Later, Joseph of Arimathea asked Pilate for the body of Jesus. Now Joseph was a disciple of Jesus, but secretly because he feared the Jews.
I had a wonderful pastor during my college years. He could do not just one, but a series of sermons, on a single word in a verse. Every now and then he’d get ambitious and say he was going to preach a sermon on a whole passage. Those of us who served under his shepherding would just shake our heads and smile. Now, many years later, I still seek out golden nuggets of truth in the tiniest word or phrases in scripture.
Take the verse in John that introduces us to Joseph of Arimathea, for example. We read in Matthew that Joseph was a rich man. We read nothing about him in scripture until he offers his tomb for Jesus’ burial. Yet, he had the privilege of playing a huge role in the crucifixion story. As I read the accounts of his role in the story, three words scream out at me, “disciple... but secretly.”
Like many of us, Joseph was content to follow Christ from a distance. He listened to the teaching of this greatest of Rabbis but didn’t want it to cost him anything. Not his money, not his reputation. Then, there came a point in his walk when he had to decide. Was he a true disciple of Jesus who would serve his Lord regardless of how much it cost him? He stopped living in secret devotion, offering to bury the body of Jesus in his very own tomb. He would forever be known as a true disciple.
Let’s learn a great lesson from our brother in Christ, Joseph of Arimathea. Throw off the phrase “disciple... but secretly.” Realize that every believer reaches a point in their own walk where it can’t be done in secret anymore. We have to step out in faith. This Easter season, let’s determine in our hearts that the Christ who died for us deserves our praises loud and clear.