STAND UP FOR JESUS!

WISDOM FOR LIVING DAILY DEVOTIONAL

JULY 02, 2024

TOPIC: STAND UP FOR JESUS!

BY T. O. BANSO

Whoever is ashamed of me and my words, the Son of Man will be ashamed of them when he comes in his glory and in the glory of the Father and of the holy angels” (Luke 9:26 New International Version).

The Jewish Council, the Sanhedrin, accused Jesus of claiming to be the Son of God (Luke 22:66-71). They pronounced Him guilty and brought Him before Pilate to sentence Him to death by crucifixion. But the Bible says Joseph of Arimathea, a prominent or respected council member (Mark 15:43), didn’t support the council’s decision.  “Now behold, there was a man named Joseph, a council member, a good and just man. He had not consented to their decision and deed. He was from Arimathea, a city of the Jews, who himself was also waiting for the kingdom of God” (Luke 23:50-51 New King James Version). Joseph took a position different from that of the rest. He didn’t bother about the reproach it might bring on him.

Exodus 23:2 says,You shall not follow a crowd to do evil; nor shall you testify in a dispute so as to turn aside after many to pervert justice” (New King James Version). Joseph didn’t say because his minority voice might not make any difference, he would support the majority. Rather, he stood by his conviction. The New Century Version renders Luke 23:51a thus But he had not agreed to the other leaders’ plans and actions against Jesus.”   

Why did Joseph not agree with the decision of other Council members? Because he was a good and just man waiting for the kingdom of God (verse 51b). Joseph was a secret disciple of Jesus because he was afraid of the Jews or Jewish leaders (John 19:38). But when he disagreed with the decision of the other Council members, he didn’t fear them or what they might say or do. Also, Matthew 27:57 says, “a rich man from Arimathea, named Joseph, who himself had also become a disciple of Jesus.”

Joseph’s wealth did not hinder him from waiting for the kingdom of God. This is significant because Jesus said, Assuredly, I say to you that it is hard for a rich man to enter the kingdom of heaven. And again I say to you, it is easier for a camel to go through the eye of a needle than for a rich man to enter the kingdom of God” (Matthew 19:23-24 New King James Version). Mark 10:24-25 and Luke 18:24-25 record the same teaching.

Note that Jesus didn’t say a rich man couldn’t enter the kingdom of heaven; He said it was hard. So Joseph did a hard thing. He was determined to enter the kingdom of God. He was waiting for the kingdom of God and stood up for Jesus. He didn’t compromise his faith in Jesus Christ. He was prepared for any possible backlash.

Stand up for Jesus. In other words, fight as a good soldier of Christ, defend and support Jesus, stand firm for the gospel and the kingdom of God, and represent Christ well. Don’t compromise your faith in Him. Beloved, while I was making every effort to write you about our common salvation, I was compelled to write to you [urgently] appealing that you fight strenuously for [the defense of] the faith which was once for all handed down to the saints [the faith that is the sum of Christian belief that was given verbally to believers]” (Jude 1:3 Amplified Bible).

Don’t be ashamed of Jesus. He said, Whoever is ashamed of me and my words, the Son of Man will be ashamed of them when he comes in his glory and in the glory of the Father and of the holy angels” (Luke 9:26 New International Version). Mark 8:38 and Luke 12:8-9 say a similar thing.

Not only did Joseph of Arimathea take an unpopular stand against the Council’s decision, but he went further to ask Pilate for the corpse of Jesus, a man labeled a criminal, convicted, and crucified. Joseph knew it was against the law for Jesus’ body to lie hanging overnight. If someone guilty of a capital offense is put to death and their body is exposed on a pole, you must not leave the body hanging on the pole overnight. Be sure to bury it that same day, because anyone who is hung on a pole is under God’s curse. You must not desecrate the land the Lord your God is giving you as an inheritance” (Deuteronomy 21:23 New International Version).

Therefore, Joseph took a risk to ask Pilate for the body of a man executed for treason and went to bury it (Luke 23:50-54; Mark 15:43-46; John 19:38). At a time all the disciples of Jesus had deserted Him and couldn’t come forward to ask for His body for burial, Joseph put his reputation on the line. He associated himself with Jesus and asked Pilate for His body. Pilate granted his request. Joseph stood up for Jesus in death.

Nicodemus, who had visited Jesus at night in John 3, also stood up for Jesus in death. Also, a Council member like Joseph, Nicodemus accompanied Joseph to take the body of Jesus for burial. Nicodemus brought a mixture of myrrh and aloes, about a hundred pounds (John 19:39). They took Jesus’ body and bound it in linen wrappings with the fragrant spices, as was the burial custom of the Jews (John 19:40).

Nicodemus stood up for Jesus, not only in death but also when He was alive. In John 7:50-51, he spoke in favour of Jesus in the Council. Nicodemus (he who came to Jesus by night, being one of them) said to them, Does our law judge a man before it hears him and knows what he is doing?’” (John 7:50-51 New King James Version). Nicodemus was loyal to Jesus in life and death. He stood up for Him.

Joseph of Arimathea and Nicodemus, secret disciples, stood up for Jesus even when the visible disciples became momentarily invisible! Stand up for Jesus. The hymn “Stand up, stand up, for Jesus, Ye soldiers of the cross” written by George Duffield Jr. (1858) emphasizes the need to stand up for Him.

Stand up for Jesus. Don’t be ashamed of Christ. Paul said, For I am not ashamed of the gospel ]of Christ, for it is the power of God to salvation for everyone who believes, for the Jew first and also for the Greek” (Romans 1:16 New King James Version).

Stand up for Jesus come rain or shine. Paul told Timothy: But you, keep your head in all situations, endure hardship, do the work of an evangelist, discharge all the duties of your ministry” (2 Timothy 4:5 New International Version). Stand up for Jesus. As Paul and Barnabas said, we must go through many hardships to enter the kingdom of God (Acts 14:22). We cannot avoid prosecutions (Mark 10:30). We must not run away from them or deny Christ because of them. Blessed are you when they revile and persecute you, and say all kinds of evil against you falsely for My sake.  Rejoice and be exceedingly glad, for great is your reward in heaven, for so they persecuted the prophets who were before you” (Matthew 5:11-12 New King James Version).

The Apostle Peter said, “Beloved, do not think it strange concerning the fiery trial which is to try you, as though some strange thing happened to you;  but rejoice to the extent that you partake of Christ’s sufferings, that when His glory is revealed, you may also be glad with exceeding joy. If you are reproached for the name of Christ, blessed are you, for the Spirit of glory and of God rests upon you. On their part He is blasphemed, but on your part He is glorified. But let none of you suffer as a murderer, a thief, an evildoer, or as a busybody in other people’s matters. Yet if anyone suffers as a Christian, let him not be ashamed, but let him glorify God in this matter” (1 Peter 4:12-16 New King James Version).

Endure under trials as you stand up for Jesus. Happy are those who remain faithful under trials, because when they succeed in passing such a test, they will receive as their reward the life which God has promised to those who love him” (James 1:12 Good News Translation).

Stand up for Jesus and live awaiting His return and Kingdom. Only those who stand firm to the end shall be saved (Matthew 10:22; 24:13; Mark 13:13). Everything does not end here on earth. Eternity is waiting for everyone – eternity with God or with the devil, eternal punishment or eternal life (Matthew 25:46). “If we endure, we shall also reign with Him. If we deny Him, He also will deny us” (2 Timothy 2:12 New King James Version).

TAKE ACTION!

If you are not born again, you need to give your life to Jesus now. Take the following steps: *Admit that you are a sinner and cannot save yourself and repent of your sins. *Confess Jesus as your Lord and Saviour. *Renounce your past way of life – your relationship with the devil and his works. *Invite Jesus into your life. *As a mark of seriousness to mature in the faith, start attending a Bible-believing and Bible-teaching church. There they will teach you how to grow in the Kingdom of God.

Kindly say this prayer now: O Lord God, I come unto You today. I know I am a sinner and I cannot save myself.  I believe that Jesus is the Son of God who died on the cross to save me and God raised Him on the third day. I repent of my sins and confess Jesus as my Lord and Saviour. I surrender my life to Jesus now and invite Him into my heart. By this prayer, I know I am saved. Thank You, Jesus, for saving me and making me a child of God.

I believe you have said this prayer from your heart. Congratulations! You must join a Bible-believing and Bible-teaching church in your area where they will teach you how to live your new life in Christ Jesus. I pray that you flourish like a palm tree and grow like a cedar of Lebanon. May you grow into Christ in all things and become all God wants you to be. I will be glad to hear from you. The Lord be with you.

PRAYER POINTS: Holy Spirit, help me to stand up for Jesus and not deny Him. I shall endure hardships and persecutions and not be ashamed of Christ.

(For over 900 in-depth and powerful messages by T. O. Banso, visit www.cedarministry.org).

T. O. Banso is the President of Cedar Ministry International, Abuja, Nigeria.
Phone No: +2348155744752, +2348033113523
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Email: cedarministryintl@yahoo.com,
cedarministryng@gmail.com
Website: www.cedarministry.org