Joseph of Arimathea…was a disciple of Jesus, but secretly for fear of the Jews. John 19:38
At first, Joseph of Arimathea did not show his faith publicly, because he feared the Jewish authorities. But after the death of Jesus, Joseph “took courage and went to Pilate and asked for the body of Jesus” (Mark 15:43).
What changed Joseph? The death of Jesus put courage into him. He was a member of the ruling council that had condemned Jesus to death. He had not consented to the decision, but now he felt he had to come out into the open and identify himself as a disciple of Jesus.
Nicodemus was like Joseph in this way. Early in the ministry of Jesus, Nicodemus had come to Him by night (John 3:2). The clear implication is that he did not want anyone to see him talking with Jesus. Nicodemus was drawn to Jesus, but he wanted to keep it private. But when Jesus died on the cross, he too felt that he had to come out into the open.
Have you been drawn to Jesus? Perhaps you have considered Him, or maybe you have begun to believe. But, still, you have kept your faith in Jesus private. Jesus stood in your place openly and publicly when He suffered and died on the cross. And now in the light of the cross, you must take your stand openly and publicly with Him.
Peter said on the day of Pentecost, “Repent and be baptized every one of you” (Acts 2:38). Do not hide your faith in Jesus—confess it openly. On the cross, Jesus identified Himself with you; in baptism, you identify yourself with Him.
If you are a Christian believer, have you been publicly baptized? If not, what is keeping you from doing so? How can the death of Jesus give you courage?