“As for human approval, this means nothing to me… How can you believe since you look to one another for approval and are not concerned with the approval that comes from the one God?” (John 5:41-44)
If we are only concerned about human approval, we could end up like Aaron who bowed to the people’s pressure and went ahead to build for them a molten calf which they took as their god. This is what becomes of us when we bow to human pressure instead of putting God first. Do I simply do things because of what people are saying? Do I really put God first and try to please him even if it means losing favour with the people around me? Am I ashamed of professing my faith or of standing for the truth just because I want people to praise me? When God saw that the people had apostatized under Aaron’s leadership he became so angry that he almost destroyed the entire nation. Thank God Moses intervened for the people by begging God to change his mind. In Jesus Christ, we see another Moses in that Jesus by his blood intercedes on our behalf before God as St. Paul says in 1st Timothy 2:5 “For there is one God, and there is one mediator between God and men, the man Christ Jesus.”
Dear friends, let us always seek to please God rather than people. You may not be popular, don’t worry; people may not like you, no problem; even your neighbours or your family members may hate you, rejoice and be glad, your reward is great in heaven. As St. Peter would say: “But if when you do right and suffer for it you take it patiently, you have God’s approval. For to this, you have been called, because Christ also suffered for you, leaving you an example, that you should follow in his steps.” (1 Peter 2:20-21).
Let us Pray: Lord Jesus, may I seek your approval only. Amen. Bible Study: Exodus 32:7-14, Psalm 106 and John 5:31-47).
The Christian Life is a Cross.
“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. People 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). Those who wanted Jesus dead had an image of the Christ in their minds but Jesus did not fit their expectation. They knew Jesus too well as the son of the carpenter to believe that He is God. 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).
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. Be faithful to the end. 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. Bible Study: Wisdom 2:1-22, Psalm 34 and John 7:1-30).