March 10, 2018

John 3:14-18 …“And just 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.” vss. 14-15

We can wonder a lot about the writers of the gospels, who they were and why they were motivated to write. Obviously they never guessed that the simple stories they put together would face the unrelenting scrutiny of Greek scholars around the world. But one thing we do know: they paid attention to the Hebrew scriptures as they wrote. They were looking for material to back up what they knew about Jesus, and for John, this little story from the book of Numbers was a gold mine. It said exactly what he wanted to communicate. Note that he doesn’t focus on the rather bizarre punishment meted out by the Lord. It’s the part about Moses that caught John’s attention. For him, the action of Moses in raising up the serpent on the pole was exactly what had happened in Jesus’ crucifixion. Those who looked up at the serpent of bronze were healed and so it is for all who look to Jesus on the cross. It’s a pithy simple analogy and describes perfectly the place of the cross in our expressions of faith. It isn’t something that can be explained scientifically or even rationally—it just works! The notion of a crucified messiah may seem foolish but it’s the center of our worship, and it brings life to all who believe.

Thought for the Day: Why have most protestant churches eliminated crucifixes?