Go, and Die With Him
It is one of the most curious remarks in the Bible: "Let us also go, that we may die with him." It is said by Thomas, later known as Doubting Thomas. It shows us the view from before the Resurrection, and gives some light on our own faith. Consider for a moment how things appeared to Thomas:
· First, there is the apparent contradiction of Lazarus' illness. Here is a man that Jesus loves; he sickens and eventually dies. Have you ever asked yourself why some particular saint was taken home, particularly at a young age? If Jesus really loved Lazarus, how could he let him die?
· Indeed, Jesus not only permits it, he waits for it. Although Bethany is not far away, Jesus remains right where he is for two days. Can you see how this must have appeared?
· Then—after the man is dead—he decides to go. Thomas would have understood not going at all; remember the Jews are trying to kill Jesus. His safety would be a good reason to stay where he is. How absurd it must have appeared that he decides to go now.
But Thomas is a man capable of height and depth. He doubts the other disciples, but leaps from denial to complete understanding when he proclaims Jesus "my Lord and my God." We see something of that here. Thomas does not understand; Christ's actions puzzle him greatly. He doesn't "get it." For this he has been criticized (after the fact, of course) for a lack of faith. But please note: our Lord does not rebuke him for this. For whatever Thomas lacks in faith he puts into loyalty and courage. Jesus is going to his death? Then let's go too, and die with him.
How about the rest of us? It's easy to look back upon the story of Lazarus and criticize this lack of faith—because we see the end of the story. Thomas didn't. But he did face some of the puzzles we face today:
· When God has his own timing, do we wait for it—or complain about it?
· When God has his own direction, do we follow—or grouse?
· When all appears lost and over, are we complaining—or do we continue to be loyal, like Thomas?
If God has not given you the faith to understand his timing, direction and power, use the faith you do have to remain loyal to Him.