When in a leadership position, one’s core beliefs can often be threatened. It may not always be directly aimed at you, but the pressure to compromise can build up over time. It may feel like the result of current cultural norms, but it’s not unique to the modern era. In New Testament times there were many political alliances in the fragile balance of power (not unlike today). One of those groups was a powerful court called the Sanhedrin Council. In the Apostle John’s gospel, he refers to the Council this way:
“…many believed in [Jesus], but because of the Pharisees they did not confess Him, lest they be put out of the synagogue: for they loved the praise of men more than the praise of God.” (12:42-43)
So what we glean from the description is that several had convictions, but were afraid to express them for fear of losing political influence. However, in the middle of that politically charged environment, we also learn what happened after the crucifixion. Take a look:
“There was a good and righteous man named Joseph, a member of the Sanhedrin, who had not agreed to their plan and action. He was from Arimathea, a Judean town, and was looking forward to the kingdom of God. He approached Pilate and asked for Jesus’ body. Taking it down, he wrapped it in fine linen and placed it in a tomb cut into the rock, where no one had ever been placed.” -Luke 23:50-53
You see, the difference between Joseph and many others was simply this; he acted on what he knew to be true regardless of the threat to his position and status. He may have been a little timid before, but at the end of the day he found the courage to stand on his faith. He was not only willing to step forward and be identified with Christ; he was also willing to be involved in the work of burial. Afterward, the resurrection proved Joseph to be right and he’s remembered not for his silence, but his bold request to Pilate.
Today, if you’re a follower of Christ in a leadership position; I encourage you to prayerfully act on what you know to be true, stand firm on your faith and be willing to ask the tough questions.