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Summary: Cost of staying back! Will you be the one?

Stay back! Will you be the one?

John 19:38-After this, Joseph of Arimathea, being a disciple of Jesus, but secretly, for fear of the Jews, asked Pilate that he might take away the body of Jesus; and Pilate gave him permission. So he came and took the body of Jesus.”

Industrialist Rajiv Bajaj on Friday posed a challenge to the students: ”Don’t just drive pulsar bikes but make bikes and get involved in its production too.” Likewise, I challenge you Christians not just be happy sitting in the pew and enjoying the show, get involved in His Work, get into the manufacturing unit! Stay back! Will you be the one?

It is Friday night, (5/10/2012) I’ve been praying, worshiping and reading His Word for the last four hours and I’m burning and weeping in His presence! It’s past midnight as I write this message and I’m going to talk on a subject of ‘Cost of staying back…!’ It is fresh, hot, simmering manna right from the throne Room of God! Savor it! Can I ask you of a favor? Don’t read this message just once flippantly, keep reading it reading it, until it rips off all mediocrity, dishonesty and impertinence from you!

Let me take you back to the great and pivotal day of history when your Savior was crucified for you and me. Many people were watching the horrendous scene: some with tears, some helplessly, some nonchalantly, some skeptically, some were face to face with Him like the Centurion and some from a distance. After Jesus breathed His last, most of them left the scene; you must remember here that the entire place of crucifixion was like a ‘riot scene’, the earth shook, the rocks split and the huge battalion of Roman soldiers scattered around that place, made the place look more gorier. (Mathew 27:51) I have taken references from all the four Gospels, hence nothing is from imagination. Think! In the midst of this mille, a bunch of people never left that place, they hung on there; they did not pack up, wiped their tears and leave like many leave us when we desperately need them. I remember the day when not a single person stayed with us after my father’s funeral. With me eldest in the family and two sisters after me, the last one was around 14 that time, we were four women, including my mom, left alone to fend for ourselves. Friend, staying back during times of crisis involves paying a price, investing precious time, taking off from work, putting up inconveniences, shouldering responsibilities and most important helping out financially. Who would want to take such risks? Not many, though.

While the others left, there were a bunch of ‘Jesus-lovers’ who kept vigil on that place and were ready to do everything for their Great Master. Among them were: Mary Magdalene, Mary the mother of Joses, Nicodemus, who at first came to Jesus by night, also came, bringing a mixture of myrrh and aloes, about a hundred pounds and Joseph of Arimathea. I want to talk today about the one who took courage to approach and plead with Pilate to handover the body of Jesus: Joseph of Arimathea, who is the main figure in the burial of Jesus. Let me tell you something more of Joseph, he was:

• A Jew, council member, a good and just man.

• He was from Arimathea, a city of the Jews

• a secret disciple of Jesus, for fear of the Jews,

• a rich man

• He had not consented to the Sanhedrin decision and action to see Jesus executed.

• and most important one looking for the Kingdom of God.

Being a prominent member of an elite group of Jews who abhorred Jesus, we find Joseph secretly adored Jesus! Ah! Who can resist His divine love! But fear of Jews and the riches in his life I guess kept him underground; there are hoards of people out there who are clinging to their jobs, wealth and BMWs and putting God behind their back.

Rev Charles Spurgeon said :”Beware of the pride of life, the lust for rank, the desire to hoard—for any of these may prevent your service to your Lord. Riches puff men up and prevent their stooping to find the ‘Pearl Jesus’ of great price.”

However, after the display of colossal love of Jesus on the cross, Joseph could not constrain his love for Jesus anymore, he boldly approaches Pilate for the body of Jesus. Mark 15:46 explains the scene wonderfully, “Then he bought fine linen, took Him down, and wrapped Him in the linen. And he laid Him in a tomb which had been hewn out of the rock, and rolled a stone against the door of the tomb.” While the other members of the Sanhedrin remembered that Jesus prophesied that he would rise again in three days and appealed for a guard at the tomb (Mathew 27: 62), Joseph dared to seal the tomb himself, knowing their wicked plans. As Joseph moved in and out of Pilate’s palace seeking permission and getting orders for the proper burial of Jesus, I’m sure he met his buddies (Jews) on the way and as they were staring daggers at him, nothing deterred the determination of this man who was now sold out for Jesus. Joseph of Arimathea! Romans 8:35” Who shall separate us from the love of Christ? Shall tribulation, or distress, or persecution, or famine, or nakedness, or peril, or sword?” People who love Him colossally and enormously have to pause here with wet eyes! When people ask me, ‘Bala, what made you take the risk and give up a secured job and a structured life? As a mother of two kids and the latter one being an infant, I dared to leave everything behind for the sake of my passionate love for Him! I still stand despite the storms and tornadoes because I love Him! The new tomb offered for Jesus belonged to Joseph of Arimathea! It sure requires passionate love for Jesus to do this in the midst of violence and antagonism that surrounded that place. This group had one thing in mind, and that is, JESUS; they were oblivious to every other thing that was happening around them. They stayed back to take care of Him! We brag about Jesus carrying us on His shoulders like a Father, here was Joseph of Arimathea who carried the body of Jesus Christ on his shoulders! Wow! Anybody listening?

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