The Cloud of Witnesses
Former title Lessons From the People of the Bible
Lesson 1: Thomas – Let’s Die With Him
We need to be prepared to ‘die’ for Jesus
Have you noticed that without John’s Gospel we would not know much about Thomas from Scripture? Why John should single him out for some little cameos I find very interesting. Yes, he is named in the lists of Jesus’ 12 disciples recorded in the other Gospels and Acts, but none of the other writers add the insights of John. Over the next four weeks, I will highlight John’s record with a view to us learning a little more about Thomas and what he would say to us today.
I think Thomas gets an unfair ‘press’! We all know the phrase “Doubting Thomas” to describe someone who doesn’t believe a report or the evidence as presented. Well, as we shall discover, there is a whole lot more to Thomas than an exclamation of uncertainty.
Here in our reading for today, we find Jesus hearing of Lazarus’ death. Mary, Martha and Lazarus’ home was in Bethany, on the outskirts of Jerusalem. Jerusalem was the place of greatest opposition to Jesus and the time was fast approaching for His Crucifixion. Jesus’ decision to return to Judea was challenged by the disciples since they saw it as walking straight into conflict and potential death. Realising Jesus’ determination, Thomas rallies the other disciples and says, “Let’s go with Him, even though we may have to die as well.”
So we see the rest getting ‘on board’ and following Jesus to Bethany. Please notice that Thomas did not say as Peter did later, “Even if all (the others) fall away… I never will.” Thomas didn’t exalt himself above the others; he merely encouraged them to follow Jesus to the end – the bitter end.
Don’t we all need someone to challenge us the same way? Don’t we all need a cause worth dying for? Maybe, as Christians living in the ‘West’, we need to get back to where Thomas obviously was. To see our relationship with Jesus as more than a religion, more than an optional add-on to our materialistic lifestyle, and see it once more as a fundamental, vital, living relationship with none other than the Son of God.
Thomas would say to us today...
Don’t take your relationship with Jesus lightly. Jesus died so you could be free. He demands your total commitment, whatever the cost is to you. Are you prepared to die for your faith? What price are you prepared to pay?
Father, please forgive me for so often taking my Christianity lightly or mechanically. Help me remember that it is the very fabric of my being and the very reason for my breathing. And may I never forget that it is a wonderful intimate relationship with You. Help me keep my eyes and focus on Eternity. Amen.
Daniel 3:8-30; Matthew 26:31-35; Romans 12:1-21.
What difference is your relationship with Jesus going to make to your life goals this year?
What can we do to make our Christian walk vibrant?
Have you got a ‘cause’ worth dying for? (Or living for?)