We are literally into the last days of Jesus' life on earth. He has been teaching and preaching and working miracles among the people for three years.
Some people believe Him and follow openly. Others believe but are afraid to show it for fear of being removed from the synagogue - in other words, excommunication. One group doesn't know what to think about Jesus yet. And the chief priests and Pharisees are conspiring to get rid of Him.
Those same attitudes are with us today. There are those who believe in Him, depend on Him for their every breath. They follow Him openly and speak of Him reverently in public. They attend worship services with their hearts in hand to be laid on the altar.
There are the half-believers who seem to want to believe, but they behave in public just like the rest of society. When the words of God and the opinions of society are in conflict, they will duck into the shadows, lest they be required to take a side or voice an opinion that might offend someone within earshot.
A second segment of these half-believers are those who attend church because it is the politically correct thing to do. Church is not a house of worship for the Lord in their hearts, but it is the place to be seen if one wants to get ahead socially, politically or economically.
We still have the doubters and seekers, the people who know what they have read about Jesus, but don't know whether to believe the authority of the Bible or not. After all, it is in conflict with the humanist teachings and evolutionary theory-factoids that they have been fed all their years in public school. No wonder they are confused.
And we still have the atheists, those who would see the references to Christ erased from our public forums and our schools. They are the Pharisees who would arrange the world to suit their private purposes. They lobby to have laws enacted that work in direct opposition to what God says is right. They want all authority to be handed over to and dispensed by the state. They want to abolish Jesus from our lives.
In the 1960's, when Madelyn Murray O'Hair lobbied to get prayer removed from our public schools, there was a joke making the rounds. "You'll never get prayer out of school as long as there are math tests." -- or history tests -- or you name the subject.
Point being, it became the butt of a joke. Christians didn't take it seriously because in that era it seemed unthinkable. Now you have to go to court to have a benediction at a baccalaureate service in some communities.
While public opinion should not change the follower of Christ, the follower of Christ should be aware of and seeking to change public opinion when it conflicts with the edicts of God. Are we doing that?
Grant us the wisdom to follow Christ and Him only. Give us the security to find our worth in Your opinion of us, not the world's opinion. Help us to move our world more into line with Your teaching.
In Jesus' most precious name.