"But no one would say anything publically about him for fear of the Jews"
It takes courage to believe in Jesus. 'Jews' in John's Gospel, are not Jews racially, but the Temple authorities as well as many Pharisees and Sadducees. To hold an opinion about Jesus that differed from that of the religious experts was hard for ordinary folk. They were accused of being 'sinners.' As it happened, the experts were wrong. Better to make a mistake by thinking for yourself, than to follow learned spiritual prejudice.