1st Reading: Num 21:4b–9
From Mount Hor they set out by the Red Sea road to go around the land of Edom. The people were discouraged by the journey and began to complain against God and Moses, “Why have you brought us out of Egypt to die in the wilderness? There is neither bread nor water here and we are disgusted with this tasteless manna.”
Yahweh then sent fiery serpents against them. They bit the people and many of the Israelites died. Then the people came to Moses and said, “We have sinned, speaking against Yahweh and against you. Plead with Yahweh to take the serpents away.”
Moses pleaded for the people and Yahweh said to him, “Make a fiery serpent and set it on a standard; whoever has been bitten and then looks at it shall live.”
So Moses made a bronze serpent and set it on a standard. Whenever a man was bitten, he looked towards the bronze serpent and he lived.
2nd Reading: Phil 2:6–11
Though he was in the form of God,
he did not regard equality with God as something to be grasped,
but emptied himself,
taking on the nature of a servant, made in human likeness,
and in his appearance found as a man.
He humbled himself by being obedient to death,
death on the cross.
That is why God exalted him
and gave him the Name which outshines all names,
so that at the Name of Jesus all knees should bend
in heaven, on earth and among the dead,
and all tongues proclaim that Christ Jesus is the Lord
to the glory of God the Father.
Gospel: John 3:13-17
Jesus said to Nicodemus, “No one has ever gone up to heaven except the one who came from heaven, the Son of Man.
“As Moses lifted up the serpent in the desert, so must the Son of Man be lifted up, so that whoever believes in him may have eternal life.
“Yes, God so loved the world that he gave his only Son that whoever believes in him may not be lost, but may have eternal life. God did not send the Son into the world to condemn the world; instead, through him the world is to be saved.”
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