John 12:42-43 (NLT)
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.
This text brings forward the question: “Which kind of relationship takes precedent in my life, my horizontal ones or my vertical one?” John tells us that there were some Jewish leaders who believed in Jesus but would not admit it because they feared they would lose some of their horizontal power — that is, their influence with people who went to their synagogue. The people with “more power,” the Pharisees, might kick them out. This begs the question “What did these Jewish leaders really believe about Jesus?” Did they believe He was the Messiah, the Son of God, and fully divine? Evidently not, because if they did, they certainly wouldn’t fear what the Pharisees could do to them if they professed real faith in Jesus.
If we are afraid to admit we are a believer in Jesus to any one person or any group of people, we are, in essence, confessing that what they think of us is more important than what Jesus thinks of us. A question to consider as we meet the significant people in our lives today is whether we would admit to them we believe in Jesus. I am not suggesting that we have to tell everyone in the grocery line or everyone we pass on the street that we are followers of Jesus. But, since the members of their synagogue were presumably significant people in these Jewish leaders’ lives, you’d think real faith in Jesus would require the leaders to admit that to them. This exercise might help us get a handle on how important our vertical relationship with God really is to us.
God, I believe, help me with my unbelief that is triggered by my fear of men. Amen.
Dialog discuss: In the same way the church exists for nothing else but to draw men into Christ, to make them little christs. If they are not doing that, all the cathedral, clergy, missions, sermons, even the bible itself, are simply a waste of time. C.S.Lewis