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The Israelites wandered in the desert for 40 years after leaving Egypt due to their sins. This extended journey resulted in the deaths of many seniors, leaving the new generation to face the challenges ahead. As they approached the Promised Land, their hope was diminished when the Edomites denied them passage, forcing Moses to lead them in the opposite direction around Edom. Frustrated and weary, the people once again complained against Moses and God, lamenting the lack of food and water, and criticizing the manna provided by God’s grace. In response, God sent fiery serpents among them as punishment.

These serpents were called “fiery” either because their bites caused severe fever and inflammation, often leading to death, or due to their fiery appearance. Realizing their sin, the Israelites asked Moses to intercede for them. Instead of removing the serpents, God instructed Moses to create a bronze serpent and mount it on a pole. Anyone bitten by a serpent could look at the bronze serpent and be healed.

This command to make an image was unique, as God had previously forbidden the creation of images. The bronze serpent served as a foreshadowing of Jesus’ crucifixion. Looking at the bronze serpent symbolized acknowledging their sin and seeking God’s mercy, rather than worshiping the image itself. However, during King Hezekiah’s reign, the bronze serpent became an object of idol worship, leading the king to destroy it to restore proper worship of God (2 Kgs 18:4).

In the New Testament, Jesus parallels this event with His own crucifixion. Instead of a bronze serpent, we now look to Jesus on the cross for salvation. Just as the Israelites had to gaze upon the bronze serpent with faith and repentance, we must look to Jesus with a repentant heart and faith for our redemption.

Jesus, free from sin, was lifted on the cross as the bronze serpent was raised on the pole. In John 3:14-15, Jesus says, “And as Moses lifted up the serpent in the wilderness, even so must the Son of man be lifted up: That whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have eternal life”. This connection underscores the necessity of faith in Jesus for eternal life.


The crucifixion of Jesus brought us salvation, but we must look to Him in faith for our redemption. The cross of Jesus not only symbolizes His suffering but also His glory. Our sufferings for Christ and His Church will similarly lead us to share in His glory. As Christians, we are called to view the cross not merely as a symbol but as the powerful instrument of our salvation. Just as the Israelites needed to look at the bronze serpent with faith, we must look to Jesus with repentance and faith.

The Israelites’ journey through the desert, marked by trials and complaints, reflects our own spiritual journeys. Despite their grumbling and sin, God provided a means of healing through the bronze serpent. Similarly, God offers us salvation through Jesus Christ. This narrative reminds us of the significance of obedience and faith.

Salvation comes not from our efforts but through looking to Jesus, the author and finisher of our faith (Heb 12:2). The bronze serpent incident teaches us that our deliverance is a result of God’s provision, and we must respond in faith. As Christians, we should continually lift our eyes to the cross, seeking mercy and grace from the One who was lifted up for our sake. Let us avoid the pitfalls of idolatry, focusing solely on Jesus Christ.

In our trials and sufferings, let us find comfort in the cross, knowing that just as Jesus’ suffering led to glory, our trials can also lead us to deeper fellowship with Him and a share in His glory. May we always look to Jesus, our Savior, with faith and repentance, trusting in His saving power and living lives that reflect His love and grace.

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