Early on in the first century, following Jesus became fashionable. One physician shares his recollection of Jesus’ popularity at the end of Luke 9. Eager to follow in the footsteps of the 12 disciples, several individuals sought out Jesus, asking if they too could become a disciple. Luke’s account records 3 rejections with the spiritual reason for this no. In the passage below, Jesus appointed 72 additional disciples, but who are these unsung heroes of the night?
Now after this the Lord chose and appointed seventy others and sent them out ahead of Him, two by two, into every town and place where He Himself was about to come (visit), Luke 10:1.
The disciple whom Jesus loved mentions two of these unsung heroes by name. While 11 disciples abandoned Jesus following his arrest, Joseph of Arimathea and Nicodemus played their part behind the scenes. Joseph went to the governor, convincing him to hand over Jesus’ body to have a proper burial. Meanwhile, a Pharisee who was timid earlier in John 3:1, came out of the darkness to stand tall. According to John, these two men prepared Jesus’ body to be buried.
And after this, Joseph of Arimathea—a disciple of Jesus, but secretly for fear of the Jews—asked Pilate to let him take away the body of Jesus. And Pilate granted him permission. So he came and took away His body. 39 And Nicodemus also, who first had come to Jesus by night, came bringing a mixture of myrrh and aloes, [weighing] about a hundred pounds. 40 So they took Jesus’ body and bound it in linen cloths with the spices (aromatics), as is the Jews’ customary way to prepare for burial, John 19:38-40.
Two thousand years later, you don’t have to receive an invitation from Jesus to be considered a disciple. Part of the Jesus’ command to first century spiritual leaders, Matthew 28:19-20, is to make disciples. Luke refers to when this call should commence, Acts 1:8, as the Holy Spirit comes upon you. If you want to be an unsung hero for God today, keep in step with God’s Spirit, Galatians 5:25, so you will be ready when God calls you act.
by Jay Mankus