Men’s Praise

John 12:42-43 WEB

Nevertheless even of the rulers many believed in him, but because of the Pharisees they didn’t confess it, so that they wouldn’t be put out of the synagogue, [43] for they loved men’s praise more than God’s praise.


Self-protection. We often care more about people’s opinions than we care for God’s opinion. It’s a matter of self-protection. It’s easy to tell if we care more about men’s opinions than God’s. We know it because we do not open our mouths when we should be telling others about Jesus. When people at church have a group opinion, we say nothing if we see a problem with the opinion. We are more concerned with being liked and included so we say nothing.

Those who do open their mouths are subject to derision and rejection. It is not easy to open our mouths for Jesus. But it is important. It is with our mouths that we confess Jesus (Rom 10:9), it is with our mouths that we rebuke sin in other believers, and it is with our mouths that we give God praise. We should also open our mouths to testify of God’s goodness to unbelievers. However, we often keep our mouths closed because we are protecting ourselves.

We can trust God to protect us. In Psalms, there are many verses that talk about the justice of God. The Lord justifies his children. When we trust the Lord fully, we can be assured that his justice for us will prevail. If we open our mouths in love to confront sin in the church, we must be bold. If we open our mouths to witness to the lost, we must be bold. We can’t be like the religious leaders of Jesus’ time on earth. They quietly followed leaders full of sin and disbelief for the sake of inclusion and destroyed the faith of many.


Lord, please help me speak up when I have opportunities to share your love with the lost. Teach me to lovingly rebuke sin in other believers. I pray I will not be ashamed to open my mouth for you. I trust you to keep me safe and justify me when I speak for you. In Jesus’ name, amen.

I and the Father are One

John 10:30-33 WEB

I and the Father are one.” [31] Therefore Jews took up stones again to stone him. [32] Jesus answered them, “I have shown you many good works from my Father. For which of those works do you stone me?” [33] The Jews answered him, “We don’t stone you for a good work, but for blasphemy: because you, being a man, make yourself God.”


This is one of Jesus’ most bold statements. He claimed to be equal to God. The Jews were outraged by Jesus’ statement that he was one with God. They became so upset they took up stones to kill Jesus. Jesus asked them, “for which work do you stone me?” Regardless of the miracles and wisdom Jesus demonstrated to the Jews, they would not believe he was from God. Instead, they were determined to destroy the works of God wrought through Jesus.

Why did the Jews want Jesus dead? In our day and age, many mentally ill people say they are God. We don’t persecute them, instead, we pity and dismiss them. It was likely the same in Jesus’ time. There were probably many people who thought they were from God or had a revelation from God. So, why did the Jewish leaders reject Jesus instead of just ignoring him? They rejected him because people were listening to him.

Not only were people listening to Jesus, but people were believing in his message. This was perceived to be a threat to the positions and status of the Jewish leaders. The leaders had their positions at the will of the Romans. They feared the Romans more than they feared God. More, Jesus was perceived to be a threat to their positions. In short, they were jealous. In their jealousy and self-preservation, they despised the goodness of God and rejected Jesus.  


Lord, please forgive me for harming others because of jealousy. Reveal to me any jealousy that I do not recognize and lead me into repentance. Please give me a genuine love for all people so that I celebrate their successes instead of feeling threatened. In Jesus’ name, amen.

Solidarity with Jesus

John 10:19-21 WEB

Therefore a division arose again among the Jews because of these words. [20] Many of them said, “He has a demon, and is insane! Why do you listen to him?” [21] Others said, “These are not the sayings of one possessed by a demon. It isn’t possible for a demon to open the eyes of the blind, is it?”


Jesus had trouble. In the verses above he is in a crowd and some of the people listening begin to accuse him of being demonized and insane. This is not so different from what believers experience today. In Christian circles, some would call Jesus demonized. At the same time, unbelievers today would likely call Jesus insane.

Jesus definitely had trouble at times when he was sharing the truth. Yet he spoke the truth anyways. Jesus did not get overwhelmed with a spirit of rejection or self-protection. Rather, he continued telling the truth which was a true act of love. Because Jesus loved others more than he loved himself he was able to stand for truth. Jesus also loved the Father more than he loved himself. That love helped him to defeat his flesh and stand for God.

Jesus experienced rejection and shame, yet, he did not turn against God. Instead, Jesus spent time in prayer, he knew the scriptures, and he testified to the truth. And many were saved. Today we are still mandated to witness to unbelievers with the hope that some will be saved (Mark 16:15-16). When we start sharing Christ, some will slander us and call us names. These are beautiful opportunities to lay our lives down, show the love of God, and stand in solidarity with Jesus.


Lord, please lead me into a love that is greater than my sense of self-protection. Teach me to love you and others more than I love myself. Help me to open my mouth and testify of your greatness and anoint me to lead others into a saving knowledge of You. In Jesus’ name, amen.

Jesus Overcame

John 7:1-5 WEB

After these things, Jesus was walking in Galilee, for he wouldn’t walk in Judea, because the Jews sought to kill him. [2] Now the feast of the Jews, the Feast of Booths, was at hand. [3] His brothers therefore said to him, “Depart from here, and go into Judea, that your disciples also may see your works which you do. [4] For no one does anything in secret, and himself seeks to be known openly. If you do these things, reveal yourself to the world.” [5] For even his brothers didn’t believe in him.


It is always amazing to see Jesus going through the same struggles many have today. Jesus was rejected by both his family and his countrymen. He had followers, but he also had naysayers. He had a call on his life, but those nearest did not believe. More, you can hear in the passage the brother’s jealousy for the attention Jesus has received. Can you see Mary and Joseph watching their miracle baby? They probably couldn’t take their eyes off him.

If I had a child fathered by the Holy Spirit I would be watching. Whatever the reason, Jesus’ brothers were jealous and spiteful. Worse, they were counseling Jesus. It is worse because they were attacking Jesus’ very ability to hear from the Father. They were mocking him as an attention seeker. They were mocking him as a fool for missing the publicity the feast would provide. Their counsel is the world’s wisdom.

At the same time his family is mocking him, the Jews had begun plotting to kill Jesus. The Lord is in an emotionally crushing moment. His family mocks him. His countrymen want to kill him. And everything he hears from the Father seems to promote all the hatred.

Jesus is crushed between mockery and death, and the Father’s challenging instructions. And in spite of all the pressure, he still shows us what perfect faith looks like. We cannot know if Jesus heard God perfectly all the time. But we do know that anything the Father asked, no matter how much it cost, Jesus said yes.


Lord, thank you for overcoming your challenges. Please help me overcome my challenges. In Jesus’ name, amen.

Wise yet Harmless

John 4:1-3 WEB

Therefore when the Lord knew that the Pharisees had heard that Jesus was making and baptizing more disciples than John [2] (although Jesus himself didn’t baptize, but his disciples), [3] he left Judea, and departed into Galilee.

Jesus epitomized the scripture that says, “Behold, I send you out as sheep among wolves. Therefore be wise as serpents, and harmless as doves.” (Matthew 10:16 WEB) When he learned he had attracted the attention of the Pharisees he departed Judea and went to Galilee. In chapter 3 of John, John the Baptist pronounced Jesus as the way to heaven. John as much as declared Jesus the messiah. Jesus’ response to this was to pack up and leave the area.

Jesus understood the Pharisees hated him. While professing zeal for God, they demonstrated with their behaviors that they actually despised God. What they liked was the glory of standing before the people. Jesus was threatening their glory.

Have you ever heard a minister preaching compromise? Why would they do this? The exact demonstration of hatred for God may have changed, but the root cause of the sin is the same. Namely, a desire for people to glorify themselves rather than God. Preaching the untainted gospel has with it the risk of people rejecting the messenger.

Jesus was often scorned and rejected by those to whom he ministered, On the other hand, many were saved as well. This is important to notice. Jesus experienced both rejection and acceptance. He told his disciples to shake the dust from their feet when they were rejected. Literally, to pronounce condemnation on those who rejected their message.

Can you imagine a modern-day preacher declaring condemnation for rejection of the gospel? They would be heckled and counted as a hypocrite for such preaching. People still have little tolerance for the untainted message of the gospel. That message is that Christ alone saves those whom he will and rejects the disobedient. Telling people that Jesus will save them is not too hard. On the other hand, telling people they must be obedient to the whole Bible or face eternal torment is not accepted by most people.

People want salvation to be a democratic affair. As if we can choose which passages are relevant while declaring others irrelevant. Some of this has been caused by modern-day zealots. Ministers who teach a heartless gospel of condemnation drive the lost away from God. They preach to a mouth-foaming crowd that wants confirmation that they are better than everyone else. But the word of God does not counsel this. Rather, it says to be wise as a serpent but harmless as a dove.

As Christians, we have to learn to declare the truth from a place of love for the world. The Father desires the world to be saved (John 3:16). We can declare condemnation for the lost in love. We can plead with the lost to turn their hearts fully to the Father through the grace of Jesus Christ. We can demonstrate obedience thereby duplicating it in those who are new in the Lord.

Lord, please help me walk wisely while remaining harmless to those with whom I share the gospel. Please forgive me for being immature and heartless. I’m sorry for withholding love from the lost. Please forgive me. In Jesus’ name, I pray, amen.

What we have Seen

John 3:32-33 WEB

What he [Jesus] has seen and heard, of that he testifies; and no one receives his witness. [33] He who has received his witness has set his seal to this, that God is true.

When Jesus testified to the things of heaven which he had seen and heard, he was rejected. According to the above verse, no one believed him. Not his apostles, not his disciples, not the people he taught. However, many believed that Jesus was sent by God. The miracles assured at least that much belief. This verse is written by the apostle John, who at the time before the resurrection, did not believe. If the apostles, disciples, and the people did not believe Jesus, they will also not believe modern believers. However, there is hope. We still have the miracles. We have victories in our lives that looked impossible. We have the health breakthroughs, the family relationship breakthroughs, and the financial breakthroughs. We can testify to the power of Jesus in our lives. We can lift the banner of his name and his victory over death. We can lift the testimony of what we have seen and heard. Because we are like the apostle John when he wrote this scripture, we are on the winning side of Jesus’ victory over death. We live and testify after the resurrection. They did not believe Jesus before he defeated death, but they did believe in him after he rose from the dead. If you look at the above verses, you may see something unusual. First John says no one believed Jesus. Next, he says, “he who has received his witness,” that is, they who did believe. So, what happened between verses 32 and 33? Why does John say no one believed, and in the next verse talk about those who did believe? One verse tells the story before the cross and resurrection. The next verse tells the story after Jesus’ victory over death and the grave. On one hand, we are in the same situation that Jesus was in. Namely, that the works of the Father, that is the miracles, testify of the truth of our witness. On the other hand, we are in a different situation than Jesus. The Lord did his work before the cross, we do our work after the cross. Our miracles and victories are backed up with Jesus’ victory at the cross. Therefore, when we testify of unusual victories, that testimony should be brief. This is because all the details are not significant. In fact, too many details ruin the witness because no one will ever have our exact circumstances. When we witness the things we have seen and heard in our own lives, we should sketch out the major points and leave the nuance to the Holy Spirit. The Spirit will do the work in the hearer’s heart. In Romans 8:16 WEB it says, “The Spirit himself testifies with our spirit that we are children of God;” This is why after we testify to the miracles, we must shift the focus from ourselves and onto Jesus. Then, anyone who receives our witness will believe that God is true. (John 3:33 WEB)

Lord Jesus, thank you for the wonderful things you have done in my life. Please help me testify of you and help me keep the focus on you rather than myself. I ask Lord that I may be a holy vessel who opens their mouth to bear witness of the things I have seen and heard. I pray Lord that those who hear my testimony will believe that you are true. In Jesus’ name, I pray, amen.