What can one do to advance the cause of the gospel?
“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”, (Mk. 15:43).
As we begin the Holy week preparations that would usher us into another Easter, it is important we focus meditatively on what one can do to advance the cause of the Gospel. Let it be stated that it is never too late to identify with the gospel, no matter the position or post one may occupy in life. For, if we deal with shame and fear, then with courage we can stand out or take practical steps to achieve such a great task. Yes, Joseph of Arimathea was faced with a similar situation, but he was bold and courageous, as he went to Pilate and asked for Jesus’ body.
According to Life Application Study Bible, shortly after Jesus died on the cross, Joseph of Arimathea asked for His body so that he could lay Him in his private tomb. Though an honoured member of the High Council, but he was a secret disciple of Jesus. We must admit that not all the Jewish leaders hated Jesus. That was why this Joseph risked his reputation to give a proper burial to His Lord. It is frightening to risk one’s reputation even for what is right. However, if your Christian witness endangers your reputation, remember Joseph. Today, he is remembered with pride and admiration for what he stood for in the Christendom.
But one may be tempted to ask: How come that today some men and women who claim to be followers of Jesus sometimes find it difficult to stand out for Him and by extension the cause of the Gospel? It is even worse, when some of such persons are at the corridors of power. They tend to have some considerations such as job security, not wanting to offend their paymasters and so play along in order to remain relevant within the social class. However, these categories of persons forget that it is always good to take advantage of opportunities to do something for Jesus and His gospel.
The Bible is replete with some persons that were useful to the cause of the Gospel. For example, in the Old Testament, we are presented with a strong character in the person of Nehemiah. It is true he was a government official then, a man at the corridors of power, yet, he did not waste time in offering himself to be a tool in the rebuilding of the broken walls of Jerusalem.
Through this action, he was able to assist in the work of the Lord, see Nehemiah 3. Also, in the New Testament, we have such persons as Joseph of Arimathea, who approached Pilate for the body of Jesus, (Mark 15:46), Mary Magdalene, who prepared Jesus’ body for burial (Mark 14:3-9), Barnabas son of encouragement, who sold his piece of land and laid the money at the feet of the Apostles (Acts 4:37) and Lydia, who supported the ministry of Paul (Acts 16:14-15) among others.
Therefore, God is in need of men and women that would not only surrender themselves, but their resources too. To such St. Paul said: “For I am not ashamed of the gospel of Christ: for it is the power of God unto salvation to every one that believeth; to the Jew first, and also to the Greek,” (Rom 1:16). It behooves us then to note that no time is better to respond than now for the cause of the Gospel. We earnestly pray that God would give us the grace to stand for Him at all times. Please, do not delay!
Ven. Ernest Onuoha
Rector, Ibru International Ecumenical
Centre, Agbarha-Otor, Delta State.
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