“When Fear, Faith and Grace Meet! “

This was the title for our CWCI Summer Retreats this year. Beth our speaker shared the story of Gideon to help us to understand that struggling with insecurity, fear and not feeling good enough does not mean there is something wrong with our faith. Through this real live story of Gideon we learned that God has chosen to reveal to us what we are like and what He is like when it comes to our fears and faith.

When reading the story of Easter, it is these truths that again are revealed as two men experience fear and faith in their encounters with the Lord Jesus Christ. Joseph of Arimathea and Nicodemus were ‘secret’ disciples of Jesus and there was much to lose in their publicly acknowledging their belief in Jesus, as the Messiah, the Son of God. But God’s perfect timing had them strategically placed in the right positions, to act at just the right time.

It was in the darkest moment of Jesus’ death on the cross, when all hope seemed to be lost, that God prompted Joseph of Arimathea and Nicodemus, to respond together to honour Jesus. Joseph could gain an audience and speak boldly to Pilate because of his position as a member of the Sanhedrin. He could do what the other disciples could not. And Nicodemus was well regarded by the people and could influence the crowds, Joseph was no longer concerned about concealment, the injustice that he saw caused him to act, and step out of the shadows.

Previously, Nicodemus had gone to meet Jesus at night, and he had spoken out and challenged his fellow Pharisees on a point of law when they sent the Temple guards to arrest Jesus. He could now see their hypocrisy, how their insistence in observing the law did not prevent them from breaking it, in their desire to see Jesus arrested.

Joseph of Arimathea and Nicodemus together moved out of the shadows and into the light. It was a defining moment to choose – they considered the cost and realised the worth of knowing Christ Jesus our Lord surpasses all else.

What did it cost them? It cost them in that preparing the body of Jesus they would not be ‘clean’ to celebrate the Sabbath, it cost them a new family tomb and about 30kilos of spices and aloes. But they willingly gave up what was familiar to honour the one who had given His life for them.

They put their fears aside and in faith while the women watched from a distance, no doubt in amazement, these two respected members of the Sanhedrin gently lowered the body from the cross, wound it in linen clothes, applied the spices and aloes, laid the body in the tomb and departed. This act of faith no doubt cost them their positions, their possessions and possibly their lives.

This Easter time we ask the question what will it cost us to publicly show that we celebrate Jesus, His life, death, resurrection and His unfailing grace? Jesus said to Nicodemus in John 3:16

“For God loved the world so much that He gave His only Son, so that everyone who believes in Him may not die 

but have eternal life”

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