“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 regardless of the ridicule, insults, oppression, pain, and humiliation. Jesus was aware of the threat to his life so he did not go openly with his disciples to the Feast but went privately. Upon getting to the Feast, Jesus would not allow fear to close his lips; he 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 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. Dear child of God, the Christian life is a cross. Those who know this are never perturbed by challenges and difficulties, they continue to let their light shine in the midst of the darkness that continues to envelop our world today.
However, Christians who see the Christian faith as a shortcut to success, comfort, and prosperity cannot withstand trials. When they don’t get what they expect, they rush to wherever they expect solutions. They are not afraid of God; for them, God is just a tool, an option among many providers. They cannot keep God’s commandments because they are not willing to sacrifice or suffer even the slightest discomfort for God’s sake. This explains the gross immorality among Christians and many so-called ministers today who are merely in the business of church administration.
Recently, I saw a viral video of a man who almost committed suicide. According to him, he opened a church but he wasn’t getting returns on his investment. He narrated how he organized crusades but he couldn’t get enough money to pay the guest artists and so on. I almost cried watching this video because it gave me an idea of what is going on in the Christian faith today. This man did not complain about not being able to convert sinners. He did not complain that members were refusing to repent from their evil deeds. His problem was that he wasn’t getting enough money to live like his colleagues. When you attend such a church, do you expect to hear the truth?
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 2:1,12-22, Ps. 34:16,18,19-21,23, John 7:1-2,10,25-30).
© Rev. Fr. Evaristus Abu