Thursday in the Fourth Week of Lent

For the past three years the news media has been focused on the indictments and trials of Donald Trump. Half the country wants him convicted as a criminal. The other half wants him elected as the president. His trials continue day by day with accumulating testimony for and against him.

St. John’s gospel is also like a trial, presenting testimony for Jesus. In today’s reading Jesus calls on five witnesses. The first is John the Baptist.  Secondly, Jesus cites a greater testimony than John’s: “The works that the Father gave me testify on my behalf, that the Father has sent me.”  Thirdly, Jesus cites an even greater witness saying, “The Father who sent me has himself testified on my behalf.”  Fourthly, he says, “The scriptures testify on my behalf.” Finally, Jesus says, “Moses wrote about me, yet you refuse to come to me to have life.”  Five witnesses, John the Baptist, the miracles of Jesus, God the Father, the scriptures and Moses all testify that Jesus is the Savior of the world. 

But in Holy Week we will hear about the other side: the seven trials that resulted in a death sentence for Jesus. First, a trial under the cover of night before the former high priest, Annas, and another one before his son-in-law, Caiaphas, the reigning high priest. Then, at dawn, a third trial before the Sanhedrin who declare him guilty.  Next, a fourth trial before Pontius Pilate who declares him innocent, followed by a fifth trial before Herod Antipas who pronounces no sentence at all. Then back to Pilate for a sixth trial who again says he finds no guilt in Jesus. And finally, the seventh concluding judgement by the crowd who cry out, “Crucify him.”  And Pilate did!

Today, we are again face a choice, to be witnesses for Christ or against him, to be burning and shining lamps who love the right to life or to be part of the crowds and civil leaders who cry out for abortion.  Will our next president be pro-life or not?