Part Three of my series Only a Suffering God Can Save
“Just as Moses lifted up the snake in the wilderness, so the Son of Man must be lifted up,” – John 3:14
By saying this, Jesus is linking His crucifixion with the story in the book of Numbers. The children of Israel had made sinned, and poisonous snakes where biting and killing them. God told Mosses to build a snake out of bronze and lift it up on a pole, and anyone bit would look at it and be healed. Now what on earth does this story have to do with the crucifixion of Jesus?
John quoted the prophet Zechariah when describing the crucifixion. Zechariah had prophesied that, “They will look on him, the one they have pierced, and they will mourn for him as one mourns for an only child, and grieve bitterly for him as one grieves for a firstborn son.” From that mourning, he said, would come a fountain of water, a spirit of kindness and prayer. Remember, water is the symbol for God’s invitation to union.
What we have here is a sort of homeopathic cure. Like getting a vaccination, you are injected with a little bit of the virus to help fight off the disease. Just as the Israelites gazed up the serpent to be healed of the serpents bite, we must gaze at the crucified one, and mourn for Him. We must hold up the mystery of pain and look right at it, and we will learn deeply from it, which should lead us to a new found compassion and forgiveness.
Have you ever really looked at a crucifix? Gazed on it and wondered what it must have been like for Him on the cross? Some of you have, others I’m sure haven’t. It wasn’t until a couple of years ago when I was teaching a class on Christian Meditation, and I wanted to set up a crucifix for this very purpose, that I found out that there are some denominations that are offended by crucifixes. If you are among those, then go watch Mel Gibson’s The Passion of the Christ.
To mourn for Christ is to soften our hearts to God, and to see that His heart has always been softened for us. You will begin to understand intuitively that God has suffered. He isn’t above us, looking down on us laughing at our pain. He knows pain. He knows what if feels like to lose a friend, to be betrayed, to be abandoned, and to be unjustly accused. He knows what it is like to be beaten down again and again.
He isn’t above our pain, He is right here in it with us.
Continued in Christ As The Scapegoat