Fri, 5 April 2019
(Jer.11:18-20; Ps.7:2-3,9-12; Jn.7:40-53)
“Let us destroy the tree in its vigor;
let us cut him off from the land of the living,
so that his name will be spoken no more.”
With these words “they were hatching plots against” Jeremiah, and in the same way against Jesus. And so, “like a trusting Lamb led to slaughter,” “like the lion’s prey, to be torn to pieces, with no one to rescue” are they. But “the malice of the wicked [shall] come to an end.”
“The upright of heart” are ever persecuted. Even Nicodemus, “one of their own number,” a member of the Pharisees who are seeking the life of the Lord, was “taunted” when he “spoke up to say, ‘Since when does our law condemn any man without first hearing him and knowing the facts.’” But the Lord “sustain[s] the just” “because of the innocence that is” theirs. In Him do they “take refuge,” and He will not leave them a prey to their teeth.
Even the temple guards recognize the power of the word that comes from Christ. “No man ever spoke like that before,” they state as the reason that “no one laid hands on Him.” “He is the Messiah,” it is sure, and only the hardest of heart are able to blind themselves to the authority that issues forth from His lips. But the Lord is the “searcher of mind and heart,” of “heart and soul”; He is the just Judge, the just God, and so even as He rescues the innocent from trial, so He “punishes day by day” the evil man.
Their plots shall come to naught; in vain do they pursue Him. For though He shall allow them “to apprehend Him,” yet He will be eternally free from their clutches. Indeed, He will be fixed to a cross. Indeed, like an innocent lamb He shall not open His mouth to protest or to call upon the angels for assistance. And they shall think that He is theirs. But rise from the dead He will, and His Name will be spoken to the ends of the earth. For nothing can destroy the power of the Word of God.
O LORD, though the innocent man be condemned,
you are there to save him.
YHWH, you save us from every snare of the devil, every plot of the wicked; you do not leave us prey to the lion’s teeth. Though we be ringed about by our accusers, though with your Son we be crucified, yet we shall not be destroyed – with Him we shall be raised on high.
For you, O LORD, are a just Judge; you look into the hearts of all. You know who is set upon the doing of your will and who would oppose you and your blessed One. Let us never be a curse unto you. Though we be condemned by men, in your sight let us ever be holy.
No man ever spoke like your Son, dear LORD, for no man else is the Word Himself. He comes from your very heart, and becomes our daily Bread. In your House with Him let us make our home, though it mean persecution and certain death. For in Him we shall be protected always, and brought quickly to your side.