Looking Up to the Cross of Jesus

John 8: 21-30
Nm 21:4-9 / Ps 102

You belong to this world, but I do not belong to this world. That is why I told you that you will die in your sins… When you lift up the Son of Man, then you will realize that I AM…
(John 8:23-24,28)

We need resistance to get across
Life’s trials, problems and pressures;
Better to bear the weight of the Cross
Than the fat of the world’s pleasures.

Jesus told his listeners: “When you lift up the Son of Man, then you will realize that I AM, and I do nothing on my own, but I say only what the Father taught me.” (8:28). Earlier (in John 3:15), He had told them: “Just as Moses lifted up the serpent in the desert, so must the Son of Man be lifted up, so that everyone who believes in him may have eternal life.”

The followers of Jesus did not understand that he was predicting His own crucifixion, being “lifted up” on the cross in Calvary. Even when He cited the bronze serpent that Moses made for the Israelites to gaze up to in order to be saved from snake bites (Numbers 21:4-9), His words remained a mystery to them. It was only after the apostles had been enlightened by the Holy Spirit on Pentecost that they would see the powerful significance of the cross of Jesus in their lives.

Reflection

The souls of those who do not look up to the cross of Jesus, the symbol of our salvation, are truly in danger of dying in the poison of their sins.

I used to wonder about the significance of the saraph — the symbol of a snake coiled around a cup that we see in the signboards of drugstores. Someone once told me it symbolized the venom from the snake which is the only antidote for snake bites. Now I believe the symbol more appropriately recalls the salvation of the Israelites in the desert, who were bitten by poisonous snakes because of their complaints against God and Moses. Ironically, from the deadly poison also comes the healing antidote.

Pharmacies provide the medicines that heal our physical ailments. (“Pharmacy” comes from the Greek word pharmakon, which means “poison”.) In the same way, the cross, which many regard as punishment for sins, is actually the source of spiritual healing and salvation. Those who prefer to “belong to the world” do not want to have anything to do with the cross, because they do not want to face up to their sins. They do not know nor believe that the cross is their only hope of salvation.

Thank You, Jesus for giving us the inspiration and the wisdom to persevere in the hope of eternal life with you. They make our crosses in life easier to bear. Amen.

One Response to “Looking Up to the Cross of Jesus”

  1. Rob  on March 27th, 2007

    Hello,

    Thanks for the comment you post on my gospel blog. and yes I am willing to exchange links with your site… just send me message to my email address.

    Cheers and God Bless,
    Rob