“For they loved the praise of men more than the praise of God.” John 12:43.
When you are scuba diving under the water, all the live wildlife is in the strong current. One time, our dive team went down to a shark point. It was a dive point where you could see a lot of sharks. But there is always a strong current, so in order for you to stay in one spot to enjoy watching all the big sharks, you have to use a hook to hook yourself to the bottom of the point. Otherwise, you would be swept by the current, for using the fin to fight the current to stay in one place would be nearly impossible. It would be much easier just to let go and stay in the current. Just go wherever the current leads you. But if you do that, you’ll miss out on the incredible view.
It seems that’s what the rulers were doing back then. Verse 42 tells that the rulers believed in Jesus (as He performed great things, and recently, Jesus brought Lazarus back to life), yet they could not confess due to the Pharisees. They did not want to be put out of the synagogue. They were not willing to fight the current to watch the incredible view, which is receiving the reward of salvation as we confess to believing in Jesus. They gave in and went along with the current. Peer pressure is something that is not easy to go against. And for these rulers, it wasn’t just peer pressure, they would be cast out of the social connections and the community since they’d be kicked out of the synagogue. Hence, it was persecution for them.
What about us? There will be a time when people will give us trouble for expressing our faith in Jesus Christ. What should we do? Should we give in to the current and go with the flow like the rest of the world? Or should we learn to hook ourselves on to Jesus and be able to receive the rewards that He has prepared for us? You know the answer.