And yet [in spite of all this] many even of the leading men (the authorities and the nobles) believed and trusted in Him. But because of the Pharisees they did not confess it, for fear that [if they should acknowledge Him] they would be expelled from the synagogue; For they loved the approval and the praise and the glory that come from men [instead of and] more than the glory that comes from God. [They valued their credit with men more than their credit with God.]
(John 12:42-43 AMP)
So, we've got these authorities and nobles, or local church leaders, that believed in Jesus. Because of the church leaders' fear of the Pharisees and because of their love for attention and admiration from men, they refused to publicly acknowledge Jesus as the Son of God. That's basically what's going on in these verses.
What draws my attention to this scripture is not only that these things happened in the bible, but that these issues are still alive in our church today.
Judging from the portion that says "For they loved the approval and the praise and the glory that comes from men..." I'm going to say these authorities and nobles were well off. They probably had a large family, lots of property and money, etc. And I'm not saying being wealthy and having a good family are bad things; they are not. The point I'm trying to make is that these authorities and nobles were probably so comfortable that they didn't want to risk their comfortable life to follow or confess their belief in Jesus. They figured religion would provide more benefit to their lives than Jesus could.
Unfortunately, this issue still exists in our modern churches. It plays itself out in different ways, but it's there none the less. For some, the issue looks exactly like it does in these verses; the belief that what we can create is better than what God can create for us. For some it comes in the way of comfortability. We become so comfortable in our special box that when the Holy Spirit enters the atmosphere and decides to change things around, we resist Him at every turn. We assume that radical change must not be from God. We say things like "But I get more people in attendance when I water down what the Bible says". In reality, God is telling us to preach His word without bias.
There is a great lesson every Christian can learn by simply reading about the actions of the Pharisees. Basically, you should do the opposite of what they did!
I believe this is one issue that is running around most churches today. This is an issue that can very easily be fixed. It requires everyone to stop, relax, and ask God "what do YOU want me to do?". There is a freedom released when we take our motives out of the equation and allow God to move. Matthew 6:33 says "But seek (aim at and strive after) first of all His kingdom and His righteousness (His way of doing and being right), and then all these things taken together will be given you besides. (AMP)
I'll end this brief post by saying, I am not against the church, and I am not against church leadership. As a former leader in the church, I am as guilty of this issue as anyone else. Noticing there are issues in our churches does not give us the right to point the finger and cease from showing honor to church leadership.
There is a book by Kenneth Hagin titled "Plans, Purposes, and Pursuits" and it clearly defines what we, as church leaders and Christians as a whole, should focus on.
"For as the heavens are higher than the earth, so are My ways higher than your ways and My thoughts than your thoughts." (Isaiah 55:9 AMP)
Posted by Thoughts on my study of the bible. at 10:04 AM
Labels: Church leadership, Church. Jesus, The Pharisees
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