When?

It is the simple, powerful, heartfelt question I can imagine them asking as they drew near the religious holiday.

When would Jesus finally act?

After all the miraculous things they had witnessed…

After all the wonderful, and troubling, things they had heard him say…

After the mountain top – and deep valley – experiences…

Surely they were almost desperate to know – when?  When would he call down the fire from heaven, or summon the warrior Angels, or just wipe out Rome with a magnificent sweep of his hand?  After all, wasn’t that the point of all this?  Wasn’t he the Messiah?

When would the critics be silenced, the enemies vanquished, the rewards be handed out to the faithful?

When would they stop following – and start ruling alongside him?

“Do it, Lord, do it – usher in the kingdom….”

Of course, he had tried to explain that was not how it was going to happen.  Soon he would demonstrate his true nature as suffering servant.  He would model for them how they were to love as they had been, and would always be, loved.

Even those who knew him best could not have imagined what the next few horrible days would be like.

Only later would they begin to understand.

For now, in frustration, they could only ask, “When?”

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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