Thursday, March 22, 2012
This sculpture is on Mount Nebo from which Moses saw the Promised Land before he died. It represents the Cross as well as the bronze serpent that Moses raised up on a pole in the desert to save those bitten by poisonous serpents.
In John 3;14 Jesus says to Nicodemus, "Just as Moses lifted up the serpent in the wilderness, so must the Son of Man be lifted up, that whoever believes in him may have eternal life." In John "eternal life" starts here and now and lasts into eternity.
In John 8:28 Jesus says to the Jewish religious leaders, "When you have lifted up the Son of Man, then you will relaize that I AM." These "I AM" sayings of Jesus are spread throughout John's Gospel. It is God's proper name that God gave Moses from the burning bush. Jesus' repeated use of this in the Gospel is his clearest claim to be God.
In John 12:32 Jesus tells the crowd, "When I am lifted up from the earth, I will draw all people to myself." The Greek word used for "lifted up" in these three verses also means "exalted." The lifting up of Jesus on the Cross continues in his exaltation as he rises and ascends to the Father. Every human being is drawn into this "lifting up." The image I find helpful is that of a whirlwind that sweeps up the entire human race with Jesus into the Father. All that is required of us is to let go.