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“You foolish Galatians! Who put you under a spell? Was not Jesus the Messiah clearly portrayed before your very eyes as having been crucified? I want to learn only one thing from you: Did you receive the Spirit by doing the actions of the Law or by believing what you heard?” – Galatians 3:1-2, ISV
The crucifix as a portrayal of Jesus died in a cross has been done by Saint Paul in his letters to the Galatians. But a prefigurement of Christ being crucified was done first by Moses by fashioning a bronze into a snake. The snake as a symbol of sin is an allegory in the old to humble the Israel to look and realized their sins. But in the new, sins has been crucified with Christ, with cross which symbolize death, but the divinity of our Lord nullified the sins of man, and with him, our nature has been graced in his death and resurrection.
So whenever we gaze upon the crucifix, let us contemplate this as a constant reminder that we are sinners, but God has already purchased for us the salvation to those who confess their sins, that Christ willingly become the image of the sins humanity has done, and the cross which was once the image and symbol of death was redefined by Christ.
On the other hand, the snake, which clings to the pole is an image of sin flirting with death; and a reminder to us that whenever we sins we flirt with death. Unless we leave our sins through humility of accepting it and live in Christ, we will enter into salvation and the promise of resurrection could be attained.