Easter 2020 is undoubtedly a different experience for all of us, and to be precise unexpectedly unpleasant. We stay within houses not to pray, party, or celebrate, but to guard our lives.
COVID-19 has become a universal threat, killing precious lives, and letting people tremble in fear of being the next possible victim.
According to Media reports, in certain countries, the doctors are forced to make a choice on who needs to be treated, and whom to let go.
Might be, some of the elders even consciously agree to be left to die out of love for their fellow youngsters, or others in the family, if given a choice.
This reminds me of the choice that people made in letting go of Jesus to the crucifixion and setting free Barabbas, a prisoner.
It was unfair that Jesus had to be handed over to death because of the public’s discretion but it is also because He submitted himself to bear all the blames of the pettiest to the vilest crimes that we did.
In doing so, probably Jesus became worse than any prisoner by carrying upon Him each of our sins out of sheer love.
This makes Easter very significant, as it gives us a hope in the One who was victorious over sin and death.
Nevertheless, this year, the Easter spirit with early morning Sunday worship, Easter bunnies, Easter eggs, family time, or the bridge holiday it offers is not the same as last year.
Today, the entire world has united together to spend more family time, not in jubilation or worship, but in panic and fear.
Drawing parallels with the very first Easter, it can be observed that the first resurrection day was also full of fear and panic: the women who came to see Jesus were alarmed; the soldiers outside were frightened at the earthquake and the supernatural happenings.
The fear of an empty tomb that had nothing but the linen of the buried Lord was gripping those who came in search of his body, those who guarded his body, those who wanted to crucify him, and eventually also those to whom He appeared.
Matthew 28, Mark 16, Luke 24, and John 20 describe with varying intricate details how this day actually was.
For our Easter devotion today, may we focus on some of the actions of the Risen Saviour, which we can follow in this hour of panic?
1. Jesus removes fear:
Then Jesus said to them, “Do not be afraid; go and tell my brothers to go to Galilee, and there they will see me.” (Matthew 28:9-10)
When the women who went to the tomb were anxious, He says “Rejoice” and helps them to feel at ease in such a difficult situation.
He asks them not to be afraid of what they saw, and we read that they worshipped Him.
He later addresses His disciples giving them the Great Commission along with a firm assurance that He will be with them always.
“I will be with you always, to the end of the age” (Matthew 28:20).
Isn’t that a powerful assurance for us to hold on when the earth is trembling today?
2. Jesus rebukes unbelief:
“Afterward he appeared to the eleven themselves as they were reclining at table, and he rebuked them for their unbelief and hardness of heart, because they had not believed those who saw him after he had risen.” (Mark 16:14)
The Mark’s Gospel records a series of Jesus’ visitation to people and the unbelief that prevailed among the disciples who spent most of their time with Jesus, who were also the first-hand eye witnesses of Jesus’ ministry, and have directly been taught by the Lord.
Our life also goes through such moments of uncertainty and panic, and in moments such as these, our past experiences are veiled with our strong unbelief. The Risen Saviour rebukes our lack of faith.
Personally, I have panicked so many times when either me or a loved one falls ill, imagining the worst possible and searching on the Internet, instead of placing my first trust in the Lord.
When Jesus values faith as small as a mustard seed and honors it, shouldn’t He be the first option instead of being the last resort?
3. Jesus offers peace:
As they were talking about these things, Jesus himself stood among them, and said to them, “Peace to you!” (Luke 24:36)
Jesus offers His peace to His disciples who tremble in fear, anxiety, and doubt. He strengthens the faith of the doubting disciples.
He understands human weaknesses, constantly mentors them, and ensures the Peace He grants fills their heart with joy.
Isn’t this the same Risen Lord that we worship, profess, and celebrate today? If so, where is our peace?
My dear friends in Christ, as we meditate on some of the events of the first Easter, we find how the Risen Lord goes out of the way to make Him known to the people, help them overcome their unbelief, ensure their faith is strengthened, give them peace and comfort, and grants them the Holy Spirit.
He ordains them with His Great Commission but also asks them to wait till they receive the Holy Spirit from above. It is this Risen Saviour who speaks to us today, holds us, and guides us.
We might face trials and trying times, we might go through phases of disbelief, we might lose interest in genuinely worshipping the Lord, but He loves us unconditionally.
His love is the only reason He chose to undergo the gruesome suffering which was totally unfair, and even today He comes out of the way to meet us at the point of our need.
“Don’t be alarmed,” he said. “You are looking for Jesus the Nazarene, who was crucified. He has risen! He is not here. See the place where they laid him.” (Mark 16:6)
The hope in the risen Lord is one of the most encouraging factors to most Christians during trying times.
May we boldly proclaim “My Saviour lives”. Blessed Easter to all of you!