John 12 Lesson

Peer pressure

So far in our study of the Gospel of John, we have discussed the following topics:

There are now only 10 chapters remaining in John’s Gospel. Over the course of the next 10 days, Lord willing, we will be touching on some of the most important events in the history of the world!

Today, we are going to talk about peer pressure. Usually, we associate the term, “Peer pressure,” with childhood, or adolescence. Peer pressure, however, occurs at all ages, and is a powerful tool of the devil.

We will begin our study of Chapter 12 by asking the following question:

Is it possible that the same person could have been present for all four of the following events?

  1. Jesus raising Lazarus from the dead.
  2. Jesus making His triumphal entry into Jerusalem.   As Jesus approached Jerusalem, everyone was laying down palm branches and yelling, “Hosanna! Blessed is He who comes in the name of the Lord, even the King of Israel!”
  3. Jewish rulers becoming increasingly jealous of Jesus and beginning to severely punish those who outwardly believed in Him.
  4. The crowds being given an opportunity to release Jesus.  Instead of releasing Him, they chanted, "Crucify Him!  Crucify Him!"

Could somebody that had only days earlier cheered on Jesus’ triumphal entry, be pressured into calling for His crucifixion?  Could the same person that cheered His arrival become part of the angry crowd that chanted repeatedly, “Crucify Him! Crucify Him!”?

The answer, sadly, is yes.

We are all influenced by the people around us. For this reason, it is imperative that we do not surround ourselves with people that cause us to sin. 

The Apostle Paul understood this, and that is why he wrote in his first letter to the Corinthians:

“Do not be deceived: Bad company corrupts good morals.” – 1 Corinthians 15:33.

It is entirely possible that back in the time of Jesus, there was an individual that was amazed at how Lazarus was raised from the dead. This person probably believed in Jesus and was there chanting, “Hosanna!” with the rest of the giant crowd as Jesus road into Jerusalem. Maybe this person was starting to love Jesus, but was also hearing of people being punished, or even killed for saying that they loved Jesus. So this person was intimidated and remained silent. They continued in silence until the day that Jesus was crucified. They would have been there when the crowds were given a chance to set Jesus free, but instead yelled, “Crucify Him! Crucify Him!” Maybe, they even started yelling it themselves.

Knowing that we want to follow Jesus is not enough. As followers of Jesus, we need to continuously evaluate ourselves and make sure that it is His commandments we are following. We need to make sure that we do not get caught following the crowd and giving into what the world tells us is important.

We also need to make sure we are surrounding ourselves with others that are seeking to follow Jesus.  This is absolutely critical!  Life will get hard sometimes. We are all going to need the support of others to keep our priorities straight. Likewise, as Christians, we all have a role to play in encouraging others to follow Jesus and His teachings.  The Hebrew writer put it this way:

“And let us consider how to stimulate one another to love and good deeds.” – Hebrews 10:24.

John 12 also tells the story of Mary anointing Jesus with costly perfume. John writes that the perfume cost approximately 300 denarii. One denarius was equal to approximately one day’s wage. So the perfume that Mary was anointing Jesus with was almost a year’s pay. Judas said that this was not a good use for the perfume, although he had ulterior motives.

When we look at this from Mary’s eyes, it is understandable why she did what she did. Jesus knew her and knew her family, including her brother Lazarus. John writes that Jesus loved them and that He wept when Lazarus died. Mary was able to witness Jesus bringing her brother back from the dead and she had a strong belief that Jesus was the Christ that was prophesied about.

Mary anointed the feet of Jesus and wiped His feet with her hair. When others tried to stop her, Jesus said:

“Let her alone, so that she may keep it for the day of My burial. For you always have the poor with you, but you do not always have Me.” – John 12:7-8.

The lesson from this story is to serve Jesus, even when others try to persuade us not to. Like Mary, we must be strong enough in our faith to continue serving God and worshiping our Savior.  Regardless of what others try to persuade us to believe, or to do, as followers of Jesus, it is His commandments that we need to follow.

If we do that, we will someday hear the words we long to hear, “Well done, my good and faithful servant.”  Hearing that from our heavenly Father is worth more than anything any crowd could offer.  

Comments

Pat Dermody

I agree that surrounding ourselves with believers is very important in reinforcing our faith and enabling us, in the good sense of the word. Also we can never underestimate the power of the Holy Spirit and the strength he brings to us every minute of every day, if we listen and abide .

Reply
Dan

Peer pressure can come from family, too. That can be one of the hardest pressures to deal with. Yet the promises of God are still true--"Though my father and mother forsake me, the Lord will receive me" (Psalm 27:10). Many young people have had to leave their family traditions behind to follow the Lord, and in so doing faced a great test of faith.
May we all determine to not let anyone dissuade us from being a disciple of Jesus!

Reply
John

So how do we balance keeping "Good company" with being in the world to save sinners? I suspect we pray about it and allow the Holy Spirit to guide us. There are situations that God wants us to be in, and others He does not.

Reply
4LaMarr

You wonder if one person could have been at these events and still went against Christ? If Peter could deny Jesus three times anyone could considering the time they spent together and the role he played in the life of Jesus. The Holy Spirit gave him courage and as a result he never denied his faith again. It takes courage to go against peer pressure of any kind. When we are faced with fear we have to pray and lean on the Holy Spirit ourselves in order to stay true to our beliefs. If we stumble, we have to repent, then try again. Talking to and being around other believers will make the battle easier while giving us the much needed support to stay in the fight.

Reply
John
4LaMarr

Great comments. Appreciate you sharing!

Reply
Michael
4LaMarr

Amen!

Reply
mustang

Amen!

Reply