During certain times of the year I change the cover image of The Master’s Table Facebook page. I switch to the wise men following the star to Bethlehem during Advent and this image of three crosses for Holy Week. I don’t tinker with the banner here for a couple of reasons. One is I’m afraid of messing it up. I know, I know, but I still worry about never getting it to look exactly right again.
There is another reason. Di Vinci’s portrait of The Last Supper is where the idea for The Master’s Table as a title came from. There’s a whole explanation in the About section. That supper took place during Holy Week. It would be totally wrong to take it down this week of all weeks and replace it with something else. That picture is the goal for the Christian life. To eat and drink with the Master, sitting with other followers and listening to his teaching.
The Bronze Serpent
4 From Mount Hor they set out by the way to the Red Sea, to go around the land of Edom. And the people became impatient on the way. 5 And the people spoke against God and against Moses, “Why have you brought us up out of Egypt to die in the wilderness? For there is no food and no water, and we loathe this worthless food.” 6 Then the Lord sent fiery serpents among the people, and they bit the people, so that many people of Israel died. 7 And the people came to Moses and said, “We have sinned, for we have spoken against the Lord and against you. Pray to the Lord, that he take away the serpents from us.” So Moses prayed for the people. 8 And the Lord said to Moses, “Make a fiery serpent and set it on a pole, and everyone who is bitten, when he sees it, shall live.” 9 So Moses made a bronze serpent and set it on a pole. And if a serpent bit anyone, he would look at the bronze serpent and live. Numbers 21:4-9
So if you were bitten by a fiery serpent, all you had to do was look at the bronze serpent set on the pole in order to live and not die. We are not told how obedient Israel was in this matter but we can safely assume that some people did just that while others failed to believe it would make any difference… and died anyway. Like I say, we don’t know that for certain but we are given many, many examples of incomplete obedience. Now consider the parales: the fiery serpents represent sin. Because of our sin nature from birth we are all “bitten” by it and will die. All one must do to live is look in faith to the Lamb of God lifted up on the tree at Calvary. Look up and live, it’s as simple as that. And just in case it were possible to miss the symbolism of this Old Testament story, consider these words of Jesus:
And 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. John 3:14-15