Fear Of Man
John 12:42-43 (ESV) -- Nevertheless, many even of the authorities believed in him, but for fear of the Pharisees they did not confess it, so that they would not be put out of the synagogue; for they loved the glory that comes from man more than the glory that comes from God.
What things would you say if you weren’t fearful of losing people’s favor? What stands would you take if you didn’t worry about who it might offend? These questions help us to get to the root of how much we struggle with fear of man issues. In answering these questions, if you can think of lots of strong positions and outspoken comments you would make, but are afraid to make, then you are likely living under the tyranny of people pleasing tendencies.
Our passage today reminds us of how this fear of man kept many early Jews from following Jesus, even the religious leaders. John says, “Nevertheless, many even of the authorities believed in him, but for fear of the Pharisees they did not confess it, so that they would not be put out of the synagogue; for they loved the glory that comes from man more than the glory that comes from God.”
Many authorities believed in Him. Why? Because they saw the signs He performed and heard the words He spoke. He perfectly matched the prophecies of the Messiah. But they were afraid. They feared the religious leaders. If the religious leaders didn’t follow Jesus and hail Him as the Messiah, the people feared being excluded from the Temple or synagogue to worship. Following Jesus came with a backlash from the religious leaders. At the root of the problem was this: they loved the glory that came from men more than the glory that comes from God.
This is a problem still today. Many Christians do not use their voice to proclaim allegiance to Jesus. They do not speak against destructive ideologies wreaking havoc in our world. Why? Because they are afraid of losing clout with certain other Christians, or they don’t want to lose esteem with the world. This silence is a fear of man. We love to be loved by others. But we need to elevate the love of pleasing God above it all.
Reflection & Journal:
- Why did many who believed in Jesus not make it known?
- How does this phenomenon still happen today?
- What are some ways we can guard against fear of man?
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