“Many people did believe in him, however, including some of the Jewish leaders. But they wouldn’t admit it for fear that the Pharisees would expel them from the synagogue. For they loved human praise more than the praise of God” John 12:42-43.
A study was recently done by a scholar at Stanford University. He studied passengers on airplanes and observed that people often mimicked the purchasing behaviors of those around them. If one passenger bought a movie or a snack, it was 30% more likely that those around them would also make a similar purchase. The study found that the longer passengers were delayed on their flight, or the more uncomfortable they were in their cramped seat, the more likely they would make on-board purchases to ease their discomfort. Discomfort and peer-pressure are a potent combination of social forces that make people on airplanes spend their money - and the airlines are pleased to see it happen!
In John 12 we learn that many people believed in Jesus, including religious leaders. We know that at least one leader, Nicodemus, came to see Jesus secretly in the night (See John 3). In their minds and hearts many knew that something about Jesus was true, good, beautiful, and holy. But their actions, the way they lived their lives, could not follow through. Maybe it was the discomfort of possibly being kicked out of the synagogue, or the peer-pressure of those around them; whatever the cause, many chose to keep their belief of Jesus to themselves.
It is humbling to learn just how easily swayed we are. A dose of discomfort and a moment of peer-pressure will sometimes be enough to make us change our minds on important matters. This is why we intentionally step into the Lenten story; to watch and learn from Jesus who stepped forward lovingly and confidently even in the midst of chaos. Jesus fully trusted his Father. What discomfort or peer-pressure do you face today that you can bring to Jesus? Will you also trust the Father with it? Though the world may spin chaotically around you, may you know the comforting, pressure-free love of God this Lenten season.
Lake Ridge Community Church