We are at the time of year when our thoughts begin to turn to the upcoming season of summer. The weather has been steadily improving but we who have lived in the area for any length of time know that we can still expect snow for a while.
Much like Memorial Day weekend is the unofficial beginning of the summer season, Holy Week and Easter Sunday are the unofficial beginning of spring (I know, spring has arrived per the calendar but it doesn’t feel like it until after Easter). But, before we say goodbye to the holiday weekend there are still observations to be made.
Luke 22:50-53 tells us of a man, Joseph, who was a low-key follower of Jesus.
50 Now there was a man named Joseph, from the Jewish town of Arimathea. He was a member of the council, a good and righteous man, 51 who had not consented to their decision and action; and he was looking for the kingdom of God. 52 This man went to Pilate and asked for the body of Jesus. 53 Then he took it down and wrapped it in a linen shroud and laid him in a tomb cut in stone, where no one had ever yet been laid.
Part of the humiliation of crucifixion was that those who were punished in that way were denied proper burial. They were destined to be dumped in a mass grave without ceremony or service.
Joseph was an upright man who believed that Jesus was the Messiah, but because of cultural pressures and the potential loss of position, could not declare his beliefs. His fear of retribution was stronger than his desire to be identified with the Messiah.
Have you ever found yourself in a similar position? Where you feel like, if people knew of your relationship with God you would be ostracized in some tangible way? I think, if we are being honest, many of us have.
Joseph’s brief and singular appearance is a clear reminder to us of God’s providence at work at all times and in all places. God prepared Joseph for this very moment. Joseph was fearful and secretive, but God used him for good, just as He does us. Joseph had quite possibly missed many opportunities to stand up for his King; he had presumably kept quiet many times when he should have spoken out. Yet it was this man whom God ensured would be present on this day for this important task. And Joseph rose to it, risking everything—his status, his reputation, his safety—to honor Jesus by ensuring that He had a proper burial.
If you can identify with Joseph; living life as a secret follower of Jesus, in the neighborhood, in the workplace, and in your extended family setting, perhaps now would be a good time to ask God for the opportunity to step forward in a way that honors the cause of Christ. That is a request God is sure to honor. When that opportunity presents itself, I pray that you will not miss it.