C.S. Lewis once said, “Only a real risk tests the reality of a belief.”
Scripture is full of men and women of God who took a risk, Abraham, Daniel, Paul, and Esther, to name just a few. In Mark 15:43, we read: “Joseph of Arimathea took a risk and went to Pilate and asked for Jesus’ body. (Joseph was an honoured member of the high council, and he was waiting for the Kingdom of God to come).”
Joseph was a man of prominence and power. As a member of the Jewish Council, he was accustomed to moving within influential political circles and was widely regarded as an honest man. However, he was also a secret believer in Jesus. Touched by the Holy Spirit, he begged for the body of Jesus and, in those moments, stepped out with a servant heart of worship to ensure that the Messiah was buried with honour.
In John chapter 19:38-39 we read that Nicodemus (a Jewish religious leader and a Pharisee who had previously come to speak with Jesus under cover of darkness for fear of being seen) joined forces with Joseph to help bury Jesus.
Such a beautiful picture of an unlikely partnership, these two men were both leaders of the Jewish people. One was a member of the judicial body which condemned Jesus, the other a member of the sect which committed Him to custody. Hope seemed lost, Jesus was dead, and His body was yet to be buried, yet God was working in the darkness. At this moment, these men stepped out; they knew that Jesus was who He said He was. Amid the uncertainty, they risked their positions of power and influence, even their lives and stepped out for Christ with remarkable courage and love while the other disciples hid. Joseph of Arimathea had no idea what would come from placing the body of Jesus in his own tomb. However, in just a few days, that same tomb went from a place of mourning to empty. It has been a place of hope for followers of Jesus for generations around the world. Death is defeated, Jesus is alive, and we have eternal life!
Are we, as followers of Jesus, willing to take a risk? To speak out and share our faith? To take a stand for the truth, which may risk our friendships or reputations? Can we pray believing that political and other influential leaders who are secret believers throughout the island of Ireland will stand up and also take the risk?
Hope in Ireland is not lost; God is still on the throne. Perhaps we need to summon up courage and prayerfully, through the leading of the Holy Spirit, take the risk to be a part of His purpose and plan for this land.
Father, I pray that followers of Jesus throughout Ireland would be willing to take the risk for their faith. Help me to be one of those willing to take a stand. Please help us to step out with Godly courage and boldness. In Jesus’ name, I pray, Amen.