Today's verse is John 19:38: "After these things Joseph of Arimathea, who was a disciple of Jesus, but secretly for fear of the 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." My child, "after these things," after all that my friend John had described that happened to me on the cross and my eventual death, he states that Joseph of Arimatha, one of my disciples, came and asked Pilate for my body to be buried. He was a stealth follower of mine. He was fearful that the Jews would find out about his devotion to me and seek to kill and/or ostracize him and his family.
He was a wealthy, influential member of the Jewish ruling body called the Sanhedrin. Pilate most certainly knew of this wealth and influence.
Joseph of Arimathea asked Pilate for my body. Pilate gave him permission. So he took away my body and buried it in his own private tomb. It was the only way he could imagine to express his love for me.
But this act was also in fulfillment of Scripture. "They made his grave with the wicked and with a rich man in his death" is a direct quote from Isaiah 53:9, one of the most specific chapters in all the Old Testament Scripture prophesying my life, purpose and death. Again, every Old Testament prophecy about me was fulfilled. You can trust my Father's Word in every specific detail!
My child, sadly, there are still societies in the world that will persecute and kill people and their families who believe in me. These authorities that do not allow a free expression of love for me will one day face me and the most horrific possible judgment. They will wish they'd never been born.
However, for you, if you live in a free society, you cannot be like Joseph of Arimathea. There cannot be secret Christians. That's an oxymoron! All my followers must be my witnesses, starting locally, then globally. It's not an option. It's a command. And remember: the word for "witness" is "martus," the word from which you derive "martyr." If you witness for me, you can expect a degree of persecution. Those who seek to live a righteous, Godly life, will be persecuted.
Do you witness for me, not just verbally, but with your life? Both are extremely important. Are you unashamed to be one of my followers? Or do you wrongly think that faith is a private, personal affair? Have you ever brought anyone to an eternal faith in me? If not, what is your excuse? If you were put on trial for following me, would the evidence amassed against you be enough to convict you?
I deeply appreciated Joseph of Arimathea's act of kindness to me after my death. He expressed a sincere act of kindness. But I need followers today who will bear unabashed witness of my glory, power and truth.
If you do, I will gladly one day bear witness about you to my Father and all the angels in heaven.
And when you love me with this kind of open, verbal faith...
You can trust me today.