September 23, 2020
John 12:42-46
Yet at the same time many even among the leaders believed in him. 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.
Then Jesus cried out, “Whoever believes in me does not believe in me only, but in the one who sent me.  The one who looks at me is seeing the one who sent me.  I have come into the world as a light, so that no one who believes in me should stay in darkness.

New International Version (NIV)
Have you heard about the shy voters?  They will admit who they are voting for in an on-line survey but not on the phone or in public.  Just this morning I read about them.  They are supposedly represented in both parties.  I don’t know if it is true, but it is an odd phenomenon.  Perhaps we want to keep our votes to ourselves.

During Jesus’ ministry, John tells us that some of the religious leaders secretly believed in Jesus.  To acknowledge it publicly would have cost them more than they wanted to pay.  So they remained what David Barrett calls, “crypto-Christians”.  We can imagine in some countries that publicly affirming faith in Jesus could cost a person dearly.  Their children might be kept from going to college.  In some places, professing Christ might cost a person their job, or their life.  But not in the United States; not now; not yet.

John was not sympathetic toward them.  In his view, crypto-Christians like Nicodemus and Joseph of Arimathea “loved human praise for than praise from God”.  Jesus put it plainly:  His presence as the light of the world means that those who believe in him should not remain in the darkness.  After the crucifixion, both Joseph and Nicodemus emerged from the shadows to provide for Jesus’ burial.  One wonders what they might have done if they had been willing to publicly profess their faith in Christ while he was alive?  Could their commitment have encouraged other “shy-Christians” to come forward? 

Does everyone who knows us know that we know Christ?  If not, why not?  This seems easier in our country than in some other places.  Ralph Waldo Emerson said, “Let me never fall into the vulgar mistake of dreaming that I am persecuted whenever I am contradicted”.  There is no time like the present to emerge from the nether-world of private commitment into public profession of faith in obedience to Christ.  We may well be “shy-voters”, but I urge us not to be “shy-Christians”.
Pray with me:         
Father, thank you for Jesus’ public ministry.  As he called others to follow him in public, help us to hear your call to us today.  And today, when we hear your voice, help us not to harden our hearts or hide our commitment to Christ.  In Jesus’ name.  Amen.  
Join us in memorizing the Word.  Scripture for this week:    
Matthew 7:1-2
“Do not judge, or you too will be judged. For in the same way you judge others, you will be judged, and with the measure you use, it will be measured to you.
Our 2020 Every Day with Jesus readings will follow the Foundations New Testament reading plan.  Copies of the reading plan are available at Tallowood Baptist Church, or download your copy at REPLICATE.ORG 
We would love for you to join us as we read the New Testament through this year, five chapters a week.  In addition I will continue my long-standing practice of reading one Psalm a day through the year.  Use Robby Gallaty’s H. E. A. R. plan to study each chapter (also found at REPLICATE.ORG). Highlight verses which speak to you, explain what they mean in your own words in a journal, apply them to your own life, then respond by doing what God tells you to do.  

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