When you look at a dead man, what hope is there? What hope is there in a serpent?
The serpent lifted in the wilderness was an image of a poisonous snake. The Israelites had hoped to travel with more ease through the wilderness, and for such hope (such impatience!) God sent these snakes to afflict them. He then provided for his people’s healing by telling them to look at an image of the snake. He used the serpent to dash their false hopes and make way for His own work.
By linking Himself to this snake, Jesus casts His crucifixion in the same light. As St. Paul writes, “The wages of sin is death” (Romans 5:23). We may hope to avoid the sting of death through good and healthy living, but on the cross God turns us to see the Best and Healthiest Man Ever stung to death! He dashes our meager hope of escaping death and instead makes way for His best work: the resurrection.
There is our hope: the Resurrection! We trust in God alone for help; we trust in Him to act. With Him, we may even look on a dead man, yes, even on our dead selves, and look forward to the salvation of God.
LET US PRAY: O God of our salvation, the hope of all the ends of the earth and of the farthest seas: teach me not to dread death, but rather to love Your Son, the Resurrection and the Life, and to live in the hope of His glory; through the same Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen
Pastor Steven K. Gjerde