13 September 2019

Luke 23:50–24:12, John 19:38–42, Matthew 10:32–33

Joseph of Arimathea is described differently by Luke and John. Luke describes him as good, righteous, and looking forward to the kingdom of . John describes him as a secret disciple of . On the surface, these appear to be different. And, deping on the audience, they can be very different indeed. However, Joseph’s attitude toward was fairly clear. Joseph greatly admired . He also did (to a point) follow as “the women” from Galilee were with him, indicating that he did have a place in the larger circle of disciples.

Joseph of Arimathea was part of the Sanhedrin. The religious and civil ruling council of the Jews is the “body” that pushed for ’ crucifixion. Earlier in the s, it seemed that the Sanhedrin was unanimous in its thinking. Joseph of Arimathea shows that there wasn’t unanimity in Sanhedrin. Joseph was concerned, however, with his place in the Sanhedrin. John calls it out as of “the Jews”. Luke doesn’t specify that, but as Luke does only note that Joseph went to Pilate, Joseph definitely did it cautiously and did try to avoid making a scene.

John even pulls Nicodemus into the conversation. Nicodemus is first seen at night meeting (John 3:1–21). Next Nicodemus is seen defing (in a roundabout way) . Then we see him now bringing an amount of myrrh and aloe that was excessive (culturally). Nicodemus is still not declaring anything in the of , but his actions show a t turned toward .

The actions of both men could seem to be contrary to ’ words in Matthew 10:32–33. In fact, many of us might well be guilty of this. It all deps on how one defines “deny”. It could be like Peter, who denied 3 times. That’s pretty blatant, yet ’s carried Peter forward to be the first leader of the Church. Peter, like Joseph and Nicodemus, was afraid.

In the world, drives many of our actions. Around the world, Christians are hated and hunted. Muslims that have converted to (and often in mysterious ways) hide their conversion in , as they are (justifiably in many cases) afraid of being killed for the ’s . In India, Hindu extremists target Christians regularly. There have been a number of bombings of churches recently. Are these Christians denying Christ by not proclaiming from the rooftops, street corners, gatherings, their homes?

Many preachers, who are living in and are accustomed to religious and speech freedom, have said exactly that over the years.

1) If you are not declaring to everyone you meet, especially to every member who is not a Christian, why not? In light of words, then, what is failing to acknowledge ?

2) What is the difference, if any, between denying , and not acknowledging ?

3) When was the last time you acted like Peter, Joseph of Arimathea, or Nicodemus out of ?

Pastor Ian

By Pastor Ian

Ian is an ordained Elder in The Church of the Nazarene, and is currently serving as the Online Campus Pastor at Generations Community Church in Marysville, WA, USA.