Last week during our Word on Wednesday’s segment, we talked about Doubting Thomas. We looked at scripture in Matthew, Mark, and Luke that made us ask the question: where are we in relation to Jesus? Are we in his inner circle, his closest friends, or are we further removed? This week, I’d like to introduce you to Thomas the Brave, but let’s start with this week’s scripture found in the gospel of John.
Allow me to set the scene:
- Jesus has received word that Lazarus has died.
- Jesus, however, suggested that they go to him in Judea, a place that was somewhat dangerous at the time for Christ and his followers. They had met with much opposition there.
- There is some confusion about Lazarus’s state as Jesus mentions that he is sleeping instead of speaking plainly.
- Once Jesus clarifies that Lazarus is indeed dead, he again professes his desire to travel go to him in Judea.
- Then, Thomas replies with the scripture quoted from John 11:16.
Many people read Thomas’s statement with a tone of sarcasm–and that very well may be. As we will see in the upcoming verses, Thomas was known to speak his mind. Yet, when I read this verse, I see a spark of bravery.
As seen in John 4:3, Jesus was forced to withdraw from Judea, something he often did to get himself and his disciples out of danger. The danger in Judea was real–this is something we tend to forget. Jesus and his disciples were aware of this danger–they lived it and felt it. This changes the context of Thomas’s statement. He is no longer just sarcastically suggesting that they follow Jesus to their deaths in Judea, but he is also speaking fervently for the group about their willingness to lay down their lives for the gospel of Jesus Christ. Therefore, when reading the verse in light of their present danger, Thomas suddenly becomes WILDLY brave!