A Secret Disciple

Can you recall off the top of your head who it was that buried the body of Jesus?

If you answered Joseph of Arimathea, then you’re right. (For extra credit you could also have answered Nicodemus, since he helped Joseph – cf. John 19:39-40.)

But do you know the whole story about this Joseph of Arimathea? Who he was? Why he was the one to bury the body of Jesus? Is there any significance to him being the one to do so?

All 4 gospel accounts record the burial of Jesus’ body by Joseph and when we put all 4 of them together, we see the whole story, the big picture of what is so significant about Joseph being the one to bury the body of Jesus.

1) Matthew 27:57-61 – Joseph…
– was a rich man.
– was a disciple of Jesus!
– laid the body of Jesus in his own tomb.

2) More information is given in Luke 23:50-56 which tells us that Joseph…
– was a member of the council.
– was a good and righteous man
– did not consent to the death of Jesus!
– was looking for the kingdom of God.

So far what we find of Joseph is fascinating and encouraging. He was a rich man who was a believer in Jesus. He was a member of the Jewish council and did NOT agree with their treatment of Jesus! What an opportunity he had to stand up for Jesus and proclaim his faith to those around him!

But unfortunately…

3) John 19:38-42 reveals to us that Joseph did not stand up for Jesus or proclaim his faith in Jesus. Instead Joseph was a…
– SECRET disciple, for fear of the Jews.

Joseph was a believer in Jesus but kept his faith a secret from the world. Joseph let fear hold him back from openly following Christ.


4) Mark 15:42-46 tells us that Joseph…
– TOOK COURAGE! He asked for the body of Jesus and went and buried Him.

Joseph had been living in fear, not allowing anyone to know of his faith in Jesus. But when Jesus died upon the cross, something changed in Joseph. The death of Jesus finally moved Joseph to take courage and show his faith in Christ. He did so by going to Pilate to ask to bury the body of Jesus. He was no longer afraid. He let the world know that he loved and believed in Jesus.

Application for today…

We must learn from the negative example of Joseph. We must not let fear of persecution from the world hinder us from showing our faith in Jesus. We must not be SECRET DISCIPLES.

We must learn from Joseph’s positive example as well. We must TAKE COURAGE as he did and proclaim our faith in Jesus. No matter what the world may say about us or do to us, we must be strong and courageous in our fight against sin. We must boldly proclaim the salvation that is only found in Jesus Christ.

Are you a secret disciple? Am I? Let’s take courage! Live for Jesus.

To GOD be the glory!


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