After this, Joseph of Arimathea, who was a disciple of Jesus—but secretly because of his fear of the Jews—asked Pilate that he might remove Jesus’s body. Pilate gave him permission; so he came and took his body away. Nicodemus (who had previously come to him at night) also came, bringing a mixture of about seventy-five pounds of myrrh and aloes. They took Jesus’s body and wrapped it in linen cloths with the fragrant spices, according to the burial custom of the Jews. There was a garden in the place where he was crucified. A new tomb was in the garden; no one had yet been placed in it. They placed Jesus there because of the Jewish day of preparation and since the tomb was nearby.
It is a beautiful act of defiance when closet Christians defy the crowd and let their hearts for Christ be known. It is similar to what Nicodemus and Joseph of Arimathea did in this passage. It was to Nicodemus that Jesus gave the famous words of John 3:16. They met at night because Nicodemus had been afraid of his fellow Pharisees, but not anymore. Nicodemus and Joseph of Arimathea defied their peers and stepped righteously out of line.
Have you been a closeted Christian in a similar way? If you allow the crowd around you to assume that you do not hold faithfully to God’s Word in all things, you will be pressured issue-by-issue into conceding to things that do not align with the gospel. After enough silence, you end up defaulting into a tacit condemning of the Bible, finding yourself a silent Christian assimilated into the crowd throwing stones at Christians. This silence accumulates until, deeper and deeper into the rabbit hole, the prospect of coming out with your true convictions entails a more and more cataclysmic upheaval. Just a simple gospel proclamation to the necessary exclusion of other worldviews feels like “suddenly” dissenting from a thousand other party lines to which you once seemed committed. Break ranks, Nicodemus. Defy!
Prayerfully predict an opportunity on the horizon for you to, like Nicodemus and Joseph of Arimathea, defy the crowd and stand for Jesus. Know that, when you do, God’s peace awaits.
Pray: Pray for your kids and grandkids, that they would break ranks if they have allowed the world to speak for them and succumbed to a peer pressure that shames them out of proclaiming their faith.