John 12:42-43 (NLT): Many people did believe in [Jesus], however, including some of the Jewish leaders. But they wouldn’t admit it for fear that the Pharisees would expel them from the synagogue. For they loved human praise more than the praise of God.
These words are part of a longer reading for today found in John 12:36-43. Here we see a continuation of John’s theme that Jesus is the light, and that there is a need to acknowledge and follow the light, a step some took.
There also is mention of those who were unable to believe despite witnessing great signs and miracles.
And then there was this in-between crowd, mentioned in the focus verses above. They believed, but secretly, because open belief might have cost them too much in terms of what they had gained in this world.
These people are sometimes remembered positively in Scripture; a couple of them take on the task of burying Jesus. But most of us, I think, would rather be remembered for being bold.
I suppose we are encountering one way to interpret life. It can be viewed as a series of compromises connecting those purer moments when we follow God to the fullest. The Christian pursuit of holiness would be an effort to avoid compromise.
What we learn from this passage becomes more important each day as the world in which we live becomes increasingly secular. As peers, bosses and leaders frown upon scriptural principles more and more, we may find ourselves wanting to compromise.
I pray we don’t.
Lord Jesus, you were not ashamed to come among us, bringing the light of holiness to a broken world. For our sake, you did not flee a shameful death, despite having the power to do so. We are sorry for the times we compromise; may the Holy Spirit fill us and make us courageous. Amen.