Exodus 17:8-16, Numbers 21:4-9, John 3:14-15, Hebrews 12:2

Ben Doggett on the perfection reached in Jesus.

Ben Doggett
Ben Doggett

My two year old son is just getting to the really fun age in which he can start to identify specific Bible characters in his picture Bible. For example, he sees a big fish and deduces that therefore the guy must be Jonah! This is progress from his original attempts, which tended to result in the stock answer, "It's Jesus!" Often I would have to explain that unfortunately, no, it was Samson rather than Jesus who wrestled a lion!

One evening we were looking at the story of Moses having his arms held up by Aaron and Hur. My son gave his usual cry of "It's Jesus!" and as I was explaining that this man is actually Moses, I started thinking...

There were three Bible stories that came to mind. The first is the one that we were looking at in my son's Bible and is found in Exodus 17:8-16. In it, the Israelites are fighting a battle against the Amalekites and as long as Moses keeps his arms up the Israelites keep winning the battle. When his arms go down they begin to lose and so Aaron and Hur lift up his arms until they are victorious in the battle.

The second story is a little later in the Israelites journey in the wilderness and is found in Numbers 21:4-9. This time the Israelites have been moaning and speaking out against God and Moses, so God sends venomous snakes into their midst. Many of them die and so the people recognise their sin and ask Moses to pray that the snakes would be taken away. God tells Moses to make a metal snake and lift it up on a pole so that anyone who is bitten can look at it and be healed.

The final story is in John 3:14-15 and is Jesus directly referencing the story in Numbers 21. Jesus is speaking to Nicodemus and just before He gives one of the most famous verses of the Bible (John 3:16), he says this:

'"Just as Moses lifted up the snake in the wilderness, so the Son of Man must be lifted up, that everyone who believes may have eternal life in him."'

It's interesting to think about the similarities between these three stories in which something has been lifted up. In the first two the people are able to win a battle and to receive healing. Both times it is based on specific conditions; Moses has to keep his arms up and later, the people have to be able to see the snake that he made.

There are clearly similarities in the third story and it seems that these similarities reach perfection in Jesus.

I am so grateful that by faith we can look to Jesus, the Son of Man, who was lifted up so that we who believe in Him may have eternal life. Jesus, our Saviour was lifted up on the cross so that, as we look to Him, battles can be won and healing can be found.

In the midst of the highs and lows of life today, my encouragement to us is to keep our eyes firmly fixed on Him. His worthiness is proclaimed by the writer of Hebrews in 12:2:

'"...fixing our eyes on Jesus, the author and perfecter of faith, who for the joy set before Him endured the cross, despising the shame, and has sat down at the right hand of the throne of God."' CR

The opinions expressed in this article are not necessarily those held by Cross Rhythms. Any expressed views were accurate at the time of publishing but may or may not reflect the views of the individuals concerned at a later date.