By: Justin Henry
BIBLE TEXT: John 11:6-8, 16
6-8 So when he heard that Lazarus was sick, he stayed where he was two more days, and then he said to his disciples, “Let us go back to Judea.” “But Rabbi,” they said, “a short while ago the Jews there tried to stone you, and yet you are going back?”
16 Then Thomas said to the rest of the disciples, “Let us also go, that we may die with him.”
PERSONAL REFLECTION: When we moved to Tennessee over 5 years ago, I decided that this was my home state and as such, I would fully invest myself in the things other Tennessean’s invest in. One of my first purchases to prove this dedication to Tennessee was a Vols T-shirt. As all of you other die-hard Vols fans know, it’s been a long couple of years filled with many ups and downs. However, as a lifelong Buffalo Bills fan, I’m used to long seasons. True dedication to something involves sticking with it – even in the tough times. It’s easy to be a fan in the good times, but the bad seasons are when true colors tend to show; when the “fair weather fans” leave for greener pastures.
PERSONAL APPLICATION: I have heard the story of Jesus and Lazarus a hundred times, but when I read it this last time, something seemed to jump off the pages at me. Here we have Jesus who is planning to visit a sick friend – nothing out of the ordinary there. Heck, we might even do something like that on our own. Until one of the disciples points out that this friend just happens to live in a city filled with people who just tried to kill Jesus! I had glanced over that point many times in the past as well and even accepted the response of the disciples in verse 8. Probably because I would have felt the same way. But then I read Thomas‘s response. “Let us also go, that we may die with him.” Wow! Now that is dedication! It made me really think of what I would do given the same scenario. Would I be willing to follow Jesus to the grave? Am I willing now? It’s easy to sit and think that I would, but Thomas put his money where his mouth was and was willing to go – just like thousands of people are doing all over the world today. Here in the U.S., our biggest threat is that someone will call us “goofy, or intolerant.” And yet many of us still choose to be “fair weather Christians” in those times of persecution. Death is not really a concern when it comes to our faith. But if it were, would you be willing to stand by our Savior or are you just a “fair weather Christian?”
PRAYER: Dear Heavenly Father, Your Word tells us that we will face many kinds of persecution here on this earth. When those times come, regardless of the type of persecution, help us to remember Thomas – and Your son, Jesus – who both willingly and boldly walked towards their persecutors because they knew it was Your will. Give us the strength to face persecution and the peace to know You are with us during it. Thank you, dear Lord. In Jesus’ name, Amen.
ABOUT THE AUTHOR: On a mission’s trip to Bolivia several years ago, Justin was broken for the people of God in a way that can only happen on such a trip. After that experience, and several like it, Justin began seeking God’s will more intensely and it has led him to begin the process of entering the mission’s field full-time. Until that time comes, he continues to operate Henry Brothers, a roofing and construction business.