John 11:1-16Common English Bible (CEB)
Lazarus is ill
11 A certain man, Lazarus, was ill. He was from Bethany, the village of Mary and her sister Martha. (2 This was the Mary who anointed the Lord with fragrant oil and wiped his feet with her hair. Her brother Lazarus was ill.) 3 So the sisters sent word to Jesus, saying, “Lord, the one whom you love is ill.”
4 When he heard this, Jesus said, “This illness isn’t fatal. It’s for the glory of God so that God’s Son can be glorified through it.” 5 Jesus loved Martha, her sister, and Lazarus.6 When he heard that Lazarus was ill, he stayed where he was. After two days, 7 he said to his disciples, “Let’s return to Judea again.”
8 The disciples replied, “Rabbi, the Jewish opposition wants to stone you, but you want to go back?”
14 Jesus told them plainly, “Lazarus has died. 15 For your sakes, I’m glad I wasn’t there so that you can believe. Let’s go to him.”
16 Then Thomas (the one called Didymus) said to the other disciples, “Let us go too so that we may die with Jesus.”
Maybe it was a moment of machismo. Maybe it’s because he was around the guys and felt the need to brave. May he felt he had to “man-up.” Or maybe, just maybe, he was that committed. Thomas, who later questions the reality of the resurrection and would become know as Doubting Thomas, boldly offers to go back to Judea/Bethany/Jerusalem and die with Jesus if that’s what is to come. (And we know the rest of the story, that is what is to come.)
One moment, that’s all it takes to get a label for life. Doubting Thomas. Maybe it should be normal Thomas. He’s brave. He’s questioning. He’s doubting. He’s following. He’s leading. He’s wrestling. He’s learning. Sounds like most of us. We have two famous moments of Thomas’ life, the rest is everything in between. Could you imagine if we knew you at your finest moment and at your worst? That’s how we know Thomas.
Here’s the thing. Jesus’ went to cross for Thomas and all the other regular folks – those who are brave in one moment and scared the next, those who doubt, wrestle, and question God about faith issues, those who love Jesus and would die for him, and those of us who praise Jesus with our lips and yet do little to love our neighbor, those of us who are certain in our doctrines and yet wrong in our theology. Yup. Jesus loves the saints and sinners.
Tomorrow is All Saints Day. I hope people remember my saintly moments, but maybe they need to remember my sinful moments so that God’s grace and love can be made known.
What are you finest moments?
What were your worst? (This is where faith usually grows the most because of grace!)
God loves you through them all.
Prayer: God, we love you. Sometimes we are brave, sometimes we are scared, sometimes we question, sometimes we doubt, sometimes we saints, sometimes we are sinners. Saint and Sinner, yet loved by you. Thanks. Amen.