The Secret Disciple (John 19:38-53)


John 19:38-53


A.  What happened to the disciples after Jesus was arrested?


            1.  Most scattered.  Some even leaving their clothes behind.

            2.  Some followed.  Peter and John follow to the trial.

            3.  Could some have been secretly within the Sanhedrin?


B.  Two members of the Sanhedrin are seen as secret followers.


            1.  Nicodemus.  (see John 3)

            2.  Joseph of Arimathaea.


                        a.  He was a prominent member.

                                    "an honourable counsellor"  (Mk.15:43)

                        b.  He was a prosperous man.

                                    "a rich man of Arimathaea"


C.  Nicodemus and Joseph show us some common stages of



I.  The Curiosity Stage.


A.  Both men started off as Searchers.


            1.  Joseph was said to be waiting "for the kingdom of God."

            2.  Nicodemus came to Jesus by night to find out more.


B.  Many start off as just Searchers, curious about Christianity.


            ILL:  Like car shopping.  You start out with just looking.

                        You try to find out more.  You want a test drive.


            1.  This is the reason many drop in.

            2.  This is the reason many drop out.

                        EX:  seed on stony ground or weedy ground



C.  Being a searcher is OK--for awhile.


            1.  It is better to be searching than sitting.

                        EX:  searching for a college, for a cure, for a course

                                    to take in life, for a certain recipe

                        EX:  Nicodemus & Joseph better than other Jewish



            2.  But just searching is not enough.

                  Searching is not finding.  Curiosity is not commitment.


                        EX:  Flipping through the channels is not watching


                                Walking through a supermarket is not buying


                                 Reading a car magazine is not signing a



II.  The Concealment Stage.


A.  Both men began to believe in Jesus as the Christ--Secretly.

            1.  They had some Faith.

            2.  They had some Fear.

            "...Joseph of Arithmathaea, being a disciple of Jesus,

            but secretly for fear of the Jews..."  (Jn.19:38)


B.  I have seen many who wanted to be secret disciples.


            1.  For fear of losing Position or Possessions.

                        EX:  Man born blind kicked out of synagogue


            2.  For fear of losing life or liberty.

                        EX:  In Germany during WWII,  Muslim converts


            3.  For fear of losing friends or family.

                        EX:  Youth at college, Hindu converts, Peter


C.  Some things Can't Stay Hidden.

            EX:  A growing child;  a growing faith

III.  The Crisis Stage.


A.  Joseph & Nicodemus met a Crisis in the Sanhedrin.


            1.  Jesus was brought in for Trial.

            2.  Jesus was judged by the Sanhedrin.


            "And, behold, there was a man named Joseph, a

            counsellor; and he was a good man, and a just:

             (The same had not consented to the counsel

            and deed of them)..."

            (Luke 23:50-51)


B.  There will be a Crisis of Faith for every Secret Disciple.


            ILL:  God's Not Dead

                        Students forced to sign paper saying,

                        "God Is Dead."


            ILL:  Cassie Bernall--She Said Yes!


            1.  May be when asked point blank to admit.

            2.  May be when around others who deny.


            EX:  Queen Esther


IV.  The Courageous Stage.


A.  Joseph and Nicodemus Came Out and Showed Themselves

      As Disciples of Jesus.


            1.  It took courage to ask for the body of Jesus.

            2.  It meant angering the other Jewish Officials.


B.  God Does Not Call You to Stay a Secret Christian.

            (see Matthew 10:32-33)


            1.  We are called to have a Public Confession in Church.

            2.  We are called to have a Public Confession in the World.


A.  Joseph and Nicodemus finally stopped being Secret Disciples.

            ILL:  Passion Play portrayal


B.  Isn't it about time for you to stop being a Secret Disciple.


            1.  What stage are you in?

            2.  The invitation is about Public Confession.

            3.  Won't you be an Open Disciple tonight?





  September 2020  
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