December 1, 2008 Ration
And the chief priests and the scribes were seeking how to put Him to death, for they feared the people.
No one is immune to the fear of men. We all want to satisfy our own desires and undoubtedly there will be someone standing in check, at least in our thoughts. Thus, the fear of men connives and stirs in our hearts until we get what we desire.
Even those, and maybe especially those, who find themselves in a position of high rank are tempted by the fear of men. The chief priests evidence at least two evil desires in this verse. The first is the obvious unwarranted desire to have the head of Christ. The second is the scheming affection by which they might accomplish the first. They were seeking how to get what they wanted with the least amount of hinderance and fallout possible. Satan knows well this affection of their heart, and he enters Judas to give them a way to play to their fear of men. When Judas conferred with the chief priests how he might betray Christ in the absence of a crowd, they were glad, and agreed to give him money (22:3-6). They bought off their fear.
This uneasiness the chief priests felt in their desire to put Christ to death in that it would upset the people - should have served as a conscience check to see if issuing the arrest warrant was the right desire. But their desire for his death was so great, the people only stood as an obstacle. Therefore they feared the people, which played to their ensnarement by Satan through Judas.
Artists, the fear of men will only result in the opportunity to play to the foul desires of our hearts. We will work such fears until we can figure out a way around the alarms of conscience. If our consciences were clean, then any objection raised by men against a desire of our heart would serve to further refine that desire. And then, if the desire proved to be right and worthy to be pursued, it could be championed by courage rather than slighted by cowardice where it proves unpopular. Be careful here. Man-pleasing is not now the affection to follow. That is what Judas did in his conferring. Man-pleasing is just the positive charge of the fear of men magnate. Opposites will always attract.
When the fear of men begins to caress our hearts, artists, let us review our desires to see if they are in fact holy and honorable. And where they are, then let us not be dastards with what is true and fruitful. Courageous, humble articulators of truth are sorely needed.
So play not to the fear of men, artists, and you will be strong. Play not to the fear of men and you will be saved from the errors and burdens of self-reliance. Play not to the fear of men and you will see Satan when Judas proposes his scheme. Play not to the fear of men and you will enjoy a clean conscience, whether feast or famine. Play not to the fear of men and you will find a particular fellowship with God!
Artists, the fear of men should warn us that there is an affection awry in our desire. It may be the desire itself, or it may be the motive we use or the end we seek. Or, it may be a last ditch devil-effort launched to subvert the truth through our cowardice. Whatever it is, the fear of men is to be discerned and slain with the sword of the Spirit, which is the Word of God. Be like Christ, then, and fear no men!
© 2008 The Gaius Project