THE HOLY BIBLE (New Living Translation – John 7:12-13): 12 There was a lot of grumbling about him among the crowds. Some argued, “He’s a good man,” but others said, “He’s nothing but a fraud who deceives the people.” 13 But no one had the courage to speak favorably about him in public, for they were afraid of getting in trouble with the Jewish leaders.
THOUGHTS: The party was BIG, but in spite of all the planned activities, the people couldn’t help themselves from discussing the things that were happening in their lives, and this included the marvelous works of Jesus that had taken place, and in some case that impacted their lives or that of a close relative. However, the Jewish leaders were keeping close tabs on the crowd, thinking that Jesus would show up for this special festival. So any discussion about Jesus was very much under quiet cover, as no one wanted to witness the wrath of the Jewish leaders. I found it interesting that this little fact was included in the Bible, but then it hit me. Proclaimed Christians today mix with others while still active here on earth. We are faced with ‘Jewish leaders’ of a different kind. We have those friends who will poke fun at us; we have our bosses who are threatened by employees of different beliefs; we have family members who distance themselves from us; all because they heard that we believe something like the Bible and all the weird stuff about healings, raising people from the dead, parting of the Red Sea, worshipping a God who was crucified and supposedly came back to life again, etc. etc. Unfortunately, I believe that most earthly humans strive towards being liked by those they come into contact with, and never look for ways that would deliberately cause the world to hate them. However, because of this, we will often stand idly by and listen to the name of our Lord being abused; poked fun of; and the ‘church’ threatened with closer government intervention so that, supposedly, people could live more harmoniously. The truth is friends, this has weakened the witness of Christians and the church. For when folk see that our witness, or our story, is so weak that we buckle under scrutiny and turn and run the other way, they realize that it was all a farce right from the beginning. In a recent marriage enrichment class, we were taught that a very essential characteristic of a good marriage is consistently showing love and appreciation for our spouse. When Jesus was arrested in the garden, he stayed true to His calling. Even while being beaten on the road to His crucifixion He stayed true to His calling. On the cross, He permitted horrendous mockery, beatings and abuse, because of the mission assigned by His Father – God. He was consistent. Friends, in some parts of the world Christians are being abused and killed because of their consistent witness for our Savior, but in other parts of the world, including the beautiful country in which I live, this is not a real threat for us. So what is our excuse for our inconsistent witness? Who are we afraid of? Why would we ‘belly-up’ and cave in to the same ‘world’ who killed our Savior in the first place? Is it because of worldly greed; or is it truly our choice to please our friends who are temporal at best, rather than pleasing our Savior who gave it all for us? Opportunities will arise for each of us today, and we have the choice of either entering the open door to share the love of Jesus with a friend, or turn away in fear of not being as popular with our friends and see them go to Hell. What will it be for you friend? With Jesus on our side, who can we possibly be afraid of?
PRAYER: Father, we are so weak, and we fail so often to call on the awesome, powerful name of Jesus to help us through our daily challenges. Please forgive us. May we commit to be ‘The Real Thing‘ today because of our increased faith and commitment to You. We are ambassadors of the awesome, powerful, proven, loving, holy name of Jesus, God’s only Son! So could there possibly be anyone in whom in whom we should be afraid? Please teach us to be consistent in our walk and in our talk, whether inside the four walls of our respective churches, or whether we are facing the most challenging enemy here on earth. My God is greater than all our troubles and/or challenges! Praise the wonderful name of Jesus, in whose name I ask all this, AMEN!
FOOTNOTE: If you have been challenged to make a decision today after reading this devotional, please speak with a local Bible Teaching pastor, or read through Biblical truths on How To Know Jesus, or contact me at NuggetsFromGodsWord@outlook.com so that we can pray with you and give you help and or encouragement as you begin, or continue your walk with Jesus. Any words underlined above will indicate a link to a song that came to mind as I wrote the devotional. Feel free to click on the link and listen as you continue to read or pray. If this devotional was forwarded to you and you would like to see more, please go to www.nuggetsfromgodsword.org and read more, or you may freely subscribe for a daily email conveniently containing each day’s devotional. If you are anywhere near the Highlands County, Florida area and do not have a church home, I would be thrilled to welcome you at Bible Fellowship Church, Sebring, FL! Click the link to check out service times and/or other special activities. God is at work among us! Please consider coming to worship with us!