Week 35 Sunday

Not Even Death

Today’s scripture selection: John 10-12

Key Verses: John 11:11

Jesus told them, “Our friend Lazarus has fallen asleep; but I am going there to wake him up.”

Like so often, Jesus’ followers didn’t understand.

They didn’t understand how the events which were unfolding were all part of a great divine plan; they didn’t grasp how Jesus’ teaching and miracles were only a prelude to something greater.  And they certainly didn’t understand that Jesus was about to do something that completely defied human understanding or explanation.

Jesus was about to show them that not even death could stop him.

In fact, when Jesus first talked about how their friend Lazarus had “fallen asleep,” they completely missed his point.

So he had to make it crystal clear.

“Lazarus is dead.”

And when he said he was going into harm’s way, nearer to their enemies, all they could do was muster enough courage to say they would go with him.

They still didn’t grasp that soon His real power would be evident.

So they went.  And soon, Lazarus was anything but “asleep”.

It can be the same for us.  We read the stories; we memorize the scripture; we sing the hymns and pray the prayers.  But somehow the awesome power still eludes us.  We see with limited vision.  We believe with limited faith.  And we just don’t get it, not really.

This man, who walked the earth two-thousand years ago as a simple Galilean peasant was – is – the Son of God.

He is the beginning and the end; the alpha and the omega.  He is the “Word” made flesh.  And more than a great teacher or healer or prophet…

He is the conqueror of death itself.

It still staggers the imagination.  It still moves us to tears.  It still drives us to our knees in wonder.

Or at least – it should.

Prayer: Lord, give me eyes to see the miracle of who you are.  AMEN.

By Paul Simrell

The Reverend Paul W. Simrell has served for over thirty years in a variety of congregational and institutional settings. He is a recognized minister with standing in the Virginia region of the Christian Church (Disciples of Christ) in the United States and Canada and is nationally endorsed by the Christian Church (Disciples of Christ) for specialized ministry in both pastoral counseling and chaplaincy. Ordained in 1982, he has served congregations in Kentucky, Texas, Florida, and Virginia. He currently serves as the pastor of Elpis Christian Church, a small, historic congregation located just a few miles west of Richmond, Virginia. Elpis is the Greek word meaning “expectant hope.” He also serves on the associate clinical staff of the Virginia Institute of Pastoral Care, Richmond, Virginia, both as a pastoral counselor and a ministerial assessment specialist, specializing in executive, clergy and relationship coaching. He is a graduate of the University of Florida and Lexington Theological Seminary and has done advanced clinical training in chaplaincy and pastoral counseling at the University of Kentucky Medical Center in Lexington, Kentucky, Children’s Medical Center and Parkland Hospital in Dallas, Texas and the Virginia Institute of Pastoral Care in Richmond, Virginia. He is a Certified Pastoral Counselor, an ACPE Practitioner, and a member of the American Association of Christian Counselors. He is a Certified Facilitator of the Prepare-Enrich relationship assessment and skills-building program and served as a volunteer chaplain for over twenty years with the CJW Medical Center campuses in Richmond, Virginia. His avocational interests include playing the piano and drawing. He is very happily married to his wife Elizabeth Yeamans Simrell, a free-lance writer, who is also a Certified Facilitator for the Prepare-Enrich program. Good company in a journey makes the way seem shorter. — Izaak Walton

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