Text: “And fear not them which kill the body, but are not able to kill the soul; but rather fear Him (the Lord God Almighty) which is able to destroy both soul and body in Hell.”
“But ye shall receive power, after that the Holy Ghost is come upon you; and ye shall be witnesses unto Me (Christ Jesus) both in Jerusalem, and in all Judaea, and in Samaria, and unto the uttermost part of the earth.” (Acts 1:8)
Dictionary Definition: Witness - someone who sees or has personal knowledge of an event, etc.; someone who gives evidence; someone whose signature confirms the genuineness of a document, or of a signature already added…(something that is) proof or evidence of anything; knowledge brought in proof; testimony of a fact…to give evidence of; to confirm fact of; attest to truth of, etc. (The Chambers Dictionary page 1920)
The Divinely inspired Scriptures clearly teach us that every Christian must witness in the following manner:
“Let your light so shine before men, that they may see your good works, and glorify your Father which is in Heaven.” (Matthew 5:16)
The clear proof of the Gospel of Eternal Salvation - found only in the Lord Jesus Christ by God’s grace, through faith - is openly revealed in the daily lives of fearless Christian witnesses. True Christians have not only found secure Salvation in Christ and in His finished Atonement Sacrifice at the Cross, but are not content to keep such Eternally priceless knowledge selfishly to themselves; they must share it with as many other precious souls as possible.
“The fruit of the righteous (made righteous in Christ Jesus) is a tree of life; and he/she that winneth souls (by open Christian witness) is wise.” (Proverbs 11:30)
This is the reason the apostle Paul cried out: “For though I preach the Gospel, I have nothing to glory of; for necessity is laid upon me; yea, woe is unto me, if I preach not the Gospel!” (1 Corinthians 9:16)
Paul had a passion for precious souls - and so should every true Christian! We are saved by grace in order to serve the Lord Jesus!
Two early Christian believers learned this lesson the hard way and by personal experience - Joseph of Arimathaea, and Nicodemus.
In today’s Bible reading from John’s Gospel account, we learn that Joseph of Arimathaea was indeed a disciple of Christ Jesus - but he tried to be a ‘secret Christian witness', and that was an impossible thing to do.
“And after this (Christ’s Crucifixion and death) Joseph of Arimathaea, being a disciple of Jesus, but secretly for fear of the Jews, besought Pilate that he might take away the Body of Jesus; and Pilate gave him leave. He came therefore, and took the Body of Jesus.” (V.38)
To Joseph we can now respectfully say, ‘Well, brother Joseph, better late than never!’ He learned by personal experience the fact that, there can be no such person as a ‘secret Christian’!
However, look what happened when Joseph came out and revealed his love for Jesus. Immediately we learn of yet another would-be secret Christian coming out in service to Christ also. Faith in one, inspires faith in others!
“And there came also Nicodemus, which at the first came to Jesus by night (in secret?), and brought a mixture of myrrh and aloes, about an hundred pound weight.” (V.39)
To Nicodemus we can respectfully say, ‘Well, brother Nicodemus, better late than never!’ He also learned the lesson that there can be no such thing as a ‘secret Christian’!
“Then took they (Joseph and Nicodemus) the Body of Jesus, and wound it in linen clothes with the spices, as the manner of the Jews is to bury.” (V.40)
At the dangerous time in question, these two ‘better-late-than-never’ Christian believers took their stand fearlessly for the Crucified Christ. They discovered that their love for Jesus was more precious to them than life itself.
By their fearless public witness, they remain a great encouragement to all true believers today; and they now sit at the feet of King Jesus, forever worshipping Him.
Thought: It’s better late than never - come out, Christian, and serve Christ today!