Tuesday in the Fifth Week of Lent

by John Thompson

This fantastic Old Testament story of poisonous snakes terrorizing the ungrateful Hebrews captures our attention. It has been the subject of numerous paintings, some of which still haunt me from Sunday School days. The Hebrews beg Moses to pray to God to take away the serpents. Instead, God commands Moses to create a serpent from bronze and lift it up on a pole for all to see. Anyone who has been bitten need only look at the brazen serpent and they would live.

Shortly after reading these passages, I had a meeting with my manager which, much to my amazement, led me to believe that I was being set up to be fired. Indeed, within a month’s time, I was. Although my gut told me otherwise, in that initial week or so, I was still under the impression that there was something I could do to turn things around. I was managed remotely by someone who had made little effort to get to know me or my work. It was a poisonous environment. As I sought to make things right, I thought, “OK, where is the bronze serpent in this situation?” What could I look at to not die?

Of course, I didn’t find the bronze serpent I was looking for. What was there for me was what has always been there for all of us: Christ crucified. The Son of Man was lifted up that we may believe…and not perish but have eternal life. Not exactly job security, but an antidote to the world’s venom.