Nevertheless, many even of the authorities believed in him, but for fear of the Pharisees they did not confess it, so that they would not be put out of the synagogue; for they loved the glory that comes from man more than the glory that comes from God. (John 12:42, 43 ESV)
Jesus did many miracles in view of the people, which John refers to as “signs.” These signs point to Jesus as the savior. The Pharisees and religious leaders saw Jesus doing things that did not line up with their own practices (such as healing people on the Sabbath, which they considered work), and so concluded that Jesus was a false teacher. When others saw the signs of Jesus they believed that he must be from God. Some of these, however, kept this belief secret because they did not want the leaders to throw them out of the synagogue. John explains that they loved the glory of man more than the glory that comes from God. Is this real belief?
Earlier in this chapter Jesus explains, “Whoever loves his life loses it, and whoever hates his life in this world will keep it for eternal life. If anyone serves me, he must follow me”. (John 12:25, 26 ESV) Jesus said this after teaching that he is going to die. In other words, a real belief in Jesus leads you to follow Jesus even if it means losing everything else! The missionary Jim Elliott, who died trying to reach the Aucan Indians of South America with the gospel, once said: “He is no fool who gives up what he cannot keep to gain what he cannot lose.”
Do you love the glory of man (looking cool by your friends, which won’t matter in eternity) more than the glory that comes from God (not often cool, but lasts for eternity)? Ask God to help you love him more than anything.
McCheyne’s Bible Reading Plan: 2 Sa 2, 1 Co 13, Ez 11, Jn 12