2 Chronicles 15-16 John 12:27-50
“But many believed in Jesus, even many of the leaders. But because of the Pharisees, they did not say they believed in him for fear they would be put out of the synagogue. They loved praise from people It’s more than praise from God.” (John 12:42-43 NCV)
Jesus created tension in Jerusalem. He taught and predicted some amazing things. He sparred with the Pharisees and they did what most people do when they’re losing arguments. They blocked Him on all social media and they attacked His disciples and would-be followers. Perhaps that’s a bit modern. They wouldn’t let Jesus go into the synagogues and they threatened to kick anyone out of the synagogue who might follow Him. The synagogue was where you talked with other Jews. I would guess business would be conducted in the synagogues. Religious instruction happened there. If there was anything the Jews wanted to avoid, it was being kicked out of the synagogue. The Pharisees kept “their” people in line with threats like that and personal attacks on Jesus and anyone who followed Him.
It’s easy to look back at those early “would-be” disciples and wonder how they could let a little fear keep them from proclaiming the truth when they knew it; imagine what they could say about us after 2000 years and experiencing the resurrection. Think about the opportunities we have to share the gospel: opportunities lost because we worry about what the other person will think about us. We, and I’m including myself in this group, will talk about sports results, the stock market, politics, and just about anything else other than the most important things in the world – a relationship with Jesus Christ. We probably won’t get put out of the church for talking about Jesus, but we may get ridiculed at work. In some cases, family may shun you if you talk about Jesus. You may not get invited to go to the “cool” parties or hang with the “cool” people. Paul understood that feeling, but he had the right attitude about that problem: “Those things were important to me, but now I think they are worth nothing because of Christ. Not only those things, but I think that all things are worth nothing compared with the greatness of knowing Christ Jesus my Lord. Because of him, I have lost all those things, and now I know they are worthless trash. This allows me to have Christ.” (Philippians 3:7-8 NCV) Do you want the friendships and applause of this world, or do you want to follow Christ? The answer to that should guide how you work and talk with others.
Oh Lord, give me the courage to speak to others about You. Help me to stop worrying about what others may think and focus on pleasing You.
Scripture taken from the New Century Version®. Copyright © 2005 by Thomas Nelson. Used by permission. All rights reserved.