February 18, 2015

Secret Disciples

Written by Boyd Bailey

Thoughts from daily Bible reading for today – February 18, 2015

Joseph of Arimathea asked Pilate for the body of Jesus. Now Joseph was a disciple of Jesus, but secretly because he feared the Jewish leaders. With Pilate’s permission, he came and took the body away. He was accompanied by Nicodemus, the man who earlier had visited Jesus at night. John 19:38-39

Regrettably, I have been silent when I needed to speak up to an individual who did not know the Lord. I was afraid of their ridicule and rejection. It is not good when I am intimidated in standing up for good. It is easier to hide behind a laptop and write—than to stand up for what’s right in the presence of an unsympathetic group. However, when I do identify myself with Jesus, others come out as Christians. Exposing the secret of my salvation in Jesus emboldens other Christ followers. The more I go public with my faith—the more others gladly embrace the gospel.

Joseph and Nicodemus had been secret disciples of Jesus for fear of the Jews. They were silenced by the likely persecution of the Sanhedrin—a Jewish political body. Now that He was dead they came to life to show their devotion, offering to care for and bury His body. These men experienced the love of Christ on the cross and were compelled to honor Him with a respectable burial. It took courage for them to appeal to Pilate on behalf of a dead, convicted criminal. Their hope seemed dead, but knowing God’s faithfulness—they remained faithful.

“But whoever denies Me before men, him I will also deny before My Father who is in heaven” (Matthew 10:33, NKJV).

Do others identify you with Jesus? Are you open or secretive about your salvation in Christ? People resonate with the reason of the hope within you (1 Peter 3:15), because their hearts are hungry for the Lord’s love and forgiveness. Every human soul has an intense ache that can only be healed by their heavenly Father. When you are bold to share your own struggles and how your Savior Jesus heals your pain—you give hope to fellow strugglers. Many offer a facade that says everything is fine—but as you share Christ’s love the real self may reveal interest. Love attracts them to the Lord.

Because Jesus hung publicly on a cruel cross, we can publicly speak of our belief in the cross. Our love for the Lord casts out fear of being made fun of for our faith or being labeled as narrow minded and judgmental. Love is the universal language that communicates across all cultures and socio-economic levels. One simple demonstration of faith is offering to pray for someone.
Before we ask grace at a restaurant, we can ask the server how we can pray for him. The Holy Spirit uses our prayers in Jesus’ name to draw others to Jesus. Love compels us to come out!

“I do not hide your righteousness in my heart; I speak of your faithfulness and your saving help. I do not conceal your love and your faithfulness from the great assembly” (Psalm 40:10).

Prayer: Heavenly Father, give me the courage and faith to speak out in love for Jesus.

Related Readings: Proverbs 22:11; Ezekiel 33:31; Luke 8:16; Colossians 4:6

Post/Tweet this today: Our love for the Lord casts out fear of being made fun of for our faith. #secretdisciples #wisdomhunters

Additional Resource: 3 minute music video- Alison Krauss: Down to the River to Pray

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