Our Incredible Hope Compels Courage
The effect on Joseph of Arimathea was that of courage (Mark 15:42-47). Joseph had been a secret follower of Christ, and when Christ died he stopped hiding and courageously stepped forward to show his love for Christ. Joseph was a respected member of the Sanhedrin. He was part of the Sanhedrin that had conducted a ridiculous trial of Jesus. He may or may not have been at the trial. But, we do know that he did not agree with what they were doing, but out of fear, he said and did nothing to stop the proceedings (Luke 23:50-51). He most likely did not want to lose his position. Joseph made up a group of other Jewish leaders who believed in and followed Jesus…quietly, out of fear (John 12:42).
Initially, Joseph was characterized by fear. But, now, he was making his profession of Christ known. He took his first step of courage by going before Pilate to ask for Jesus’ dead body in order to give Jesus a proper burial. This was a big deal for Joseph. One, Pilate wasn’t all too happy with the Jewish leaders right now, so approaching him for anything would be a bit frightening. Two, he was going at it alone. Three, what would all of his colleagues think? Four, he was committing professional and social suicide. But, he did it anyway.
Remember, we don’t step out in obedient faith when we are no longer afraid. We step out and do it when we are afraid. We do not pray for God to remove fear without praying for Him to strengthen our resolve to do what He wills while we are still afraid. Joseph stepped up and made it known that he was a follower of Christ. Joseph was making his belief in Christ known and decided that the least he could do was care for and serve Jesus in His death by giving Him a proper burial.
Will you have courage and profess Christ as your Lord and Savior and resolve to step out in faith and obedience and exalt the name of Christ no matter the cost?