“Joseph of Arimathea came, a prominent member of the Council, who himself was waiting for the kingdom of God; and he gathered up courage and went in before Pilate, and asked for the body of Jesus.” Mark 15:43 NASB
“Be on guard. Stand firm in the faith. Be courageous. Be strong.” 1 Corinthians 16:13 NLT
In between the vision God gives a man and the present circumstances or situation wherein that man finds himself, there is always a deep red Sea, and giants waiting along the way. The pathway to fulfilling God’s will for one’s life is not full of rose petals and smooth pathways. Rather it is to some extent a path laden with thorns, gullies and fiery looking enemies. Consequently, if any man must fulfill God’s purpose for his life (whatever race God had given him), then COURAGE is an indispensable rule or necessity for each person.
So it was for the Arimathean; though he had hidden himself and his discipleship commitment to a large extent, though he had somehow managed to maintain his place in society and respect among men despite his submission to the Lordship of Jesus; however, when it was time for him to decide to bury Jesus (and so bring to pass what God had spoken concerning his life), the Bible says he “gathered up courage”. Why was this so?
He may have successfully steered his life away from controversy in the time past and may have maintained a low key in it all, but his action to go and demand the body of Jesus for burial was going to properly expose his sentiments and love for Jesus. It was going to put him into public view and would stir up hatred and animosity from fellow members of the Sanhedrin if he went ahead with that course of action. Also, what would have happened if he went to Pilate and demanded for the body of the crucified Nazarene? Won’t Pilate begin to suspect that he is in one way or the other a follower of Jesus? Won’t Pilate also order for his arrest? After all, all the other more serious disciples of Jesus had run away. They knew the dangers of being associated with Jesus of Nazareth at this point in his life, and so they all disappeared. Nobody would have blamed the Arimathean if he had also gone incognito and went on with his life.
But it was not so for Joseph of Arimathea… Not minding the implications, not minding what other Jews would say about him, not minding what Pilate may say or do to him, not minding the cowardice of the other more serious followers of Jesus, Joseph of Arimathea gathered up courage and walked into the courts of Pontius Pilate and made demands that the body of Jesus be released to him. And guess what? He was granted his request!
No matter the race God has put you into, no matter the nature of your journey in life, there is one thing indispensable and incontestable if you will fulfill your purpose in life, and that is COURAGE. Many Christians are at a loss today, dying, fading away and unable to stand in the place of their assignments in life, because they are afraid, they are scared. Such men run a high risk of not fulfilling divine purpose ever.
Joshua, the son of Nun was to take the Israelites into the promised Land to possess it. However, there were giants in the land and many other enemies who were prepared to stand in the way of Joshua and God’s people. But God was not as bothered about his enemies, as He was bothered about His own children. He kept telling Joshua and the children of Israel- BE STRONG AND COURAGEOUS. Do not be afraid of the enemy, don’t let them intimidate you. I am with you, that is what matters.
So, has God given you an assignment? Is there something He has committed in your hands, and you are delaying because you are afraid of men and of systems? Then I must warn you, you run a risk of not fulfilling God’s purpose for your life if you do not rise now.
If you are believer in Christ Jesus, you are a lion from the tribe of lions. It is not in your genes to run from the path of any beast. So, rise, be a man. Do the Lord’s business, even if you are in hostile territory. The One who had given you that assignment will help you. But learn a lesson from the Arimathean- DARE TO MOVE OUT. Dare to do it. Dare to take the bull by the horn. Dare to carry out that vision. Do not be afraid of the enemies and all those who will oppose you. Do not be afraid of men’s criticism. Men may oppose you, shout at you, insult you, and will refuse to give you any awards and recognitions. But all that is not as important as hearing God say to you, ‘well done’. So, be strong and courageous and fulfill your assignment in life. Amen.