And as Moses lifted up the serpent in the wilderness, even so must the Son of man be lifted up:…
I. THE PERSON IN MORTAL PERIL for whom the brazen serpent was made.
1. The fiery serpents came among the people because they had despised God's way and God's bread (Numbers 21.). The natural consequence of turning against God like serpents is to find serpents waylaying our path.
2. Those for whom the brazen serpent was uplifted had been actually bitten by the serpents. The common notion is that salvation is for good people, but God's medicine is for the guilty.
3. The bite of the serpent was painful. So many by sin are restless, discontented, and fearful. Jesus died for such as are at their wits' end.
4. The bite was mortal. There could be no question about that — nor about the effects of sin.
5. There is no limit set to the stage of poisoning: however far gone, the remedy still had power. So the gospel promise has no qualifying clause.
II. THE REMEDY PROVIDED FOR HIM.
1. It was purely of Divine origin: and God will not devise a failure.
2. Exceedingly instructive. Wonder of wonders that our Lord Jesus should condescend to be symbolized by a dead snake.
3. There was but one remedy for the serpent bite: there was only one brazen serpent, not two. If a second had been made it would have had no effect.
4. It was bright and lustrous, made of shining metal. So if we do but exhibit Jesus in His own true metal He is lustrous in the eyes of men.
5. The remedy was enduring. So Jesus saves to the uttermost.
III. THE APPLICATION OF THE REMEDY.
1. The simplest imaginable. It might, had God so ordered, have been carried into the house, rubbed on the man, and applied with prayers and priestly ceremonies. But he has only to look; and it was wall, for the danger was so frequent.
2. Very personal. A man could not be cured by what others could do for him — physicians, sisters, mothers, ministers.
3. Very instructive — self help must be abandoned and God be trusted.
IV. THE CURE EFFECTED.
1. He was healed at once. He had not to wait five minutes, nor five seconds. Pardon is not a work of time, although sanctification is.
2. The remedy healed again and again. The healed Israelites were in danger. The safest thing is not to take our eye off the brazen serpent at all.
3. It was of universal efficacy, and no man who looks to Christ remains under condemnation.
V. A LESSON FOR THOSE WHO LOVE THEIR LORD. Imitate Moses. He did not "incense" the brazen serpent, or hide it behind vestments or ceremonies, but raised it on a bare pole that all might see.
(C. H. Spurgeon.)
Parallel VersesKJV: And as Moses lifted up the serpent in the wilderness, even so must the Son of man be lifted up: