But many people believed in Jesus. Even many of the Jewish leaders believed in Jesus. But they were afraid of the Pharisees. So they did not say openly that they believed. They were afraid that they would be put out of the synagogue. These men loved praise from people more than praise from God.
— John 12:42-43
What would make you afraid to show your faith? To lose ones place in the synagogue was a huge loss for someone in Jesus' day. While we rightfully are disgusted with the lack of courage and integrity by those mentioned in this verse, we need to ask ourselves how often have we failed to stand up for Jesus when the stakes were much less high. The real issue with fear and faith is our confidence in what we believe. If we truly believe in Jesus, how could we give him up? If we truly want to honor God, then how could the approval of mere mortal people become more important? God calls us to love him without rival. Anything that would interfere with our honoring God becomes our idol, even if it is the fear of rejection or the desire for popularity.
Father, give me courage to stand up and confess my faith in Jesus with graciousness. I truly believe that you sent Jesus to die for my sins and give me power over sin and death. Please help me live that faith before the people with whom I interact regardless of their acceptance or rejection of me because of that faith. In Jesus' name. Amen.
Today's Verses in Context
Jesus did all these many miracles. The people saw these things, but they still did not believe in him. This was to make clear the full meaning of what Isaiah the prophet said: "Lord, who believed the things we told them? Who has seen the Lord's power?" This is why the people could not believe. Because Isaiah also said, "God made the people blind. God closed their minds. God did this so that they will not see with their eyes and understand with their minds. God did this so that they would not turn and be healed." Isaiah said this because he saw Jesus' glory. So Isaiah spoke about him. But many people believed in Jesus. Even many of the Jewish leaders believed in Jesus. But they were afraid of the Pharisees. So they did not say openly that they believed. They were afraid that they would be put out of the synagogue. These men loved praise from people more than praise from God. Then Jesus said loudly, "The person that believes in me is really believing in the One (God) who sent me. The person that sees me is really seeing the One who sent me. I am light, and I came into this world. I came so that every person that believes in me would not stay in darkness. "I did not come into the world to judge people. I came to save the people in the world. So I am not the one that judges the people who hear my teaching but don't obey. There is a judge for the person that refuses to believe in me and does not accept what I say. The message I have taught will judge that person on the last day. Why? Because the things I taught were not from myself. The Father (God) who sent me told me what to say and what to teach. And I know that eternal life comes from what the Father commands. So the things I say are what the Father told me to say."
Related Scripture Readings
"I tell you, if any person stands before other people and is willing to say that he believes in me, then I will say that person belongs to me. I will say this before the angels of God. But if any person stands before people and says he does not believe in me, then I will say that person does not belong to me. I will say this before the angels of God.
Jesus continued to say to all of them, "If any person wants to follow me, he must say 'No' to the things he wants. That person must accept the cross (suffering) that is given to him every day, and he must follow me. The person that wants to save his life will lose it. And every person that gives his life for me will save it. It is worth nothing for a person to have the whole world, if he himself is destroyed or lost. If any person is ashamed of me and my teaching, then I will be ashamed of that person. I will be ashamed of that person at the time I come with my glory and with the glory of the Father and the holy angels.