Look up and live

Cathy Bayert

Resurrection Sunday is on the horizon, but before resurrection comes honor (Palm Sunday) and rejection, followed by crucifixion, death and burial.  
As we meditate on the remedy for our self-centered choices, transgressions, iniquities, chaos which leaves us with  sin, sickness, and disease, we might compare it to antibiotics, inoculations and vaccines.  People who drink to excess, sometimes wake up and drink “a hair from the dog who bit them.”  They drink an alcoholic drink to remedy a hangover.   Originally connected to the folk remedy for rabies:  hair from a rabid dog was placed into the wound created when the dog bit someone.  Inoculations and vaccines take a small amount of bacteria from a disease and inject it into a healthy human who develops immunity to the disease and never gets a full-fledged case of the disease.  Some inoculations are actually made from dead bacteria or virus.
When, in Numbers 21:4 – 9, the Israelites were being bitten by serpents/snakes, God instructed Moses to create a brass serpent and put it on a pole.  As the dying people looked at the serpent, they were healed of the disease injected into them through the venom.  
In John 3, Nicodemus came to visit Jesus by night to ask how he could be saved, born again, without entering into his mother’s womb for a second time.  Their discussion evolved into conversation about how and why the Messiah, Christ Jesus, would be lifted up from the earth in a similar manner to what Moses did with the serpent in Numbers climaxing in those who looked at him, putting their trust in him would be saved, healed, delivered from the power of the venom which resided in their bodies.  1 Corinthians 5:21 details how this would work. “He who knew no sin (Jesus Christ who did no sin neither was deceit found in his mouth (1 Peter 2:22)) was made to be sin for us, that we might become the righteousness of God in Christ Jesus.  
In the process of being lifted up, Christ draws all human beings unto himself (John 12:32) foreshadowing the concept of salvation by grace through faith.  The people did not work their way to salvation but believed the Word of God (Jesus Christ) and were redeemed from all unrighteousness.  Like Abraham, they believed God and it was counted for righteousness (Romans 4:3 – 5 and Genesis 15:6)
God the father loved us so much that while we were yet sinners, Christ died for the ungodly (Romans 5:6) How shall we escape if we neglect so great a salvation. (Hebrews 2:3)  If we do not receive God’s salvation through Christ, there are no more sacrifices to be found (Hebrews 10:6). There is no hope of salvation in any other (1 Thessalonians 5:8).  There is no other name given among men whereby we must be saved (Acts 4:12).
Look up, your redemption draweth nigh (Luke 21:28).  Look up (Psalm 5:3, Psalm 40:12, Proverbs 24:32, Psalm 121:1 - 2).  Look and live! (Numbers 21:8)

(Cathy Bayert is pastor of Greybull First Baptist Church.)