41 Isaiah said these things because he saw Jesus’ glory; he spoke about Jesus. 42 Even so, many leaders believed in him, but they wouldn’t acknowledge their faith because they feared that the Pharisees would expel them from the synagogue. 43 They believed, but they loved human praise more than God’s glory.
John 12:41-43 CEB
We all like to have human praise, or folks liking us. Whether its on Facebook, Twitter, Google+, our jobs, church etc., etc., it’s appreciated and makes us feel good. However, if liking us, or working to be liked is the ultimate fix in our lives. Its probably not going to please our Saviour that much. For He came into the world, and world ” knew ” him not ( John 1:10-12 ).
The Messiah society was looking for couldn’t be this Jesus they thought. Because he didn’t have the right theological approach, and his personal call to holiness was not the kind of outward addressing message the Pharisees had been ascribing to. He just didn’t fit the religious expectations of the day, and His message starkly contrasted that of the Judaism that the Scribes and Pharisees were embracing. His message was personal, convicting, hope filled and talked of such intimacy with God. This couldn’t be true religion they thought, but this was exactly the cure for the vain religion that had become the norm of the day.
Jesus the Light of the World came on the seen and exposed the present day ills, the culture of greed, and the sins of the leadership of the nation. He taught a revolutionary message of hope and redemption. Where people could be set free from the burdens of sin and have a renewed and personal relationship with God. What he shared and the ministry he expressed saw signs and wonders follow every step it seemed. With the dead raised, the lame walking, the deaf talking and inner healing and hope. This message and the messenger brought life, and he helped bring about a revival of true faith, which would utterly shake the then known world.
Authorities tried to stop it and persecute the Christian believers. Whether the religious institutions of the day, or the governments in power, they tried everything to silence this Christian message. This message about ” setting the captive free “, it just didn’t fit with the culture of the times. Authoritarian regimes brutalized the church, but the church ” grew “, these Christians saw hope in a resurrected Lord, whom appeared unto them for many days after His death. These Christians practiced love and obedience to a Lord who would heal, cleanse and work in miraculous ways through faith in His name. Being ” liked ” wasn’t their main goal. Giving people hope through the ” Bread of Life ” Jesus was.
I know its not always comfortable to ” live ” the message of Christ. To embrace his teachings and to truly come to grips with the true message of the gospel. Modernizing and or ” Americanizing ” the gospel to our culture, and presenting it like 1% homogenized milk is much more to our liking. However, the truth be told. We need the life giving message of the cross more than ever. We need living epistles whose lives can be read by all, and we need them to be true to the cause of Christ.
The Light ( Jesus ) came into the world, but they knew him not, that doesn’t mean it stopped there. He bore the message, he shared the Father’s love and many came to embrace the message Jesus preached. The light he shone revealed the hypocrisy of the religion of the day. It made many rebel, and some look to kill him from the onset of his ministry. However, Jesus didn’t come to be ” liked ” he came to set the captives free.
Have you ever seen people shocked when they have been set free? Its amazing the varied responses. Some just can’t accept it and run from it. Some hide in a corner not knowing what to think. However, as time moves on and the change is seen, many rise up to be counted with those whom have been redeemed. The oppression, the pain, the hurt, the brutality, the heartache. Well, it turns to hope and light begins to shine, and new dreams are dreamed and new opportunities come to life. Jesus knew it wasn’t going to be easy and not everyone would like him. However, he knew there would be those who would choose to love him, and that outweighed all the personal feelings he might have had in his life. It took him to an old rugged cross, and he gave himself away for those who liked him, hated him, loved him or ignored him. He just simply gave.
Reverend Patrick Vossen,