38 And after this Joseph of Arimathaea, being a disciple of Jesus, but secretly for fear of the Jews, besought Pilate that he might take away the body of Jesus: and Pilate gave him leave. He came therefore, and took the body of Jesus.
39 And there came also Nicodemus, which at the first came to Jesus by night, and brought a mixture of myrrh and aloes, about an hundred pound weight.
40 Then took they the body of Jesus, and wound it in linen clothes with the spices, as the manner of the Jews is to bury. John 19:38-40
Jesus died on the cross. A Roman soldier pierced Him with his sword. The sky turned black, the earth shook, the temple veil was torn in two to symbolize that Jesus is our High Priest. He gave us access to the Father. He destroyed everything that would separate us from the love of God. He swallowed up death and won the victory over hell!
That makes me want to shout for joy and tell everyone that I am saved because of what Jesus did for me!
How can I be a secret disciple of Jesus? Well, there are secret disciples of Jesus.
In this verse, we hear about Joseph of Arimathaea. He feared the Jews, so he followed Jesus secretly. In other gospels, we read that Joseph was a rich man, and that he was an ‘honourable councellor’. Matthew 27:
57 When the even was come, there came a rich man of Arimathaea, named Joseph, who also himself was Jesus’ disciple:
58 He went to Pilate, and begged the body of Jesus. Then Pilate commanded the body to be delivered.
Then in Mark 15:
43 Joseph of Arimathaea, an honourable counsellor, which also waited for the kingdom of God, came, and went in boldly unto Pilate, and craved the body of Jesus.
Joseph must have been very important, because he was able to gain access to Pilate, and get permission to take the body of Jesus.
Nicodemus was also with Joseph. He was the Pharisee who visited Jesus one night, in John, Chapter 3. He is the one that Jesus quoted the famous verse of John 3:16 to. I wonder if Nicodemus believed? It is a good sign when we read about him here. He brought a hundred pounds of spices to the tomb! Then, he helped Joseph wrap Jesus’s body in fine linen clothes and spices for His burial.
I just want to point out that there are some secret followers of Jesus. God has a purpose for them too. The death of Jesus called these men out of secrecy and into action. It is hard to be a Christian and sit on the sidelines for long. At some point, our faith calls us into action. Even secret followers sometimes are faced with a challenge to act.
If fear is keeping you from faith in action, there are many verses about it in the Bible. The one that gives me courage is Isaiah 41:10
10 Fear thou not; for I am with thee: be not dismayed; for I am thy God: I will strengthen thee; yea, I will help thee; yea, I will uphold thee with the right hand of my righteousness.
When the time comes for faith in action, remember that God is with you. He will strengthen you and help you, and will uphold you with his strong capable hand of righteousness.
Lastly, Jesus does not want us to be ashamed of believing in Him. Luke 9:26:
For whosoever shall be ashamed of me and of my words, of him shall the Son of man be ashamed, when he shall come in his own glory, and in his Father’s, and of the holy angels.
Be courageous, be strong, be confident in the Lord, and in His mighty power!
Dear God, this is the day we remember the death of Jesus. He died so that we could have life. He died so that we could receive grace, mercy, and forgiveness from You, for our many sins. His death was not in vain. You raised Jesus up from the grave, and gave Him the place at Your right hand, where He is interceding on our behalf. I thank You, and give You glory, honor, and praise! In the name of Jesus, I ask that Your will be done. Amen.