John 7:13 NKJV However, no one spoke openly of Him for fear of the Jews.
The Jewish feast of Tabernacles was at hand and families were busily with their final preparations for the feast. People were cleaning, picking up items from the market, etc… Just think about the grocery store the day before Thanksgiving or Thanksgiving morning and you’ll probably have a decent picture of the hustle and bustle. And just like at your family or community gatherings around holidays everyone is swapping stories about the most recent television news broadcasts except in Jerusalem Jesus was the topic of the hour.
Some liked Him. Some hated Him. Some believed He was Messiah. Some thought He was a charlatan. Unfortunately as seems to be the norm, the doubters, haters, and negative folk were not silent about their thoughts concerning Jesus. Their bombastic hate filled rhetoric cast fear into the hearts of those that had heard, seen & experienced His teachings, healings, signs, and testimonies of those that were familiar with His ministry, so that the best they could must up was to say that He was good (John 7:12).
These tactics are favorites of the enemy who continues to use them effectively against the church. At least the people had not yet experienced the wonder of redemption through Christ nor encountered His amazing grace through which we have been born-again by faith in Him. Yet there are many such people who have experienced the goodness of His grace and have been radically changed having become a new creation in Christ, but from fear of ridicule, shame, or persecution have been silenced by the clamor of those that refuse to believe.
The word translated “openly” in John 7:13 could also be used as boldly. It wasn’t that people didn’t say anything, but they just didn’t make it fully know what they believed. Instead of saying, “Jesus is the Christ, the Son of the Living God” they might’ve said, “Well he really seems like a pretty nice guy to me.” There is increase in societal pressure to not speak about Jesus and the new life we experience in Him. Jesus conquered fear on the cross when He gave His life for ours, now we can live in His freedom boldly living for Him. Don’t give in to the pressure and fear to profess who Jesus is and what He’s done. He wrote a letter on your heart (2 Corinthians 3:3). Stand up, read it, and speak up.
“Let us not pray to be sheltered from dangers but to be fearless when facing them.” Rabindanath Tagore