He Took Your Curse

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A Blogged Bible Study entry.

I love Tex-Mex.  Absolutely LOVE it.  Every date I want Uncle Julio’s.  Most fast food nights I’ll choose Taco Bueno.  And if the kids have their choice, Chili’s, I always order chicken fajita nachos.  Now you’d think I’d get tired of it, but I really haven’t…not yet.  It’s been a good fifteen years since I’ve been able to indulge this obsession, having moved to the mecca of Tex-Mex, back to my home state…TEXAS!!!

Now, if I had to eat it for breakfast, lunch, and dinner I might get tired of it quicker.  If I could only have one choice, let’s say…tacos…I’m pretty sure I would begin to complain, after a while.  But that’s just me.  I have a very high tolerance for Tex-Mex.  So…let’s say it was…pancakes…?  A light fluffy pancake which melts in your mouth.  It’s brought to your door every morning and all you have to do is pick it up, enough for the day, and you are good to go.  Maybe for a couple of days or even a week you could tolerate it. But … week after week, month after month, year after year…?  Well.  You get the point.

And you know the story:

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 bread or water, and we detest this worthless food.”

We quickly judge the Israelites for complaining.  But, I must admit, unless it was tacos, I might be right there with them.  But the LORD God was not going to have it.  These people had complained enough (they had been doing it from the start) and it was time for judgment.

So the Lord sent poisonous snakes among the people, and they bit the people; many people of Israel died. Then 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 would take away the snakes from us.”  So Moses prayed for the people.

The Lord said to Moses, “Make a poisonous snake and set it on a pole. When anyone who is bitten looks at it, he will live.” So Moses made a bronze snake and put it on a pole, so that if a snake had bitten someone, when he looked at the bronze snake he lived. ~Numbers 21:5-9

The curse was placed upon a pole in the form of a bronze snake. If anyone had been bitten he was to look upon the bronze snake and be healed.

To be sure I’ve not misconstrued this story from the Jewish teaching, let me share with you from a Jewish devotional:

Now the Lord could have healed Israel in fashion. The intent of placing a bronze serpent on a pole was to require acknowledgement of sin first and then acceptance of the healing provided by the Lord second. It was not adequate to think in one’s heart, “I’m sorry for my mistake.” To be healed the second action was required. They had to look up towards the heavens and view the bronze serpent to live.

This wilderness story was not lost to the people of Jesus’ time. The bronze serpent had been kept. Centuries later it was destroyed during Hezekiah’s reign for it had become an idol of worship. (2 Kings 18:1-6) It may not be known to us Gentiles, but then we don’t study the Law and the Prophets like the Jews. That was the only scripture they had and they knew it well.

Jesus is having a conversation with Nicodemus.  He is explaining to Nic about the meaning of being born again and He ends the conversation with this seemingly obscure bit of information.  But it’s not obscure to Nic.  He is a Jewish teacher of the Law, a Pharisee and a member of the Sanhedrin.  He knows this story.  He knows his history.  He understands the context.  Then Jesus says this is the sign of the Son of Man:

Just as Moses lifted up the serpent in the wilderness, so must the Son of Man be lifted up, so that everyone who believes in Him may have eternal life.” 

For this is the way God loved the world: He gave His one and only Son, so that everyone who believes in Him will not perish but have eternal life. For God did not send His Son into the world to condemn the world, but that the world should be saved through Him. The one who believes in Him is not condemned. The one who does not believe has been condemned already, because he has not believed in the name of the one and only Son of God. ~John 3:14-18

Have you looked to the One who can bring you healing? 
Did you know that everyone is cursed who hangs upon a tree? 

Christ redeemed us from the curse of the law by becoming a curse for us—for it is written, “Cursed is everyone who hangs on a tree”   ~Galatians 3:13

He took the curse for you.  He bore it on the cross.  He has redeemed us from the Law of sin and death.  You have only to look upon Him and believe.

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21 responses »

  1. II Cor 5:21 God made him who had no sin to be sin for us, so that in hime we might become the rightousness of God

    So as we gaze upon Christ on the cross we gaze upon the sin that hung him there…It is why he came to this earth to take upon himself our sin…

    Most of the change in my life has come about through the recognition that my sin hung Christ on the cross. It is my duty to now pay him the respect and sin no more. As1 John 1 says if we are or were with out sin there would be no reason for Christ to be hung on the cross.

    Thanks sis for this beautiful post.

  2. This is great! I did hear about the bronze serpent being used later as an idol…and it is the insignia for physicians..the sign of healing. I think about that often especially with outreach. If we are the people we are called to be, then we are lifting Jesus up, and HE will draw men to himself. Praise You JESUS! I need that healing and so does everyone…just posted about keeping our eyes on Jesus..love you Princess…and can’t wait to catch up with you later..Good morning and have a great day!

  3. Hey Carl! Thanks for the scripture. Amen…if we were without sin it would not have been necessary for Him to come and die. I love the pictures from the Tanankh Jesus used throughout His ministry to explain Himself. This one and the sign of Jonah, these stories were known to His audience and now the picture is complete. Amazes me…constantly. Peace and love, Carl.

    Good morning, Darla! Studying about the bronze serpent was very interesting to me. We had to study it for Jude this week too, like that was coincidental…? I Corinthians 10:1-13 These things were written for our instruction…with every trial He gives a way of escape. It kind of opens up that teaching as well. Comin’ to check out your post! Love you, too!

  4. WOW, this is really deep and exciting to read. You know, even though I do not read all of your stuff myself (since you read it to me before you post) I love the way you write.

    The thing I am in awe about, besides the fact that you married me 25 years ago (8/13), is that God sent His Son to die for little ole me. An enemy! Everytime I stop and think of the sacrifice, the pain, the blood, the tears that Christ shed for me, I take pause, it makes all the other “problems” in my life look so infinitesimally small.

    Thanks for loving me so long and so well. Phat 🙂

  5. Woo-hoo-hoo! Goosebumps, Phat, goosebumps all the way to my toes!!

    Thank you.

    He was our matchmaker. I’m so thankful He brought us together.

    I’m tellin’ ‘ya…goosebumps! 😯

  6. hahahaha I love it! way to go Phat!!! She is a sweet keeper, huh? I know that Michelle helps me tons, and just knowing that she prays for me is an awesome gift! love you Michelle

  7. Awesome post. Another verse comes to mind… “God demonstrated His love for us in this, while we were yet sinners, Christ died for us,” (Romans 5:8).

    Amen.

  8. “God sent His Son to die for little ole me. An enemy!”

    That was very well-put, Phat. A lot of Christians forget that they, too, were once enemies of The Almighty–as if Christians have some special claim to Christ’s ministry and sacrifice–but we are only reconciled by His work.

    Michelle: This was very well written. I love how you included the Jewish devotional to give us a different perspective of the story; I had never considered God’s intention behind the snake on the pole, but now I know it’s not just the miracle of healing that counts, but our faith in it needs to be matched by our willingness to receive.

  9. Welcome, Shane. Thank you for adding more to the conversation. Praise His name for saving a sinner like me!

    Come back anytime!

    Hey, Darla. I believe you are sweetness personified! ♥ U.

  10. Michelle: One of these days I should like to visit see the blog of this “Professor,” but, alas, it is time for me to go to bed. So it shall have to wait for another day.

    Phat: Aliens thinking an alien is an alien isn’t so alien to me. 😆

  11. Yes…he took MY curse. He didn’t just die to ‘build a bridge’.He took MY place on that tree. H \e died for MY sin, in MY place. He was the great substitute who drank the cup of His Fathers wrath in my place.

    There is a bit of John 3 in something Ijust posted at my place. . .hmmm

  12. Hey, Dan. You really don’t like “modern” illustrations do you? And I understand why, they often fall short of the actual meaning. An omniscient God is able to use whatever tool necessary to explain Himself and yet He did NOT use so many illustrations. I suppose our attempts at “retelling,” or describing further for the “modern” man, can be corruptions.

    Is the corruption you see with “building a bridge” that it appears to put us on the same level? I’ve always understood the concept as being the deep chasm of sin we cannot cross without Jesus “laying down His life” for us.

    I’m comin’ over to see what you’ve got!

  13. The Bridge illustration works as long as we don’t leave it there without explaining all that meant in terms of substitutionary atonement. I actually used it in an undergrad ‘persuasive speech class – and received an “A”. Yes, God has a wonderful plan, but it’s a by-product not the prime product.

  14. 😀 Great post as always! The serpent also was lifted on a cross of sorts. I hadn’t really made that connection. I LOVE that the OT teaches us so many things by drawing pictures which we must dig in and interpret. I was talking to myself about it the other day (yeah, I do that) and drew the picture that the OT is like a huge mine pit. You have to dig down into it, get your hands dirty and sift through stuff to find the gemstones. The NT is like walking into Tiffany’s. Everything is cut, polished, and set. I can see how shopping in Tiffany’s is ]
    ‘exciting, but when it comes to real treasure … I’d kinda rather uncover it for myself. 🙂 (And of course, the NT has plenty of things to uncover too … I just kinda like the OT myself.) 😀

  15. The OT is quite something by itself, but when read in light of the fulfillment of it’s prophecy in the NT, it is even more incredible…

  16. I love this teaching Michelle, thank you. I love these parallels in scripture. I didn’t know that the bronze snake later became an idol of worship, that was something I learnt through your study.
    And the ultimate message of this has really inspired me today, that our beautiful Saviour has taken the curse, and all we have to do is look to Him and believe.
    P.S. I’ve never tried Tex-Mex, some day God-willing 🙂

  17. Good morning, Annie! It is wonderful how the Bible comes alive with the fulfillment of Jesus. We so often think He fulfilled the Laws and the Prophets through His death, taking the curse upon Himself, and YES, He did! But He has also fulfilled the beauty of the feasts, all the types/shadows of Him to come…it blows the mind. Yes m’am, what I treasure to mine!

    Have a great day sweet girl! 😉

    Amen, Dan! 🙂

    Oh, Birgit, I’m so thankful to have opened up a portion of the scripture to you today. What a priviledge when iron sharpens iron.

    And hey! You have not lived until you’ve had Uncle Julio’s chicken enchiladas with sour cream sauce! Wow. Maybe they’ll ship overnight to London. 😆

  18. All love to you and your’s Sis! 🙂

    praying for you – that your strength be not in one part of you, but all through you and like me you can learn through Wisdom to be opne in your Heart tio Him also 🙂

    <B

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