Lifted Up

One reason I love the Bible and why I am convinced it is the inspired word of God is because it is a seamless, beautifully interwoven, layered text, with its symbolism carried throughout the whole, orchestrated and guided throughout history towards completion.

One small example of this is Christ’s crucifixion itself. Of all the possible ways for him to be put to death, this was the one chosen before time began, and we see the Old Testament set the stage for its significance; one of the earliest references is in Moses’ use of the image of a serpent on a pole as an image of healing to the wandering Israelites (Numbers 21:5-9). Grumbling against the monotony of manna, wanting bread and water instead, the Israelites were given not what they asked for, but a symbol of their sin, poisonous snakes which swarmed among them like the ingratitude thick in their midst, killing many of them. Those who saw their error and repented were given a sign of salvation: look to the bronze snake, the emblem of sin, and away from yourselves, and you will be healed of the serpent’s bite. Hundreds of years later, Christ himeslf became the image of their sin, lifted onto the cross. Any who looked upon him and believed would be healed of the poison which infected their human blood, poison that would lead to death.

“Cursed is he who hangs on a tree,” Deuteronomy 21:23 proclaims, yet this most defiling death, this ultimate image of rejection and disgrace, Christ chose–to be without honor in the work he was doing, to offer us salvation through his own disgrace, taking our disgrace upon himself.

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