“While he was in Jerusalem for the feast of Passover, many began to believe in his name when they saw the signs he was doing. But Jesus would not trust himself to them because he knew them all, and did not need anyone to testify about human nature. He himself understood it well.” (John 2:23-25)
There is an ugly behavioral tendency that rears its head frequently in this country. Just let a person receive fame for some good work or heroic behavior and it won’t be long till someone starts tearing her or him down. Someone can be riding high one day and by the next the negative slams make their way onto the web or on a national broadcast. Very few people survive our need to shoot down our heroes.
It would seem that human nature was the same in Jesus’ day. He knew that all the praise the people were heaping upon him would soon turn into anger and condemnation. Surface fans too easily would become Satan’s sidekicks.
Jesus knew that he could not let down his guard on his journey.. He must stay focused on his mission and he must rely solely on the Spirit for guidance and support. He must continue to love unreservedly and speak truth to the people. Temptations to fame must be put aside in favor of zeal for the mission. The golden spotlight must be replaced by the dark clouds of suffering and crucifixion. And on this journey Jesus must not even rely on his disciples for all will back away from him in the midst of the chaos.
There times in our lives when we give in to the temptation to bask in the adulation of others. We enjoy the praise we receive for our writing abilities or gardening skills, our leadership skills or our people skills. Yet in the end everything must be about our mission to follow Jesus and praise is not always a part of that mission.
Questions for Reflection:
1. Have I had an experience of having others praise me, only to have them ignore me at a later time? How did that feel?
2. Why is it important to be a student of human nature?
Prayer: Jesus, help me to keep focused on my mission to serve rather that to seek the praise of others. Amen.
Janis Yaekel, asc