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 (NIV)
In this sad hour where Jesus is no longer here to walk freely and teach openly as before, it is the moment when other disciple´s colors are shown. Joseph of Arimathea goes to Pilot to ask for Christ´s body. He and Nicodemus come to care for Him. They bring spices and cloth. They wrap Him as is the custom. They take Him and lay Him in a new place where His body can be at peace. But these two are not the Disciples who have already left everything to follow Jesus. They secretly follow the Lord. They have fears to deal with. They have not found themselves free to let the world know how they feel about Jesus. Only now that Jesus is no longer a threat to society are they able to come to His side. They are Jesus´ secret Disciples. Is this what we are too?
How many people find themselves in a similar situation? How many good souls are not quite free to worship or seek the Lord as they might wish? Surely everyone who calls themselves a Christian has experienced the cold intolerance that the world holds for those who step out of its parade. We all know that just as our Saviour experienced oppression and resistance here on earth, we too step into the world´s distain when we place ourselves by His side. We have felt it and perhaps we have all given in to the pressures at some point or another. Perhaps we too live out our lives secretly wanting more of Jesus but unable to find a way in our present situation. Is it just easier sometimes to go along with the crowd? Does it create fewer waves for us if we keep quiet about our tie to the Lord? If the world knew what we really felt, would they be after us too? Would we be in trouble or find it difficult if those around us knew that we are bigger disciples of Jesus behind their backs? Even if we do declare loudly and proudly at times, are there other times when we too slip into the role of the Secret Disciple?
Before we go on to make ourselves feel bad for our hearts quiet treason, could we look again at what Joseph and Nicodemus were able to do for the Lord? Oh, if we could all just step out of the world´s parade and close in behind Jesus! But sometimes we fail Him. Instead of beating ourselves up about it and becoming our own personal martyrs, should we try something more constructive? Could we stop and take a good careful look into what is going on in our hearts? Could we examine just how much we truly love Him? Should we remember where our loyalties should lie? Should we recognize that it is to our Saviour first to whom we should look? Shall we use our failures to throw us further back upon Him? Whenever we do come to the realization that Jesus needs us by His side, shall we strive to be the faithful ones who come running to Him. Shall we look to see if right now, is the moment that our Lord needs us most? Shall we ask Jesus if it is our time now to let the world know we have been too quiet about being His Secret Disciples?
We come to You again today. We come in secret. We come in the quiet when the world does not even know. But have a look with us into our hearts. Let us know when our time is right. Let us know if now is when the world must learn that we stand by Your side. Let us know if our love for You is real! Whenever we find that we have been hiding our standing with You, give us the strength and determination to be found right with You, where You would have us we pray!