Afterward Joseph of Arimathea, who had been a secret disciple of Jesus…asked Pilate for permission to take down Jesus’ body…With him came Nicodemus, the man who had come to Jesus by night…they wrapped Jesus’ body with the spices in long sheets of linen cloth. —John 19:38–40
After the conversation Nicodemus had with Jesus by night, we don’t hear his name again until this scripture. Jesus had told Nicodemus he must be born again, and in this moment of supreme grief and loss something came alive inside of Nicodemus. He went public with his faith. Throwing caution to the wind Nicodemus and Joseph come out of hiding and identify themselves as disciples of Jesus. They had to go to the very one who ordered Jesus’ death. They received the body of Jesus and took it to Joseph’s tomb. They performed a shortened version of embalming because the Sabbath was approaching. And a Roman guard was commissioned to guard the body. There was no turning back. They risked everything.
Can you believe it? This tomb became the place where the greatest miracle in the history of the world took place! Year after year people from all over the world flock to see the empty tomb. What a turnaround! Two disciples come out of hiding and God uses what they have to offer to change the world forever!
I hope that encourages you as much as it does me. I think of people I know today who may believe, but they are secretive about it. For whatever reasons, they explore faith outside of the public eye; but don’t write them off. They could be one decision away from making a choice that God will use in a history-making way. What chain of events could be started if they would come out of hiding? Keep praying for your friends, relatives, neighbors, and co-workers. Their eternal destiny is at stake. It could change in a single choice to act on what they already know to be right.
I get excited when I think about people putting the pieces together. Something clicks in their head and their heart goes all in. I’ve seen it happen to my friends. Keven became the dad and spiritual leader Robin always hoped he would be. Glynis restored her marriage on a Sunday when she knew it was her time to choose. Eugene said yes at a pizza restaurant when I drew the bridge illustration on the paper table cloth and he’s never looked back. One choice, one step to cross the line of faith, and everything changed. Transforming Hearts…Transforming Lives! Don’t give up on your friends. Keep praying. Keep believing. Keep looking for opportunities to share your story and his story. The change may be closer than you think. In fact, go ahead and let yourself get excited about it now in faith. God is at work. Things will change. The tumblers will fall in place and your loved one will trade hiding for faith.
Lord, thank you for the privilege of helping people find their way back to God. Don’t let us grow weary while we wait for your timing and preparation in their lives. Give us your words and courage to keep sharing until they come out of hiding.
Rev. Gary Kendall, Lead Pastor, Indian Creek Community Church, Olathe, Kansas
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Scripture quotations marked Phillips are taken from The New Testament in Modern English by J. B. Phillips, 1962 edition, published by Harper Collins.