Apr 6 2019 Reflection
Saturday 6 April 2019
First Reading: JER 11:18-20
O Lord, my God, in you I take refuge.
PS 7:2-3, 9BC-10, 11-12
Gospel Reading: JN 7:40-53
Today’s Note: Saturday of the Fourth Week of Lent
Some in the crowd who heard these words of Jesus said,
“This is truly the Prophet.”
Others said, “This is the Christ.”
But others said, “The Christ will not come from Galilee, will he?
Does not Scripture say that the Christ will be of David’s family
and come from Bethlehem, the village where David lived?”
So a division occurred in the crowd because of him.
Some of them even wanted to arrest him,
but no one laid hands on him.
So the guards went to the chief priests and Pharisees,
who asked them, “Why did you not bring him?”
The guards answered, “Never before has anyone spoken like this man.”
So the Pharisees answered them, “Have you also been deceived?
Have any of the authorities or the Pharisees believed in him?
But this crowd, which does not know the law, is accursed.”
Nicodemus, one of their members who had come to him earlier, said to them,
“Does our law condemn a man before it first hears him
and finds out what he is doing?”
They answered and said to him,
“You are not from Galilee also, are you?
Look and see that no prophet arises from Galilee.”
Then each went to his own house.
When resistance and opposition to God’s word rears its head how do you respond? With fear and doubt? Or with faith and courage? The prophet Jeremiah was opposed by his own people because the words he spoke in God’s name did not sit right with them. They plotted to silence him and to “cut him off from the land of the living” (Jeremiah 11:19). Jeremiah responded with meekness and prophetic insight “like a gentle lamb led to the slaughter” (Jeremiah 11:18).
Are you willing to take a stand for the Lord Jesus?
No one can be indifferent for long when confronted with Jesus and his claim to be the Messiah and Savior of the world. Jesus’ message and the miraculous signs he performed caused division for many in Israel. Some believed he was a prophet, some the Messiah, and some believed he was neither. The reaction of the armed officers was bewildered amazement. They went to arrest him and returned empty-handed because they never heard anyone speak as he did. The reaction of the chief priests and Pharisees was contempt. The reaction of Nicodemus was timid. His heart told him to defend Jesus, but his head told him not to take the risk.
Who is Jesus for you? And are you ready to give him your full allegiance? There will often come a time when we have to take a stand for the Lord Jesus and for the truth of the Gospel – the good news of God’s kingdom and the free gift of salvation which Jesus came to bring us. To stand for Jesus and his kingdom may provoke mockery and opposition. It may even entail suffering and hardship – such as the loss of job, reputation, or life.The Lord Jesus richly rewards those who suffer for his name’s sake.
Costly grace versus cheap grace
There are fundamentally only two choices that determine the course of our lives and the final destiny that awaits us: the choice to live for God’s kingdom of peace, joy, and righteousness or the pursuit of the world’s kingdom which stands in opposition to God’s authority and commandments. We can choose to obey God’s word and believe in his promise of blessing or we can choose to follow the voice of those who promise success and happiness apart from God’s truth and laws. The costly grace and freedom – which the Lord Jesus offers to those who embrace the cross for his sake – leads to joy and blessing in this life as well as the promise of eternal happiness with God. Cheap grace – which tries to bypass the cross for the sake of being my own master and the ruler of my own destiny – leads to emptiness and endless futility. Who do you choose to be the master and ruler of your life and destiny?
“Lord Jesus, your Gospel brings joy and freedom. May I be loyal to you always, even though it produce a cross on earth, that I may share in your crown of victory for all eternity”.