Journey Through The Bible
Old Testament Reading: Numbers 11-14
New Testament Reading: John 19
After this, Joseph of Arimathea, who was a disciple of Jesus - but secretly because of his fear of the Jews - asked Pilate that he might remove Jesus's body. Pilate gave him permission; so he came and took his body away. Nicodemus (who had previously come to him at night) also came, bringing a mixture of about seventy-five pounds of myrrh and aloes. They took Jesus's body and wrapped it in linen cloths with the fragrant spices, according to the burial custom of the Jews (John 19:38-40).
The Roman soldiers pronounced the death of Jesus and took him down from the cross. But now what? His disciples had all deserted Him and if no one claimed His body, the soldiers would have dumped Jesus' body in an unmarked common grave with the other criminals.
But God had other plans! God had prepared two men who, because of fear, previously kept their faith a secret. But now they boldly stepped forward out from the shadows and into action.
The first is Joseph of Arimathea, a wealthy man and prominent member of the Jewish Council. Facing banishment from his fellow Jews in the Sanhedrin, Joseph asked Pilate for Jesus' body, wanting to give Him a proper burial. No longer keeping his beliefs private, he courageously identifies himself as a follower of Jesus. No longer silenced by fear, Joseph of Arimathea revealed his faith by honoring his Lord.
The second man is someone we previously met, Nicodemus, who came to Jesus by night. The man who started off in confusion, hidden by the dark of night, ended up in the light of day, confident in his belief. Nicodemus came out of the darkness and into the light and with Joseph was not ashamed to publicly display their faith in Jesus Christ. They boldly identified with Jesus when He seemed like a failure and His cause hopeless.
With the Sabbath quickly approaching, these two disciples carried the Lord's body in broad daylight, in full sight of their fellow Jews. They prepared Jesus' body with spices and a linen wrapping, according to the burial custom of the Jews. Then they laid Him in the tomb.
What an example these two men are for us today. Do we sometimes keep our faith hidden? Do we bow and thank God before our meals in public places, or do we fear the sideways glances of others? Do we give God credit for answered prayer in conversations with unbelieving friends and family members? Do we remain silent about our faith in conversations among coworkers? It's time we follow Joseph of Arimathea and Nicodemus and step out of the shadows to honor Jesus.
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