May 12: “Snakes and Jesus”

7 Minute Read + Scripture readings

Today’s Bible Reading:

Numbers 21
Psalms 60-61
Isaiah 10:5-34
James 4

Today’s Bible Verse(s):

“Then the Lord said to Moses, ‘Make a snake image and mount it on a pole. When anyone who is bitten looks at it, he will recover.’”
Numbers 21:8 (CSB)

Reflections on Today’s Bible Verse(s):

There are a boatload of pictures (types) in the Old Testament that point to a reality that is found in the New Testament. Honestly, there are hundreds.

As far as I can tell, they appear in virtually every Old Testament book. We just need to look for them.

But, be very careful not to force something on the text. God’s Word is God’s Word and we have no right to whimsically make it say something it doesn’t say.

Fortunately, there are some instances that are clearly pointed out for us. Some of the New Testament writers made it clear that a person, or event, or object in the Old Testament was clearly a shadow of a New Testament reality.

If you have already read Today’s Bible readings, you probably saw it.

Numbers 21:8-9 (CSB): “Then the Lord said to Moses, ‘Make a snake image and mount it on a pole. When anyone who is bitten looks at it, he will recover.’ So Moses made a bronze snake and mounted it on a pole. Whenever someone was bitten, and he looked at the bronze snake, he recovered.”

In Numbers 21:4-9, we read that the Israelites started complaining … again. It’s as if griping and bellyaching was their favorite pastime. They did it over, and over, and over.

And God’s reaction was always the same – He got angry. He cannot stand complaining anymore than you or I can.

So, He punished them. He sent poisonous snakes among them. When the snakes bit the people, they died. The complaining was quickly replaced by cries for help.

Therefore, God instructed Moses to create a bronze pole with a bronze snake on it. When the people looked at it, they were cured.

Numbers 21:9 (CSB): “So Moses made a bronze snake and mounted it on a pole. Whenever someone was bitten, and he looked at the bronze snake, he recovered.”

What is this a picture of? What New Testament reality does this foreshadow?

We don’t have to guess at the answer. The answer comes out of Jesus’ own mouth.

John 3:14-16 (CSB): “Just as Moses lifted up the snake in the wilderness, so the Son of Man must be lifted up, so that everyone who believes in him may have eternal life. For God loved the world in this way: He gave his one and only Son, so that everyone who believes in him will not perish but have eternal life.”

The Old Testament snake on a pole was a picture (type) of the New Testament reality when Jesus hung on a cross.

  • The people in Numbers were guilty sinners and deserving of punishment, and so is everyone of us.
  • God moved in judgment against them, as God does with every single person who is still in their sin.
  • God provided a serpent on a cross that they could look to and be saved, as God sent Jesus to take on the sin of everyone who will look to Him in faith.

When you read the Old Testament stories and commands, look for Jesus. He’s on every page. The Old Testament have hundreds of illustrations that point to Him.

This is yet one more reason why I am thoroughly convinced that the Bible is written by God. No group of 40 men, writing over a period of about 1,400 years, could have written a book so amazing as the Bible. It literally is like no other work that mankind has ever created.

* * * * * * * * * *

Lord Jesus, I know that You are in the Gospels. I also know that the rest of the New Testament is about You. But open my eyes to see all of the Old Testament stories and instructions and how so many of them point directly to You. While I want to know Your Word and comply with it, I also want to simply be amazed, over and over, by it. Amen.

david-clode-p6YvwzDlknE-unsplash
Photo by David Clode on Unsplash

Posted by

I have an incredible wife that God gave to me on May 10, 1997. Since then, the Lord has blessed us with three wonderful boys. I am also the pastor of the First Baptist Church of Polk City, Florida.

2 thoughts on “May 12: “Snakes and Jesus”

  1. Brother Matt I have heard this many times. The Old Testament concealed is the New Testament traveled. Again I so enjoying readings these daily devotions. Miss being with my church family but am on line. Hope to b back soon. Thank God every nite for sending you and Kim yo us. Thank you for all that you are and do. love in Christ Laura Ennis

    Liked by 1 person

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