Reflections on Bible verses

John 11:21
   "Lord," Martha said to Jesus, "if you had been here, my brother
would not have died."

   If you have ever stood at the grave side of a loved one, this
thought probably crossed your mind, too -- if you had only been
here, Lord! Where is Jesus when we hurt? Why couldn't he be here to
help us? There are a couple of crucial answers to remember. First,
Jesus is with us in our moments of loss and grief. The Church is
Jesus' Body and every act of kindness, support, comfort, and help
is Jesus working to alleviate our grief. Second, while he may not
have kept our loved one from passing from this life to the next, he
has been the abiding and unbroken presence for each Christian who
has died physically. Paul reminds us that when a Christian dies, he
or she goes to be with Christ (2 Cor. 5:6-7; Phil. 1:21-23) and
God's loving presence is never lost to him or her (Rom. 8:35-39)!

   Holy Father, please help me see Jesus' ministering presence in
my times of loss and grief. Help me see him in the comforting
presence of the Holy Spirit who abides in me. Help me see him in
the acts of love and kindness your people do to help me. In
addition, dear Father, please help me see ways that I can serve as
Jesus' presence to someone else who is experiencing grief. In
Jesus' name I pray. Amen.


John 11:26
 [Jesus said] "Whoever lives and believes in me will never die.
Do you believe this?"

   In the verse above (21), we emphasized that Christians who died
physically were never really separated from their relationship with
God's loving presence. In this verse (26), Jesus challenges us to believe a
very similar thing: Do we believe that the real, living part of each of
us made by God will never die even though our physical bodies die?
It's an incredible thought, isn't it? We are eternal, immortal,
joined with Jesus, and his future is joined with us
(see Colossians 3:1-4).

  Almighty God, I do believe that because of Jesus, I will never die.
Please bless me, dear Father, so that I can make every minute
count while I am here in this life. At the same time, dear God, I
do look forward to seeing you face to face. In Jesus' name I pray.


Our Mortal Bodies: Seeds for the Resurrection

Our mortal bodies, flesh and bones, will return to the earth.
As the writer of Ecclesiastes says: "Everything goes to the same place,
everything comes from the dust, everything returns to the dust"
(Ecclesiastes 3:20).
Still, all that we have lived in our bodies will be honored in the resurrection,
when we receive new bodies from God.

What sorts of bodies will we have in the resurrection?
Paul sees our mortal bodies as the seeds for our resurrected bodies:
"What you sow must die before it is given new life; and what you sow is not the body
that is to be, but only a bare grain, of wheat I dare say, or some other kind;
it is God who gives it the sort of body that he has chosen for it,
and for each kind of seed its own kind of body"
(1 Corinthians 15:36-38).
We will be as unique in the resurrection as we are in our mortal bodies,
because God, who loves each of us in our individuality,
will give us bodies in which our most unique relationship with God will gloriously shine.
Henri Nouwen

Our Lives, Sowing Times

Our short lives on earth are sowing time.
If there were no resurrection of the dead, everything we live on earth would come to nothing.
How can we believe in a God who loves us unconditionally if all the joys and pains of our lives
are in vain, vanishing in the earth with our mortal flesh and bones?
Because God loves us unconditionally, from eternity to eternity, God cannot allow our bodies
- the same as that in which Jesus, his Son and our Saviour, appeared to us -
to be lost in final destruction.

No, life on earth is the time when the seeds of the risen body are planted.
Paul says: "What is sown is perishable, but what is raised is imperishable;
what is sown is contemptible but what is raised is glorious;
what is sown is weak, but what is raised is powerful;
what is sown is a natural body, and what is raised is a spiritual body"
(1 Corinthians 15:42-44)
This wonderful knowledge that nothing we live in our bodies is lived in vain
holds a call for us to live every moment as a seed of eternity.
Henri Nouwen

Spiritual Bodies

In the resurrection we will have spiritual bodies.
Our natural bodies came from Adam, our spiritual bodies come from Christ,
Christ is the second Adam, offering us new bodies not subject to destruction.
As Paul says: "as we have borne the likeness of the earthly man [Adam],
so we shall bear the likeness of the heavenly one [Christ]"
(1 Corinthians 15:49).

Our spiritual bodies are Christ-like bodies.
Jesus came to share with us the life in our mortal bodies
so that we would also be able to share in his spiritual body.
"Mere human nature," Paul says, "cannot inherit the kingdom of God"
(1 Corinthians 15:50).
Jesus came to dress our perishable nature with imperishability
and our mortal nature with immortality (see 1 Corinthians 15:53).
Thus it is in the body that our spiritual life finds its fullest manifestation.
Henri Nouwen

Restored to Eternal Life

One thing we know for sure about our God:
Our God is a God of the living, not of the dead. God is life.
God is love. God is beauty. God is goodness. God is truth.
God doesn't want us to die. God wants us to live.
Our God, who loves us from eternity to eternity, wants to give us life for eternity.

When that life was interrupted by our unwillingness to give our full yes to God's love,
God sent Jesus to be with us
and to say that great yes in our name and thus restore us to eternal life.
So let's not be afraid of death.
There is no cruel boss, vengeful enemy, or cruel tyrant waiting to destroy us -
only a loving, always forgiving God, eager to welcome us home.
Henri Nouwen

Death is not a threat to genuine life. 
It is but a paper tiger that is no longer free to terrorize us once we know
the truth about the outcome of the cross.
Death is but a temporary inconvenience that separates our smaller living from our greater being.

Calvin Miller

for more on grief see:
Poems 10
Bible Verses Reflections 11
Reflections 16
Stories 4
Bible Verses Mourning