There is nothing to fear
We want to thank you for the incredible ministry you are doing: for your quick transition to online services, for finding new ways to reach your communities, and for the impact you are having on so many lives.
Many of us enjoy different sports: football, basketball, baseball, golf, hockey, soccer, and even cricket. When we are home, we may enjoy watching sports. Have you ever recorded the games so that they can be viewed at a later time, speeding through the commercials, multiple replays, and time outs? We may even check the game on our phone — to see who won the game and what the final score was — to determine whether we want to continue to watch the recording. It makes an incredible difference when you know the final score.
It is virtually impossible for us (knowing the final outcome of the life of Jesus) to feel the total despair that gripped the disciples after Jesus’ last breath on the cross. They had heard Him teach, “as no other man had taught.” They had seen Him touch and heal sick people. They had witnessed His love for the lost and the outcast. They were present for the Triumphal Entry and had heard the Hosannas.
Then it happened. In less than a week, their whole world caved in! It had not really occurred to them that it would all end with Jesus on a cross.
What do you do when all your dreams have been shattered?
Where do you turn when your foundation for hope has been denied?
Can you imagine how those disciples must have felt — the fear, the confusion, and the unknown? They did not know the final score. At any minute, they anticipated the sound of the soldiers’ boots, the pause at the door, the forceful knock, and the word from the soldier, “You’re next!”
The fear that they experienced after the crucifixion is not unlike the fear and questions that many are experiencing because of the coronavirus.
When will this all end?
What about my health or my family?
What about my job and income?
What about my church?
But you know— the soldiers did not come. The followers of Christ were not pursued and dragged off to their own crucifixions. Instead of soldiers, there came unbelievable reports from women who had seen the risen, living Lord Jesus. What changed the followers of Jesus, what set them free from their defeat and despair, and what can transform us today is the reality of the resurrection of Jesus from the dead! In these days, we need to hear again the words of the angel, as recorded in the Gospel of Mark 16:6:
“Do not 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.”
The resurrection did not change the disciples’ circumstances, but it dramatically and drastically changed them. It was not only the knowledge that He was alive, that He had defeated sin and death; it was His presence that changed them. He is the same risen Christ who is with us and who can change us!
We do not know when our present situation will be over, when the “stay at home” orders will be lifted, or when we will be able to gather in our buildings to worship, but we do know that Jesus is alive and Jesus is present with us through it all!
Be encouraged today and hear again the words of the angel
“Do not be alarmed,
Do not be afraid,
He has risen!”
To view a video recording of this message, click here.