“Joseph of Arimathea…went boldly to Pilate and asked for Jesus’ body.” – Mark 15:43
For the last several posts I have been discussing the practical exercise of doing the will of God. I feel lead at this point to stop and deal with the main hindrance to most Christians in doing God’s will.
A crisis reveals true commitment. When the pressure is life threatening, those who don’t have a clear reason for their faith give up. The disciples of Jesus demonstrated these all-too-human traits. They fled and hid, and some, like Peter, denied knowing Christ. But even in the chaos a few followers remained true. One of them was Joseph of Arimathea.
John’s Gospel points out that Joseph was an undercover disciple until this point. He was afraid. But Mark describes his request for Jesus’ body as “bold.” It was bold because it challenged the appearance that all leading Jews were opposed to Jesus and because it placed Joseph’s career at risk. Joseph stepped out of the shadows at a crucial moment in history.
We may be tempted to look down on Joseph’s timid discipleship. Such an attitude is not fair to Joseph. All his disciples were afraid! Joseph did not stand out because he was afraid; he stood out because he acted in spite of his fear. He had every reason to keep his faith under wraps, but he chose to risk all to make his faith in Jesus known.
The big struggle for us is not to admit our fears. Those are usually pretty apparent. The challenge is to follow Jesus anyway. What fears keep you from being an effective disciple? Turn them over to God today. Boldness for the faith is not a personality trait; it is a gift from God to those who believe.