The Praise of Men … Is Not to Be Trusted!
Now while he was in Jerusalem at the Passover Feast, many people saw the miraculous signs he was doing and believed in his name. But Jesus would not entrust himself to them, for he knew all men. He did not need man’s testimony about man, for he knew what was in a man.
Beware of putting your emphasis on the praise of man rather than on the praise of God! It is an easy trap to fall into, often catching us unawares in its vice, tightly turning our motives into pleasing a creature in lieu of our Creator. We are to live our lives for an audience of One. We all live coram Deo–before the face of God–whether we choose to believe it or not. Our opinions and biases do not alter the truth.
Jesus did not entrust Himself to men because He knew them. He was aware of the weakness of some and the wickedness of others. He knew their natures, their dispositions, their intentions, and their affections. He knew them better than they knew themselves. His knowledge came not from others information but by His own omniscience.
As believers, our actions should always be conforming to what God desires of and for us. I am reminded of Peter and John’s words to the religious leaders of their day after being warned not to speak again in the name of Jesus:
Then they called them in again and commanded them not to speak or teach at all in the name of Jesus. But Peter and John replied, “Judge for yourselves whether it is right in God’s sight to obey you rather than God. For we cannot help speaking about what we have seen and heard.” (Acts 4:18-20)
Contrast Peter and John’s actions with those of some of the leaders who desired man’s praises over God’s:
Yet at the same time many even among the leaders believed in him. But because of the Pharisees they would not confess their faith for fear they would be put out of the synagogue; for they loved praise from men more than praise from God. (John 12:42-43)
Take It to Heart
Think for a moment, do you care more about what others think of you than what God thinks?
Fear of man will control us if we do not choose to have the fear of God control us. Proverbs tells us:
The fear of the LORD is the beginning of knowledge, but fools despise wisdom and discipline. (Proverbs 1:7)
“I do not accept praise from men, but I know you. I know that you do not have the love of God in your hearts. I have come in my Father’s name, and you do not accept me; but if someone else comes in his own name, you will accept him. How can you believe if you accept praise from one another, yet make no effort to obtain the praise that comes from the only God?”