Lenten Devotion for Wednesday, April 16

By Margaret Neblock

Read John 19:38-42

Do you remember those “no fear” stickers, t-shirts, decals that were so cool in the ‘90’s? I distinctly recall a classmate of mine that had at least five shirts with that logo, and he rotated the collection through his wardrobe weekly. “No fear” was his mantra; it expressed how he saw and lived his life.

Look at verses 38-39 again. Joseph was described as a secret follower of Jesus, and Nicodemus had secretly visited Jesus under cover of night. There seems to be a lot of surreptitious activity going on in the text.

What frightened them to the point of hiding their beliefs and actions? Persecution? Yep. Loss of status? Likely. The same (earthly) fate as Jesus? Possibly.

And yet, Joseph and Nicodemus looked past their fears in order to honor their newly-found Savior.

Imagine them wearing the “no fear” logo. Maybe it was embroidered on Joe’s robe or written in Nic’s letterhead. The way they acted was bold, new, and no longer secret.

Was it easy for Joseph or Nicodemus to step past their anxieties and identify themselves as Christ-followers through their actions? I would say no. It’s hard to risk losing the normalcy of structured life to do something that we don’t fully understand. However, God calls us to act regardless of our reservations.

Maybe you can be courageous like Joseph and ask a friend to come to church or Bible study even if the friend isn’t Christian. Or maybe, like Nicodemus, offer to help a classmate or co-worker with a project that everyone else has rejected .

We pray: Heavenly Father, sometimes it’s hard to step forward in faith, especially when we are worried about what will happen when people find out we follow You. Help us to have no fear like Joseph and Nicodemus! Amen.

Family discussion

Fear is a roadblock to sharing our Savior with others. Fill in the blanks below: Now (your name here) is a disciple of Jesus, but secretly because he/she fears ________. How can we break through our fears and do what God wants us to do?

Everyday object

Grab some string/twine/that extra shoelace and have a family member tie one of your hands behind your back. Now try to do some simple things: zip or button up your jacket, tie your shoes, eat your dinner! How did it go? Difficult, right? That string is fear holding you back from doing the best you can. Let’s get rid of that fear and let Jesus work through us!