As humans, we have this inbuilt need to blend with others on a social level. Due to our desire to be accepted, praised and respected in whatever group we belong, we tend to “play by the rules”. That is to say, we tend to just go with the flow even when it contradicts our conscience.
Reading through our Gospel passage today, we see the unusual courage of the officers who were sent to arrest Jesus. Instead of arresting Jesus outrightly, they took the time to listen to Him and went back to report to the chief priests and Pharisees: “No man has ever spoken like this man.”
This is one instance recorded in the Bible where soldiers (officers of the law) did not act based on a command.
I only wish those who were sent by Herod to behead John the Baptist in prison had this type of courage – a courage that can afford to “disobey” authority since their conscience tells them the order is unjust.
Another person who deserves some accolades in today’s Gospel passage is Nicodemus who reminded the chief priests and Pharisees of the law which states that a person is assumed innocent until he or she is proven guilty through the legal process. “Does our law judge a man without first giving him a hearing and learning what he does?”
Like the officers above, Nicodemus was bold enough to allow his conscience to take the upper hand.
Nicodemus was not moved by the crowd, but by the truth. Do you often find yourself in the midst of people where it seems like you are the odd one out? Are you willing to risk the social security you enjoy from your friends and colleagues by speaking out for truth?
How often do we find Christians keeping quiet in a group and even smiling thereby giving a nod to evil?
How often do we find Christian soldiers going out to execute commands that are clearly against their conscience? We must learn from Nicodemus and these officers never to be swayed by the crowd.
Lastly, Jeremiah teaches us a very important lesson in today’s first reading – how to pray for your enemies. See how Jeremiah concludes the prayer: “O Lord of Hosts, who judges righteously, who tests the heart and the mind, let me see your vengeance upon them, for to you have I committed my cause.”
Jeremiah did not pray for the death of his enemies, neither did he command God to send down fire to consume them.
Instead, Jeremiah prayed that God who is a just judge would Himself look into the matter and execute judgment according to His Will. We should learn to commit our cause to God and allow God fight on our behalf according to how He deems fit.
When we pray like Jeremiah, we should not go about with hearts full of unforgiveness neither should we be planning out revenge against anyone since we have committed our cause to God.
Let us Pray: Lord Jesus, increase my courage to stand for what is right and free me from all bitterness especially when I face persecution for your sake, Amen!
Be Happy. Live Positive. Have Faith. It is well with you. God bless you. (Saturday of the 4th Week of Lent. Bible Study: Jeremiah 11:18-20, Psalm 7 and John 7:40-52).