Wednesday, November 20, 2013

Let us also go, that we may die with him

Now Jesus loved Martha and her sister and Lazarus. So, when he heard that Lazarus was ill, he stayed two days longer in the place where he was. Then after this he said to the disciples, “Let us go to Judea again.” The disciples said to him, “Rabbi, the Jews were just now seeking to stone you, and are you going there again?” Jesus answered, “Are there not twelve hours in the day? If anyone walks in the day, he does not stumble, because he sees the light of this world. But if anyone walks in the night, he stumbles, because the light is not in him.” After saying these things, he said to them, “Our friend Lazarus has fallen asleep, but I go to awaken him.” The disciples said to him, “Lord, if he has fallen asleep, he will recover.” Now Jesus had spoken of his death, but they thought that he meant taking rest in sleep. Then Jesus told them plainly, “Lazarus has died, and for your sake I am glad that I was not there, so that you may believe. But let us go to him.” So Thomas, called the Twin, said to his fellow disciples, “Let us also go, that we may die with him.” Jn 11:5-16
“Let us also go, that we may die with him.” Jesus is intent on going to wake Lazarus, to raise him from the dead. The disciples are a bit afraid. They know what waits for Jesus on the other side of the Jordan. They really don’t think Jesus should go. But Jesus wants to go so that their faith will be restored when they see Lazarus come back from the dead.
There is a certain fatalism. Thomas says let us also go, that we may die with him. It is the first time Thomas is noted for anything. Even now he doubts. But for his friend, and with his friend he is willing to die. “And he said to all, “If anyone would come after me, let him deny himself and take up his cross daily and follow me. For whoever would save his life will lose it, but whoever loses his life for my sake will save it.” (Luk 9:23-24) The Christian stares death in the face. But then this life without Christ really isn’t worth living anyway. It is already lost. The disciples didn’t know what lay in store for them on the other side of the Jordan, over there in the promised land. But they knew death would be better than life without Jesus, and they were willing to follow him there. It’s the Christian paradox. Jesus gives us eternal life, and we would rather die than give it up. But being baptized, we have died with him already so that now we live with him in his resurrection.

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