Read Mark 15:42-46
The Danger of Fear
God uses man to advance His great cause, and on several occasions, He has used men named Joseph. When famine threatened the people of God, He raised up Joseph in the land of Egypt to help relieve them. When Herod the Great threatened to murder the infant Jesus, He raised up Joseph to protect the Child. And now, when the body of our Lord was threatened by the dishonor of an unsuitable burial, He raised up Joseph of Arimathea to provide a proper tomb, thus fulfilling the prophecy of Isaiah 53:9.
This Joseph is described by Luke as “a good and just man” (Luke 23:50). And yet, there was a problem. He was “a disciple of Jesus, but secretly, for fear of the Jews” (John 19:38). He was a council member, though “he had not consented to their decision and deed” (Luke 23:51). What good is it, though, to be a disciple if you refuse to speak up?
Joseph finally got over his cowardice, or at least pushed it to the side because he knew how important his faith was. “Joseph of Arimathea, a prominent council member, who was himself waiting for the kingdom of God, coming and taking courage, went in to Pilate and asked for the body of Jesus” (Mark 15:43).
So often our fear of others prevents us from doing the right thing. He was afraid of the Jews and of what they would think of him. Are we ever afraid of our friends, our family members, or our business associates? Do we fear that doing the right thing will put us in a bad light? Does our fear prevent us from fully serving the Lord and standing up for His truth?
Don’t let cowardice overtake your courage. God has warned His people throughout history of the danger of fear and has encouraged them to be brave in their faith. “The fear of man brings a snare, but whoever trusts in the Lord shall be safe” (Proverbs 29:25).
The darkest warning comes in the final book of the Bible. Heading the list of those who “shall have their part in the lake which burns with fire and brimstone, which is the second death” is “the cowardly” (Revelation 21:8). Don’t be a secret disciple. Don’t be afraid to be faithful.