I was fascinated a year or more ago to realize that Baritmaeus’ parents were afraid of being thrown out of the temple, which would actually be even worse than being thrown out of the United Pentecostal Church–I lost friends and church “family,” but they lived in an area where nearly everyone but the enemy was Jewish. That gave me a new hope in spite of the things that had happened. If people who said Jesus healed someone were afraid of expulsion, Jesus was also rejected by the leaders the law said were anointed. He’s walked where I walk.
Today in Sunday School I came across another verse in John 12:
42 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; 43 for they loved praise from men more than praise from God.
I’ve heard verse 43 quoted quite a bit in my former church. But never in this context. It wasn’t about being fair or just to people in the world instead of protecting members. It wasn’t about trying to get a better job or more schooling. It was about people going along with the religious leaders of Jesus’ day rather than professing faith in Jesus because they were afraid of expulsion.
It’s a comforting thought to me.