Readings: Daniel 3:14-20,24-25,28, John 8:31-42 

“O Nebuchadnezzar, we have no need to answer you in this matter. If it be so, our God whom we serve is able to deliver us from the burning fiery furnace; and he will deliver us out of your hand, O king. But if not, be it known to you, O king, that we will not serve your gods or worship the golden image which you have set up.” (Daniel 3:16-18)

At this point in our Gospel passage, it is no longer a secret that the Jews were plotting to kill Jesus. Why were they determined to eliminate Jesus? It is the same reason King Nebuchadnezzar wants to eliminate Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego in today’s first reading. Our world doesn’t like good people or rather, our world does not like people who stand out from the crowd.

Jesus said to his persecutors: “If God were your Father, you would love me.” (John 8:42). Put simply, the world hates us because we are children of God and we do not belong to the world. Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego incurred the wrath of Nebuchadnezzar because they would not serve his idols and his golden image.

Jesus said: “If you continue in my word, you are truly my disciples … (but) … everyone who commits sin is a slave to sin.” (John 8:31&34). Just as Nebuchadnezzar succeeded in making the people worship the idols out of fear of losing their lives, many today are “worshipping” all kinds of idols just to make ends meet. They have become slaves to sin because they think they have no other means of putting food on the table.

For instance, some Christians do all kinds of evil deeds in the name of “trying to make ends meet.” We bow to the golden image of Nebuchadnezzar when we tell lies, take what is not ours, cheat people, deny their rights, and so on. Some even go into ritual killings, kidnapping, consulting witch doctors, etc, (the list is endless).

Until you are ready to die rather than sin, your faith is not yet mature. Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego displayed mature faith in God. They said, “even if God decides not to save us, we would rather burn in the fire than worship your gods.” Most Christians today have been indoctrinated by the prosperity gospel. As such, not many Christians can take the stand of Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego. Not many of us can say that even if God does not answer our prayers, we would never get into any shady deals just to put food on the table.

Even if we have to suffer, let us be assured that heaven waits for us. There is a better life ahead. Do not fear those who can only kill the body, fear Him who can destroy both soul and body in hell. We gain nothing if we sell our souls to the devil out of fear. Trust God to show up for you as the fourth man in the fire.

Let us pray: Heavenly Father, let not my love for life enslave me to sin. Through Christ our Lord. Amen. 

Be Happy. Live Positive. Have Faith. It is well with you. God bless you. (Wednesday of the 5th week of Lent, Bible Study: Daniel 3:14-20,24-25,28, John 8:31-42).

@Rev. Fr. Evaristus Abu