One Of The Sublimest Grandest Acts

that any man ever did. In that darkness and gloom, His disciples

having all forsaken Him; Judas having sold Him for thirty pieces of

silver; the chief apostle Peter having denied Him with a curse,

swearing that he never knew Him; the chief priests having found Him

guilty of blasphemy; the Council having condemned him to death; and

when there was a hiss going up to heaven over all Jerusalem, Joseph

went right against the current, right against the influence of all

his friends, and begged the body of Jesus.

Blessed act! Doubtless he upbraided himself for not having been more

bold in his defence of Christ when He was tried, and before He was

condemned to be crucified. The Scripture says he was an honorable

man, an honorable councillor, a rich man, and yet we have only the

record of that one thing--the one act of begging the body of Jesus.

But I tell you, that what he did for the Son of God, out of pure

love for Him, will live for ever; that one act rises up above

everything else that Joseph of Arimathea ever did. He might have

given large sums of money to different institutions, he might have

been very good to the poor, he might have been very kind to the

needy in various ways; but that one act for Jesus Christ, on that

memorable, that dark afternoon, was one of the noblest acts that a

man ever did. He must have been a man of great influence, or Pilate

would not have given him the body.

And now you see another secret disciple, Nicodemus. Nicodemus and

Joseph go to the cross. Joseph is there first, and while he is

waiting for Nicodemus to come, he looks down the hill; and I can

imagine his delight as he sees his friend coming with a hundred

pounds of ointment. Although Jesus Christ had led such a lowly life,

He was to have a kingly anointing and burial. God has touched the

hearts of these two noble men and they drew out the nails, and took

the body down, washed the blood away from the wounds that had been

made on His back by the scourge, and on His head by the crown of

thorns; then they took the lifeless form, washed it clean, and

wrapped it in fine linen, and Joseph laid Him in his own sepulchre.

When all was dark and gloomy, when His cause seemed to be lost, and

the hope of the Church buried in that new tomb, Joseph took his

stand for the One "despised and rejected of men." It was the

greatest act of his life; and, my reader, if you want to stand with

the Lord Jesus Christ in glory; if you want the power of God to be

bestowed upon you for service down here, you must not hesitate to

take your stand boldly and manfully for the most despised of all

men--the Man Christ Jesus. His cause is unpopular. The ungodly sneer

at His name. But if you want the blessings of heaven on your soul,

and to hear the "Well done, good and faithful servant, enter thou

into the joy of thy Lord," take your stand at once for Him; whatever

your position may be, or however much your friends may be against

you. Decide for Jesus Christ, the crucified but risen Savior. Go

outside the camp and bear His reproach. Take up your cross and

follow Him, and by and by you will lay it down and take the crown to

wear it for ever.

I remember some meetings being held in a locality where the tide did

not rise very quickly, and bitter and reproachful things were being

said about the work. But one day, one of the most prominent men in

the place rose and said:

"I want it to be known that I am a disciple of Jesus Christ, and if

there is any odium to be cast on His cause, I am prepared to take my

share of it."

It went through the meeting like an electric current, and a blessing

came at once to his own soul and to the souls of others.

Depend upon it, there is

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