Is there someone you’re afraid of? Someone with authority over you who causes you to worry about how they might react to something you say or do? Have those fears stopped you from saying or doing something that you really wanted to do for fear of repercussion? I think if we are honest, we’ve all had those feelings before. But what does it say about us if we’re unwilling to say or do something that we believe is right because we fear what may happen? Sometimes it says we are using common sense; other times, that we are cowards.
- When was there a time that you were fearful, but still did the right thing?
READ THE WORD: JOHN 19:38-42 (ESV)
38 After these things Joseph of Arimathea, who was a disciple of Jesus, but secretly for fear of the Jews, asked Pilate that he might take away the body of Jesus, and Pilate gave him permission. So he came and took away his body. 39 Nicodemus also, who earlier had come to Jesus by night, came bringing a mixture of myrrh and aloes, about seventy-five pounds in weight. 40 So they took the body of Jesus and bound it in linen cloths with the spices, as is the burial custom of the Jews. 41 Now in the place where he was crucified there was a garden, and in the garden a new tomb in which no one had yet been laid. 42 So because of the Jewish day of Preparation, since the tomb was close at hand, they laid Jesus there.
English Standard Version, copyright 2001 by Crossway Bibles. Used by permission. All rights reserved.
- Who was Joseph of Arimathea afraid of? Why might Nicodemus have previously come to see Jesus at night?
- In spite of their fears, what were Joseph and Nicodemus willing to risk in order to care for Jesus’ body? Why do you think they were willing to do this?
- What emotions do you feel when you read that Joseph was a secret disciple?
- What fears do you need to overcome? Or, in spite of your fears, what do you need to do in order to honor Jesus?
RESPOND TO GOD
When it counted, Joseph and Nicodemus were there for Jesus. In spite of the risk to their lives and their standing in the Jewish community and synagogue, they retrieved Jesus’ body and painstakingly and lovingly prepared it for burial. We read in the Gospel of Matthew that Joseph laid Jesus in his own private burial tomb. The one who was a secret follower chose to stand for Jesus. Though at times we may be fearful or ashamed, God is never ashamed of us. He calls us his children. In spite of our fears and doubts, he loves us unconditionally. That is grace.
- Thank Jesus for his unconditional love for you.
- Ask him to give you grace and courage to stand for him in spite of your fears.