“For whoever is ashamed of Me and My words in this adulterous and sinful generation, of him the Son of Man also will be ashamed when He comes in the glory of His Father with the holy angels.” (Mark 8:38 NKJV).
During the earthly ministry of Jesus there were some among the rulers of the Jews who truly believed in Him, but who did not publicly confess Him as the Messiah.
The Scripture gives two primary reasons why they chose not to confess Christ in the open, or to identify publicly with Christ, or to make any personal commitment to follow Christ. These are: the fear of men and the praise of men.
John reveals, “Nevertheless even among the rulers many believed in Him, but because of the Pharisees they did not confess Him, lest they should be put out of the synagogue; for they loved the praise of men more than the praise of God.” (John 12:42-43 NKJV).
The Bible mentions two notable secret believers or admirers of Christ among the rulers of the Jews – Joseph of Arimathea and Nicodemus.
Both of them truly believed that the Lord Jesus was indeed the Christ, but because they feared men and loved the praise of men they chose not to publicly express their faith in Christ or love for Christ during His ministry either in words or by works.
Joseph of Arimathea was said to be a council member, a good, just and rich man (Lk. 23:50, Mt. 27:57). But, the fear of men and his desire for the praise of men hindered him from making any significant input into the life and ministry of Christ.
If you allow the fear and praise of men to dominate, rule or control your life, you will not make any significant input into God’s Kingdom or any impact on your generation for Christ!
Likewise, Nicodemus was said to be a prominent ruler and a Pharisee, a member of the great council or Sanhedrin (John 3:1). He once came to see Jesus by night, expressing his conviction that Jesus truly came from God (John 3:2).
Nicodemus undoubtedly believed in Jesus Christ. Nevertheless, he never for once expressed his faith in Christ before the council, even though he had ample opportunities to do so.
There was a time when the council sent out some officers to arrest Jesus, but they came back testifying about Jesus to the council that: “No man ever spoke like this Man!” Then the Pharisees answered them, “Are you also deceived? “Have any of the rulers or the Pharisees believed in Him? “But this crowd that does not know the law is accursed.” (John 7:45-49 NKJV).
What a great opportunity for Nicodemus to stand up and openly express his faith in Christ! But he missed it, for he feared men and loved their praise.
Similarly, you also will always miss great and divine opportunity to speak out and stand up for Christ if you fear people and love their praise.
When the Lord Jesus was arrested and crucified on the cross all His disciples fled for their lives and went into hiding. Strangely, it was at this time that two of His secret disciples, Joseph and Nicodemus, repented and rose up to take bold steps of faith, not fearing what men would say or do to them.
What a glorious transformation!
Although the rulers of the Jews were still watching over the body of Christ, for they kept it in mind that Jesus said He would rise up again, yet Joseph went in to Pilate, asking for the body of Jesus so that he might bury Him in his own tomb.
Mark records, “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 NKJV).
That was a courageous act!
Obviously, Joseph did not bother any more about what any man would say or do to him. He was now dead to the fear and praise of men. He would not miss again the opportunity to identify publicly with Christ and to serve and honour Christ.
Like Joseph, you also need to be dead to the fear and praise of men so that you can freely show your love to the Lord Jesus and minister to His body, the Church.
Likewise, Nicodemus, who also was a secret believer, became courageous after the death of Christ and came forward in the open to identify with Christ and minister to His body.
John reports, “And Nicodemus, who at first came to Jesus by night, also came, bringing a mixture of myrrh and aloes, about a hundred pounds. Then they took the body of Jesus, and bound it in strips of linen with the spices, as the custom of the Jews is to bury.” (John 19:39-40 NKJV).
Although Nicodemus had only sought for Christ in the night, in the secret, he now rose up and took bold steps of faith to seek and care for His body in the day, in the public.
Beloved, like Joseph and Nicodemus, are you also a secret believer, admirer or lover of Christ without any good works of faith to show in your family, office, or school?
You also need to repent today and begin to take bold steps of faith to live, speak and stand up for Christ and His cause wherever God has strategically positioned you.
If there is any time to seek and serve the Lord Jesus Christ and minister to His Body (the Church) with all your strength, passion, talents, or possessions; it is now.
Jesus warns, “For whoever is ashamed of Me and My words in this adulterous and sinful generation, of him the Son of Man also will be ashamed when He comes in the glory of His Father with the holy angels.” (Mark 8:38 NKJV).
Friend, if you truly love and believe in the Lord Jesus, arise today to begin to show, express or demonstrate your love for Christ and faith in Christ before all men, not just in words, but also by your good works.
Jesus warns, “Therefore whoever confesses Me before men, him I will also confess before My Father who is in heaven. “But whoever denies Me before men, him I will also deny before My Father who is in heaven.” (Matt. 10:32-33 NKJV).
Prayer: My Dear Heavenly Father, forgive me for being a secret believer of the Lord Jesus because of the fear and praise of men. Today, I choose to be a bold and courageous disciple of Christ, demonstrating my love for Christ before all men. Help me Holy Spirit, in Jesus’ name. Amen.