by Martin Luther
Just as Moses lifted up the snake in the desert, so the Son of Man must be lifted up. (John 3:14)
When Moses lifted up the snake on a pole, many Israelites disapproved of God’s command to look at it because it wasn’t pleasant. Only believing Israelites–and no one else–understood and were healed because of their faith in the Word. Who else but our Lord could have used this story to point to Christ? I never would have bee so bold to interpret this story the way Christ did. He explains it by pointing to himself and saying, "That is the bronze snake, But I am the Son of Man. The Israelites had to look at the snake with their eyes. But you must look at me with the eyes of faith. They were cured of a physical poison. But through me, you will be redeemed from an eternal poison. Looking at the snake means believing in me. Their bodies were healed. But I will give eternal life to those who believe in me." These are strange statements and an extraordinary teaching.
With these words, the Lord gives us the proper way to interpret the Old Testament. He helps us understand that the writers and prophets of the Old Testament point to Christ with their stories and illustrations. Christ shows us that he is the center point from which the entire circle is drawn. Everyone looks toward him. Whoever follows Christ belongs in that same circle. All the stories in Holy Scripture, it they are interpreted correctly, point toward Christ.
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