Inspired by John 12:36-43
“Nevertheless many, even of the authorities, believed in [Jesus]. But because of the Pharisees they did not confess it, for fear that they would be put out of the synagogue; for they loved human glory more than the glory that comes from God.” John 12:42-43 (NRSV)
Many are the verses that speak of the remnant, the few, the faithful minority who live according to the Word of God. Those who are truly followers of Christ have always found themselves set against the dominant values of society, regardless of where or when they may have lived. Christians have always had to choose between the expediency of conforming to the prevailing culture, or the ostracism of conforming to the will of Christ.
The situation today is no different. The values of the world are in direct opposition to the values of Christ. Love, charity, forgiveness, and moderation must take the place of calculated posturing, self-aggrandizement, vendetta, and self-indulgence. Those who try to ‘be in the world but not of the world’ find themselves continually surrounded by those who will mock and scorn them, if not outright attack them. It’s tempting to take the path of expediency and avoid the rejection that comes with being a vocal follower of Christ. It’s tempting to enjoy the immediate validation of society rather than wait for the much greater validation of the Lord of all.
But that’s not how we’re called to live. We are told, “God so loved the world that he gave his only Son, so that everyone who believes in him may not perish but may have eternal life.” How can a person believe in someone they’ve never even heard of? If Christians refuse to proclaim the good news of salvation by confessing Christ as Lord, how can others come to know him? God cares for us individually, but he also cares for us collectively, and as members of the body of Christ, we are to use the gifts God has given us to further his kingdom on earth. To do otherwise is to abandon to death and ignorance those whose approval we seek. For although God rejects the values of the dominant society, he still loves those individuals who comprise it.
Let us pray. Transcendent God, you are Lord at all times and in all places. Embolden us to confess your name, that all may come to believe in you. Through Christ our Lord, Amen.