A Brazen Solution

Daily Reform, Day 164

Galatians 2:20 & Numbers 21:4-9

From the Reformer

If we lose sight of Christ and begin to consider our past, we simply go to pieces. We must turn our eyes to the brazen serpent, Christ crucified, and believe with all our heart that He is our righteousness and our life. For Christ, on whom our eyes are fixed, in whom we live, who lives in us, is Lord over Law, sin, death, and all evil.

—Martin Luther, Commentary on the Epistle to the Galatians

Pulling It Together

How ridiculous! So it seems on the surface. Moses crafted a bronze snake and set it up on a pole so that the Hebrews who were bitten by snakes could look at the bronze serpent and live. Look deeper. The snake bites were not the Hebrews’ real problem; they were symptomatic. Theirs was a crisis of sin. It was their sin that sent the snakes. It was their repentance that sent God’s mercy.

The serpent is a curious form for God to choose. Yet in it we see the quintessence of our own sin, personified in our Savior being lifted up on a pole. If we keep our focus on the sins of the past and grumbling about the present, we never shift our gaze to the cross. Only there will we find life and victory over sin and evil. This too seems ridiculous to many. Indeed, “the word of the cross is folly to those who are perishing, but to us who are being saved it is the power of God.” (1Cor 1:18)

© Mark E. Ryman, Daily Reform: Devotions with the Reformers

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