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.

How much Scripture did Jesus Know?

John 12:12-16 WEB

On the next day a great multitude had come to the feast. When they heard that Jesus was coming to Jerusalem, [13] they took the branches of the palm trees, and went out to meet him, and cried out, “Hosanna! Blessed is he who comes in the name of the Lord, the King of Israel!” [14] Jesus, having found a young donkey, sat on it. As it is written, [15] “Don’t be afraid, daughter of Zion. Behold, your King comes, sitting on a donkey’s colt.” [16] His disciples didn’t understand these things at first, but when Jesus was glorified, then they remembered that these things were written about him, and that they had done these things to him.


I have always wondered how much of the Word Jesus knew. Did he know the minor prophets well enough to quote them? The scripture quoted in the above passage was from Zechariah 9:9. Or, was he merely flowing in the Spirit during his life? It was when Jesus rose from the dead that he began to teach the Word to his disciples (Luke 24:27) In verse 32 of Luke 24 the disciples are in wonder that their hearts were burning as Jesus taught them. It is clear in his resurrected state Jesus had a huge knowledge of the Word of God.

But that still doesn’t answer the question; how much of the Bible did Jesus know before he rose from the dead? To understand Jesus, it is essential to look at his family history. Jesus was born into a middle-class family. That means his family would have had the means to help Jesus pursue his knowledge of the Scripture. It was common for young men from prosperous families to seek to study with a Rabbi. Jesus’ family was most likely prosperous. Furthermore, there was a major building project going on during Jesus’ lifetime. Sepphoris was the capital of Galilee and was under ongoing construction during Jesus’ life. It is also a city in which Rabbinical families settled. It is very likely Jesus spent many years walking the 3.5 miles from Nazareth to Sepphoris to work with his father Joseph.

So what does it all mean? It means that growing up, Jesus was located near the capital of Galilee. He was from a family of financial means. He also had access to rabbinical teaching because of his family’s status. It is likely that Jesus was formally trained by a Rabbi and did indeed know the scripture. Moreover, his knowledge of the scripture seems to be greater than someone who had only gone to the synagogue to learn all they knew. It is almost certain that Jesus studied the Scripture formally.


Lord, please instill in me a desire to learn more about the Bible. I want to be a worker who knows how to handle the Word responsibly. Bless my study, Lord, and help me arrive at the truth. Please fulfill my heart’s desire to know more about you, Jesus. In Jesus’ name, amen.

Guilt that Remains

John 9:39-41 WEB

Jesus said, “I came into this world for judgment, that those who don’t see may see; and that those who see may become blind.” [40] Those of the Pharisees who were with him heard these things, and said to him, “Are we also blind?” [41] Jesus said to them, “If you were blind, you would have no sin; but now you say, ‘We see.’ Therefore your sin remains.


The Pharisees were a religious group intent on obedience to God. In their intense desire to obey God, they wrote approximately 400 rules every Jewish person was meant to obey. The book of rules was called the Talmud. During Jesus’ day, the Talmud was the authoritative text of the Jewish religion, Judaism. Unfortunately, the Pharisees were about the only people that could properly obey the Talmud. This was because they studied the Scripture and Talmud daily. They did not have other employment. Instead, they spent all their time focused on obedience to God.

Because they knew the scriptures Jesus said their eyes were open. That meant they understood the scripture had authority over the Talmud. The Pharisees considered anyone a lawbreaker if they disobeyed the Talmud to obey scripture.  In fact, the Pharisees were professionals at policing and enforcing the Talmud. Anyone caught breaking the rules of the Talmud were put out of the synagogue, an extremely traumatic life outcome.

The Pharisees had just thrown the man who had once been blind out of the synagogue. He went to them to have his healing confirmed. However, instead of rejoicing that the Father had healed him, they were more concerned that the healing was done on the Sabbath. Doing anything on the Sabbath, even healing someone, was outlawed in the Talmud. This upset Jesus. The scriptures testified of the Father’s kindness and goodness. Therefore, to outlaw kindness and love on the Sabbath was disobedient. Because they knew this Jesus hurls the truth at them and declares them fit to be judged.


Father, forgive me for caring more about rules than about people. I long to be righteous in my obedience to the Bible and I long to be holy in my love towards others. Help me repent, Lord. This is inner work and I need you to come and show me the best way. In Jesus’ name, amen.

The Depth of God’s Love

John 9:17-22 WEB

Therefore they asked the blind man again, “What do you say about him, because he opened your eyes?” He said, “He is a prophet.” [18] The Jews therefore did not believe concerning him, that he had been blind, and had received his sight, until they called the parents of him who had received his sight, [19] and asked them, “Is this your son, whom you say was born blind? How then does he now see?” [20] His parents answered them, “We know that this is our son, and that he was born blind; [21] but how he now sees, we don’t know; or who opened his eyes, we don’t know. He is of age. Ask him. He will speak for himself.” [22] His parents said these things because they feared the Jews; for the Jews had already agreed that if any man would confess him as Christ, he would be put out of the synagogue.


Do you know what “being churched” means? It is modern-day teaching that if someone is stuck in sin they cannot overcome, they must be excommunicated from the body of Christ (I Cor 5:5). This is meant to lead people to repentance and it does, often. God knows how to save a sinner. The blind man was considered a sinner and he was afraid. He feared the repercussions from religious leaders if he said Jesus was God.

His parents were also afraid of the Pharisees. In Jesus’ day, the lives of Jewish people revolved around the synagogue. It would be traumatic for someone to be put out of the synagogue. To be put out of the synagogue was a tragedy. Of course, it was not really a tragedy. The Pharisees did it on purpose and with intent. The blind beggar and his parents were acutely aware their lives were going to be destroyed if they confessed Christ.

Did Jesus know the blind beggar was going to betray him soon? The Father certainly did. That is significant because Jesus was doing what he saw the Father doing. In other words, the Father knew the blind beggar was going to betray Jesus. And still, he healed him. Jesus did not push him away for his blindness. The Father did not push them away for their disbelief. The blind man and his parents were about to make a huge mistake and the Father knew how much they were going to need him.


Thank you, Father, for not rejecting me when I make mistakes. Thank you for accepting me and saving me. I trust you to keep me safe in your love. In Jesus’ name, amen.