While wandering in the desert, the Israelites complained against Moses and God for lack of food and water and the quality of food they got by the grace of God. In response, God punished them by sending fiery serpents (Num 21:4-9).
The snakes were “fiery” because the bite by these snakes caused great fever and inflammation of wound leading to death. Another interpretation is that these snakes had the color of fire.
People asked Moses to intercede to God for them to take away the serpents. Instead of eliminating the serpents, God asked Moses to make an image of the fiery serpent made of bronze and raise it on a pole so that it would be visible from all parts of the camp. Whoever had the snake bite was able save their lives by looking at the bronze snake.
Jesus revealed through Nicodemus, “just as Moses lifted up the serpent in the desert, so must the Son of Man be lifted up, so that everyone who believes in him may have eternal life” (Jn 3:14-15). Jesus accomplished it by his sacrifice on the cross.
Our heavenly crown is through our cross. Jesus said to his disciples, “Whoever wishes to come after me must deny himself, take up his cross, and follow me” (Mt 16:24). Let us volunteer to accept the sacrifices of our God-assigned responsibilities in the family, church, and community.