10/23/18 Human Praise

READING: Matthew 21:23-22:14, Mark 11:27-12:12, Luke 20:1-19, John 12:37-50

“. . . many did believe in him even among the rulers.”

John 12:42

Many of the religious leaders of Jesus’ day turned against Him, but some apparently also believed in Him. Today’s text, though, isn’t entirely clear what that believing meant: “Nevertheless, many did believe in him even among the rulers, but because of the Pharisees they did not confess him, so that they would not be banned from the synagogue. For they loved human praise more than praise from God” (John 12:42-43). Some scholars argue that the faith of these religious leaders was simply immature, not yet strong enough to overcome their fears of being excommunicated from their synagogue (and probably their culture); thus, they remained secret disciples at least for a while. Others argue that their faith was clearly not genuine, evidenced by the fact that they did not confess Jesus publicly. For them, a silent faith is no faith at all.

Regardless of where one lands on this issue, it’s clear that loving human praise more than praise from God is seriously problematic. Not only is human praise fleeting, but idolizing that praise weakens any Christian witness. Somehow, a “secret disciple” of Jesus seems oxymoronic—but the phrase also seems to describe many believers today whose faith seems almost hidden.


  • Ask yourself the question, “Do I prefer man’s praise or God’s praise?” More specifically, “Am I willing to risk losing much in order to serve God?”
  • Don’t let your faith be hidden today.

PRAYER: “God, I want my faith to be genuine and open. Help me.” 

TOMORROW’S READING:  Matthew 22:15-23:39; Mark 12:13-44; Luke 20:20-21:4, 13:31-35