The “Thomas” Anointing

I think I have a “Thomas” anointing.

Last night I was reading the story of Jesus dragging his feet going down to Bethany when his friend Lazarus was seriously sick. I saw something in the text I never noticed before.

The disciples weren’t all that excited about going back to the place where Jesus almost got stoned a few days earlier. They tried to talk him out of going by reminding him that those nasty religious leaders had it in for him. But Jesus just blew off their concerns, saying “those guys just don’t have a clue. They can’t see clearly cause they’re stumbling around in their own darkness.”

Then when he said “Lazarus sleeps,” meaning the poor man had expired, they said, “good, he’s getting better! No reason to rush down there now, right?”

They knew that wherever Jesus went, whatever Jesus endured, whatever came Jesus’ way was also sure to come to them. I can hear them saying to him, “Jesus can’t we just cool it for awhile? Lazarus is going to be fine! he’s sleeping now!”

But then, when it was clear Jesus was determined to go, Thomas said, loud enough for John to hear and record for posterity, “Yeh, let’s go…let’s all just go down and die with Lazarus.” I can hear him, raising nervous laughter among the disciples as they fell in line behind Jesus.

That’s the “Thomas” anointing…sometimes sarcastic, sometimes anxious, but always making wise cracks. Maybe Jesus had Thomas in mind when he asked “which son was better–the one who said “yes, I’ll go,” but never went, or the son who said “wadda you nutz?” but thought about it and went anyway.”

I’m like that. For as long as I can remember, I’ve used humor and a running “counter-point” commentary to participate in life. It’s the way I process stuff. So tonight, I’m owning up to it…I’ve got a “Thomas” anointing.

But oddly, when Jesus heard that Lazarus was sick, he stayed on where he was for two more days. After the two days, he said to his disciples, “Let’s go back to Judea.” The disciples replied, “Rabbi, the Jewish leaders were just now trying to stone you to death! Are you going there again?”

Jesus replied, “Are there not twelve hours in a day? If anyone walks around in the daytime, he does not stumble, because he sees the light of this world. But if anyone walks around at night,he stumbles, because the light is not in him.”

After he said this, he added, “Our friend Lazarus has fallen asleep. But I am going there to awaken him.” Then the disciples replied, “Lord, if he has fallen asleep, he will recover.”

Then Jesus told them plainly, “Lazarus has died, and I am glad for your sake that I was not there, so that you may believe. But let us go to him.” So Thomas, called Didymus [the twin] said to his fellow disciples, “Let us go too, so that we may die with him.” (John 11:8-31)

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