The Bronze Serpent: An Emblem of Hope

Mar 28, 2020 | Felichi Pangilinan-Buizon, Lifestyle

Bronze Serpent

In this global battle against the novel coronavirus, CoViD-19, my husband and I have been praying for the frontliners. Our Filipino health care workers right now need urgent health care themselves!

During one of our moments of prayer and reflection, my husband reminded me of the Bible story in the book of Numbers in the Old Testament. Many Hebrews were dying from deadly fiery serpent bites. But when, as God directed, Moses raised a bronze serpent on a pole, anyone who looked towards that bronze serpent was healed immediately and lived. Illogical but effective. It is a lesson on faith and a timely reminder that we have a Merciful Savior. Read the account in Numbers, Chapter 21, verses 4-9. Just 6 verses!

In wonder, we recognized how this image, a bronze serpent set on a pole, is very similar to the emblem used by doctors. One other emblem is the “caduceus”, a traditional symbol of Hermes featuring two snakes winding around a winged staff. The caduceus is also a symbol associated with medicine. The other emblem is the Rod of Asclepius. Asclepius is the god of medicine in ancient Greek mythology. His rod, with one serpent coiled around it, is an ancient Greek symbol for medicine. This is widely viewed as the more appropriate symbol. As a matter of fact, the Rod of Asclepius is the symbol used by the WHO (World Health Organization). The Rod of Asclepius is said to have its roots in Numbers 21:4-9.

At a time when tens of thousands cry out for healing, our earthly healers included, the reliability of this emblem and what it represents is being shaken. But we can also look at it from a different perspective.

Could that bronze serpent that was raised on a pole in the ancient book of Numbers be foreshadowing a greater truth about the God who heals? Could God be reminding us of that greater truth during this trying time? That truth is: God desires not only our physical, mental, or emotional healing. Of greatest value to Him is the healing of our weary and fearful spirits and He has already made provision for this healing.

Yes, Jesus willingly bore the punishment for our sins, died and rose again, that we may be forgiven, be reconciled to God, and be healed – spirit, soul, and body.

Jesus says in the gospel of John 3:14-15, “And as Moses lifted up the serpent in the wilderness, even so must the Son of Man be lifted up, 15 that whoever believes in Him should [a]not perish but have eternal life”.

These were the words of Jesus to a Pharisee, a learned man and ruler of the Jews named Nicodemus. Jesus spoke of the reality of life after death, of condemnation as opposed to salvation in Christ. These words of Jesus precede one of the most beautiful verses in the Bible, John 3:16, “For God so loved the world that He gave His only Son, that whoever believes in Him shall not perish but have eternal life.” God demonstrated His incomparable and unconditional love for a broken, ailing world by sacrificing His sinless Son, who was lifted up on a cross. Yes, Jesus willingly bore the punishment for our sins, died and rose again, that we may be forgiven, be reconciled to God, and be healed – spirit, soul, and body.

Maging sino ka man! Rich or poor, sick or well, young or old…as the afflicted Hebrews looked with expectation at the bronze serpent, so can we look to the Lord and Savior, Jesus, for rescue. Trust in what He has done rather than trust in ourselves or what we have done, so there is no room to boast. Salvation is by grace through faith. Whoever believes in Him shall not perish, but have eternal life. This life does not begin when we die. It is a life that begins, here and now — a life lived with Jesus in control; a life lived with His power, provision, and peace; a life that trusts in a good God at work even when things seem desperate; a life that looks forward to eternity with Him; a life full of hope and healing.

Lord Jesus, I need you. I need you to take control of my life. Forgive me for placing my trust in countless other things rather than You. Forgive my many sins. Thank You for giving up Your life to save mine. Thank You for eternal life. I cry out to You for hope and for healing, Lord. I put my trust in You. Amen.

Our daughter reminded us that many of our frontliners reflect Christ’s sacrificial love today. Some have already lost their lives that others may regain theirs. Some continue to sacrifice and risk, not only their lives but also that of their loved ones as they serve the afflicted, even if the odds against them seem insurmountable. Maraming, maraming salamat po! May Jesus who promised rest to all who are weary and burdened be your go-to, may you experience His refreshing, His calm in the midst of the storm, and find that He gives immediate help in time of need to everyone who seeks Him.

Felichi Pangilinan-Buizon, co-host of The 700 Club Asia, is a homeschooling mom, gospel songwriter, and seminar speaker on parenting and early childcare. She is involved in the ministry of teaching at her local church, Christ’s Commission Fellowship. She welcomes your messages and comments at felichi.buizon@cbnasia.org. Follow her on Twitter: @FelichiOfficial

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