Is it possible to be a secret disciple? Well what we can say is that secret disciples are better described as anonymous. And when called upon they confess their Lord.
Joseph of Arimathaea was a ‘secret disciple’. “… Joseph of Arimathaea, being a disciple of Jesus, but secretly for fear of the Jews, besought Pilate that he might take away the body of Jesus: and Pilate gave him leave. He came therefore, and took the body of Jesus.” John 19:38.
Joseph was a rich disciple of Jesus. He was a reputable member of the Sanhedrin. He was a good and righteous man, looking for the kingdom of God.
But the most fantastic thing is that he was a secret disciple. For a time, he kept his faith secret for fear of the religious leaders. But when all the disciples had run away, it was this quiet, fearful man who had the bravery to go to Pilate and ask for Christ’s body.
And so it was that Joseph of Arimathaea (and Nicodemus) took the body of Jesus down from the cross.
This man who at first did not ‘nail his colours to the mast’, later pulled the nails from the cross!
He was part of God’s army of the anonymous. People who did not parade their piety! Not only because they would lose their reward, but because they could lose their lives!
I have a feeling we would see a lot less verbal Christianity if our lives were threatened by persecution.
Those who make less noise are usually the ones who are busier for God. “Though I speak in tongues, but do not have love, I am just a noisy GONG!”
We should never judge people by their shows of piety.
This secret disciple was used by God. He was a friend in the Judgement Hall. Everyone condemned Jesus to be guilty of death. But Joseph of Arimathaea, did not vote for the death penalty (Luke 23:50-52).
This secret disciple was prospered by God. God’s favour was bestowed on him. The ancient prophecy predicted that Jesus would be surrounded by the wicked, but that He would be with a rich man in His death. And when it was evening, there came a rich man from Arimathea, named Joseph, who was also a disciple of Jesus. You see this man’s act was seen by God before he did it, and based on that act, God prospered this man.
God allowed this secret disciple to care for Christ’s body. What a privilege!
You will remember that those demonstrative disciples didn’t even wash Christ’s feet! But this man had the honour of caring for the body that had just taken away the sins of the whole world! And Joseph wasn’t alone. He was accompanied by Nicodemus, another clandestine disciple.
We can only stand in awe as we watch their act of love: wrapping His body in spices and linen cloths!
I wonder how the disciples may have felt on the resurrection morning as they saw the grave clothes that two secret disciples had loving wrapped Jesus in, when all others had abandoned Him.
This was such a luxurious sacrifice of worship. We are talking about a lot of money. AND THEY DID IT IN SECRET!!!!!
The women came with spices on the resurrection morning. But they were too late! The ministry had already been taken care of by TWO SECRET DISCIPLES.