by: Steve Fawcett
Welcome to day 17 of our 4 week prayer adventure.
Matt. 27:57-66 Looking back at this account of Jesus’ burial, I would like to point out a couple of things that apply to us today. First, notice that Christ has friends that we may know nothing about. Verse 57 says: “When it was evening, there came a rich man from Arimathea, named Joseph, who also was a disciple of Jesus.” Joseph of Arimathea comes forward to claim the body of Jesus after He had just died. We had never heard of this guy before and never again afterwards. Yet, at a time when the apostles had all fled, at a time when it was dangerous to be associated with Jesus, at a time when there seemed to be no earthly advantage to be gained by professing friendship with Jesus, Joseph comes forward boldly, asks for Christ’s body and lays His body in Joseph’s own new cave tomb.
This is very encouraging. It reveals to us that there are people, probably very many, who may be quiet people, yet they know the Lord, the Lord knows them yet they are little known by the church. God has many friends, serving and living in obscure little places that we might not ever hear about or hear from until we meet them in heaven.
A second thing which is also very encouraging, especially during these coronavirus days, is how God can use even bad people’s actions to work for His own glory and our ultimate good. The chief priests were greatly bothered about Jesus’ remarks about rising again, so getting permission to do everything in their power to make the tomb secure, they thought they had the problem solved. Think of that, they did everything they could think of to make sure nobody stole the body, yet God used their evil actions and intentions, to provide proof to all the world that there was no deception, nobody did steal the body and that Jesus really did rise again. They might as well tried to stop the sun from rising or the tides to stop rising and falling as to stop Jesus from rising again. God used their own craftiness to further His cause!
The history of the church is filled with examples of this. When they persecuted Stephen, Acts 7, what was the result? The church scattered and started to share the gospel everywhere. When they threw Paul into prison, did that stop him? No, it gave him time to write all those marvelous prison letters that we love so much in the New Testament. When kings persecuted Christians later, it became well known that the blood of the martyrs became the seed of the church. When John Bunyan was thrown into prison for preaching the gospel, it gave him time to write ‘Pilgrims Progress,’ the second most popular book in English literature, only behind the Bible in popularity.
So, consider these things and take heart. The powers of this world are only tools in God’s hands, He is always using them for His own purposes, and this certainly includes the corona virus. It will be very interesting to see all what comes out of this, although many things might not become evident for many years.
Keep on praying that God will be glorified through all this, that many people would place their trust in Jesus, that God’s people would experience a revival in their own faith and that God would keep us safe from the potentially bad effects of this latest virus. Pray also for those serving in the ‘front lines’ of this pandemic, for all those struggling financially and emotionally at this time, along with wisdom for those seeking to find treatments and a cure. Thanks.