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courtesy of Wikimedia Commons: Revolutionary War sketch: black & white soldiers

          The Marines as a corps did not come into being until July 11, 1798. Before that the Marines of the American Revolution existed until around 1783. It was during that time that William Jones, a captain of "Marines" in the Providence (a 28-gun frigate) then at Boston,  advertised in the Providence (R.I.) Gazette, March 20, 1779, the need for "a  few good men" to engage in "a short cruize" and gave the Marine Corps a recruiting  slogan it would be using two hundred years later.

          There are only three people in the KJV Bible called "good." There were murmurings among the people about whether Jesus was good or not (John 7:12) and a young ruler called Him "Good Master" (Matthew 19:16; Mark10:17; Luke 18:18). But the New Testament only describes two men as "good men": Joseph of Arimathea ( Luke 23:50), and Barnabas (Acts 11:24). The only other "good" man is mentioned in the Old Testament.

          When someone comments that a person is or was a "good man", one naturally assumes that that person is noted for doing good. When something is right, you know that that person will courageously support it for he's a good man.


          Who was this Joseph? To his credit, he was a rich man that gave up his elegant burial tomb for Jesus.

          What is important, and is a lesson often ignored, is the courage of a man to do good in the face of fear. Joseph had reason to be afraid of both Jews and Gentiles in openly asking the Romans for the body of Jesus. The Jewish leaders had already used their power to ostracize believers (John 9:22). His Court peers had ruled to kill this man Jesus. He had not consented with them. If he now acted, would he not be another target for their thirst for blood on that day?

          Would he have the audacity to approach the Roman governor Pilate? Pilate may be planning on eradicating all of Jesus' followers now that he had killed Jesus. After all, the enemies of Jesus were continuing to feed fear to Pilate. We know that Pilate granted them a watch at the tomb (Matthew 27:62-66) to lie in wait for any appearance of Jesus' followers.

          Joseph took courage and did what he thought was right. In doing this, he was an instrument of God in fulfilling prophecy (Isaiah 53:9). Can we also take courage in our faith by doing what needs to be done just because it is the right thing to do?


          Barnabas was a Levite but not a native of Jerusalem. After his conversion, he courageously sold his land and laid the price at the apostles' feet so that he might help his brethren in Jerusalem (Acts 4:36).

          When the converted Paul, formerly a legalized killer, came to Jerusalem, the Christians were naturally scared of him. They didn't believe he was a believer. However, this good man at Jerusalem had the courage enough to resolve the problem. Generous Barnabas valiantly came to the rescue. He accepted Paul's story and took him to the apostles (Acts 9:27). It is Barnabas that during the days of persecution and dispersion was sent north as far as Antioch, Syria, to check on whether it was true about the Grecians' conversions. He courageously went and was a help to those in Antioch. He was a good man.


          "Wait on the LORD: be of good courage, and he shall strengthen thine heart: wait, I say, on the LORD" (Psalm 27:14). Paul a prisoner was on the way to Rome to face the terrible Caesar. The Lord sent brethren to meet him. The record says that Paul gave God thanks and "took courage" (Acts 28:15).

          Joseph and Barnabas: both good men. They were soldiers of the cross (2 Timothy 2:3) that shoved their fears to the back and did what was right!

          The courage of Joseph and Barnabas has lived on throughout history as good men have stood up for sound doctrine and for doing what is right. Revelation 12:11 says, "they did not love their life even when faced with death." This courage has led people to question teachings and practices not in harmony with the New Testament. Some get to the point where they realize that their leaders simply aren't following the Bible any more. They face a difficult situation. Their head tells them this isn't right, but their heart is afraid.

          I'm thankful for the examples of Joseph and Barnabas. Afraid? Yes. But that didn't stop them. Their faith and courage was greater than their fear.


          Revelation 20:12 tells us that before the white throne judgment we will stand, small and great; our judgment is made from what is written about us in the books. The books record our lives. Have you ever wondered what the books will say about you and me? What will the Books record about us this year 2014? Will it call us "good people"?

- Gaylon West