Without conflict, there are no heroes. The hero and coward look alike until the battle begins. Then and only then, in the face of the challenge, is each one's true character manifested.
In Jesus' time, you do not expect heroes of the Christian faith to emerge from the ranks of the Pharisees. But Joseph of Arimathea defies the expectations.
This godly man risks wealth, reputation, and perhaps personal safety, when he asks for and receives the permission to take down Jesus' body from the cross and lay it in his own tomb.
· Give God praise that He enables His children to do heroic deeds on His behalf:
Now faith is the substance of things hoped for, the evidence of things not seen. For by it the elders obtained a good testimony. By faith we understand that the worlds were framed by the word of God, so that the things which are seen were not made of things which are visible. By faith Abel offered to God a more excellent sacrifice than Cain, through which he obtained witness that he was righteous, God testifying of his gifts; and through it he being dead still speaks. By faith Enoch was translated so that he did not see death . . for before his translation he had this testimony, that he pleased You, O God (based on Hebrews 11:1-5).
· Pray this confession to the Lord as you seek to keep your life free from sin:
You were dead in trespasses and sins, in which you once walked according to the course of this world, according to the prince of the power of the air, the spirit who now works in the sons of disobedience (based on Ephesians 2:1-2).
· Confess any sins that the Holy Spirit brings to your mind. Now pause to pray this affirmation to the Lord:
We are ambassadors for Christ, as though God were pleading through us: we implore you on Christ's behalf, be reconciled to God. For He made Him who knew no sin to be sin for us, that we might become the righteousness of God in Him (2 Corinthians 5:20-21).
· As you make your requests known to the Lord, pray for:
· greater courage in evangelism,
· the work of missions in Europe,
· your activities for the day.
· Offer this closing prayer to the Lord:
Since I am surrounded by so great a cloud of witnesses, . . . let me run with endurance the race that is set before me (based on Hebrews 12:1).