Peer-acceptance can be a powerful force. It can strongly influence decisions, and even alter the course of one’s life. During Jesus’ ministry, there were many who recognized His divine nature, but could not bring themselves to the point of identifying with Him. John paused in his gospel narrative to comment on it:
“Nevertheless, even among the rulers many believed in Him, but because of the Pharisees they did not confess Him, lest they be put out of the synagogue; for they loved the praise of men more than the praise of God.” – John 12:42-43 NKJV
What a haunting “nevertheless”. The ones John wrote about were so close to choosing a new life of spiritual freedom but chose familiar bondage instead. To follow Christ is to look past the ones holding the chains of bondage disguised as love and acceptance. In Christ there is ultimate love and acceptance, but it requires an embracing of Him as Lord. May our lives today reflect the One who saved us, and may we wear His name well.