Daily Success
Institute in Basic Life Principles

Command 43 : Be Born Again | Day 296

Consider the Brazen Serpent!

Nicodemus marveled at the ideas that he heard, and Jesus marveled at his lack of spiritual understanding: “Art thou a master of Israel, and knowest not these things?” (John 3:10). In order to help him comprehend how to be born again, Jesus related salvation to an important event in the history of Israel:

“And as Moses lifted up the serpent in the wilderness, even so must the Son of man be lifted up: that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have eternal life” (John 3:14-15).

Let's take a closer look at the illustration that Jesus used. As the nation of Israel journeyed in the wilderness, they became “much discouraged because of the way” (Numbers 21:4). So, they “spake against God, and against Moses, Wherefore have ye brought us up out of Egypt to die in the wilderness? for there is no bread, neither is there any water; and our soul loatheth this light bread” (Numbers 21:5).

God had just given the children of Israel a marvelous victory over a Canaanite kingdom because they looked to Him for deliverance, and He had brought them out of the bondage of Egypt when they cried out to Him for deliverance. He also gave them daily manna for food in the wilderness. However, rather than being thankful for the mighty acts God had done on their behalf and trusting Him to provide for further needs, they murmured and became bitter at God and Moses.

So, God sent among the people "fiery snakes.” (See Numbers 21:6.) They bit the people, and many died from the deadly venom. The people recognized God's judgment and repented, begging Moses to ask God to take away the snakes.

Rather than removing the snakes, God provided a remedy. He told Moses to forge a brass snake and put it on a pole. (See Numbers 21:8-9.) In Scripture, brass is often used as a symbol of judgment, and a snake is a symbol of sin and transgression. The snake on the pole represented Jesus becoming sin for us and experiencing the judgment of God in our place. (See John 3:14-15.) God instructed the people through Moses that if anyone was bitten by a snake, he must look at the brass snake in order to be healed.

Obedience to God and faith in the remedy He provided resulted in the healing of those who were bitten by the deadly snakes. The same response can also provide healing for all who are infected with deadly sin today.

Jesus concluded this analogy with these marvelous words: “For God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life" (John 3:16). Those of us who have believed on the Lord Jesus Christ for our salvation and deliverance from sin can rejoice about the eternal life He has given us.

The verses that follow John 3:16 explain that God sent Jesus not to condemn the world, but so that through Him the world might be saved. God also says, “He that believeth not is condemned already” (see John 3:18). If you have not believed in the Lord Jesus Christ for the forgiveness of your sins, I urge you to respond to His love immediately!

“... Verily, verily, I say unto thee, Except a man be born again, he cannot see the kingdom of God” (John 3:3).

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Contributing writer: Bill Gothard