When they heard these words, some in the crowd said, “This is really the prophet.” Others said, “This is the Messiah.” But some asked, “Surely the Messiah does not come from Galilee, does he? Has not the scripture said that the Messiah is descended from David and comes from Bethlehem, the village where David lived?” So there was a division in the crowd because of him. Some of them wanted to arrest him, but no one laid hands on him.
Then the temple police went back to the chief priests and Pharisees, who asked them, “Why did you not arrest him?” The police answered, “Never has anyone spoken like this!” Then the Pharisees replied, “Surely you have not been deceived too, have you? Has any one of the authorities or of the Pharisees believed in him? But this crowd, which does not know the law—they are accursed.”
Nicodemus, who had gone to Jesus before, and who was one of them, asked, “Our law does not judge people without first giving them a hearing to find out what they are doing, does it?” They replied, “Surely you are not also from Galilee, are you? Search and you will see that no prophet is to arise from Galilee.” Then each of them went home.
New Revised Standard Version, copyright 1989, by the National Council of the Churches of Christ in the United States of America. Used by permission. All rights reserved. USCCB approved.
In this action-packed Gospel, the guards take center stage. After Jesus speaks, the crowd erupts into a near riot – shouting and clamoring over who Jesus is – is He the Christ? Is He just a prophet? The guards break things up, restore order and report to their bosses, the Pharisees, who promptly chew them out for not arresting Jesus! No good deed goes unpunished!
But note their reaction when the Pharisees rebuke them: “Never before has anyone spoken like this man.” In the midst of all this chaos – the pushing and shoving and shouting of the crowd, the dressing-down by their bosses – the guards aren’t going to be pushed around, but keep their heads and focus on the important thing, Jesus. There is one more full week of Lent ahead, then Palm Sunday and Holy Week are upon us.
For this final stretch of Lent, I ask for the grace to keep in perspective all the noise and distractions of normal life, and like the guards in the Gospel story, keep my focus on Jesus.
– Hap Burke, ‘82 is a member of the Fathers’ Club at St. Louis U. High.
O Lord, you are the center of my life. I will always praise you, I will always serve you,
I will always keep you in my sight.
—Paul Inwood, “Center of My Life,” © 1985, OCP Publications
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