Jeremy D. Scott
My list of biblical personalities that “get-a-bad-rap-but-maybe-shouldn’t” is growing. Thomas has been on there for a while. The fact that his best known moniker includes “Doubting” is usually seen as a detriment to his faith and character. We’ll leave the debate over that sentiment for another day, but for today’s passage, Thomas’ input is one of the most powerful and challenging statements in scripture:
This is a wonderful summary-statement for the whole of the season of Lent. We might do well to quote it every day during Lent:
We can quickly point out Thomas’ misunderstanding about what was happening in this moment. The disciples believed that if Jesus headed to Bethany, and thus, Judea, he would surely be killed by the people there who were feeling challenged by what he was saying and doing. Jesus, undeterred by the notion, determined to go nonetheless. And it’s then that Thomas gives what we might see as a William Wallace-like rally cry:
Turns out he was right. His timing was off, but Thomas was right. Jesus would die. But not yet, and better yet...not finally. Though the path in both situations went through death - whether Lazarus’ or Jesus’ - God’s glory was going to come about in a surprising clash of celebration, victory, and life.
Many have a difficult time accepting the season of Lent. This is understandable as for we who follow and worship the one who has won victory over death, it might seem odd to revisit the things of death. But this is part of Jesus’ story. And we find in life, that it is still yet a part of our story. We can’t ignore it. There is no resurrection without death. And while we may not experience the nails of the cross, we indeed are called to its cruciformity: a pattern by which we come to see the heart of the nature of God and better yet...the victorious glory of God.
So Thomas was right. But he was only partly right.
Let us also go, that we may die with him...
Make these words of Paul your prayer for this day:
I want to know Christ and the power of his resurrection and the sharing of his sufferings by becoming like him in his death, if somehow I may attain the resurrection from the dead. Amen.
- Philippians 3:10-11