The Gospel Project for Kids takes a look at an Old Testament passage that points to Jesus and the cross. The story of “The Bronze Snake” shows God’s judgment against sin and the deliverance He provides for His people.
The Israelites had been wandering in the wilderness when they started to complain to Moses and to God. God had done some pretty amazing things for the Israelites—He rescued them from the hand of Pharaoh, He parted the Red Sea so they could safely cross, and He provided manna for them to eat. But to the Israelites, that wasn’t good enough.
God’s judgment came. God punished the Israelites because He knew their dissatisfaction was a sign of a bigger issue. It wasn’t truly their circumstances that made them unhappy; there was something deeper at the root: a heart problem, a sin problem.
The Israelites stopped believing that God was good. In their hearts, they believed the same lie that rattled Eve in the garden. Maybe God isn’t interested in giving us what is best. Maybe He is holding out on us. It’s the same lie we believe when we find ourselves grumbling. Is God really good?
In their hearts, they believed the same lie that rattled Eve in the garden. Maybe God isn’t interested in giving us what is best. Maybe He is holding out on us.
God sent poisonous snakes that bit the people and killed many of them. The Israelites knew their offense. “We have sinned by speaking against the Lord and against you,” they said. (Num. 21:7) The Israelites repented. They wanted Moses to ask God to take away the snakes.
God provided a solution: “Make a snake image out of bronze and mount it on a pole. When anyone who is bitten looks at it, he will recover.” Moses obeyed God, and whenever someone was bitten by the snake, he looked at the bronze snake in faith and was healed.
In John 3:14, Jesus said, “Just as Moses lifted up the snake in the wilderness, so the Son of Man must be lifted up.” What was Jesus talking about?
Second Corinthians 5:21 says that God put Jesus in the position of the snake; Jesus was lifted high on the cross. So Jesus invites us, “Turn to Me and be saved, all the ends of the earth. For I am God, and there is no other” (Isa. 45:22).
Our sin deserves God’s judgment. As sinners, we have no hope of deliverance in ourselves. We can’t heal ourselves. But God provided a solution—a Savior—in His Son, Jesus Christ. We look to Him in faith and our sins are forgiven.
As you teach kids, emphasize the problem that all of us face: we are sick with sin and deserve death. Then rejoice with them over the solution: Jesus, the sinless Savior, became sin for us and was lifted up on the cross in our place. We must do nothing but look to Him to be saved.