John12:42,43 “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.”
This is a prevalent temptation for every Christian today. Many have felt the pressure not to openly acknowledge their faith at work, in social gatherings and in public. In my own career as a leader in the school system I have had many a ‘look’ at my small lapel cross that I usually wore to work. My supervisors where not keen on it. The unspoken rule in our culture is if you have faith in Jesus Christ be silent about it in public. I wasn’t silent about my faith and I got in trouble for it. If you doubt the existence of this rule try breaking it yourself and see what happens.
Our young people are quickly taught to keep their views on Jesus to themselves and ‘personal’. The case of William Swimmer illustrates the point; “. . . , a 12-grade student at Forest Heights Community School in Chester Basin, near Halifax, Nova Scotia, has been suspended for a second time for wearing a T-shirt which mentioned the name of Jesus. The “offensive” yellow shirt actually reads “Life is wasted without Jesus.”
I totally agree with young Mr. Swimmer’s T- shirt and would not have suspended him for wearing it. One official felt Mr. Swimmer should have made his statement more personal; “School Board Superintendent Nancy Pynch-Worthylake, quoted in the Halifax Chronicle-Herald, explained that the T-shirt could be offensive to those with other beliefs. ‘If it said ‘My Life is Wasted Without Jesus,’ that would be fine, said Pynch-Worthylake, ‘because that would be more personal.’ ”
Every Bible believing Christian is going to run into trouble with the world because Jesus told us; “Go ye therefore, and teach all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Ghost” (Matthew 28:19) And we know that the world hates His name; “Did not we straitly command you that ye should not teach in this name? and, behold, ye have filled Jerusalem with your doctrine . . . ” (Act 5:28)
And so is the choice for every believer – Jesus or silence. Peter and the apostles made their choice; “We ought to obey God rather than men. The God of our fathers raised up Jesus whom you murdered by hanging on a tree. Him God has exalted to His right hand to be Prince and Savior, to give repentance to Israel and forgiveness of sins. And we are His witnesses to these things, and so also is the Holy Spirit whom God has given to those who obey Him.” (Acts 5:29-32) What choice will you make – Follow the world and be silent or Follow Jesus and speak out?
The outcome of either choice is perfectly clear. Jesus said; “Whosoever therefore shall be ashamed of me and of my words in this adulterous and sinful generation; of him also shall the Son of man be ashamed, when he cometh in the glory of his Father with the holy angels” (Mark 8:38) And for those who stay the course; “Well done, good and faithful servant! You have been faithful with a few things; I will put you in charge of many things. Come and share your master’s happiness!” (Matthew 25:21)
It all depends on whose praise you love the most? “The fear of man bringeth a snare: but whoso putteth his trust in the LORD shall be safe.” (Proverbs 29:25)
Praise the Lord!