The Son of Man must be lifted up

Posté par diaconos le 14 septembre 2019

Saturday, September 14, 2019

The Son of Man must be lifted up

The Son of Man must be lifted up 300

From the Gospel of Jesus Christ according to Saint John

At that time, Jesus said to Nicodemus : « No one has ascended into heaven except he who came down from heaven, the Son of Man. As the bronze serpent was lifted up by Moses in the wilderness, so must the Son of Man be lifted up, so that in him every man who believes may have eternal life. For God so loved the world that he gave his only Son, that whoever believes in him should not perish, but should obtain eternal life. For God sent His Son into the world, not to judge the world, but that through Him the world might be saved.  » (Jn 3, 3-17)

Homily

In this excerpt from John’s Gospel, Jesus affirms that he must be lifted up from the earth and that  he will then be a sign of salvation : « When you have lifted up the Son of Man, then you will know what I am, and that I do nothing of myself, but that I speak according to what the Father has taught me. » (Jn 8, 28)

The cross, the bronze snake was an announcement of this sign of salvation. When we are caught up in our worries, it affects our relationship with God. The Jews in the desert had recriminated against Yahweh and they interpreted the misfortunes that fell upon them as punishment from heaven.

One day Jesus declared : « Therefore I told you that you will die in your sins. For if you do not believe that I AM, you will die in your sins. » (Jn 8, 24) I am, it is the name that God gave himself, at the burning bush of Mount Sinai. God said to Moses : « I am who I am. You will speak to the children of Israel as follows. « The one who sent me to you is ; I AM ». (Ex 3, 14)

Starting from the mountain of Hor, the Hebrews turned westward on the Azazimat plateau and headed from there towards the Red Sea ; it was a journey of two hundred kilometres, only about ten days for an ordinary caravan : « So we passed away from our brothers, the sons of Esau, who dwell in Seir, by the road of the Araba which comes from Eilath and Ecione-Guéber ; then we turned and took the road towards the Moab desert. » (Deut 2, 8)

And the LORD sent snakes against the people of the Ceramists with burning bites : « He has brought you through this vast and terrifying wilderness, the land of burning snakes and scorpions, the land of drought and thirst. He is the one who, for you, made the water flow from the hardest rock. » (Deut 8, 15)

And the Lord said to Moses, « Make yourself a burning snake, and set it up on the top of a mast… » This bronze snake, raised above a mast, was the symbol of the invasion of ceramists ; it represented these animals reduced to impotence. It was placed as high as possible so that all the Israelites could see in it the triumph of the Lord over the evil that made them suffer so much.

The deliverance granted by Yahweh was not what the Israelites thought. She demanded the participation of everyone in healing : to witness to their trust in God by directing a pleading and confident gaze towards this sign of forgiveness and deliverance : « Just as the bronze serpent was raised by Moses in the wilderness, so must the Son of Man be raised. » (Jn 3, 14)

This bronze snake was kept by the Israelites under the name of Nehusthan, it later became the object of a superstitious cult ; Hezekiah had it torn to pieces for this reason: « He was the one who destroyed the sacred places, broke the stelae, cut the sacred post and to pieces the bronze serpent that Moses had made; for until those days the sons of Israel burned incense before him; they called him Nehushthan. (2 R 18,4)

Jesus compared himself to the bronze serpent when He was raised on the cross. Remember this for a long time because it is the image of how God loves us. He loves us so much that He gave His life for us, to give His body, to shed His blood for us and through that to give us today and as long as you want His life, His love and His resurrection. Amen

Michel Houyoux, permanent deacon

Supplementary information

 GOD NEVER STOPS FORGIVING

As they walked through the desert, the people of Israel lost courage on the way,
0He recriminated against God and against Moses : « Why did you bring us up from Egypt ? Was it to kill us in the desert, where there is no bread or water ? We are disgusted with this miserable food !»
Then the Lord sent snakes against the people with burning bites, and many died among the people of Israel.  The people came to Moses and said to him, « We have sinned, complaining against the Lord and against you. Intercede with the Lord to keep them away from us.»
Moses interceded for the people and the Lord  Moses made a bronze snake and raised it to the top of a mast. When a man was bitten by a snake, and looked at the bronze snake, he kept his life!

The Israelites had started from Mount Hor, passed west of the Azazimat plateau and headed from there to the Red Sea; it was a two hundred kilometre journey. Normally, about ten days was enough for an ordinary caravan to complete this journey, but the people lost courage on the way : it was hard to return to the desert after almost reaching the Promised Land. The Israelites complained and many no longer wanted to make the effort necessary to surpass themselves and blamed God and Moses.

God sent burning snakes against the people

God sent burning snakes against the people

« You forget the Lord your God, who brought you out of the land of Egypt from a house of bondage, who made you walk in this great and terrible wilderness, among the burning serpents and scorpions, in arid places where there is no water, who made water spring forth for you from the living rock » (Dt 8, 14-15)

« Then the Lord sent snakes to the people with burning bites » (verse 6a): they were probably ceramists, a kind of snake of the viperidae family, including poisonous horned species living in deserts and semi-arid areas in the Middle East and especially in Araba and in some African countries, mainly in the northern half.

Burning : So named because of their colour or because their bite causes severe inflammation and burning thirst.

The Israelites, frightened at the sight of these horrible animals, came to Moses and begged him to intervene with the Lord: « We have sinned, recriminating against the Lord and against you. Intercede with the Lord to keep them away from us. « 

This repentance pleased the Lord because God immediately listened to Moses’ intercession. God said to Moses : « Make yourself a snake, and set it up on the top of a mast: all those who have been bitten, let them see it, and they will live! « 

A bronze snake was made and then placed at the top of a pole so that everyone could see as the eye the triumph of God over the evil that devoured them.

This bronze serpent was a prophetic sign: those who looked with faith at this sign that God had given them were healed!  Jesus once said: « Just as the bronze serpent was lifted up by Moses in the wilderness, so must the Son of Man be lifted up, so that every man who believes may obtain eternal life through him.  » (Jn 3, 14)

As the bronze serpent standing on a mast in the desert healed the Israelites from the bites of scorpions and poisonous snakes if they looked at it with faith, so a look of love and faith towards Jesus Christ raised on the cross will save men from death. It is therefore before the cross of Jesus that each one decides his own final judgment.

External links to other sites

◊ CHRISTIAN MESSENGER : click here to red the article →  “THE SON OF MAN MUST BE LIFTED UP”

The Son of Man must be lifted up

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