“…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?’…
Then Thomas (also known as Didymus)
said to the rest of the disciples,
‘Let us also go, that we may die with him.’”
John 11:7-8;16 (NIV)
“On the evening of that first day of the week,
when the disciples were together,
with the doors locked for fear of the Jewish leaders,
Jesus came and stood among them and said,
‘Peace be with you!’ After he said this,
he showed them his hands and side.
The disciples were overjoyed when they saw the Lord.”
John 20:19-20 (NIV)
My friend, in his younger days, had accumulated a long list of convictions under the criminal code of his country. After becoming a Christian, he ceased his life of crime and became a model citizen. He learned that I was visiting a repeat offender and asked if he could come along on some of my visits. His gentle manner and history caused the convict to pay attention to my friend.
In spite of several visits by us the man continued his criminal activity each time he was released. My friend never gave up on the convict. Every time we were together, he would ask about the man. Each conversation would end with my friend telling me never to give up on the convict. My friend was a persistent man.
We believe that our Lord chose the diverse group of the twelve apostles deliberately, but His reasons are not given in the Gospels. By looking at the various apostles, Thomas stood out as a pessimistic person. His limited appearances recorded in John 11:16; 14:5; 20:24-25 all show his negative attitude toward life.
In John 11 we read the story of Jesus raising Lazarus. The Master and the apostles were about 2 days away from Bethany near Jerusalem in Judea. On a recent visit to Judea the Jews had tried to stone Jesus. So, it was a very risky move on the Good Shepherd’s part to re-enter that territory. But He was persistent and insisted the apostles accompany Him.
Only Jesus knew that in a few days those who wanted Him to die would succeed in their lethal enterprise. He walked into the jaws of death deliberately for the sake of accomplishing His people’s redemption. He was persistent to the end.
For my reader who may have stumbled on their faith journey I encourage you ponder this persistent One. He does not give up on you ever. We know the disciples had pledged to follow the Good Shepherd to the death. However, when push came to shove, they all forsook Him and fled. They failed Him but He never failed them. The day of our Lord’s resurrection He sought out the apostles and renewed His relationship with them.
My dear reader, your beloved, persistent Saviour seeks you today. He will never give up on you regardless of how far you may have fallen. So, whatever the problem you may face today, return to Him. You will discover that while you may have left Him He never left you.
Come to the Savior now,
he gently calls to you;
in true repentance bow,
let him your heart renew.
Christ came that you may know
salvation, peace, and love,
true joy on earth below,
a home in heaven above.
Come to the Savior now,
all who have wandered far;
renew your solemn vow,
for his by right you are;
come like poor, wandering sheep
returning to his fold;
his arm will safely keep,
his love will ne’er grow cold.
Come to the Savior, now,
he offers all to you,
and on his merits you
can plead for life anew.
No vain excuses frame,
respond to Christ today!
None who to Jesus came
were ever sent away.
Come to the Savior, all,
whate’er your burdens be;
hear now His loving call,
“Cast all your care on me.”
Come, and for every grief,
in Jesus you will find
a sure and safe relief,
a loving friend and kind.