Episode 73 - The bronze serpent and the cross

Welcome back to The Sojo Show! The Lord has risen! If you're listening to us real-time, this is the Monday after Easter. We hope you had a great time with your family celebrating Christ! 


We are starting a new series in April - we’ll look at stories in the Old Testament and see how they connect with the themes of Romans 8! And how everything in the Old Testament points to Christ.  


And today we are talking about snakes! We started off with 2 unbelievable real and insane stories from Jen (her family had snakes as pets!!), but actually you probably already know the goal is to talk about the snake stories in Scripture.


Snakes in scripture are not portrayed as the best of creatures. So when we look at the whole fact that God chose a serpent in this passage is significant.


Today we are diving into Numbers 21:4-9. In this book, we see the Israelites struggle with their faith, face the consequences of their disobedience, and witness God’s faithfulness despite their unfaithfulness. To give you a little bit of context: the people grew impatient on their journey to the Promised Land and spoke against God: “Why have you brought us up out of Egypt to die in the wilderness? There is no bread, there is no water.” 


God was displeased with the lack of faith and ungratefulness and sent venomous snakes among them. They bit the people and many Israelites died. The people came to Moses and said, “We sinned when we spoke against the Lord and against you. Pray that the Lord will take the snakes away from us.” 


The Lord said to Moses, “Make a snake and put it up on a pole. Anyone who is bitten can look at it and live.” So Moses made a bronze snake and put it up on a pole. Then when anyone was bitten by a snake and looked at the bronze snake, they lived. 


At first glance, we can think that, like Jen's stories with her snakes, this is really weird. Basically, God sent a form of punishment and the people asked for the snakes to be removed.  But instead of removing the snakes, He gave a strange command- to look and live.


For us to make sure we understand the context above, let’s look at John 3:14. “14 And as Moses lifted up the serpent in the wilderness, even so, must the Son of man be lifted up” (Referring back to the story we just read).


So must the Son of man be lifted up, that whoever believes in Him may have eternal life.” 


There you have it. And once we see that fuller context, we can understand what this was all about. At the time this happened in Numbers, those people did not have the full understanding that we have today!


They did not know that this was going to be a picture of Christ. They were required to exercise faith that God had given a provision right there at that moment for their lives to be saved in the midst of their sin. 


These people were in the midst of their sins.


They were sitting there complaining about God Almighty. They were ungrateful. He had provided for them, but they were impatient. And they lashed out against God and here they are in the middle of their sin and God made a way for them.


How hard is it for us sometimes to grasp the simplicity of the gospel to just believe that God is good enough to give us his very own Son and that if we will simply believe, He removes our sin? We will be saved as well.  


God didn't remove the snakes. The snake on the pole was not preventative. It didn't prevent them from getting bit. It was for the people who needed salvation - the people who were already bitten. They already had the poison of the snake in them, and without divine intervention, they would die. 


This is kind of a picture of the fact that we without Christ are bitten and we're the ones who have the poison in us.


The Bible is clear. The wages of sin is death and without salvation and rescue from the wrath of God, we will surely die. 


That is how we are spiritual. We are desperate, we are needy. We have absolutely no hope apart from Jesus Christ. And that is the very moment that He steps in and says, “I have it taken care of.” 


We don't have to clean our act up. We don't have to make other people convinced that we have our stuff together. We only simply cling to the cross of Christ and go back to him and say, “I believe in you”.


That is our salvation. That's what the Christian life looks like. Desperately clinging to that, looking to Him and living… again and again, and again and again, and knowing that His mercy is greater than our sin.  


The serpent represented the wrath of God, and it also represented the turning away from the wrath of God. 


Do you think that your sin in any circumstance you've been through is bigger than God's mercy? 


He provides and you simply have to trust and cling to it. Over and over and over again. 


There is poison in the veins of people who don't know Christ. Yet we can look to Christ who is lifted up just like in this Old Testament story. Praise God.






Revealed: Romans 8 Displayed in 10 Old Testament Narrative, a beautifully designed, 4-week Bible Study where you will learn key lessons from the book of Romans 8.

Are you ready to embark on an exciting journey through many of the familiar (and a few not-so-familiar) stories in the Old Testament to see how they connect with the themes of Romans 8? Well, grab your gear because that’s exactly what we’re getting ready to do!




  • Study the Revealed Bible Study Bundle in more depth. (A  4-week Bible Study Bundle with a full Bible Study, a printable Bible journaling kit, Scripture reading and writing plan, and BONUS videos)  FIND IT HERE.



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