Monday, July 28, 2014

Praise of Men or Praise of God?

John 12:35-43

Then Jesus said to them, "A little while longer the light is with you. Walk while you have the light, lest darkness overtake you; he who walks in darkness does not know where he is going. While you have the light, believe in the light, that you may become sons of light."

These things Jesus spoke, and departed, and was hidden from them. But although He had done so many signs before them, they did not believe in Him, that the word of Isaiah the prophet might be fulfilled, which he spoke: "Lord, who has believed our report? And to whom has the arm of the LORD been revealed?"

Therefore they could not believe because Isaiah said again: "He has blinded their eyes and hardened their hearts, lest they should see with their eyes, lest they should understand with their hearts and turn, so that I should heal them."

These things Isaiah said when he saw His glory and spoke of Him. Nevertheless even among the rulers many believed in Him, but because of the Pharisees they did not confess Him, lest they should be put out of the synagogue; for they loved the praise of men more than the praise of God.

Jesus said He was the Light of the world. When we receive Christ we see differently. We know and understand differently. We begin to realize the lies being spread and believed in this world. We realize that God, His Word, His Son all stand for the truth. When we know the truth it frees us...removes the heaviness in our lives, our hearts, and we are spiritually healed.

Jesus was trying so very hard to win over the Pharisees, spiritual leaders of the day. But they would not give in. It was their way or the highway! They were not going to change what they had always known. They had seen Jesus perform miracles but most of them always found an excuse not to believe. Stubbornness, hard hearts, a very strong desire to cling to what they had always believed, even the praise of men. This is what satisfied them...knowing that they were "leaders" in the community and people had to listen to them.

What happens in time is God's hardening of hearts to those who refuse to believe. He gives ample time for someone to turn...even as long as one's deathbed. Even on a deathbed some will shake their fist at God. Their hearts are so hardened, eyes so blind...and that spiritual healing does not occur. I personally would not want to shake my fist at the One who created me and holds my eternal future in His hand. And still, there are some who will purposely wait till the last minute to get in all they believe the world has to offer before submitting.

For they loved the praise of men more than the praise of God. What can this world have to offer more than what Christ can offer? If all we do is search for that thing that satisfies and it never does, maybe it's time to look to Christ. If we try to fill our lives with the things in this world that seem fulfilling but never really do, maybe searching for Christ is the answer. Might the praise of men be more enticing? Or maybe they don't want, as the song states, "the things of the world to grow strangely dim, in the light of His glory and grace." There's a strong pull in this world.

...[to those who are perishing] whose minds the god of this age has blinded, who do not believe, lest the light of the gospel of the glory of Christ, who is the image of God, should shine on them. For we do not preach ourselves, but Christ Jesus the Lord... For it is the God who commanded light to shine out of darkness, who has shone in our hearts to give the light of the knowledge of the glory of God in the face of Jesus Christ... while we do not look at the things which are seen, but at the things which are not seen. For the things which are seen [in the world] are temporary, but the things which are not seen [in Christ] are eternal. (2Corinthians 4:4-6,18)

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