“Just as Moses lifted up the snake in the desert, so the Son of Man must be lifted up, that everyone who believes in him may have eternal life” (John 3:14-15).

Apparently St. Patrick’s day first became a festival in the Catholic church in the 17th Century to commemorate an Irish Christian missionary who died on March 17, 461. However, it wasn’t until the 1990s that Ireland began to use St. Patrick’s day as a way to showcase Ireland and its culture. Today, the color green and the three leaf clover have become iconic symbols of St. Patrick’s day.

Symbols have a way of taking on new meaning, don’t they? Isn’t it interesting how the same symbol can mean different things to different people? A Bemidji State beaver is a pleasant symbol for a BSU fan, but an unpleasant symbol to the opponent.

God used a symbol in the Old Testament for His people. After the Israelites complained to God in the desert, the Lord sent snakes among them who bit many of them and they died. When they repented of their sin God had Moses put up a bronze snake on a pole and everyone who looked at that snake on a pole would live even though they were bitten. Why? Because God said so. God took a symbol of death and turned it into a symbol of life and deliverance.

God did a similar thing at Jesus’ time. For everyone the cross was a hideous thing, a tool of extreme torture and execution, a symbol of death and defeat. But God turned it into a symbol of life and deliverance. How so?

Jesus was lifted up on a cross. On the cross Jesus suffered God’s judgment against you! On the cross Jesus paid the debt of your sins with His blood! On the cross Jesus died your death so that you might live with God eternally! Now, when we look to the cross we’re reminded of what God tells us that Jesus did for us and He gives us peace, joy, and life!

Looking at Christ’s cross, just like you,