“Nevertheless even out of the rulers many believed in Him, but because the Pharisees, they were not confessing, for they feared they would be banished from the synagogue for they loved the glory of men more than the glory of God.” (St. John 12:24-43)
In the name of Jesus. Amen. What a chilling condemnation! They believed in Jesus but didn’t confess Him for they loved the praise of men too much. What is so troubling is that we are just like the Pharisees. We believe, but we seek after the praise of men. We believe, but we soften our confession or don’t confess Him before men because we might lose their glory.
We are so turned inward, that we even seek the praise of men when we are worshiping God. “Look at me! Look at how I worship God! Look at how much I love God. Look at what I’m doing!”
Isn’t it sickening what we do? Seeking the praise of men is incompatible with the glory of God. There is just enough Lent left for us to turn from this dreadful sin. Turn from seeking after the praise of men!
The Introit for today saves us! Say it out loud and be saved:
“God forbid that I should glory: save in the Cross of our Lord Jesus Christ. In Him is salvation, life and resurrection from the dead: by Him we are redeemed and set at liberty. God be merciful to us and bless us: and cause His face to shine upon us. Glory be to the Father, and to the Son, and to the Holy Spirit. Amen.”
The One who deserves the praise of men doesn’t receive it! Jesus alone deserves praise, honor, and glory, but He receives none.
“Surely He has borne our griefs and carried our sorrows; Yet we esteemed Him stricken, Smitten by God, and afflicted,” (Isaiah 53:4). He doesn’t seek the praise of men. Instead, He is cast not only out of the synagogue, but out of Jerusalem, carrying His Cross. There, at the place of the Skull, He dies for those who esteem Him not, those who love themselves more than they love Him – for you and me.
He loves us more than His own life. Thank God, Jesus loves us more than we love Him. He gives up His life for us, despite us. In the name of Jesus. Amen.
“Almighty and everlasting God, grant us grace so to pass through this holy time of our Lord’s Passion that we may obtain the pardon of sins; through the same Jesus Christ, Thy Son our Lord, who liveth, and reigneth, with you and the Holy Ghost, ever one God, world without end. Amen.” (the Collect for Holy Tuesday)
Higher Things Reflections are written by Rev. George F. Borghardt III, Assistant Pastor at St. Mark Lutheran Church, Conroe, TX.