“When He heard, therefore, that he was sick, He abode two days still in the same place where He was.  Then after that said He to His disciples, ‘Let us go into Judea again.’  His disciples say unto Him, ‘Master, the Jews of late sought to stone You—and go You thither again?’. . . Then said Thomas, which is called Didymus, unto his fellow disciples, ‘Let us also go, that we may die with Him’.”

John 11:7-8, 16

     When we get to know Him—really, really know Him—following Him will be a delight, not drudgery, and even in pain there’ll be the pleasure of His company and comfort of His Grace. 

      There’s no doubt Jesus’ closest followers were increasingly uneasy over what had been happening during their three year journey with Him.  John’s Gospel records the cleansing of the Temple at the beginning of Christ’s ministry, not at the end (Jn. 2:13-25), which may indicate He kicked over the moneychangers’ table a second time on His final entry into Jerusalem before His crucifixion (Mt. 21:12-17; Mk. 11:15-19; Lk. 19:45-48).
     Regardless, one thing was clear:

     Jesus was a wanted and hated man—at least among the Jewish religious leaders.  Despite His many miracles, many of his followers deserted Him, causing Him to ask the twelve, “Will you also go away?” (Jn. 6:66-67).  And, even though they stayed with Him, they knew it was only a matter of time before He’d say “Let’s go into Judea again.”
     He seemed like a Man on a Mission of Self-Destruction.

     But, later they’d understand He was on a Mission of Salvation and Deliverance (from sin, the “curse of the Law,” death, hell, etc.).
     So, we can’t be too hard on Thomas for his dismal, depressing declaration of “Let us also go that we may die with Him.”

     At least he was a realist, even though a doubting one it seemed.

     And, we’d do well to realize that Jesus also calls us to “die to ourselves” if we are to “live to/in Him” through being “crucified with Christ as living sacrifices” (Gal. 2:20; Rom. 12:1-2).
     Truly, the pilgrimage of faith involves “denying ourselves, taking up our cross daily and following Him” (Lk. 9:23).  Like John, it is “less of me and more of Him” by saying “He must increase, but I must decrease” (Jn. 3:30).  Or, as His own mother, Mary, put it “My soul does magnify the Lord and my spirit has rejoiced in God my Savior” (Lk. 1:46-47).
     If you received a special invitation to visit the President or some other famous person, would you say “I wonder how long I’ll have to visit with him?”  A thousand times no!  Instead, you’d say “I wonder how much time he’ll give me?”

     Why, then, do we view prayer, attendance in worship, Bible study, etc., with such drudgery, asking “How long do I have to do this?”  It should be a delight and privilege to commune with the God of the universe, prompting us to ask “I wonder how much time He’ll give me?”  The answer:  All eternity.  Surrender to Him anew today, Pilgrim.  Truly, the “Joy of the Journey is Jesus.”  Hallelujah!!!

By Tom Smith Morning Manna Dated March 30, 2010

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