The favorite Bible verse of so many people is preceded by Jesus connecting the love of God for the world with Moses lifting up the snake in the wilderness. The Israelites were required to look upon the very thing that brought death in order to receive life, so we are asked to look upon Jesus’ becoming the very sin that destroyed us so that we can live. “God made Him who had no sin to be sin for us, in order that we might become the righteousness of God” (2 Corinthians 5:21). The Cross is the place were need and mercy meet.
“Luther said, “In pointing to Moses and the bronze serpent which he lifted up when the Children of Israel were bitten by fiery snakes, Christ draws a comparison between the serpent and Himself. He, too, would be lifted up as a serpent; and He would bear this title of a rebel: “Jesus of Nazareth, King of the Jews,” that is, the king who agitated against the Roman emperor and the chief priests, who betrayed the Jewish people to the Roman emperor for the slaughter. “There He hangs. He must be a serpent. He must have committed an unpardonable crime. Therefore, away with Him!”
“That is what I wanted to say very briefly on this text. For who could treat it exhaustively? The intention both of Moses and of John was to point to the deity of the Lord Christ. This Serpent, Christ, must be very God, since the mere sight of Him has the power to heal all men and to deliver them from death.”