I find it interesting that the two men (Joseph of Arimathea and Nicodemus) who are on record as being so helpful with the burial of Jesus were ‘secret’ disciples (John 19:38-42). They followed Jesus and believed he was the messiah, albeit secretly because they feared the Jews. They didn’t want to be accused of blasphemy by following a man who claimed to be the Son of God. And so they followed him ‘secretly’. Most likely, they saw the burial as the highest act of devotion they could show to Him. They probably said: “Here hangs our ‘secret’ master on the cross; let us prepare Him for a decent burial.” So they brought the spices, and placed him in a new tomb which was owned by Joseph (Luke 23:53). For them, that was the end of a ministry. A great ministry, no doubt, but still it was the end. Their master was dead.
In God’s agenda, however, this was not the end. Something greater was in view – a Resurrection. Life overcomes Death; Resurrection supercedes the Burial. But where were the secret disciples? Devotees to a lost cause, they were no longer around. The task of proclamation was given to those who were willing to identify with Him publicly (though one of them was tempted to become a secret disciple shortly before He was crucified). These were the true followers; they who loved not their lives to the death. They had counted the cost and had decided to pay, by the help of the Holy Spirit. In obedience to Jesus’ command, they were willing to lose their lives for His sake.
And in doing so they became witnesses.
The church needs to ‘come out’. Not to a perverted sexuality nor to a confusion of gender roles, but to her true identity as the people of God and the followers of Jesus. Enough of living by double standards: we serve God in the church and our homes, while serve Man in our workplaces and in the larger society. We are the light of the world; we have a unique vision of human life under the sovereignty of God. We have the truth of the gospel for restoring God’s purpose in the society. God has given us his word , and it is relevant for every aspect of human life be it work, politics, family, or education. It is our responsibility to live by this truth and proclaim it to the world.
God does not need ‘secret disciples’; He wants witnesses.