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What does the Brazen Serpent point at? The great similarity between their condition 3500 years ago and ours today!
1. We share a similar deadly infection. ALL INFECTED WILL DIE.
o All touched by the poison of the serpents would die. All infected by the SIN virus will die. The devil is the old serpent, a fiery serpent, hence he appears (Rev. 12:3) as a great red dragon. Sin is the biting of this fiery serpent; it is painful to the startled conscience and poisonous to the seared conscience.
2. We share a similar offer of a cure. THERE IS ONLY ONE CURE
o It was God himself that devised and prescribed this antidote against the fiery serpents; so our salvation by Christ was the contrivance of Infinite Wisdom; God himself has found the ransom.
o It was a very unlikely method of cure; so our salvation by the death of Christ is to the Jews a stumbling block and to the Greeks foolishness. It was Moses that lifted up the serpent in the wilderness, so the law is a schoolmaster to bring us to Christ, and Moses wrote of him, John v. 4-
2. Christ was lifted up by the rulers of the Jews, who were the successors of Moses.
o That which cured was shaped in the likeness of that which wounded. So Christ, though perfectly free from sin himself, yet was made in the likeness of sinful flesh (Rom. 8:3), so like that it was taken for granted that this man was a sinner, Jn. 9:24.
o The brazen serpent was lifted up; so was Christ. He was lifted up upon the cross (Jn. 12:33, 34), for his was made a spectacle to the world. He was lifted up by the preaching of the gospel. The word here used for a pole signifies a banner, or ensign, for Christ crucified stands for an ensign of the people, Isa. 11:10. Some make the lifting up of the serpent to be a figure of Christ’s triumphing over Satan, the old serpent, whose head he bruised when in his cross he made an open show of the principalities and powers which he had spoiled and destroyed, Col. 2:15.
3. We share a similar choice. ONLY GOD’S WAY WILL WORK.
o IT WAS SIMPLE. They looked and lived, and we, if we believe, shall not perish; it is by faith that we look unto Jesus, Heb. 12:2. Look unto me, and be you saved, Isa. 45:22. We must be sensible of our wound and of our danger by it, receive the record which God has given concerning his Son, and rely upon the assurance he has given us that we shall be healed and saved by him if we resign ourselves to his direction.
o IT WAS SPECIFIC. The brazen serpent’s being lifted up would not cure if it was not looked upon. If any pored on their wound, and would not look up to the brazen serpent, they inevitably died. If they slighted this method of cure, and had recourse to natural medicines, and trusted to them, they justly perished; so if sinners either despise Christ’s righteousness or despair of benefit by it their wound will, without doubt, be fatal. Not a Christian if go to church any more than married if go to wedding.
o IT WAS POWERFUL. But whoever looked up to this healing sign, though from the outmost part of the camp, though with a weak and weeping eye, was certainly healed; so whosoever believes in Christ, though as yet but weak in faith, shall not perish. There are weak brethren for whom Christ died.