March 16, 2015

John 3:14 Just as Moses lifted up the snake in the wilderness, so the Son of Man must be lifted up

The story above involving Moses is one in which God sends snakes to punish the people for complaining (is there a lesson here?) and then gives the cure through the bitten gazing upon an uplifted bronze snake which Moses holds (Numbers 21). This immediately made me think of the Caduceus- the medical symbol employing a snake or snakes depending on the version. Surely this must refer back to this biblical story or perhaps John’s reference to Jesus. Well, according to Wikipedia, “The caduceus is the traditional symbol of Hermes and features two snakes winding around an often winged staff. It is often mistakenly used as a symbol of medicine instead of the Rod of Asclepius, especially in the United States.” So it seems we get the snake thing all mixed up. But it was never the snake that did the healing. It was God. Jesus uses the story to draw attention to the healing to be found in his death, his being lifted up… on a cross. It’s not magic. It’s not metaphor. It’s the self-sacrificial love of God offered to all. This verse is an intro to John 3:16- “For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life.” This is what is being lifted up. This week, how will you look to the love of God for healing?

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