Nevertheless even among the rulers many believed in Him, but because of the Pharisees they did not confess Him, lest they should be put out of the synagogue; for they loved the praise of men more than the praise of God. (John 12:42-43)
Seeking The Wrong Glory
After nearly three years of ministry to large multitudes of people, healing thousands, and forming a band of twelve men to carry on His work, Jesus was facing great opposition. The forces working against Him were centered in the Jewish leadership, but a greater problem came from those who were tired of His teaching and were offended by His harsh doctrines. Many of His disciples turned and walked with Him no more. He had fed more than five thousand people in a single day with a young boy’s lunch, and when the Lord refused to replicate the miracle, He was condemned. Many rulers believed in Jesus as the Son of God. They accepted His teachings as that from the heavenly Father. Their hearts were moved to accept the man from Nazareth as the Word, God in the flesh, and Savior of the world. Tragically, their faith would not allow them to confess allegiance publicly to Jesus because they loved human praise more than the praise of God.
The word of God had pricked the hearts of many rulers, and realizing what they would have to give up accepting the teachings of Jesus, denied Him. It was a great conflict to be moved by the words of Jesus and then turn away from Jesus. The accolades of men with the honors of being a ruler among the people had more influence on their hearts than accepting the word of God. It was hard to give up the prideful positions of power, knowing they would lose their place of prominence and power. Pride is a powerful drug that traps the souls of men to believe in a false god and deny the only truth that will save them. They enjoyed walking the halls of power and are called by men as rulers with authority. The destitute heart fills itself with the selfish desires of the carnal man. Every evidence of truth is rejected so the pride of man can walk a deluded path of human wisdom to its own destruction. The peer pressure of the Pharisees prohibited believers from confessing Christ lest they should be kicked out of the synagogue. Loving the praise of men is a strong influence that damns the soul of the weak.
There are many peer pressures influencing believers today. The Pharisees are gone, but their influence remains. Many people believe that Jesus is the Christ and will fain allegiance to Him but in their hearts deny him lest they be labeled religious. Their lives will be measured by mediocrity, unwilling to let anyone know they are a Christian. They keep the same sinful habits following the same sinful crowd and may attend worship services but are never committed. There is pressure to keep a façade of religion on one side while maintaining the character of worldliness during the week. They want to keep their friends and have their fun refusing to confess Christ lest they be put out of the circle of friends. The influence of worldly friends is immense. Seeking the praise of men more than the praise of God is a constant battle. The praise of men wins, and the praise of God fails.
Serving Jesus Christ demands commitment and change. Refusing to be committed will never bring about change. Jesus said to be worthy of discipleship demanded carrying a cross. Many believe in Jesus as the Son of God but do not want to carry a cross. They want to have a relationship with Christ without the cost that He Himself had to bear. Heaven becomes a place for anyone to enter without commitment or expectation of obedience. Instead of few being saved, the majority are thought to be saved who never surrendered their will to the Father. Loving the praise of men is temporary. There is no hope of joy for those who refuse to commit to Christ fully. Those who seek the glory of men will be rejected by God and find eternal darkness in perdition. The reality of human glory is that it is short-lived. If a man lives his life attaining the greatest accolades of men with history filling its pages with his accomplishments; what does it matter when he dies? Nothing. Absolutely nothing. Facing God is what life is about. Seeking the praise of God may not bring honor in this life, but it will bring joy in the next life.
So many waste their lives in the futile pursuits of the world, making no preparations for death. Death will inevitably come. All men face the mortality of their souls, and there will be no exceptions. Seeking the wrong glory will bring eternal heartache. It is sad to watch precious souls live their lives filled with their demands, their wishes, and the unwillingness to obey the word of God, and then death comes. What then? Outer darkness and eternal suffering. The praise of men will have no meaning then, and the soul will cry out in eternal hell for a second chance, and none will be given. Your life is measured by what you seek. Believing Jesus is not enough. It requires confessing His name in your life, even if it means you get kicked out of the synagogue. Let me be reviled by men now so that I may receive honor from God in death. Whose glory are you seeking?