Wisdom 2:1A, 12-22
For they reasoned unsoundly, saying to themselves,
“Short and sorrowful is our life,
and there is no remedy when a life comes to its end,
and no one has been known to return from Hades.
“Let us lie in wait for the righteous man,
because he is inconvenient to us and opposes our actions;
he reproaches us for sins against the law,
and accuses us of sins against our training.
He professes to have knowledge of God,
and calls himself a child of the Lord.
He became to us a reproof of our thoughts;
the very sight of him is a burden to us,
because his manner of life is unlike that of others,
and his ways are strange.
We are considered by him as something base,
and he avoids our ways as unclean;
he calls the last end of the righteous happy,
and boasts that God is his father.
Let us see if his words are true,
and let us test what will happen at the end of his life;
for if the righteous man is God’s child, he will help him,
and will deliver him from the hand of his adversaries.
Let us test him with insult and torture,
so that we may find out how gentle he is,
and make trial of his forbearance.
Let us condemn him to a shameful death,
for, according to what he says, he will be protected.”
Thus they reasoned, but they were led astray,
for their wickedness blinded them,
and they did not know the secret purposes of God,
nor hoped for the wages of holiness,
nor discerned the prize for blameless souls;
Psalm 34: 16-22
The face of the Lord is against evildoers,
to cut off the remembrance of them from the earth.
When the righteous cry for help, the Lord hears,
and rescues them from all their troubles.
The Lord is near to the brokenhearted,
and saves the crushed in spirit.
Many are the afflictions of the righteous,
but the Lord rescues them from them all.
He keeps all their bones;
not one of them will be broken.
Evil brings death to the wicked,
and those who hate the righteous will be condemned.
The Lord redeems the life of his servants;
none of those who take refuge in him will be condemned.
John 7:1-2, 10, 25-30
After this Jesus went about in Galilee. He did not wish to go about in Judea because the Jews were looking for an opportunity to kill him. Now the Jewish festival of Booths was near.
But after his brothers had gone to the festival, then he also went, not publicly but as it were in secret.
Now some of the people of Jerusalem were saying, “Is not this the man whom they are trying to kill? And here he is, speaking openly, but they say nothing to him! Can it be that the authorities really know that this is the Messiah? Yet we know where this man is from; but when the Messiah comes, no one will know where he is from.” Then Jesus cried out as he was teaching in the temple, “You know me, and you know where I am from. I have not come on my own. But the one who sent me is true, and you do not know him. I know him, because I am from him, and he sent me.” Then they tried to arrest him, but no one laid hands on him, because his hour had not yet come.
Today’s gospel reading shows Jesus being in full control of His own life and death. The scripture doesn’t say much about what it meant that they “tried” to arrest Him. We don’t know if they physically tried and Jesus somehow escaped, or if He vanished as He did at other times. We don’t know if they couldn’t make their way through the crowd, or if Jesus argued them down. All we know is that Jesus, and the whole crowd, knew that His life was in danger but they were unable to lay a hand on Him.
Jesus’ life was never man’s for the taking, but was always His for the giving. Jesus' sacrifice was intentional and planned. We know then that no trial or trauma is a surprise to God. He has seen all of time and on the cross felt all of our pain. This is how we know that He is near the brokenhearted and quickly rescues them. Jesus meets time in the middle by allowing His prophets to foreshadow His suffering. But He didn’t leave them alone. Through His prophets God also spoke the promise of redemption and healing. Then through His resurrection, when Jesus restored humanity to the Father, He gave life and purpose to all future generations. No matter what we are going through we can look and see how Christ fulfilled each prophecy about Him, conquered death, and therefore gives hope to each of us.
In overcoming death Jesus proved that He is stronger than everything, and today, Jesus reminds us that He completely understands our personal trials. No matter how complicated or how small a situation may be, He is still in control. Jesus cares and is near to us in our pain. Let the Lord remind you today of His Presence, His hope, and His purposes for you.