Thursday, May 10, 2012

John 12:42-43

Yesterday’s verses spoke of the danger of rejecting God to the point where He hardens your heart. Today we’ll look at John’s observation about why men will reject Christ.

Yet at the same time many even among the leaders believed in him. But because of the Pharisees they would not confess their faith for fear they would be put out of the synagogue;  for they loved praise from men more than praise from God. (John 12:42-43)

Oh man! This is just so sad, because it’s so true! How often do we worry about what others think of us? In this case, those who could clearly see that Jesus was the Messiah, nevertheless denied their faith for fear of being excommunicated. Their place in the religious community was more important than Truth. They were afraid of the religious leaders - the very men who should have been leading them to the Truth.

Embracing the Truth means having to let go of lies. Sometimes those lies are important rituals that we have been raised in and cling to. Yet anything which denies even in the smallest way Who Jesus is and what He completed on the Cross, anything that says I must add something to His work of salvation, anything that says there is any other mediator between man and God is a lie. It says that Jesus didn’t do enough; He is not enough.

When Jesus died on the cross He said, “It is finished,” not “It’s just begun.” He did not say, “Okay, people, now get busy doing things in the temple to get right with God.” He came to remove the burdens that had been place on us, not to add to them. The religious leaders, as we have seen, had an agenda. They were out to murder Jesus, because He was interfering with their hold on the people. He was taking away their power over the people. And, apparently, those in this particular crowd who rejected Christ’s claims, did so because they feared that power.

The Bible tells us to fear God, not man. Where in your life can you see evidence that the opinion of men has more sway over you? Is it at work, where you hide your faith for fear of what your boss or coworkers would think? Is it within your family? Is it even within your church?

Maybe you have been drawn to Christ, but you fear making that step of complete commitment because you are afraid of how it will turn your life upside down. You fear that it will ruin your marriage (hey, God loves your marriage way more than you do), or you fear it will ruin your social ties. Yes, it probably will ruin some. There is a cost to following Christ. But the payoff is eternal life that begins NOW and a relationship with your Heavenly Father that surpasses anything the world has to offer.

Let’s be on guard against that fear of men. It sneaks in so easily and feeds on our insecurities. Satan knows just how to get to us, doesn’t he?    

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