The serpent in the garden was described as being crafty. When we sin, we often think we, too, are very crafty in our secrets and lies. We think our sin is secret and doesn’t impact anyone else. We think our sin is secret and not evident to others. We think our sin is secret and doesn’t affect our relationships, especially our relationship with God. But secrets are never truly secret – it is all just a crafty deception by the father of all lies that leads us to believe that we are crafty deceivers too.
I thought of this as I thought about Joseph of Arimathea working secretly. Let’s see how that went. Pilate knew, since he had to ask. The soldiers knew, since they would have had to lower Jesus from the cross. The servants of J of A knew, because they would have been tasked with helping move the body. Nicodemus, a Pharisee and a member of the Jewish ruling council knew, since he came to help. His servants knew, since he probably didn’t lug 75 pounds of spices by himself. The apostles knew because some of the women followed and observed where he was being buried. The Jewish rulers of the law knew because they requested Pilate post Roman guards at the entrance to the tomb, obviously also knowing which tomb. The Romans also knew which tomb to stand guard. God knew.
At this point, I’m not quite sure who wasn’t in on this secret!
Just a point to keep in mind when you look at the “secret things” in your own life.
Joe, member of the council, good and upright (see description of Job: blameless and upright), from Arimathea, Judean town, waiting for the kingdom of God, had a grave. Nick, Pharisee, member of Jewish ruling council, came to Jesus at night, asked q’s about being born again, J3:16 spoken to him. Tried to get Jesus a more fair trial, but shouted down. Neither man confessed following Jesus because of fear – “they loved human praise more than praise from God.”
They lost the ability to interact with Jesus. They could not sit at his feet and learn, instead they had to hide in the shadows. They were not a witness to others but sided with those who murdered Jesus. They gained guilt by association. They gained membership into the leadership council, but without any true voice in the council. They gained status and praise of men.
They risked being chastised and shunned by the religious leaders. They risked being outed to them by others. They risked being identified with Jesus followers. They gained a place in history for their kindness (after the fact). They gained the ability to repent of their part in Jesus’ murder and make minor restitution. We don’t know their future
fear of censure or ridicule by others. Fear of being labeled with a lie. Fear of mis-acting or mis-speaking. Prayerfully and boldly.