Weekly Devotion – John 12:42b-43

Published 6:50 am Saturday, October 23, 2021

By Mike Caton

John 12:42b-43, “But because of the Pharisees they would not openly acknowledge their faith for fear they would be put out of the synagogue; for they loved human praise more than praise from God.”

They here refers to the religious leaders who believed in Jesus. They would not openly acknowledge Jesus because they feared the repercussions. Being put out of the synagogue was a huge deal to a Jew in those days. The synagogue was the center of the community, it was where the vast majority of the fellowship and business were conducted, officially or not. And to be put out was to effectively be considered dead, you were no longer considered to be a part of the community, people could not associate with you, they were not supposed to sell things to you, like food and other necessities, they were not to give you a job, and so forth. It was a serious thing!

But what about their belief in Jesus, isn’t that an important thing as well? And honestly, shouldn’t our relationship with God be far more important than anything else? Think about it for a few moments, what do we allow to keep us away from God and from his people? What’s more important than gathering with the church family? What’s more important than hearing God’s word? What’s more important than acknowledging God before men? I’m not trying to be overbearing or legalistic here, but those are things we need to be thinking about. What do I allow to come before God in my life?

There are Christians who live in countries where the faith is not welcome. Those folks gather to worship at risk to their lives. And yet, they still gather. They still own Bibles. They still pray and so forth. Granted, they might not gather as freely and openly as we do, and we certainly can’t fault them for that. But maybe we have become too soft, maybe we take too much for granted. Maybe we think we can go anytime, so one day we will but this is more important today. We each need to examine our lives; our calendars and our bank account, to see what is most important in our lives. Whose praise do we love the most? Men’s? Our own? God’s? This is a serious question.

Father, help me always put you first. In Jesus’ name, amen.

Mike Caton is the preacher at Mount Olive Church of Christ in Belhaven. He volunteers at the Ponzer Fire Department and works part time with Hyde County EMS. If you would like to receive daily devotions in your inbox, email mikecaton@centurylink.net.

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