5 Minute Read

TODAY’S BIBLE READING:

2 Samuel 1:1–2:11
John 12:20-50
Psalm 118:19-29
Proverbs 15:27-28

TODAY’S BIBLE VERSE(S):

John 12:42-43 (CSB): “Nevertheless, many did believe in him even among the rulers, but because of the Pharisees they did not confess him, so that they would not be banned from the synagogue. For they loved human praise more than praise from God.”

REFLECTIONS ON TODAY’S BIBLE VERSE(S):

We are told in the verses that I have chosen as Today’s Bible Verses that there were closet Jesus-followers. They were religious leaders who privately listened and complied with Jesus’ teachings but they didn’t publicly proclaim their allegiance for fear that they would be banned from the places of worship.

Two of these religious leaders were the very two men who took Jesus’ dead body down from the cross, wrapped his body in cloth, and then buried it. Listen to how these two men are described (look at the words I have underlined):

John 19:38-42 (CSB): “After this, Joseph of Arimathea, who was a disciple of Jesus—but secretly because of his fear of the Jews—asked Pilate that he might remove Jesus’s body. Pilate gave him permission; so he came and took his body away. Nicodemus (who had previously come to him at night) also came, bringing a mixture of about seventy-five pounds of myrrh and aloes. They took Jesus’s body and wrapped it in linen cloths with the fragrant spices, according to the burial custom of the Jews. There was a garden in the place where he was crucified. A new tomb was in the garden; no one had yet been placed in it. They placed Jesus there because of the Jewish day of preparation and since the tomb was nearby.”

While we applaud their courage and loyalty as they gave Jesus’ body a proper burial, we might even give them a pass for not previously, publicly declaring their allegiance to Jesus. After all, doing so could get them punished … or killed!

But, when we hear John’s assessment in Today’s Bible Verses, we realize that their desire to remain a closet Jesus-follower revealed a serious heart problem.

Listen to how John describes their heart.

John 12:42-43 (CSB): “Nevertheless, many did believe in him even among the rulers, but because of the Pharisees they did not confess him, so that they would not be banned from the synagogue. For they loved human praise more than praise from God.”

Rather than affirm their seemingly legitimate fear, John states that their motivation was sinful.

Rather than crave God’s affirmation, they craved the approval of sinful mankind. Rather than publicly proclaim their allegiance to Jesus and lose their position in spiritual leadership, they privately followed Jesus so that their leadership positions in the synagogue would not be threatened.

They failed to publicly align themselves with Jesus for fear that doing so would mess up their current life situation.

What about you, friend? Are there groups that you are afraid to talk about Jesus with, that you are afraid to make your allegiance to Him public knowledge?

  • Do you talk about him at home?
  • Do you publicly follow Him at school?
  • Do you publicly follow Him at work?
  • Do you publicly follow Him when you are with your friends?
  • Do you publicly follow Him at the restaurant? (for example, do you bow your head and pray before your meal … in public?)
  • Etc., etc., etc.

Are there some people and some contexts in which you are afraid to align yourself with Jesus for fear that it would mess up your current life’s circumstances?

While we may think this is a small matter, it’s not. It has eternal implications. Just listen to Jesus’ words and reflect on them as I close out this blog post.

Matthew 10:32-34 (CSB): “Therefore, everyone who will acknowledge me before others, I will also acknowledge him before my Father in heaven. But whoever denies me before others, I will also deny him before my Father in heaven. Don’t assume that I came to bring peace on the earth. I did not come to bring peace, but a sword.”