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Post  Admin on Sun 26 Sep 2010, 12:47 pm

LET THE SILENT STEP UP
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. With Pilate's permission, he came and took the body away.- John 19:38
September 6, 2010 Floyd Ray Gage
A secret disciple of Jesus seems to be a phrase that shouldn't belong together. We are told here of one of the most famous secret disciples of Jesus in Scripture. What should we think of Joseph of Arimathea? Should we criticize him for being a secret disciple of Jesus up to this time or should we praise him for his courage at this critical time when the usually more outspoken disciples are nowhere to be found?
Let's deal with the truth that being a secret disciple of Jesus is not something that has gone out of style in our time. In fact, it may be the norm today instead of being an anomaly. Many are secret disciples of Christ in their workplace, community, and even in their home.
Should we condemn this form of discipleship? Jesus did say that those who do not confess Him before men will not be confessed as His before the Father. Therefore, we can conclude that those who say they are Christians and never own up to their faith under any circumstances are probably not believers at all.
What of Joseph though as we look at his secret discipleship? We see that he was quiet because he was afraid of the Jews. This isn't the first time we have seen this. We have other instances in Scripture when people would not step forward for Jesus because of their fear of the Jewish leaders. The most notable one is Peter in the courtyard of the high priest.
The thing we must ponder and really come to terms with is if all of us at some time or another have not been a secret disciple of Christ. Maybe someone is talking about Jesus at work or proclaiming a philosophy that we not is not biblical and we choose to remain silent. Maybe we have a policy not to talk about Jesus at work because of the law or at least the way we interpret it. Perhaps we are silent at home about Jesus for fear of retribution or ridicule. I know this happens to young Christians at school. They remain silent so they won't be bullied and or ridiculed.
When we look at the matter, we have all been silent followers of Christ at one time or another. Maybe for you it was a nudge to witness to that stranger that you did not listen to or to help that homeless person and you decided not to do it. All of us have done what Joseph did for one reason or another. Does that make it right? No. But it should make us examine ourselves before we are so quick to condemn Joseph or others who are more contemporary with us for being silent at times.
The thing we can learn from Joseph is that when it really counted for Jesus, Joseph stepped up to the plate and owned up to whose He was and asked Pilate for the body of Jesus. We find out that Nicodemus, who came to Jesus for a private meeting earlier in John because of fear of the Jews, joined him at this important time. These two men were willing to step up at this crucial time even when the usually more outspoken disciples were nowhere to be found.
This is where we should examine ourselves. When it is absolutely crucial that we step forward do we do it. Do we step forward and defend a brother or sister in Christ who is being ridiculed? Do we step out and witness when we know a heart is ready and asking for the truth? Do we do the simple act of voting our values and faith at the polling booth? Do we step forward for Jesus when the need is great and our Lord wants a helping hand?
Even if we are silent most of the time, let us take courage and step out when it is needed!
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