Courageous Christians both deeply impress me and intimidate me! I always want to be courageous in my faith and testimony! Sometimes however, I fear I am more like “denying Peter” than I want to admit! I am ashamed when I read or hear of the courage of godly Christ-followers in places in our world where intimidation and persecution are rampant. I am convinced that Holy Spirit baptized and empowered Christians should evidence courage in the face of pressure and persecution. I’ve got to tell you, I want to be courageous in my faith and witness every day – in every way!
I read the following account of courage today in my time of “coffee with the Lord” … Oh how it challenged me! It takes place right after the crucifixion of Jesus… “Joseph of Arimathea, a highly regarded member of the Jewish Council, who was himself looking forward to the Kingdom of God, WENT BOLDLY TO PILATE and asked for the body of Jesus. Pilate was surprised that He was already dead. He called the centurion and asked him if He had been dead for some time. When Pilate was informed by the centurion, he gave the body to Joseph. Joseph bought a linen cloth and took down the body, he wrapped it in the linen and placed it in a tomb cut out of the rock.” (Mark 15:43-46 the NET Bible)
The NET Bible adds this wonderful explanatory note: “Asking for the body of Jesus was indeed a bold move on the part of Joseph of Arimathea, for it clearly and openly identified him with a man who had just been condemned and executed, namely Jesus. His faith was exemplary, especially for someone who was a member of the council that had just handed Jesus over for crucifixion (cp. Luke 23:51).”
Oh how I desire the Holy Spirit to produce in me the kind of boldness (probably better, “courage”) that will stand tall for Jesus, my Savior, regardless of the pressure! Oh Lord, overcome timidity in me! Help me to resist intimidation by others. May I be a courageous Christ-follower and witness! I embrace the prayer and experience of the first century Church… First the prayer: “And now Lord, pay attention to their threats and grant to Your servants to speak Your message with great courage!” … And then their experience: “When they had prayed, the place where they were assembled together was shaken, and they were all filled with the Holy Spirit and began to speak the word of God courageously!” (from Acts 4:29 and 31, the NET Bible)