March 4 - The Fear of Man
Our fears are not confined to the future or to things, one of our greatest fears is the fear of man. As we are growing up, we are more aware of the others around us. They live with us, watch our every move, interact with us and have opinions about us. They may talk to us openly or they can gossip behind our backs. Some of them are honest in their opinions but some are quite deceptive to the point that we do not know whom to trust any more. As we live in the presence of others, there is a certain fear about them.
The authority of Jesus was challenged by a group of people, the religious leaders of that day. They were the chief priests, scribes and elders who tried to find fault with Him. Jesus, knowing of their evil intent, deferred their question to a question about John the Baptist. For fear of the people, the leaders could not openly say that the baptism of John was not from above simply because the popular opinion was that John was a prophet. Later on after Jesus told them about the parable of the vineyard, these leaders really wanted to arrest Jesus but because of the fear of the people, they did not act that time.
This group of leaders had two problems: they were afraid of offending tradition and of coming against popular opinion. The tradition of honoring prophets stopped them from answering the question Jesus had asked of them. The fear of offending the people stopped them from arresting Jesus. The fear of man paralyzed them and they could not do what they wanted to do. Fear of others can do the same to us. We are afraid of breaking human traditions and offending people so we take the safe road of not doing anything we think we should do.
The fear of man is the root of our hypocrisy, knowing what we should do but because of others, fail to do it. Pleasing other people at the cost of not obeying God is a great part of our spiritual problem. Vertically, we are afraid of doing something not approved by our cultural traditions; horizontally, we are afraid of running against popular opinions. The burden of culture, both traditional and popular, causes us to freeze on our way to do God’s will.
Like a builder forsaking the stones nobody wants to build with, Jesus becomes the chief cornerstone for building God’s house. God chooses the foolish things of the world to shame the popular human wisdom and we are all amazed at what He does. Are you in a situation where you need to run against the grain and take a stand for God? Do you compromise because of what others think and say? Are you feeling the pressure to conform to this world? Are you taking the chief cornerstone or the stones the other builders have chosen to build your own life?
Ps 35:1-10 Num 2:1-3:51 Mark 11:27-12:17 Prov 10:24-25