“Now there was a good and righteous man named Joseph. He was a member of the Jewish high council, but he had not agreed with the decision and actions of the other religious leaders. He was from the town of Arimathea in Judea, and he was waiting for the Kingdom of God to come.” Luke 23 vs. 50 – 51 (NLT)
“But the time is coming—it has, in fact, come—when what you’re called will not matter and where you go to worship will not matter. “It’s who you are and the way you live that count before God. Your worship must engage your spirit in the pursuit of truth. That’s the kind of people the Father is out looking for: those who are simply and honestly themselves before him in their worship. God is sheer being itself—Spirit. Those who worship him must do it out of their very being, their spirits, their true selves, in adoration.” John 4 vs. 22 – 24 (MSG)
In our last post, we established that we all have different races and different rules accruing to us in the race. However, it is important to note that there are so many things which we actually share in common, no matter our race. All men, regardless of their placement in life has certain core rules by which they live. We shall examine, though briefly, some of these rules.
My heart was touched some time ago when I read that right in the very household of Ahab, there was a young man (called Obadiah) who was governor of Ahab’s house, and he remained faithful to God. I was greatly touched by the fact that he did not allow the realities of the challenges around being close to Ahab and Jezebel to affect his closeness to God. In fact, the spirit of God remarked that he was faithful (1 Kings 18 vs. 3), and Obadiah himself remarked to Prophet Elijah that he had worshipped and feared the Lord from his youth (1 Kings 18 vs. 12).
Wherever any disciple of Christ is, whatever be the race God has called him to run in, he owes the Lord a debt- a debt of faithfulness to the Lord and to the truth.
That is one thing that stood the Arimathean out in life. Though a member of the ruling council, Joseph did not waver in his commitment to the truth. First of all, in his personal life, he owned up to the truth of his life. The Gospel of John puts the Arimathean side by side with Nicodemus (the Pharisee that went to see Jesus by night). One thing marked these men out above all the other members of the Sanhedrin- they were sincere men who always told themselves the truth. They saw something in Jesus which they knew they did not have, and they were willing to humble themselves before the 30+ years old young man just to get the truth into their lives. Such humility from such highly placed men was quite rare and commendable.
Also, Joseph (as well as Nicodemus) stood up and opposed the decision of the Sanhedrin. Their commitment to the truth and to Jesus made it difficult for them to see the truth and hide from it. This is unlike many Christians today who think that their belonging to one class of society or the other means that they will sacrifice the truth. Thus, though they are in a place where God wants them to be, they are not shinning their light in any way for God.
It is true that the dissenting voices of Joseph and Nicodemus could not stop the Sanhedrin from crucifying Jesus, but heaven bore records for them that they spoke up for the truth. Their philosophy of life was as stated by this unknown writer:
“I am not bound to win, but I’m bound to be true. I’m not bound to succeed, but I’m bound to live up to what light I have.”
You may be great, you may be small. You may be well known or little known. You may be a Prophetess in the temple, or a member of the ruling council. But wherever you are, you have a debt, a commitment to God and to the truth. That is what men lived by. No matter where they found themselves, they sought God wholely, lived for Him with all their hearts, and they shone their lights in that place where God has placed their track. They followed God and ran their race- IN SPIRIT and IN TRUTH.
P/S: Credits to the late master story teller (Leo Tolstoy) who first used this title ‘what men live by’ in one of his writings.