The Lord’s secret friends
‘And after this Joseph of Arimathea, being a disciple of Jesus, but secretly for fear of the Jews, besought Pilate that he might take away the body of Jesus.… And there came also Nicodemus, which at the first came to Jesus by night.… Then took they the body of Jesus … to bury.’ John 19:38–40
SUGGESTED FURTHER READING: Acts 9:1–22
When Nicodemus came to Jesus he was not reproached with what he had been. Our Lord was of no party; even one that came from among his professed enemies, he received with freedom and kindness. He is the same still. No matter what you have been, whether Pharisee or publican, if you seek him you shall be welcome.
Observe that the truth has some secret friends amongst those who seem engaged for its overthrow. Jesus had a Nicodemus and a Joseph in the council of his enemies, who perhaps moderated and kept back their wicked designs till the appointed time, and then openly appeared in his behalf. The Lord has often preserved his church and professed people in this manner. And perhaps it is to answer the designs of his providence that some whose hearts are touched with this love, are kept for a season from that increase of light and knowledge which, if they could immediately obtain, would break them off from those connections where he has at present occasion for their service.
FOR MEDITATION: If my testimony should not be necessary or serviceable, yet, perhaps, I am bound in conscience to take shame to myself by a public confession, which, however sincere, comes too late to prevent or repair the misery and mischief to which I have formerly been accessory. I hope it will always be a subject of humiliating reflection to me, that I was once an active instrument in a business at which my heart now shudders. I have … written … simply from … a conviction that the share I have formerly had in the trade, binds me in conscience to throw what light I am able upon the subject, now it is likely to become a point of parliamentary investigation. I ought not to be afraid of offending many, by declaring the truth.… [against] a commerce so iniquitous, so cruel, so oppressive, so destructive, as the African Slave Trade!
Thoughts upon the African Slave Trade, 1788 (copies given to every MP)
SERMON SERIES: JOHN 3:1–2, NO. 1 [4/7]