Saturday in the Fourth Week of Lent

by Maurice Zucker

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Teaching and preaching the Word of God has always been a dangerous calling, requiring faith, courage and absolute commitment.

Jeremiah barely escaped assassination for proclaiming God’s plan to destroy Judah and Jerusalem because their people had disobeyed the Laws of Moses, following false prophets and worshiping idols. He prayed to God for protection and received it.

Jesus, leaving Galilee and teaching at the temple in Judea proclaimed himself the “Water of Life,” stating that all who are thirsty should come to him, “for out of the believer’s heart shall flow rivers of living waters.” His listeners were astonished. Hearing these words the crowd believed he had to be either a prophet or the Messiah. Unaware of Christ’s birthplace or lineage, the chief priests and Pharisees argued that Scripture clearly states that the Messiah would be born in David’s city, Bethlehem, and that no prophet had ever been born in Galilee. Alas, there were no birth certificates! Sound familiar?

The chief priests and Pharisees wanted Jesus arrested by the temple police. But the police refused, responding, “Never have we heard anyone speak like this.” Shortly thereafter, he was arrested and condemned. And in this unsettling political climate, I invoke the Psalmist’s words: “O let the evil of the wicked come to an end, but establish the righteous, you who test the minds and hearts, O righteous God.”