I have always had a hard time understanding why God chose the cross, cruel instrument of torture and death, as a significant part of His Story.
However Jesus Himself explained it.
Jesus said, “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 order to better understand the cross, let’s look at what happened in the wilderness where Moses lifted up the serpent.
Numbers 21 tells the Easter story in a nutshell.
God had led His enslaved people out of Egypt. He had miraculously and mercifully provided for them over and over again.
And yet, they became impatient with the continued challenges of the journey. Ever been there, asking God over and over why you are not “there” yet?
The people began to complain to God. They became ungrateful. Satan then had great opportunity. He began to play with their perceptions.
The people began to see their former captivity as their refuge. They began to see their deliverance as enslavement.
They questioned God’s motives, accusing Him of deliberately bringing them to a bad place.
How often when we are in a distress, satan tempts us to act the same way. We hate where we are. We can’t see the path to a better future.
Suddenly the past, no matter how bad, begins to look like “the good old days” and we want to go back there. And we blame God for bringing us from “there” to “here.”
It was not God who had brought evil. It was satan.
God chose to teach the people a lesson for all eternity.
God exposed satan by allowing him and his demons to appear as snakes. They bit the people. The people were then in pure torment.
They begged God to take away the snakes. He could have done so instantly.
But instead He had Moses make a bronze snake and put it on a pole. When the people looked at it, they were healed.
Was God encouraging idol worship? No!
He wanted them to remember the power of evil. He wanted them to remember its ability to bite them and hurt them.
And God wanted them to remember He was The Only One Who had The Power to deliver them. His Good would always triumph over evil.
Why the cross? On that day, satan and all the powers of darkness were exposed. No one could stop the torment but God Himself. And He did.
What satan intended to show as triumph of evil became the biggest display of Good ever.
The physical container of God was opened by satan himself. Jesus’ Blood fell like anointing rain on those committing evil.
His Words of forgiveness echoed in their ears.
The smell of the perfume with which He had been anointed days before filled their nostrils.
Evil fell. Glory came. When Jesus said it was finished, it was.
The only thing left is what we say in response and which we choose, the path of Good or the path of evil?
The cross is, in fact, the crossroad of Life.
“I have set before you Life and death, Blessings and curses. Now choose Life, so that you and your children may live!”Deuteronomy 30:19