All four accounts of Jesus’ life record His death and His resurrection, and they also describe how He was buried by someone who – up to that point – had been a secret disciple.
The man who transported Jesus’ body from the place of His crucifixion to the site of His burial was Joseph of Arimathea. In John 19, we read about the last moments of Jesus, then, John continues:
“After this, Joseph of Arimathea, being a disciple of Jesus, but secretly, for fear of the Jews, asked Pilate that he might take away the body of Jesus; and Pilate gave him permission. So he came and took the body of Jesus. 39 And Nicodemus, who at first came to Jesus by night, also came, bringing a mixture of myrrh and aloes, about a hundred pounds. 40 Then they took the body of Jesus, and bound it in strips of linen with the spices, as the custom of the Jews is to bury. 41 Now in the place where He was crucified there was a garden, and in the garden a new tomb in which no one had yet been laid. 42 So there they laid Jesus, because of the Jews’ Preparation Day, for the tomb was nearby.” – John 19:38-42 (NKJV).
No doubt it was Jesus’ crucifixion that moved these men to come out of the shadows and to courageously and compassionately see to it that Jesus was laid to rest in a dignified manner.
A conviction of the cross of Christ has that kind of impact. Paul wrote, “For the message of the cross is foolishness to those who are perishing, but to us who are being saved it is the power of God” (1 Cor. 1:18 NKJV). Those who have faith in Jesus’ sacrifice in our place on the cross won’t keep it hush-hush.
We can’t become a Christian and keep it a secret. Paul pointed out, “For with the heart one believes unto righteousness, and with the mouth confession is made unto salvation” (Romans 10:10 NKJV). We are not permitted to claim the benefits of Jesus’ blood without acknowledging that He is our Savior and the source of our forgiveness.
We can’t be a Christian and keep it a secret. The Lord said, “Therefore whoever confesses Me before men, him I will also confess before My Father who is in heaven. 33 But whoever denies Me before men, him I will also deny before My Father who is in heaven” (Matt. 10:32-33 NKJV). Perhaps this will be a learning process for some, but the Lord does not make it optional whether we can privately be a Christian and publicly pretend not to be.
In a way, this principle is seen in one of the miracles Jesus performed. In Mark 5, on His way to heal Jairus’ daughter, a woman who had suffered for many years with a medical issue managed to touch Jesus’ garment from behind, and was healed. Mark records what happened next:
“And Jesus, immediately knowing in Himself that power had gone out of Him, turned around in the crowd and said, “Who touched My clothes?”
31 But His disciples said to Him, “You see the multitude thronging You, and You say, ‘Who touched Me?’ ”
32 And He looked around to see her who had done this thing. 33 But the woman, fearing and trembling, knowing what had happened to her, came and fell down before Him and told Him the whole truth. 34 And He said to her, “Daughter, your faith has made you well. Go in peace, and be healed of your affliction.” – Mark 5:30-34 (NKJV).
I’m confident that Jesus knew who had touched him and why she had done so, and that she was healed – He knew all of those details already – but what was yet to be known was whether she would let it be known. Would she take a blessing from the Lord, and then keep it to herself? No! What a moving moment when she “fell down before Him and told Him the whole truth.”
Friends, let’s be so moved by the power of the gospel of Christ that we won’t keep it a secret anymore.
Find more about God’s Makeovers: Joseph of Arimathea in our YouTube video.