Subject to the Slavery of Human Opinion
42 Nevertheless many, even of the authorities, believed in him. But because of the Pharisees they did not confess it, for fear that they would be put out of the synagogue; 43 for they loved human glory more than the glory that comes from God.
People were believing in Jesus Christ but there was immense pressure coming from the authorities. Following Jesus meant the loss of privileges. Pharisees were excommunicated from the synagogue if they dared to proclaim Jesus. Obviously there were those who were trying to follow him in secret, but only in secret, for they feared human opinion. They were far too worried about what others might think and the ramifications for their lives. The result was that they sought the acceptance of others more than the salvation which came from Christ. Chrysostom tells us, “So then, they were not really rulers at all but slaves subject to the utmost slavery [of human opinion]. “
Christians have always been faced with the challenge of being in the world but not of it. There have been times in history when Christianity has been more favored, but the converse is also true. It’s easy to be a Christian when “everyone” is a Christian. It’s easy to be a Christian when Christianity has a favored status within a nation. But what happens when Christianity goes out of vogue? When it becomes radically counter-cultural?
We may discover that we become slaves of human opinion and that’s when we need to take the time to examine ourselves and our motivations. Being a Christ-follower has been a call to a counter-cultural life. Jesus said that we were to take up our cross and follow him! This is not a life that will garner the praise and/or approval of the world. It means that we may be thrown out of the elite inner circles when we expose what it is that we truly believe. However, unless we are willing to confess that we serve Jesus — and that he is our Lord — then we become slaves to human opinion.
To be set free in our spiritual lives we must let go of human opinion and live into Christ. What others think of us will never bring us peace nor eternal life. Therefore let’s shake off what the world or others think of us and stand firm in Christ. Live the life of faith that radically reveals Jesus to our world.
Lord, may I live in the freedom of following you. Amen.
Thank you to Nazarene Publishing House and Keri Mitchell for helping to create and publish Reflecting the Image. This is not a devotional book, but rather a collection of thoughts and stories which lead us in the direction of reflecting Christ. Click on the image to take you to the NPH bookstore.The book is also available in Kindle format on Amazon.com.