“When they heard these words, some of the people said, ‘This is really the prophet.’ Others said, ‘This is the Christ.’ But some said, ‘Is the Christ to come from Galilee? … So there was a division among the people over him.” (John 7:40-43)
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 to, we tend to “play by the rules” that is to say, we tend to 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 obeying orders, they were captivated by Jesus’ preaching and went back to report to the chief priests and Pharisees: “No man has ever spoken like this man.” This is unusual courage.
Nicodemus also displayed great courage by reminding the chief priests and Pharisees of the law which states that a person is assumed innocent until he or she is proven guilty. “Does our law judge a man without first giving him a hearing and learning what he does?” Nicodemus could have kept quiet but he knew the truth. He knew that Jesus is God.
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 the truth? Don’t allow the crowd to silence you. Be courageous.
Jeremiah teaches us a very important lesson in today’s first reading. He did not pray for the death of his enemies, neither did he command God to send down fire to consume them. Jeremiah prayed that God who is a just judge would Himself look into the matter and execute judgment according to His Will.
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.
(Saturday of the 4th Week of Lent. Bible Study: Jeremiah 11:18-20, Psalm 7 and John 7:40-52).