“So Moses made a snake out of bronze and attached it to a pole. Then anyone who was bitten by a snake could look at the bronze snake and be healed!” (Numbers 21:9 NLT)

This is one of the more bizarre stories in the Bible. The Israelites were once again grumbling against God and Moses because of the lack of water and variety of food in the wilderness, so God punished them with poisonous snakes. God hates grumbling. Grumbling is the opposite of thankfulness. Grumbling itself is like a venom that infects everyone that hears it with a spirit of ingratitude. When the people repented and cried out for forgiveness, God instructed Moses to make an image of a Bronze Serpent and to put it up on a pole for people to look upon and repent of their sin for healing. Strange that the symbol of their suffering would be God’s provision for their forgiveness and healing. Yet, this is exactly what God did when He sent Jesus to die in our place. For on the cross we see the image of what our own sin deserved. Jesus became the symbol of our suffering. As Jesus told Nicodemus, “And as Moses lifted up the serpent in the wilderness, so must the Son of Man be lifted up, that whoever believes in him may have eternal life” (John 3:14-15).