by Allan Knapp
 From Mount Hor they set out by the way to the Red Sea, to go around the land of Edom. And the people became impatient on the way.  And the people spoke against God and against Moses, “Why have you brought us up out of Egypt to die in the wilderness? For there is no food and no water, and we loathe this worthless food.”  Then the LORD sent fiery serpents among the people, and they bit the people, so that many people of Israel died.  And the people came to Moses and said, “We have sinned, for we have spoken against the LORD and against you. Pray to the LORD, that he take away the serpents from us.” So Moses prayed for the people.  And the LORD said to Moses, “Make a fiery serpent and set it on a pole, and everyone who is bitten, when he sees it, shall live.”  So Moses made a bronze serpent and set it on a pole. And if a serpent bit anyone, he would look at the bronze serpent and live.
 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.  “For God so loved the world, that he gave his only Son, that whoever believes in him should not perish but have eternal life.  For God did not send his Son into the world to condemn the world, but in order that the world might be saved through him.  Whoever believes in him is not condemned, but whoever does not believe is condemned already, because he has not believed in the name of the only Son of God.  And this is the judgment: the light has come into the world, and people loved the darkness rather than the light because their works were evil.
Throughout Jesus’ ministry, he gave clues about Good Friday. Four times in Matthew he tells his disciples he will be raised up / crucified (16:21, 17:22-23, 20:17-19, 26:2). In John 3, the most famous part of his gospel explanation to Nicodemus are the words “For God so loved the world…” The verses just prior foreshadow the crucifixion by referencing the account of Moses, sinful Israelites, and God providing healing via a bronze serpent.
Israelite sinners bitten by a snake would be saved by looking at the fiery bronze serpent raised on a pole. Sinners today are saved by looking to Jesus Christ, who was raised on the cross to provide our salvation. The Israelites had to believe enough to look at the snake. Sinners today need to believe enough to confess with mouth and heart that Jesus is Lord (Romans 10:8-13).
This is the fourth week of this stay-at-home, social distancing culture. You may be growing exponentially in your walk with Jesus. Or the days may be blending into one another, your spirits may be lagging, your faith may need a spark. Either way, consider participating in a couple of activities today.
Stream the Good Friday service, live at 12:15. Jason will be preaching from Romans 5:9 – “Since, therefore, we have now been justified by his blood, much more shall we be saved by him from the wrath of God.”
Read Pat Quinn’s “A Brief Guide to Fasting” or print up a list of topics for prayer.
Also see Tuesday posts – Tim McCormick’s devotional and Jason’s video message on fasting – for reasons why today is a Good Friday for praying and fasting.
Whatever you do, remember that this day reminds us of the greatest gift anyone has ever given. Praise the LORD!
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