…for they loved human praise more than praise from God. (John 12:43)
The miracle involving raising Lazarus from the dead was a pretty convincing sight for those who hadn’t yet decided what they thought of Jesus. It’s hard to deny the deity of a man who is able to bring someone else back to life. John (as well as other Gospel writers) tells us that the Pharisees wanted to put Lazarus back to death because of the commotion this miracle was creating and the people who then believed in Jesus as a result of it.
John remarked that many of the authorities believed in Jesus but were afraid of what the Pharisees would do if they found out. Concerned more about their popularity with the Pharisees than with doing the right thing, these authorities never stood up for Jesus. Why? John 12:43 says, they were more interested in pleasing other humans than in pleasing God. That’s a fairly harsh judgment to make, but the actions of the individuals are at the root of the verdict.
Likely, we have all experiences times when the same could have been said about us: that we loved the glory that comes from man more than the glory that comes from God. The problem is that there isn’t really a place for closet Jesus fans. If Jesus is who he claimed to be, then there is no value at all in earning the favor of anyone or anything else. The challenge is making a decision of what you’re going to believe.
The whole of Christianity rests on an event that either did or didn’t happen in history: Jesus’ resurrection. If He didn’t come back to life, then Jesus was just like any other man. If He did come back to life, then His resurrection authenticates His claim as the Son of God. Then everything He said during His time on earth carries value. Then the opinions of other people don’t really matter because there is one who is greater than they.
Father, it’s so easy to be enticed by the popularity that comes from other people rather than seeking to live for You. Help me to see how fleeting the praise of man is, and let me seek the praise that comes from You.