“Is not this the man whom they seek to kill? And here he is, speaking openly, and they say nothing to him! Can it be that the authorities really know that this is the Christ?” (John 7:25-26)
Being a Christian is an invitation to a road less travelled; it is standing for what is right and having to face the ridicule, insults, oppression, pain and humiliation.
Jesus, being fully human was aware of the threat against his life so he did not go openly with his disciples to the Feast but went privately.
However, upon getting there, Jesus would not allow fear to close his lips.
He still came out to preach in public. This caused a stir among the people who were listening. They were wondering how Jesus managed to get the audacity to preach when his life was at stake. As the book of Wisdom says:
“Ungodly men reasoned unsoundly saying: ‘Let us lie in wait for the righteous man, because he is inconvenient to us and opposes our actions; … let us test what will happen at the end of his life; … Let us test him with insult and torture,… Let us condemn him to a shameful death,… Thus they reasoned, but they were led astray, for their wickedness blinded them.” (Wisdom 2:12-21).
These people had an image of the Christ in their minds but Jesus did not fit their expectation simply because they knew him as the son of Mary and Joseph, they saw him grow up in the little town of Nazareth.
Jesus told them that if only they really knew God, they would not have had any problem believing He is the Son of God.
Even today, the greatest persecution we face come from those who claim to know God but do not know Him. This is exactly the point the book of wisdom makes in its conclusion: “They (these ungodly men) do not know the hidden things of God, they have no hope that holiness will be rewarded; they can see no reward for blameless souls.” (Wisdom 2:22).
Jesus knew that just as he suffered, those who try to follow him in this life will also suffer and that this suffering would come from ungodly men who pretend to be churchgoers.
So he warned us ahead of time that anyone who hopes to follow Him must carry his or her cross and come after.
One lesson we learn from Jesus’ action today is that even when our life is under threat, we should not be afraid to continue our good works. Do not drop the cross. It is not easy to carry on when you are scandalized by fellow Christians or when you are aware of people plotting your death. Be faithful to the end, do not make a U-turn on your determination to serve God.
Let us Pray: Lord Jesus, help me to understand that there are trials that must come and may I never give up when I face persecution for your sake. Amen.
Be Happy. Live Positive. Have Faith. It is well with you. God bless you. (Friday of the 4th week of Lent. Bible Study: Wisdom 2:1-22, Psalm 34 and John 7:1-30)