H.A. Ironside: “The Bronze Serpent,
God’s Remedy for Sin”

As Moses lifted up the serpent in the wilderness, even so must the Son of Man be lifted up; so that whoever believes will in Him have eternal life.
– John 3:14-15

In John 3:14 we have the Lord’s answer to Nicodemus’ questions. He refers him to an incident that occurred long years before and says, “As Moses lifted up the serpent in the wilderness, so must the Son of Man be lifted up” (cf. Num. 21:4-9). It is as though Jesus said, “I am going to the cross, and there on that cross I will become the antitype of that bronze serpent.” In the wilderness it was the serpents that afflicted the people. The poison of those dreadful creatures was in the blood of the dying Israelites. The remedy was a serpent of bronze uplifted, and all who looked to it were healed.

It was sin that caused the trouble for humanity. The serpent in the Bible typifies Satan and sin. But what took place on the cross? The sinless One was made sin for us. He is the antitype of that brazen serpent. That serpent lifted up on the pole had no poison in it. It had never done anybody any harm. It was a picture of the great sin offering. When they looked to it they were healed. The Lord Jesus Christ had no sin in Him, but He took the sinner’s place. When people look to Him in faith they have eternal life.

Adapted from Ironside Expository Commentaries: John, by H.A. Ironside.