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Courage

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Courage

This all happened on Friday, the day of preparation, the day before the Sabbath. As evening approached, Joseph of Arimathea took a risk and went to Pilate and asked for Jesus’ body. (Joseph was an honored member of the high council, and he was waiting for the Kingdom of God to come.) Pilate couldn’t believe that Jesus was already dead, so he called for the Roman officer and asked if he had died yet. The officer confirmed that Jesus was dead, so Pilate told Joseph he could have the body. Joseph bought a long sheet of linen cloth. Then he took Jesus’ body down from the cross, wrapped it in the cloth, and laid it in a tomb that had been carved out of the rock. Then he rolled a stone in front of the entrance. Mary Magdalene and Mary the mother of Joseph saw where Jesus’ body was laid.
— Mark 15:42-47 NLT
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When I read this passage I think about the courage it must have taken for Joseph of Arimathea to be part of this story of Jesus’ death on a cross and journey to Easter morning.

Joseph of Arimathea, who Mark described as an honored member of the high council,  had to have a tremendous amount of courage when he went to Pilate to ask for Jesus’ body. Matthew calls him “a rich man from Arimathea who became a follower of Jesus.” (Matt. 27:57)  Luke says he was a good and righteous man and John claims he was a “secret disciple” of Jesus. He surely feared that people would know he was a follower if he went to the cross, climbed a ladder, and removed the lifeless body of the crucified King of the Jews. People might even hurl insults  at him or even try to harm him for being so compassionate toward Jesus. It was dangerous to do this because it publicly declared that he cared about Jesus but he was willing to take the risk.

Joseph of Arimathea had the courage to associate himself with the one who claimed to be the Son of God. He didn’t care about the crowd or the other religious leaders. He took a stand for Jesus, the one God sent to save the world and usher in the Kingdom of God.

It takes faith and trust to have the courage to step up and take action- its not easy. Jesus said in Matthew 16:24 and I suspect Joseph may have heard these words,“If any of you wants to be my follower, you must turn from your selfish ways, take up your cross and follow me.” Matt. 16:24

Like Joseph, we are called to take a stand for Jesus. We are called to take some risks and some actions that might require courage.

In the movie “We Brought a Zoo” the Dad who is played by Matt Damon- has a conversation with his teenage son who is struggling with some challenges in his teenage life and he tells him this:

“Sometimes all you need is 20 seconds of insane courage- literally 20 seconds of embarrassing bravery - and I promise something great will come of it.”

What if those were not words from a movie- what if they were words from our Lord?

Sometimes all we need is 20 seconds of insane courage and something great could happen for the Kingdom of God.

What if we were courageous enough to invite someone to church or to offer to pray with someone who was ill?

What if we were courageous enough to strike up a faith-filled conversation with someone who doesn’t fit the category of “just like us”?

What if we were courageous enough to step -up and give to someone in need, unconditionally, or step-out of our comfort zone and lead a Bible Study or teach a class?

What other crazy risky things might God be calling us to do?

If we could be embarrassingly brave and courageous,  if we could trust God enough, I am certain something great will come of it!

Easter is coming.