“Later, Joseph of Arimathea asked Pilate for the body of Jesus. Now Joseph was a disciple of Jesus, but secretly because he feared the Jews. With Pilate’s permission, he came and took the body away. He was accompanied by Nicodemus, the man who earlier had visited Jesus at night.” (John 19:38-39a NIV)
Earlier this year, the government of Peru mandated that all group homes for children and youth be closed. The officials wanted at-risk children to be placed with family or friends. A non-profit organization, New Hope Peru, immediately offered training and began to organize local churches to help in the process. New Hope understands the biblical concept that children thrive in families, so they are driven to help Peru transition into a successful foster care system.
There are times when Jesus-followers are called upon to act on what they believe. Today’s Scripture passage notes that Joseph and Nicodemus had been hidden followers of Jesus. But after He was crucified, they finally had to do something about their faith. They went to Pilate and risked public knowledge of their association with Jesus. They were disrupted in their routines. No longer out of sight, they carefully laid Jesus to rest in Joseph’s own new tomb.
The way of the cross calls us to selfless acts of service. Yet, how many times have I chosen comfort over struggle, peace over truth, convenience over sacrifice? Jesus commands me to kill off the old selfish ego — the sin nature and its incessant pull away from Him.
Where am I choosing to hide in the crowd, comfortable and hidden, when my faith calls me to stand out? Where am I putting off the Saviour until a more convenient time? What areas of my life need surrendering to Him? Perhaps, He is asking me to sacrifice financially. Perhaps, He wants me to help an overwhelmed single mother. Perhaps, I need to open my home to a child in need, to serve a neighbour, or to speak encouragement to a family member. His Spirit will show us where we are called to serve, if we choose to listen instead of ignoring His voice.
Prayer: Father God, forgive us when we’ve chosen obscurity over purpose. Living by faith is not always easy. Help us to move away from convenience and to begin taking risks with You. In Jesus’ name, we pray. Amen.
Kathleen Dunlap <email@example.com>
Arvada, Colorado, USA