At this time when many stores and shops are shuttered and still, when many churches are empty and silent, when choirs will not gather and sing, the proclamation of Easter yet rings forth — "He is Risen!" Perhaps, this Easter, it sounds forth even more loudly in the surrounding stillness, "He is Risen!"
In this time of loss, sorrow, uncertainty, anxiety and pain, God is not silent. C.S. Lewis spoke truly when he said, "God whispers to us in our pleasures, speaks in our consciences, but shouts in our pains. It is his megaphone to rouse a deaf world."
Too often we are deaf to the voice of the One who made us, who sustains us, who gives us life and breath and everything else. Surely it is not wise for the creature to ignore the Creator. But we do. We get caught up in life and busyness and smartphones, and we tune out our Sovereign and Gracious Father. This is foolishness. For He is the only one who can give us hope — real, lasting hope — when the foundations of life seem to give way.
And what is God shouting to us in this COVID-imbued Easter season? Just what He has said every Easter, "He is Risen!" Do you hear it? Jesus by His cruel death upon the cross and glorious resurrection has broken the bonds of sin, Satan and death itself.
Sin does not have the last word this Easter. Sin says, "You are condemned. You have ignored God. You have trusted in yourself and not the Savior. If you lose your health or your job then you are getting what you deserve." But Easter proclaims, "He is Risen!"
Jesus bore the condemnation of all who trust in Him. Yes, we all still struggle with sin. But sickness or affliction are not God’s judgment on His children. Instead, they are God’s peculiar servants that He sends in love to purify us and help us cling more tightly to Him — our true and everlasting treasure.
Satan does not have the last word this Easter. Satan says, "This suffering is meaningless. God is not in control." But Easter proclaims, "He is Risen!" The greatest calamity that has ever struck the earth was the death of the very Son of God. But this death was not meaningless, and God was not powerless. Jesus was "delivered up according to the definite plan and foreknowledge of God" (Acts 2:23), and "he was delivered over to death for our sins and was raised to life for our justification" (Romans 4:25). Jesus’ Easter resurrection demonstrates God’s purpose and power to save in the midst of this broken world. Corrie ten Boom, a Holocaust survivor, reassures us, "There is no panic in Heaven! God has no problems, only plans."
Death does not have the last word this Easter. Death says, "This is the end. This is your end." But Easter proclaims, "He is Risen!" Jesus by his indestructible life shows us that in Him the cycle of sin and death has been broken. Death no longer must be our final destination. Jesus tells us, "I am the resurrection and the life. He who believes in Me, though he may die, he shall live. And whoever lives and believes in Me shall never die" (John 11:25-26).
The most the coronavirus can do is take your life. For the one who believes in the Jesus of the Scriptures, death is not the end, but a doorway to happiness for eternity in the presence of the glorious, living Christ.
"He is Risen, indeed!"
James Calderazzo is pastor of Safe Harbor Presbyterian Church in Destin. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.