Let’s go and die with Jesus?
I can remember sitting in my “second office” at Panera several months ago identifying with Thomas in John 11. In this chapter, Jesus invites the disciples to leave their present comfort to see Lazarus who has recently died. Thomas, mindful of just having come from Judea where Jesus escaped a stoning, declares to the concerned disciples, “let us go also, that we may die with him” (verse 16).
As I have contemplated the church-planting vision that God has set before us, I have been tempted to have Thomas’ attitude. Part of me wants to stay put; stay working with FCA and stay here at First Alliance, because, like Thomas, I have viewed this journey with Jesus as inevitably resulting in many deaths (relationships, present passions, joys, security, comforts, etc.). Indeed, anytime we go with Jesus, we certainly have to die to ourselves (see Colossians 3). However, on this particular day in Panera, I was struck by the reality that Jesus did not have dying in mind for Thomas and the disciples; nor did he have death in mind for Lazarus. In fact, the invitation to go with Jesus on this journey was an opportunity to witness one of His greatest miracles. This was an invitation to witness a miracle of life!
Jesus presents the same invitation today. Going with Him means certain discomfort and death to self. However, I believe following Christ on this church-planting journey will result in many miracles of new life.