We have just passed through the Easter holiday. This is one of the most hope-filled holidays of the year.
This year, we have celebrated Easter a bit differently, but hopefully no less significantly.
This is a time when we celebrate the fact that Jesus did not consider “social distancing” as something he should follow forever, but rather came near to us by coming out of the tomb and providing for us all we ever need to free us from the curse of the sin virus that so easily captivates not only our bodies, but our hearts and souls.
Each of us has contracted that virus. That “disease” called sin has infected each and every one of us, not just in our bodies, but at the very core of our beings, our hearts and souls. And indeed it is deadly.
But, unlike coronavirus (yet!), for this virus there is a cure! It has been found. This cure is what I call the R12 vaccination. This R12 injection is painless and free and readily available. There is an unlimited supply.
Oh … and you only need to get it once! It is important to note, that taking the injection is not a cure for the disease, but doing so does assure the recipient that the long-term effects of the disease will be overcome!
This R12 vaccination is simply “the belief in the RESURRECTION” (There are twelve letters in that word, aren’t there? Hence, R12!).
Easter is not just about bunnies and bonnets, eggs and excitement for finding them, or even the traditional meals of ham and hot cross buns. It is most assuredly and most significantly the time when we celebrate the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead.
And that resurrection is what puts a song in our hearts and gives us joy and happiness and… and HOPE!
Pastor Tim Keller writes: ”[On Easter], I always say to my skeptical, secular friends that even if they can’t believe in the resurrection, they should want it to be true. Most of them care deeply about justice for the poor, alleviating hunger and disease, and caring for the environment. Yet many of them believe that the material world was caused by accident and that the world and everything in it will eventually simply burn up in the death of the sun. They find it discouraging that so few people care about justice without realizing that their own worldview undermines any motivation to make the world a better place. Why sacrifice for the needs of others if in the end nothing we do will make any difference? If the resurrection of Jesus happened, however, that means there’s infinite hope and reason to pour ourselves out for the needs of the world.”
And another renowned biblical scholar, Dr. N.T. Wright, has written: “The message of the resurrection is that this world matters! That the injustices and pains of this present world must now be addressed with the news that healing, justice, and love have won. If Easter means Jesus Christ is only raised in a spiritual sense—[then] it is only about me, and finding a new dimension in my personal spiritual life. But if Jesus Christ is truly risen from the dead, Christianity becomes good news for the whole world—news which warms our hearts precisely because it isn’t just about warming hearts. Easter means that in a world where injustice, violence and degradation are endemic, God is not prepared to tolerate such things—and that we will work and plan, with all the energy of God, to implement victory of Jesus over them all.”
The world in which we now live is very different from what it was six, or five, or even three months ago. The current environment in which we go about our daily tasks is more of an environment of distancing and isolation and quarantining.
It is easy to get depressed and discouraged, especially for someone like me, whose bride has often says that my life motto is “Give me people or give me death!”
Not being able to get close to people, to shake hands, to pat on the back, to even fist-bump is frustrating, at least. And the constant news inputs are also rather discouraging, as well. This COVID-19 “pandemic” seems to have no end in sight.
But, my friends, the message of Easter – the true message of Easter – is a message that keeps on giving – a message of hope! “Since, then, you have been raised with Christ, set your hearts on things above, where Christ is, seated at the right hand of God” (Colossians 3:1).
In light of who Christ is and what He has done for us, if you have not had it, you should make sure to get in line for the R12 vaccination today!
The wait time is minimal, and vaccination works!
God bless …
Chuck Tabor is a regular columnist for the News Journal and a former pastor in the area. He may be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.