How Baby Jesus Became a Slimy Snake

This season is all about WHAT happened for most people. The story is all too familiar, right? A stable, some donkeys and shepherds and wise men. Throw in a few angels and of course Jesus, and you have The Christmas Story.

What’s missing here is the WHY? What’s the real point to all this, the deeper meaning? What’s the big deal about the arrival of THIS particular baby?

Let’s have a look at the most famous and most memorized Bible verse in all of scripture. If you’ve gone to a church for any length of time, you might recognize it…

“For God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him should not perish but have everlasting life. – John 3:16 NKJV

That first word should raise a red flag… FOR also THEREFOR or BECAUSE … because what? To understand this important verse, we have to go to the verses right BEFORE it…

“And as Moses lifted up the serpent in the wilderness, even so must the Son of Man be lifted up, that whoever believes in Him should not perish but have eternal life. – John 3:14-15 NKJV

What serpent?

So Moses made a snake out of bronze and attached it to a pole. Then anyone who was bitten by a snake could look at the bronze snake and be healed! – Numbers 21:9 NLT

Why? Because the snake BECAME the poison, by drawing it out. Just as Jesus on the cross draws the poison of sin out of anyone who looks to him, and gets healed. Ever wonder why the medical symbol is a snake on a stick? That’s the Great Physician pictured there.

Jesus said it himself in another place, one of the Messianic psalms

But I am a worm (snake) and not a man. I am scorned and despised by all! – Psalm 22:6 NLT

That Hebrew word for worm is tola, which is also the word for deep red or scarlet, because they crushed the worm to make the red dye for their clothes. Look at this in Isaiah…

“Come now, let’s settle this,” says the LORD. “Though your sins are like scarlet (same word, tola, worm), I will make them as white as snow. Though they are red like crimson, I will make them as white as wool. – Isaiah 1:18 NLT

What does all of this have to do with the baby Jesus? He came for US. He came for YOU. That’s what we’re really celebrating this holiday season. The arrival of a poison-absorbing snake.

Does your life need healing? Restoration? Do you need saving? Don’t look at the baby. Look at the snake. Don’t look in the manger. Look at the cross.

PS. Before I get comments on the title, let me say that I used to keep snakes as pets, and yes, I know that they’re not really slimy.

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