Glory

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 12:42-43 ESV)

They loved the glory that comes from man more than the glory that comes from God because they did not want to be put out of the synagogue. Being put out of the synagogue meant rejection, shame, embarrassment, loss of social status, etc. and they were not willing to endure that. Oh, I understand how they felt.  I am tempted every day to choose  the glory that comes from man.

Will I be willing, today, tomorrow and the day after tomorrow, etc. to be without friends at work, to be without church or to lose the consideration of my “spiritual family”, to be despised by the non-believers around me (siblings, friends, neighbors, coworkers, etc.) for the sake of Christ? Am I going to open my Bible on the bus, subway, train, even if it means being laughed at? Am I going to seek the glory that comes from God even if it means that I will have none on this earth?

Every day, you and I  must make a choice. Let the following words of Christ help us make the right one: Whoever loves his life loses it, and whoever hates his life in this world will keep it for eternal life. (John 12:25 ESV)

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Relationship or only power?

And a great crowd followed him and thronged about him. And there was a woman who had had a discharge of blood for twelve years, and who had suffered much under many physicians, and had spent all that she had, and was no better but rather grew worse. She had heard the reports about Jesus and came up behind him in the crowd and touched his garment. For she said, “If I touch even his garments, I will be made well.” And immediately the flow of blood dried up, and she felt in her body that she was healed of her disease. And Jesus, perceiving in himself that power had gone out from him, immediately turned about in the crowd and said, “Who touched my garments?” And his disciples said to him, “You see the crowd pressing around you, and yet you say, ‘Who touched me?’”  And he looked around to see who had done it. But the woman, knowing what had happened to her, came in fear and trembling and fell down before him and told him the whole truth.  And he said to her, “Daughter, your faith has made you well; go in peace, and be healed of your disease.” Mark 5:25-34

No one can imagine the pain and the despair of that woman. She was so desperate that she chose to do what she knew she should not. She needed Jesus desperately. She needed His power to heal. That was all she wanted. She touched Jesus and was healed, but did not touch God’s heart. She was healed but God did not know her. She was healed but she did not meet her God.

But because the Lord is a loving God, He did not let her go. He wanted to give her more than she asked for. He wanted to offer her the healing of her soul, a relationship with Him, a place in His family. So He pursued her, offering her the choice to reject Him or to run to Him. The same thing He does with us every day. We are always free to choose His blessings and refuse His affection. Sometimes we are frustrated because He offers only Himself. But for God, Himself is the best gift He can offer (John 17:3). And sometimes it is the only thing we need. To have God’s blessing can make us happy, to have God will give us an unending joy and peace (John 14:27; 16:22).

This woman understood that she needed more from Jesus. She was healed, but came to Him and fell down before Him, showing her faith. And Jesus honored that faith. He made her well, whole, complete. She got a lot of more by choosing to acknowledge Jesus’ Lordship. And He called her “daughter”. He gave her a place in His family, a place in heaven with Him (Colossians 1:12-13). God pours His blessings on the evil and the good (Matthew 5:45), but only those who are ready to fall down before Him, to accept Him as Father are part of His family (John 1:12-13). And that is more that all the blessings we can want. Let’s  praise the Lord for that precious gift of Himself.