Day 1: Salvation
As the Israelites were wandering in the wilderness, they began complaining about their journey. They became angry and resentful toward God and Moses, who was God's representative to them. To correct them, God sent venomous snakes into their camp. The snakes bit the Israelites, and many people died as a result. The rest of the people cried out to God to take the snakes away, and this was God's response:
Numbers 21:8-9 (NIV) The Lord said to Moses, "Make a snake and put it up on a pole; anyone who is bitten can look at it and live." So Moses made a bronze snake and put it up on a pole. Then when anyone was bitten by a snake and looked at the bronze snake, they lived.
The uplifted snake on a pole was God's method of saving those dying of snakebite. Everyone who looked to the uplifted pole lived.
The serpent of sin has bitten you and me, and we are dying. This snakebite of sin expresses itself in our pride, greed, substance abuse, sexual impurity, uncontrollable rage, unforgiveness, desires for revenge, self-idolatry, etc.
The world and religion would focus you on the problem - the snake bite. The world would teach you to remove the venom through self-help practices; religion teaches you to remove the poison through law-keeping and good works.
But what did God do? He erected a cross-like pole and hung the Savior on it. Jesus Christ and Him crucified is the message of salvation. He hung on the cross so that you can stand unafraid in the judgment. He shed His blood and breathed His last so that you can have life and breath forever. Then Jesus rose from the dead on the third day, having rescued you from sin's trap and death's grip to give you a new and abundant life.
John 3:14-15 (NIV) Just as Moses lifted up the snake in the wilderness, so the Son of Man must be lifted up, 15 that everyone who believes may have eternal life in him.”