“As Moses lifted up the serpent in the wilderness, even so must the Son of Man be lifted up.” John 3:14-15
It was an evening church service during worship, and I felt something tangible in my hand as if I could grip it. In the physical there wasn’t anything there so I asked Holy Spirit. He said that it was the top of a staff and led me to the story of Moses in the wilderness holding up the bronze snake. He then said,
“The son of man MUST be lifted up. Everywhere you go, they MUST see ME! This is the key to healing. Lead them to see ME. One glance, one gaze, is all it takes!”
So, most of us know the story in Numbers 21:7-9. The Israelites had seen the Lord perform incredible miracles! Water had just come from a rock and the Canaanites were just defeated. However they started grumbling again and the Lord sent poisonous snakes which killed many people. However, as they looked upon the bronze serpent which was being held up by Moses they would then live.
Sometimes when I read scripture, the Lord will engage my imagination and my spirit to experience what it could have been like in certain moments. With that said, know that part of my revelation is subjective but please follow me on this. I also know that scripture in John is referring to the eternal life that Jesus brings, but I think there’s more we can learn.
So imagine if you will, Moses with the Israelites. They were already not the happiest bunch of people and now poisonous snakes appeared on the scene. It was anything but peaceful… People screaming…babies crying…men trying to kill the snakes…mothers mourning over their children who were bitten and had died…Moses being cursed for leading them into this…people desperately pleading to God…fear rampant. There’s a young man who’s been bitten, but out of the corner of his eye, he sees Moses. He thinks to himself, “What in the world is Moses doing? He’s making something. Why isn’t he petitioning God right now instead?” Moses fashions the bronze serpent and holds it up. The young man, simply out of curiosity, looks upon it and his symptoms of death reverse to life. He then begins to shout to the others with urgency and hope, “Look! Look at the bronze serpent and you will live!” The rest is history…
The Lord began to unpack this story more to me and here’s what He revealed:
* Moses didn’t “tell” the people to look at the staff and they would be healed. His responsibility was to just lift it up. Like Moses, there are times when words are not even needed for people to encounter Christ through us. Someone once said, “Preach the Gospel and when necessary use words.” We lift Him up and that can be enough. What would it look like to lift Jesus up in our hearts and lives in a manner in which His presence is tangible beyond words to the world around us?!
*It wasn’t people looking at “Moses” that brought them life. They looked at the bronze serpent. Likewise, it’s not by looking at us that people receive salvation, healing, deliverance, etc. It’s by them seeing Christ. Moses was an important conduit of the miraculous power of God. God chose to use Moses to hold up the staff. He desired to have man co-labor with Him and have a role in bringing life. Did Moses heal them? No. Likewise, we alone cannot heal anyone. Yet, just as importantly, God often will not heal without us. I would safely guess that few people have been spontaneously healed outside of prayer, ministry, or someone cultivating and hosting the presence of God in such a way that it permeates an atmosphere. Even pre-believers will often ask for prayer in times of crisis. Is it our prayers that heal? No. Jesus heals. It’s the God of man who again loves to partner with us in bringing life. We just need to help people get their eyes fixed on His face!
*The Israelites didn’t initially look with the intention of getting healed. How could they have known? I propose they were probably just wondering what Moses was doing. However, once others had their bodies reviving by looking at the bronze serpent, there was an expectation building. There was no, “I hope I have enough faith that as I look I will live.” It wasn’t about faith at all. It was about looking at the thing which was bringing life. Similarly, although faith is valued, it’s not a requirement to receiving healing. Could the demoniac of the Gadarenes in Luke 8 have the capacity for faith at all in his possessed state? Yet, he still was brought back to wholeness. For the Israelites, it wasn’t about looking inward to do a faith check on themselves, but rather about looking upward at the source of life. There was an expectation permeating that atmosphere. Likewise, let us all look to Jesus with expectation in our hearts that as we see Him in His nature, great things happen!
*It wasn’t their “desperation” that brought them life. I can imagine that there were some desperate people in that camp. However, it wasn’t their desperation that got them healed, it was when they looked. Likewise, it’s not our desperation that brings healing. If that’s the case, then there are a lot of desperate people who didn’t get that memo and who are still desperately waiting. Does God hear the cries of His people? Absolutely! But healing comes from focusing our eyes on Jesus, not inward on our situation. Face to face with Jesus is what we need. See Him in His nature, which is that of our Healer. If we are truly adopted as His children like Romans 8:15-16 talks about, then begging Him to do something which He already paid for 2000 years ago, is like an orphan who doesn’t know who their Father really is. Come to Him as you are, but know that it’s not your tears that paid for healing, it was His life and by His stripes.
*Lastly, the revelation I received was that the thing that originally brought them death – the serpent – now represented life. That’s Jesus too. We too have been crucified with Christ and no longer live. Christ lives within us (Galatians 2:20). We who are dead to sin are now alive in Christ (Romans 6:11). When we realize that Jesus took our old sinful nature upon His body when He chose to be crucified on the cross, we can then truly live!
What hope we have in Christ! Hope is a joyful expectation of good in our lives. This is a year of expectation! We have a mandate to lift Jesus up everywhere we go. However, this is an oxymoron. How could we ever lift up the one who’s already been lifted up for us? Well, we lift Him up in our hearts. He takes first place. He has preeminence. Whether we are grocery shopping or ministering in the bush of Africa, we make Him known. We direct people to just look at Him. Focus on His face, not what’s around them. If the Israelites had been too preoccupied with the chaos around them, they would not have accessed the life source that was right in front of them. And as we look at the face of Jesus, as we stare into His eyes of fire and love, just like the Israelites, we can confidently expect Him to show up and bring life!