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Saturday, April 8, 2017

To the End of the Road, Part 2

Now a certain man was sick, Lazarus of Bethany, the town of Mary and her sister Martha. 2 It was that Mary who anointed the Lord with fragrant oil and wiped His feet with her hair, whose brother Lazarus was sick. 3 Therefore the sisters sent to Him, saying, “Lord, behold, he whom You love is sick.” John 11:1-3 (But you might want to read to the end of the story, to Verse 16.)

(continued from last week)

Thomas stared off into the distance, toward Judea. They'd been in Bethany Beyond the Jordan for a couple of weeks; but though they weren't in Judea, he knew it was still way too close to Jerusalem and the priests who wanted to be rid of the Master. And probably all His followers, truth be told. Who were those men coming toward them? His back stiffened, and he patted the sword at his belt. None of his friends seemed to worry, but Thomas always stood watch.

He stood and confronted the strangers. "Who are you, and what do you want?"

One of the three men glanced up at him. "Are you Jesus?"

Thomas snorted. "No. What do you want with Him?"

"We have a message for Him."

"Tell me, and I will relay it to Him."

The man turned and talked with his companions, then turned back to Thomas. "He is wanted in Bethany, at the home of Lazarus. His sisters said to tell Jesus that the one He loves is sick."

Jesus's voice sounded from behind Thomas, and he jumped. "I'm sorry, Master. These men are from..."

"I heard them. Friends, tell the sisters that this sickness won't end in death. It's happening to glorify God and the Son of God."

The men glanced at each other. "Yes, Lord. We'll tell them." With that they left.

It was two days later and they were still in Bethany Beyond the Jordan. Thomas remained hopeful Jesus would see the wisdom of staying out of the priests' jurisdiction, maybe even travel farther to the east or north.

His hopes were shattered when Jesus rose to His feet and said, "Let's go back to Judea."

Thomas stood and grasped Jesus's arm. "But Lord, the Jews there want to stone you."

"Our friend Lazarus is sleeping. I need to go awaken him."

Peter scratched his head. "I don't understand. If he's sleeping, that means he'll get better, right?"

Jesus sighed. "No. By that I meant he is dead. It's for your sake, so you will believe. Let's go to him."

Thomas shrugged. If Jesus was determined to go and be killed, they should go with Him. "All right, Friends, we might as well all go with our Master so we can die with Him."

(continued tomorrow)

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