When Abram prostrated himself, God spoke to him:
“My covenant with you is this:
you are to become the father of a host of nations.
No longer shall you be called Abram;
your name shall be Abraham,
for I am making you the father of a host of nations. – Genesis 17: 3 – 5
In today’s readings from Thursday of the Fifth Week of Lent, we learn about God’s covenant with Abraham.
Abraham was ninety-nine years old when the Lord God appeared to him, and made a promise to him that he would be the father of a host of nations.
In a reflection from a few days ago, we talked about how Jesus Christ is the fulfilment of this particular promise that God made with Abraham.
The covenant with Abraham was based on faith and not according to the law.
By dying on the Cross, Jesus made salvation available to all people who shared the same faith of Abraham, and thus Abraham through Christ’s saving work, became the father of many nations.
Similarly in today’s Gospel, Jesus mentions that anyone who keeps His word will never see death.
The death He was referring to is eternal death that is the due of sin, as Romans 6: 23 tells us, “For the wages of sin is death, but the free gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord”.
But His words struck a nerve with many people of His time, who considered Him to be lesser than Abraham and the prophets.
On this basis, they refuted His teaching and argued that if Abraham and the prophets died, then Jesus’ words were of no account.
However, they were totally wrong, and Jesus pointed out clearly to them during the course of the conversation, “before Abraham came to be, I AM.” – John 8: 58
This is Jesus making a direct claim to be GOD. The same GOD that appeared to Abraham when he was ninety-nine years old and made a promise to him that he would be the father of many nations.
This is the Word of GOD made flesh in the Person of Jesus – to perfectly fulfil the promise He made to Abraham.
As Mary filled with the Holy Spirit, and bearing the Christ child in her womb, rejoiced in her magnificat, God has fulfilled and remembered the promise made to Abraham and his descendants forever (Luke 1: 46 – 55).
Our Christian faith is indeed a faith that is full of God’s faithful love for His people.
As we get closer to Good Friday and Easter, we see a culmination of confrontational events like Jesus encountered in today’s Gospel, that eventually lead to His arrest, crucifixion and death.
The readings are quite hard to read, and show us the true price that Christ had to pay for our salvation.
Today let us reflect on our responses to Jesus’ teaching, passion and death.
Do we appreciate the price He had to pay for us?
Or are we still self-absorbed in our ‘own glory’ and resistant to the changes that the Christian walk with the Lord requires of us.
Lord, as we draw nearer to the event of Good Friday, we read how again and again, You were misjudged and rejected.
I am slightly aware of the areas in my life where I have also misjudged and rejected You.
And there are still areas still that I have not yet acknowledged, either due to spiritual blindness or stubbornness.
Today Lord, I ask for Your mercy and forgiveness.
Give me the grace to see where I have failed and rejected Your work of salvation in my life, and give me strength and humility to repent fully.
Open my eyes to Your great love, and my heart to trust You completely.
As I gradually make the changes You require of me, help me not to become afraid but to walk humbly with You.
I surrender all to You, as You surrendered all to me by Your death on the Cross.
Thank You Jesus again and again for Your saving work.
Always & Forever,
To The Lamb,
With all my love.