38 Afterward Joseph of Arimathea, who had been a secret disciple of Jesus (because he feared the Jewish leaders), asked Pilate for permission to take down Jesus’ body. When Pilate gave permission, Joseph came and took the body away. – John 19:38 NLT
After the death of Jesus, Joseph of Arimathea asked for permission to take the body and bury it. Joseph was a man wealthy enough to have his own tomb dug for him. He was also a member of the Sanhedrin, as was Nicodemus. Nicodemus was wealthy enough to purchase the hundred pounds of myrrh and aloes, both of which were very expensive items in that day and time. It would have taken someone influential and well-known to approach Pilate and ask for the body of Jesus. Though they were both influential and wealthy men, they were both secret disciples of Jesus because they feared both the Romans and the other Jewish leaders. They could have been imprisoned (as Joseph was in later years), beaten or sentenced to death. The question we need to ask ourselves today is this: “What are the fears that keep us from openly serving Jesus?” What keeps us from telling family, friends and neighbors about Jesus?
“The Gospel has come to you because it’s on its way to someone else.” -Anonymous
In First Corinthians, Paul uses the human body to describe the relationship and the function of each individual member of the Church. Here in his second letter to Timothy, he uses the analogy of a wealthy home with many utensils. We can assume that a wealthy home would have all the utensils needed for every task, from the lowest to the highest. That home would also have a full staff of servants with one of those designated as the chief of all of the servants. This person would be responsible for making sure that each person was assigned a specific task or tasks and also that that person would be given the exact utensils he needed to complete the task. Some will tutor the kids, some will do windows and yes, some will do the bathrooms. All of the utensils and servants are there to care for the home, the master and his family. In this analogy, God would be the Master, Jesus would be the heir and the Holy Spirit would be the taskmaster assigning the tasks and giving out the utensils necessary to perform the tasks. The home is the Kingdom of God here on earth. The Holy Spirit knows who He has gifted to perform each task and no one can do it better than that person. We are to spend our time, not in foolish discussions about temporary things of little or no consequence, here or later, but in doing the tasks that the Holy Spirit has given us to do. If we do not, the Kingdom will not function as well as it should and the world around us will grow more evil as satan moves in to take the territory that we give up. I think we can see the proof of that all around us today.
20 In a wealthy home some utensils are made of gold and silver, and some are made of wood and clay. The expensive utensils are used for special occasions, and the cheap ones are for everyday use. 21 If you keep yourself pure, you will be a special utensil for honorable use. Your life will be clean, and you will be ready for the Master to use you for every good work. 22 Run from anything that stimulates youthful lusts. Instead, pursue righteous living, faithfulness, love, and peace. Enjoy the companionship of those who call on the Lord with pure hearts. .–2 Timothy 2:20-22 (NLT)
God has a plan for every Christian. Each of us is an original design created by the original Designer. His canvas is the universe. We are limited in how much of that we can see, but be assured His plan has been in existence since before the foundations of the earth and they will be completed, For we are God’s masterpiece. He has created us anew in Christ Jesus, so we can do the good things he planned for us long ago–Ephesians 2:10 (NLT)
Whether we are gold, silver, wood or clay is not our concern. Our concern is to be prepared to carry out His plan for our lives. To do this, we must remain pure and clean. We must avoid the very appearance of sin and run from things that stimulate us physically. Our focus is to be on righteous living, faithfulness, love, and peace.
Teach these things, Timothy, and encourage everyone to obey them. 3 Some people may contradict our teaching, but these are the wholesome teachings of the Lord Jesus Christ. These teachings promote a godly life. 4 Anyone who teaches something different is arrogant and lacks understanding. Such a person has an unhealthy desire to quibble over the meaning of words. This stirs up arguments ending in jealousy, division, slander, and evil suspicions. 5 These people always cause trouble. Their minds are corrupt, and they have turned their backs on the truth. To them, a show of godliness is just a way to become wealthy–1 Timothy 6:2b-5 (NLT)
In our modern society, we have access to so much information that contains all kinds of doctrines and teachings. We must be aware of deception in every area of our lives. Every message we hear, every word that we read must be crosschecked against Scripture to be sure of its authenticity. Any person teaching the truth will not be offended if you question them on their stance. True Godliness will stand up to any test that man can devise. Every lie has just enough truth in it to make it believable. Every religion offers doctrines and rewards that appeal to the flesh. But Christianity (which is a relationship, not a religion) is the only belief system that claims to have a living God and Savior, Jesus Christ. If anyone preaches any message that offers a different way to get to heaven than through the blood of Jesus Christ, that person is deceived. We preach Jesus Christ and Him crucified as the only way to heaven. We attempt to live holy lives to lay up rewards in heaven, not here on earth. Everything that we receive here on earth is a gift from God, not a reward for good works.