Sunday, April 16, 2017

The Bronzen Serpent

UV 2255/10000 The Bronzen Serpent
And as Moses lifted up the serpent in the wilderness, even so must the Son of man be lifted up
John 3 v 14

The bronzen serpent lifted on a pole has become the symbol of modern medicine and of healing. The serpent symbolises all that can cause death and grievous harm to mankind. The bronzen serpent in itself had no power either to harm or help, to heal or to deliver. But Moses was asked to have it made so that the act of faith and obedience of the Israelites in looking towards it with faith would result in healing and deliverance received from the hands of the Almighty God. The bronzen fiery serpent lifted up is a metaphor for the Christ on the cross. The bronzen serpent is a lifeless one and cannot cause death or harm to mankind. Jesus took the place of the bronzen serpent in His death on the cross. In His death, He crushed the heads of the many serpents afflicting this world- death, disease, ignorance, hatred, envy, pride, lust, curses, conflict, pain, misery, poverty, evils of every kind.

Just as only those who looked to the bronzen serpent lifted up on the pole were protected, preserved, healed, delivered from the venom of the many poisonous snakes that roamed about the Israelite camp while they journeyed through the wilderness, we who look to the cross and believe in the resurrection of Jesus to be our living Saviour and personal Redeemer are delivered from the many serpents of this world. The bronzen serpent was a mere token. Being inanimate, it was only a representation of how the powerful serpent had become dead and powerless. But, Jesus being like us in flesh and blood, animate and alive, put to slow death on the cross was no mere token. His suffering, pain and misery on the cross was real and great. It was at once a sufficient payment. Jesus and His word are the antidote for the venom of the sin, curse and afflictions that affect this world. The enemy has lost the battle for the soul of man. He has been dethroned as the one to whom people look in fear and Jesus is lifted up as the King and Saviour to whom everyone can look with faith and receive His love. On the cross, He became the payment for all our shortcomings. He became cursed, weak and powerless for our sake. In Joseph’s tomb, He restored Himself to being the Wonderful Counsellor, the Mighty God, the Resurrection, the Prince of Peace and the Life. He is the True Vine in our lives that bears abundant fruit of various kinds.

In place of the excessive pain and hurt of the curses and afflictions of our wild and unruly past when we acknowledged no single ruler of our hearts, the Lord gives us new hope and strength. He fills our hearts with abundant peace. He helps us with our existential struggles and gives us victory in the challenges we face in our daily lives. As we look to Him as the author and finisher of our faith, He begins writing His story of love and triumph in our lives. He commences the work of strengthening our faith that He is the One who protects, sustains, provides for us. He fills the gaps in our knowledge and our faith and completes or finishes our faith. He defangs the enemy and removes his venom. His sting of death, diseases, loss, failure, accidents, conflicts still hurts us and bruises us but it cannot cause us permanent harm and is no longer lethal. Even for our hurts, Jesus provides His balm of Gilead through prayer and the word.

Prateep V Philip

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