“Very truly I tell you, whoever obeys my word will never see death.” John 8:52
A woman in a congregation I served asked me to visit her elderly mother. Her mother had no connection to a church, no friends and no family, except a daughter physically unable to go see her. I ended up developing both a relationship with the mother and a fascination with her situation.
When the elderly woman was younger, she had married an abusive man. She remained with him until he died at a fairly young age. Yet, when we talked about it, she expressed no anger, remorse or lingering wounds from the relationship. She preferred to talk about memories of moments she experienced joy. It was not done out of avoidance, or deflection of pain, but a simplicity of mind. All she literally could remember were positive things.
At no point in her life did she ever have a faith life. Nor did she care to develop one. When her daughter was young, she sent her to church. She did this because someone told her she should. The church became a meaningful place for her daughter, but not for the mother. There were no feelings of angst, but no sense of reverence either. For all she cared, I could have been a plumber. She would have received both of us with same enthusiasm.
When her health started to decline, I visited more frequently. She had a simple mind and believed everything I told her. When I said Jesus loved her and would lead her home to her parents, peace would descend upon her frail body. I sat with her and held her hand as she died. It was a beautiful experience.
Jesus says, “Whoever obeys my word will never see death.” This is not completely true. We all die. However, those who believe in the life Jesus gives, do not taste the sting of death. The hope of his promise is too overwhelming to give into anything so final.
Like the Pharisees, we can lose sight of the promise trying to figure out the intricacies of the process of salvation. There are times, we need a simple mind. One that can see the wonder of life in the simplicity of words, “In him was (and is) life.” A life that will never see death. Hear, believe and live.
Click to read; John 8: 51-59
- What do you hear when read, “obey my word”?
- How can these words be used as a law – rules to follow? How can they be used as a Gospel – a free gift of life?
- When have you found yourself confused and lost by trying to think rationally about how people are saved?
- Where have you experienced life in the simplicity of faith?
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