When all those who knew him forsook Christ, even upon news of his death, it was a distant disciple and “some women” who attended him. We read of one, Joseph, “a good and righteous man,” a man “who had not consented to their decision and action,” and who was “looking for the kingdom of God” (Luke 23:50ff). It was this man who boldly stepped up when there was no plan, asked Pilate the governor for the body of Jesus, and laid him in his own tomb. (J. C. Ryle, Luke)
Joseph was an unknown. This is the only place his name arises. There’s nothing in Acts or the Epistles where his name comes up. At no point in our Lord’s former ministry does he ever come forward. His reason for not joining the disciples openly we cannot explain. But here, in the eleventh hour, he is not afraid to show himself openly as one of the Lord’s friends. At the very time when all the apostles had fled out of fear, Joseph is not afraid to step up and show Christ love and respect. And while others confessed him when he was living and doing miracles, it was Joseph’s peculiar privilege to confess him in his death!
Learn that while most may run against Christ, not everyone does. And not every time will we read about them! So, don’t place your hope or trust in statistics. Our figures may be off. Remember, even the great prophet Elijah thought he was the last loyal hold-out. But God told him that he had reserved for himself 7,000 prophets who’d not bowed the knee to Baal! Don’t go by the news channel, or listen merely to hearsay. Trust in God, even IF those statistics may be true!
Know too, that Christ always has friends about whom we may never know. They may not be as well-known as others, but when the going gets tough, they are there showing true love and affection. These are the ones David refers to in Psalm 83:3 as “hidden ones.” It is instructive that Luke refers generally to “the women who came with him from Galilee.” He does not name them, but they were there, and known to God!
We learn that while we may swoon in unbelief, others may be raised up who will show us the way. Faith is not affirmed by consensus. It usually emanates from the minority. Unknowns to us, but known very well to God. Thank God for Josephs and for “the women.” Our faith must rest in God alone, and not in the numbers of those who claim to follow him.