Read John 19:17-42

vv 38-39. Afterward Joseph of Arimathea, who had been a secret disciple of Jesus (because he feared the Jewish leaders), asked Pilate for permission to take down Jesus’ body. When Pilate gave permission, Joseph came and took the body away.  With him came Nicodemus, the man who had come to Jesus at night. He brought about seventy-five pounds of perfumed ointment made from myrrh and aloes.

Both Joseph and Nicodemus were probably prominent Jewish leaders. Their past, secret allegiance to Jesus now became open as they sought permission to bury His body. ‘Coming out’ is now an expression frequently use in the media to indicate that a person has openly acknowledged some hitherto secret activity or preference. It is the move from being a secret follower to being totally open about something. To me, it does seem that both Joseph and Nicodemus ‘came out’ about their allegiance to Jesus. In writing about it, John is explicit that Joseph had been a secret disciple out of fear of the reaction from other Jewish leaders. Their threat was probably to exclude him from the synagogue as had happened before. (John 9:22)

That kind of excommunication would have been an acute embarrassment for a prominent Jewish leader, but both men are now willing to go public on their allegiance to Jesus. They were brave men. Whether or not they thought this was the end of the road for following Jesus, and what happened to them after the resurrection, is immaterial. In that critical moment they stood up and were willing to be counted as Jesus-followers.

That kind of stand is a crucial moment in a life of faith. To be seen and known as a Christian in the home, or at work or at school is a defining moment. There may be gentle mocking or more subtle antagonism, but no true believer can stay secret for ever. Have you ‘come out’ as a believer in the various communities to which you belong?

Tuesday 16th November Daily Notes from the Hub