“Nevertheless even among the rulers many believed in Him, but because of the Pharisees they did not confess Him, lest they should be put out of the synagogue; for they loved the praises of men more than the praise of God.” John 12:42,43
Secret disciples? What is this, some kind of covert, clandestine, underground religious group? Are they the embarrassed representatives of disciples who in modern terminology would be considered “Lady Clairol Christians”; only their hairdresser would know for sure? Fearful to publicly profess their faith, the bible implies that they were not truly disciples at all.
Dr. David Jeremiah in his commentary on this verse of Scripture writes, “Leaders who seek the praise of men do not achieve the approval or accomplish the purposes of God.” These were men who were not about to lose their position in the synagogue. Oh what a pathetically sad and doleful example of weak spiritual leadership. In their refusal to outwardly acknowledge Jesus as Messiah, they sealed their eternal destiny.
Jesus said that whoever would confess Him before men, He would confess before God the Father. But if men would deny Him before others, He would deny them before His Father in heaven. (Matthew 10:33,34) These words of Christ were not pointed toward Peter in his temporary set back of profession; but rather directed toward those who would, through fear, shame, apathy, or just hankering to be respected by those in this world, out and out deny and refuse to confess Jesus Christ as Savior and King.