The Bronze Serpent
From Mount Hor they set out by the way to the Red Sea, to go around the land of Edom. And the people became impatient on the way. And the people spoke against God and against Moses, “Why have you brought us up out of Egypt to die in the wilderness? For there is no food and no water, and we loathe this worthless food.” Then the Lord sent fiery serpents among the people, and they bit the people, so that many people of Israel died. And the people came to Moses and said, “We have sinned, for we have spoken against the Lord and against you. Pray to the Lord, that he take away the serpents from us.” So Moses prayed for the people. And the Lord said to Moses, “Make a fiery serpent and set it on a pole, and everyone who is bitten, when he sees it, shall live.” So Moses made a bronze serpent and set it on a pole. And if a serpent bit anyone, he would look at the bronze serpent and live. —Numbers 21:4-9
Behold God’s method–simple, yet mighty; one only, yet sufficient for each case.
- The prince, the poor, must seek the selfsame remedy.
- The mightiest intellect–the most expanded mind–the most inventive thought–could find no other rescue.
- The most illiterate had instant access to it.
- The aged raised the eye, and health returned.
- The youthful gazed, and malady was gone.
- In some, the pains were great, and death seemed near, but one view killed the plague.
- Others had just felt the sting, and found the pain to fly.
- Some were far off in distant borders of the camp–some had their dwellings around the uplifted pole–
but every look–from far–from near–was full, complete, and instantaneous cure.
Did any scorn the means? If so, neglect was ruin. No other help could heal the bite. But all, who acted trust in God’s appointed mode, found sure deliverance. There was only one remedy–free–open unto all–but only one. Look, and be healed. Look, and let life return.
The glory of this type now gloriously breaks. Let minor thoughts now vanish, as stars before the sun. The Brazen Serpent on the pole is Christ. The look towards it is faith. This must be granted. The lips, which cannot err–which cannot lead astray–decide. When Jesus opened wisdom’s volume to Nicodemus, He brought him to this very scene. The words are as bright as midday. “As Moses lifted up the serpent in the wilderness, even so must the Son of Man be lifted up–that whoever believes in Him, should not perish, but have eternal life.” John 3:14, 15.
Blessed record! sweet sound! amazing truth! grand tidings worth ten thousand worlds! Here then, in emblem, is the gospel of free grace! Here is the remedy of God. Here is relief commensurate with all the need of all poor sin-sick souls. Reader, give ear. See in this figure your hope–your joy–your peace–your full redemption–your complete salvation–your curse removed–your sins all blotted out! Come, and look inward–realize your neediness–your pain–your rankling sore–your just exposure to eternal death. And then look upward and behold health in a bleeding Savior’s wounds–life in a dying Savior’s death.