March 29, 2021
By: Gabriel Tseng
When Jesus had said these things, he departed and hid himself from them. Though he had done so many signs before them, they still did not believe in him, so that the word spoken by the prophet Isaiah might be fulfilled:

“Lord, who has believed what he heard from us,
    and to whom has the arm of the Lord been revealed?”

Therefore they could not believe. For again Isaiah said,

“He has blinded their eyes
    and hardened their heart,
lest they see with their eyes,
    and understand with their heart, and turn,
    and I would heal them.”

Isaiah said these things because he saw his glory and spoke of him. Nevertheless, many even of the authorities believed in him, but for fear of the Pharisees they did not confess it, so that they would not be put out of the synagogue; for they loved the glory that comes from man more than the glory that comes from God. -John 12:36-43

To believe many times has been equated to a type of knowledge or simple fact or the truth of it. We are in times where we have more access to knowledge on the internet in an ever changing world, with a more disconnected unifying narrative story. How are we to relate to one another with such diverse perspectives and different paradigms of understanding. It can be much easier and more comfortable to share a common language, a common heritage, and common story that binds us all together. What strikes me is that as John writes his account of all that is happening during this Easter week, he draws upon what is past and how it ties into the present. 
The words “love the glory that comes from man” strikes me in the passage. Couple that with the fact that many miracles were shown to those who still would not believe, it brings two concepts of faith together. Believing is not merely seeing it happen. Many a miracle happened to many people and many have seen God’s hand, but yet “they did not believe in him.” 

We can love many things and not all of them equally. We can love Taco Bell and love our dogs in much different ways than we may love or husbands or love our wives and even in loving our children. There are different shades and types of commitment. Even as the Pharisees may have loved God in their own manner, John points out that they loved the glory and praise and approval that comes from man more. 

I am confronted often that my behavior is only a small aspect of sin. My heart, my competing allegiances, and my thoughts that go unseen and unheard, are often of greater importance to how God may see me and relate to me. These are aspects of my life I can keep quiet, away from public life. These are moments, where only I know if I’m being genuine and honest. The purity of the religious elite looked very pure and deceivingly righteous, but their desire for the praise and approval of the people was made ever so clear and up close, as Jesus began to expose where their hearts were. It is always difficult to believe, to trust, to surrender, when there is so much that seemed to be at stake for the Pharisees. Their status as religious elites, their identity as the wardens of truth, their very way of life in relating to their people and culture, they could not believe that this Jesus who was turning not only the “money-changers” tables over, was also turning their hearts over and exposing their unbelief. I find my heart many times like theirs. Guarded and afraid to be embarrassed and shown to be a fraud.
It all melts away when I see that Savior in whom I’m so reluctant to trust, go to the cross in my stead, to be ashamed instead of me. Him who had no sin, the rich who became poor, also calls me into that same life, and wins me over not by shaming me, but allowing shame to be heaped on Him.  

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