Notice the Crucified Christ in the upright, vertical position? Interesting, because the root word for cross means to stand; He’s not literally standing, the lower story, He’s spiritually standing in order to receive God’s judgment on our behalf. Jesus is making a stand for us: He stands before the god of this world and the God of all creation.
The Old Testament gives a foreshadow of this stand recorded in Num. 21: Nehushtan.
As Moses led God’s people to the Promised Land they became impatient and complaining, speaking against him and God. Bad idea. Consequently, the LORD terrorized them with fiery serpents serving as judgment. What was the result? Repentance and prayer.
Nehushtan was God’s answer to Moses.
“Make a fiery serpent and set it on a pole and everyone who is bitten, when he sees it shall live.” So Moses made a bronze serpent and set it on a pole. And if a serpent bit anyone, he would look at the bronze pole and live. Num. 21:8-9
The bronze serpent represented the bite of sin as it hung on the vertical stand, yet a simple gaze in faith brought healing. Sounds too simple, doesn’t it? Yet Jesus referred to this foreshadow in John 3:14:
And as Moses lifted up the serpent in the wilderness, so must the Son of Man be lifted up. That anyone who believes in Him may have eternal life.
How can focusing on a snake bring healing, it sounds counterproductive. We saw last week that Jesus became sin (2 Cor. 21) on the cross in order for us to stand in His righteousness; He took His stand and we take ours. We, also, focus on that cross and realize that one act of mercy brought us healing: spirit, soul, and body.
Satan understood the concept of standing indicated authority. During the temptation of Jesus in the wilderness he took Him to Jerusalem, supernaturally, and stood him on the pinnacle of the temple.
“If you are the Son of God, throw yourself down …” Matt. 4:5b
Jesus answered Satan that it’s unwise to test God; I wonder if He was thinking that one day everyone will ‘stand before the Son of Man’ (Luke 21:36b) as He taught in Matt. 25:31-34:
When the Son of Man comes in His glory, and all the angels with him, then He will sit on His glorious throne. Before Him will be gathered all the nations, and He will separate people one from another as a shepherd separates the sheep from the goats. And He will place (stand) the sheep on His right but the goats on the left. Then the King will say to those on His right, “Come, you who are blessed by My Father, inherit the kingdom prepared for you from the foundation of the world.
The Cross is the reminder that Jesus took a stand for us and now we are Spirit-empowered to stand in faith as His sheep on the right side.