DayBreaks for 1/20/17: A Flower in Life
Note: Galen is traveling this week so he’s recycling some old DayBreaks.
FROM THE DAYBREAKS ARCHIVE, January, 2007:
There is a very poignant tale in chapter 19 of John about Nicodemus and Joseph of Arimathea. These were two very prominent men – both part of the Sanhedrin (the Jewish ruling council in Jerusalem), and both were men who had opportunity to hear Jesus teaching. Nicodemus even came to Jesus by night once to discuss matters relating to the kingdom of God but was confused when he was told that he needed to be born again. Joseph is unknown to us until Jesus’ death when he boldly goes to Pilate and asks for the body of Jesus so he can bury him in his own unused tomb.
These men were not the typical Jewish leaders. We are told that Nicodemus was a man seeking the kingdom of God. That’s high praise coming from the gospel writers. It indicates a heart that is searching for Godly things, for His will and His rule in the world and the hearts of men. I think that they were good men who were secret admirers, perhaps even to some extent, secret followers, of Jesus. And that is where the tragically sad part of this story begins.
In John chapter 19.38-42 we find Joseph taking the body of Christ and Nicodemus bringing burial spices. This is, of course, after Jesus has been crucified and died. Have you ever thought about what Nicodemus and Joseph did while Jesus was on trial before the Sanhedrin? Why is there nothing in scripture that shows them standing up in his defense or speaking out to give him the benefit of the doubt? Did they excuse themselves from that meeting or were they there but just too afraid to say anything? Perhaps, though we don’t know, like many so-called leaders today, they didn’t have the courage to speak what they believed at critical times.
Now, however, they are finally paying tribute to the one who they had failed to stand up for in life. As William Barclay put it: How much greater would loyalty in life have been than a new tomb and a shroud fit for a king! One flower in life is worth all the wreaths in the world in death.
How often am I like Nicodemus and Joseph? I know who He is. It is obvious to anyone who will really take the time to examine His claims and teaching. Christ is on trial before my peers and the world every day. What am I saying in His defense? Am I saying nothing like Nicodemus and Joseph did? Do I excuse myself from the discussion?
Jesus wants us to live with him forever. He waits for the day when he can hold us in his arms and welcome us home. Those things will happen. But he also wants my loyalty in this life – before I get to heaven. Let us give him our tribute now and it’ll only make heaven that much sweeter!
PRAYER: Lord, we need Your courage to stand for Jesus, to put our feet squarely on the ground and boldly proclaim the truth about Him. Help us not to be afraid of what others may say, think, or do to us. May we honor You not just in eternity, but in this life as well. In Jesus’ name, Amen.
Copyright 2017 by Galen Dalrymple.