John 19:38 “Joseph of Arimathea asked Pilate for the body of Jesus. Now Joseph was a disciple of Jesus, but secretly because he feared the Jews. With Pilate's permission, he came and took the body away.” (NIV)
In a matter of four days, Jesus went from being worshipped by a great crowd upon His celebrated entry into Jerusalem (John 12:11-19) to being deserted by all His disciples (Matthew 26:56) and condemned to die by the masses (Matthew 27:22-23). Those who loved Jesus, who followed Him, who were healed by Him, or were touched by His teaching all deserted him, yet it was Joseph of Arimathea who was the first person who publicly stepped out of the shadows to be identified with Jesus. Up to this time, Joseph admired and followed Jesus, but did not have the courage to stand with Him. At the point of greatest risk to Joseph’s life, he publicly identified with Jesus, and the rest is history. We are called to proclaim Christ boldly, but are you willing to identify with Him, much less share the Good News of knowing Jesus? Do you believe the Word when it says in Romans 6:23 “For the wages of sin is death, but the gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord.” It does not say you will miss out on the good life, but that the penalty for not knowing Jesus as Lord and Savior is death – eternal separation from God. Who would not warn someone of an imminent catastrophic event much less their impending death, yet we do this daily with people we know and meet. It is doubtful you will ever have to put your life at risk as Joseph did, or give up your life as ten of the disciples did, but are you willing to actively engage others for Christ in all aspects of your life, regardless of the cost? Luke 9:26 says, “If anyone is ashamed of Me and My words, the Son of Man will be ashamed of him when He comes in His glory and in the glory of the Father and of the holy angels.” Your boldness for Christ represents your belief of who He is. Ask God to give you the courage of Joseph to step forward and be identified with Christ. It is this type of faith that will take you to a new level of relationship and experience with Christ. Bountifully sow the Word of God and reap bountiful results!
Acts 5:40-42 “They called the apostles in and had them flogged. Then they ordered them not to speak in the name of Jesus, and let them go. The apostles left the Sanhedrin, rejoicing because they had been counted worthy of suffering disgrace for the Name. Day after day, in the temple courts and from house to house, they never stopped teaching and proclaiming the good news that Jesus is the Christ.” (NIV)