Posted by: bshelley | November 11, 2008

Fear who?

fall-road

Today’s Verse: John 12:42-43 Nevertheless many of the rulers believed in Him, but because of the Pharisees they were not confessing Him, for fear that they would be put out of the synagogue; for they loved the approval of men rather than the approval of God. NASB

Jesus had performed so many signs and miracles before the people that many followed Him and believed. Some, though they believed could not bring themselves to confess Him because they feared the reprisals of those who ruled over the synagogue. They were afraid they would be thrown out if they openly expressed their belief and therefore did not. Do people today raise tradition and the fear of rejection above Christ and God’s word? Absolutely. You can show people in the Bible where God’s word speaks clearly and they cling to what they have been told rather than read and believe God’s word for themselves. It is a lot like the story of the Emperor’s New Clothes we read as children. Although the wicked tailor convinced the Emperor that the new “outfit” he had made was gorgeous and stunning, everyone could see that he actually had on no clothes at all. Yet they all praised the splendor of such a fine new garment for fear of becoming the victim of the emperor’s wrath if they spoke the truth. It is called “go along to get along”. Religious peer pressure kept the people who wanted to believe the truth from accepting it, even though it was from Jesus Himself. How much are we willing to “overlook” just to stay in our religious comfort zones surrounded by people we fear would reject us if we dared to speak truth from God’s word? Earlier in my life, I was part of a denominational church and some things they did didn’t line up with what I was reading in the Bible. I asked the minister, who I considered a friend, how come they did not take communion together every Sunday as was the practice of the early church?  He simply said that he understood what it said, but they just did not do it that way in this church. I asked him why they did not have elders, which from the beginning seemed to be the Biblical design for Christ’s church, and again he said that although the teaching was clear, they chose not to do it that way. I accepted his answer for the moment for fear of rocking the boat. Ultimately, after continuing to read scripture concerning baptism and even about how God wished to be worshiped, I decided to leave very good friends and the comfort of their acceptance to find some Christians who were trying to live and worship like what I found in scripture. It was very difficult since to reject men’s traditions is to create separation and even experience personal rejection by men. We can remain in denial and stay comfortable as part of the group, or we can decide we would rather have the approval of God. Read God’s word. Desire His truth to be manifest in your heart and mind over man-made religion and traditions. Pray hard. It makes a difference.

May God bless your heart as you seek His.

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