From the very beginning, there has been a price to be paid for believing in Jesus.

From the very beginning, there has been a price to be paid for believing in Jesus.

When Jesus was arrested in advance of his crucifixion, his followers stopped following.
They hid.

Peter tried to be bold and listen in on Jesus' initial trial in front of the chief priest, but he was so scared that he might wind up suffering the same fate, he denied even knowing Jesus three times that night.

At the cross as their friend, teacher and savior was executed, only a few of the women and John were there to observe the events.

When Jesus died, there was no one to take the body. So a man who John described as a secret follower of Jesus made his discipleship known very publicly.

Joseph of Arimathea was a prominent member of the Sanhedrin - the 23 religious judges who were basically Supreme Court justices for cities in those times.

He had also recently become a follower of Christ, but he had a lot at risk if that fact became known.

Many of Joseph's colleagues on the Sanhedrin had been responsible for the arrest, conviction and death sentence imposed on the man Joseph believed to be the Messiah.

Despite the risk of losing his business and social standing, Joseph went before the same Roman judge who had sentenced Jesus to death and demanded the body so he could prepare him for burial.

He violated Mosaic Law to handle the body. He even put Jesus in his own tomb.

Joseph risked his standing in the community, his business and maybe even his life to care for the body of the man he had "secretly" followed.

Even though he was referred to as a secret disciple, Joseph of Arimathea was joined by only Nicodemus during Jesus' darkest hour. Nicodemus had apparently worked through the confusion he felt after his clandestine meeting with Jesus under the cloak of darkness. He too had been a secret follower until the man he had called Rabbi needed him the most.

But Jesus didn't stay in Joseph's tomb very long. Three days later, the stone was rolled away and about 500 people reported encounters with Him in various places.

After his resurrection, Jesus met with the apostles, ate with people, let them touch his wounds and even helped with a fishing trip.

He even made the fishermen breakfast at the shore after they recognized him.

There are many ways of saying it, but if we truly believe what we say, we believe our lives will show it.

Joseph hid his beliefs until he was forced into action. He may have been a secret disciple, but his actions after Jesus' death told the true story.

I think there are a lot of people who worry about what others will think of them if they get too “churchy."

So they believe what they believe but rarely warm a church pew or attend any function by which they could be identified.

Joseph shared those kind of behind-the-scenes beliefs until he was called to action.

What would it take to call you into action?

Do you really want to be in the background when times get tough?

Maybe it's time to announce yourself as a "secret disciple."

Kent Bush is publisher of the Augusta, Kan., Gazette.