Wednesday of the Fifth Week of Lent

Today’s readings

The third chapter of the book of Daniel is a wonderful piece of Scripture. In it, we see the faithfulness of the three young men: Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego. The threat to them was very real: if they didn’t worship Nebuchadnezzar’s gods, they would be cast into the fiery furnace and would probably die. But, for them, another threat was much greater: they were more concerned about what would happen if they did worship Nebuchadnezzar’s gods. Namely, their entire religious heritage would probably die. And of course, we know the outcome. The God who was their salvation saved them from the white-hot furnace, and they escaped without even the smell of scorching on their clothing.

But the Israelites soon enough forgot their salvation. Jesus today tussles with an unlikely group – Jews who believed in him. But it seems that their belief was a bit of a hedged bet. Jesus points out that they are still slaves to sin, and that this slavery is an obstacle to real salvation. They claim their salvation from Abraham; and they totally miss the point that Jesus was the fulfillment of the promise made to Abraham.

We too must get our belief in Jesus out of our heads and into our hearts. We need to make sure that our bets are not hedged, that we have not put any obstacles in the way of our true salvation. This means asking ourselves, what is the leap of faith God is wanting us to take today? Where do we need to trust God more? Where do we need to believe not just with our words but also with our actions? God who is capable of saving three young men from a fiery furnace, who is capable of raising his son to new life; this God is capable of our own salvation too, and he is worthy of our trust.