciples of all nations.” Jesus never used the term “Great Commission,” it’s simply a tradition of men. Yes I agree it’s a commandment given by Jesus, it’s not optional, and it applies to us today. We need to carry this out, with our own God-given abilities and talents, using the skills, and circumstances we have. But we don’t need to put words in the mouth of Jesus, we can let Jesus speak for himself, and we can listen to Him – and obey Him.

    Evangelism is part of the Second Commandment given by Jesus, to Love people. Evangelism is not the most important commandment, and it isn’t the entire Second Commandment. So if our priorities are “The Great Commission and the Great Commandment,” we have our priorities upside down and confused, and we are not listening to the voice of Jesus. Never mind what Paul said. Let’s listen to the voice of Jesus first, and get our priorities straight.

    The people who will protest most loudly against this truth are the modern “Pauls:” traveling evangelists, speakers, writers, abusive absentee mega-church pastors, Crusaders, and self-appointed “apostles” like Paul, who find it “profitable” to “be like Paul” rather than follow Jesus the Jewish Messiah.


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