Jesus spent three years in public ministry establishing the fact that he was the Messiah. He healed the lepers. He gave sight to the blind. At his touch the deaf heard. Christ delivered the demoniac. He raised the dead. He publicly proclaimed the message God, the Father, gave him. Yet he came to the end of his time among us and John testified of him, “Despite all the miraculous signs he had done, most of the people did not believe in him… Many people, including some of the Jewish leaders, believed in him. But they wouldn’t admit it to anyone because of their fear that the Pharisees would expel them from the synagogue. For they loved human praise more than the praise of God. ” John 12:37,42,43
Let’s face it the political odds were stacked pretty thickly against Jesus. It seemed the whole world order, every political influence was positioned in diametric opposition to Jesus’ Messianic rise. Truthfully not much has changed. Oh, the powers that be might put a more politically correct face on it today…but the whole world order, the social and political influence of the day is in diametric opposition to Jesus Messianic rise in our lives.
We criticize the men in the Sanhedrin for wanting the praise of men more than the praise of God. But are we so different? When push comes to shove how many of us choose just to keep silent in order not to make waves with our faith?
I am guilty of it. I remember a time when I was a student in an evangelistic class. Our assignment was to go with a partner and witness for Jesus in a public location. My “lab” companion was a dyed in the wool zealot. Our assigned location for the witness was the King of Prussia Mall. The night of the assignment I thought of calling my class mate and telling him I was sick. I would rather have taken a bath in lava. I didn’t want to look stupid. I wanted to appear cool. I wanted people to go to Heaven as long as they approved of me along the way. If in order to help them down the pathway to eternal life I had to get out of my comfort zone maybe even cause a bit of a stir I guess I was O.K. with people going to Hell. It’s a sad admission but it’s where I was.
I was willing to hide my faith in Christ for a pat on the back by my fellow-man. I have traded my faith for silence and approval more times than I care mention. Had I lived in Jesus days I am quite sure I would have been the target of Jesus response to his nation’s unbelief.
” Jesus shouted to the crowds, “If you trust me, you are really trusting God who sent me. For when you see me, you are seeing the one who sent me. I have come as a light to shine in this dark world, so that all who put their trust in me will no longer remain in the darkness. If anyone hears me and doesn’t obey me, I am not his judge—for I have come to save the world and not to judge it. But all who reject me and my message will be judged at the day of judgment by the truth I have spoken. ” John 12: 44-48
I wonder how many times Jesus actually shouted in his life. The unbelief of the Jews because of peer pressure brought on a shout. I know he is just as angered with me when I settle for a pat on the back from men in exchange for hiding my own faith. I know for me it’s time to serve God more boldly not less.
How about you? Who’s patting your back?