More Than Meets the Eye

Scripture selection: Luke 22:3

“Then Satan entered Judas, called Iscariot, one of the Twelve. And Judas went to the chief priests and the officers of the temple guard and discussed with them how he might betray Jesus. They were delighted and agreed to give him money.  He consented, and watched for an opportunity to hand Jesus over to them when no crowd was present.”

As Jesus moves steadily toward his destiny scripture makes one thing perfectly clear.  Behind all the accusations, all the conflict, all the challenges to his authority, all the obstacles placed in his way – there is more than meets the eye.

Spiritual warfare is a term that has been overused and sensationalized.  There have been too many bad books, filled with too many bad ideas that have been sold to a public that is both terrified and fascinated by the devil.

When I was in college the movie THE EXORCIST had just come out.

I can remember walking home alone, past midnight, after watching that eerie film.  What was I thinking?

I didn’t sleep well that night.

Since then, much has been said about old Satan but I like what Christian apologist C.S. Lewis had to say.  He said there were basically two errors we can make in regard to the devil.  We can make too much of him and we can make too light of him.

I agree.

Spiritual warfare is real and it is serious business – not just Hollywood smoke and mirrors.

On the other hand, the devil has been soundly defeated – a long time ago – by the risen Christ.

As we prepare to celebrate another Lenten Season we will come face to face with the dark forces that opposed, and still oppose, Christ and his followers.

We will also have an opportunity to celebrate the best news of all.

In the end – God wins.

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 for “expectant hope.” 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, a member of the American Association of Christian Counselors, and a member of Spiritual Directors International. 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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