Jesus, I know that John was describing Your time on earth in these verses but they have an uncanny resemblance to our current times.
But despite all the miraculous signs Jesus had done, most of the people still did not believe in him. This is exactly what Isaiah the prophet had predicted:
“Lord, who has believed our message?
To whom has the Lord revealed his powerful arm?”
But the people couldn’t believe, for as Isaiah also said,
“The Lord has blinded their eyes
and hardened their hearts—
so that their eyes cannot see,
and their hearts cannot understand,
and they cannot turn to me
and have me heal them.”
Isaiah was referring to Jesus when he said this, because he saw the future and spoke of the Messiah’s glory. Many people did believe in him, 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. —John 12:37-43
Lord, pages could be written about this passage but the thoughts that are consuming my mind today are around *the people who loved human praise and acceptance so much that they kept their belief in Jesus quiet for fear of being expelled from their synagogue. For the Jews their synagogue wasn’t just their church, it was their family, friends, school, religion, ethnicity, and political affiliation. Today’s sociological challenges of peer pressure and bullying were also alive and well in those days.
Jesus, it seems to me that peer pressure progresses to bullying and when not addressed it leads to persecution. It’s ironic that the very reason the believing Jews kept quiet was to avoid persecution, yet over the years they have been severely persecuted. Is this what is going to happen to today’s church?
Lord, Christian persecution has arrived in America, a country founded on religious freedom is now a place where Christians are beginning to keep quiet about their convictions for fear of peer pressure, bullying, and persecution. Fear of being labeled “judgmental” is silencing the boldest and largest Christian voices in our country.
Lord, I really don’t know how to react. I’m confused and feel this desire to pull away and keep my mouth shut. I see the world pulling one or two scriptures out of Your Word and using it to silence the church. I’m afraid it’s beginning to silence me as well. Holy Spirit, please speak loudly. Give me supernatural boldness. My heart is racing as I title this post, fearing that I will be misunderstood. I do not want to succumb to the enemy’s tactics. I do not want to desire human praise and acceptance more that Yours. It scares me to read in Matthew 24:20-24 that in the last days the very elect will be deceived. Holy Spirit, I don’t want to be deceived.
Lord, give our pastors, teachers, prophets, and Christian leaders supernatural discernment, wisdom, and boldness to lead Your people in these difficult times.
Lord, judging is a delicate subject. I know I’ve judged when I shouldn’t and haven’t judged when I should. I know we don’t win the lost by judging them but “not judging” within the church is dumbing down the gospel. We have adapted the same philosophy as the world, “don’t ask, don’t tell.” Holy Spirit, without Your help we will get it wrong every time. Show the church when and how to judge today’s complicated world.
Dear friends, don’t be surprised at the fiery trials you are going through, as if something strange were happening to you. Instead, be very glad—for these trials make you partners with Christ in his suffering, so that you will have the wonderful joy of seeing his glory when it is revealed to all the world.
If you are insulted because you bear the name of Christ, you will be blessed, for the glorious Spirit of God rests upon you. If you suffer, however, it must not be for murder, stealing, making trouble, or prying into other people’s affairs. But it is no shame to suffer for being a Christian. Praise God for the privilege of being called by his name! For the time has come for judgment, and it must begin with God’s household. And if judgment begins with us, what terrible fate awaits those who have never obeyed God’s Good News? And also,
“If the righteous are barely saved,
what will happen to godless sinners?”
So if you are suffering in a manner that pleases God, keep on doing what is right, and trust your lives to the God who created you, for he will never fail you. —1 Peter 4:12-19
In Jesus Name. Amen and Amen!
©2014, Dianne Guthmuller
Tomorrow’s Scripture Reading: Matthew 21:28-32, Mark 12:1-12, Matthew 21:33-46, Luke 20:9-19, Matthew 22:1-14, Mark 12:13-17, Matthew 22:15-22, Luke 20:20-26, Mark 12:18-27, Matthew 22:23-33, Luke 20:27-40