In John 3:14-15, Jesus references an Old Testament story. According to the story, many were suffering and dying from snake bites. Moses, their leader, was told by God to lift a bronze snake up for all to look at. When they merely looked at the snake that Moses lifted up, they were cured. They didn’t have to work hard to please God so that He would cure them. Nope. All they had to do was look at a snake that was raised up on a stick. Jesus was using this story to illustrate his own crucifixion (He would be lifted up on a cross). Like the people fixed their gazes on the snake on a stick to be cured of poisonous snake bites, we must only look to Christ on the cross to be cured of sin. God doesn’t require us to follow the new faddish 10-step plan to “being a good Christian”, to get perfect attendance at a church building, or to work hard on cleaning up our lives to be set free by Him. Self-effort attempts at godliness always lead to failure. We need something more than behavior modification to be cured. Instead of self-righteous pursuits to change ourselves, He wants us to look to Him for everything: the cure for sin, the freedom to experience His love and to enjoy loving others, and for all our other needs. Trust (faith) is the ultimate message that Jesus shared passionately. It is always by grace through faith that we are saved, never by our efforts (Ephesians 2:8-10). When we are suffering, lost, angry, struggling, grieving, hurting, doubting, or trapped, He is tenderly calling for us to look to Him.
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