April 04, 2015

Secret Followers

John 19:38-42

Joseph of Arimathea asked Pilate for the body of Jesus. Now Joseph was a disciple of Jesus, but secretly because he feared the Jewish leaders.

—  John 19:38

A story is told about a Christian college student who spent his summer in the Yukon working with a lumber crew. Most of the workers did not seem to believe in God or in much of anything. When he returned to school, someone asked if it had been difficult to be the only Christian in a group of mostly unbelievers. His answer: "It was not difficult at all. I never told them I was a Christian."

Sometimes fear, embarrassment, or ridicule can influence us to hide the fact that we are followers of Jesus. For Joseph of Arimathea and Nicodemus, two prominent religious leaders, fear of the other Jewish leaders influenced them to keep their belief in Jesus a secret. But after Jesus' death, they stepped forward and asked Pilate for permission to bury the Lord's body. In this way they showed their respect and love for him.

Sometimes it seems more comfortable to keep our relationship with Jesus a secret. Perhaps you find yourself at school or work or elsewhere surrounded by unbelievers, and you are hesitant to state that you are a follower of Christ. Perhaps you are afraid of losing a friend or of being ridiculed. If so, let go of your fear. Jesus said, "Whoever acknowledges me before ­others, I will also acknowledge before my Father in heaven" (Matthew 10:32).

It's never too late!

Father in heaven, fill us with courage to be willing to con-fess you wherever we may be. Because of Jesus, Amen.

About the author — Arthur J. Schoonveld

Rev. Art Schoonveld is a retired minister in the Christian Reformed Church. Before retiring in 2001, he served churches in California, Illinois, and Michigan. Since his retirement he has worked part-time for the denomination and has served as an interim pastor. Art and his wife, Anita, have four children and nine grandchildren.

Start your day with quick daily devotions.

See God's love, power, presence, and purpose in your life every day!