Brazen Serpent | Devotion 6: Lift Your Eyes
We have all seen the video where a person on their phone walks into the signpost, right? Remember when you first learned to dribble a basketball? Concentrating on the ball, we kept our head down as we dribbled down the court, failing to see our wide-open teammate under the rim. So often in life, we proceed in a similar manner. We have distractions in our everyday life. We tend to keep our eye off the important things. We allow errands, travel sports, and “chasing the dream,” to become the focus of our attention. Failing to look up, we lose out on so many things.
In the book of John, we find just such a scenario. Chapter 3 starts with the story of Nicodemus. Considered a “ruler of the Jews,” Nicodemus was a Pharisee. He would have been religious, pious, and observed all the Jewish laws. To most, he would have appeared to have it together. He was considered as a man that surely had his eternity secured. We see him come under cover of darkness to question Jesus about who He claims to be. This is where things get interesting, and we see Nicodemus for who he truly is. When questioned about spiritual matters, he fails to understand what Jesus is saying. Sarcastically, Jesus asks him as a teacher why he can not understand what He has said. Because his religiosity had blinded him, he almost failed to see who Jesus truly was.
Right at the end of this interview, John 3:14-15 says, “And 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.”
So often, like Nicodemus, the lost world tends to look at the physical instead of the spiritual. Blinded by the religious experience and worldly desires, they miss the most important aspect of their lives. Making a list and marking it off gives them a sense of security. When we read John 3:14-15, we may be confused by what we find. We might even read right past what Jesus is saying to Nicodemus. Why does Jesus compare Himself with a serpent? It seems odd; does it not? The serpent, the representation of evil in the world, lifted up for all to see, for whoever looks on it will live (Numbers 21:4-9). Is this actually the foreshadow of who Jesus is? Are we to look upon the embodiment of evil for our salvation? It is not until we read this next verse that it becomes apparent to us what Jesus meant, “For our sake he made him to be sin who knew no sin, so that in him we might become the righteousness of God” (2 Corinthians 5:21).
High and lifted up, unblemished, sinless, perfect in every way, Jesus becomes sin for us so that we may have an eternal relationship with God. When we look on the cross, we see our past, present, and future sin, rendered dead and buried. As the representation of the serpent, our transgressions have been cast out, and we are found righteous by the act of our Savior. God furnished the “perfect lamb” for our atonement; we are now free from the penalty of our sin. Yet, there will be those that believe they have lived a righteous and holy life, only to find they will be cast out. Others have heard the call and completely turned their back on God. The religious men and women, that through the theology of works, keep their eyes to the ground, only to miss out on the salvation of their souls. All they had to do was “look up” and see what Jesus did for them. The gift of grace is free, and all we have to do is trust and believe in Him. “For God so loved the world” He sent His only Son to pay our price in full. Look to Him that beat death, Hell, and the grave.
John 3:16 promises, “For God so loved the world, that he gave his only Son, that whoever believes in him should not perish but have eternal life.”