In last week’s text we learned of the fear that these leaders had of Jesus because the people were astonished by Him. I also confessed a irrational fear of clowns. Isn’t it interesting that, once again, fear is a motivating force in the decision making of these folks.
Jesus said to them, “I will ask you one question; answer me, and I will tell you by what authority I do these things. Was the baptism of John from heaven or from man? Answer me.” And they discussed it with one another, saying, “If we say, ‘From heaven,’ he will say, ‘Why then did you not believe him?’ But shall we say, ‘From man’?”—they were afraid of the people, for they all held that John really was a prophet. So they answered Jesus, “We do not know.” And Jesus said to them, “Neither will I tell you by what authority I do these things.” (Mark 11:27-33 ESV)
Fear will keep these folks from confessing the truth about Jesus. Yes, there were other things at play as well (pride, etc.) but fear is the one the Scriptures points at. Fear of man to be specific. When we mis-place our fear (on man or clowns), we give away the ability to act rationally. When we worry about what man may do to us we are in deep weeks. A great promise to glue to that problem is here:
The LORD is on my side; I will not fear. What can man do to me? (Psalm 118:6 ESV)
One of the problems with gaining power and prestige through popularity is that it can turn us into panderers. We can worry so much about what someone else thinks or what someone else might do that we lose sight of the one actual place where our true fear (in reverence and awe) should rest. That place is at and towards a Holy God as outlined by Jesus below.
And do not fear those who kill the body but cannot kill the soul. Rather fear him who can destroy both soul and body in hell (Matthew 10:28 ESV)
You will have many critics. Don’t worry about them. Worry about what the God of the Universe - The Creator - says and even more-so what you say about Him. Our text shows a people that are held hostage by one fear after another. You don’t have to be. A final Scripture as proof is that the perfect love of a perfect Savior casts out fear: There is no fear in love, but perfect love casts out fear. For fear has to do with punishment, and whoever fears has not been perfected in love. (1 John 4:18 ESV)
Who do you pay attention to when making decisions? Do you have a mis-placed fear that needs to be dealt with? We serve the God of the Universe who can eliminate that!