This has to be the weirdest Easter Sunday we’ve ever had. Because of the virus, no one is going to church. No one is dressing up their little ones, making big family feasts, or hiding eggs for the neighborhood kids. Instead, we’re all stuck inside, hiding from the invisible monster that is COVID-19. Some of us are logging into live broadcasts from our churches or watching sermons on TV in our pajamas, while others are ignoring the day altogether.
I get it. We’re all stressed about this pandemic, worried for our family’s safety and the impact on our economy. If there ever was a time when we needed to trust in God, it’s now, and yet it’s hard to get excited about Easter when we can’t fellowship with one another, we can’t enjoy a meal with family, and we can’t play with all the kids outside. It doesn’t feel right. It doesn’t feel like Easter.
But what is Easter supposed to feel like?
To Jesus’ followers, the first Easter started out with grief, fear, and doubt.
- When Jesus was arrested before His crucifixion, the disciples fled in fear. (Mark 14:50)
- When the women found the empty tomb, they fled in fear. (Mark 16:8)
- When the women told the disciples about the empty tomb, the disciples didn’t believe them. (Luke 24:11)
- When Mary Magdelene reported that she had seen the risen Jesus, the disciples didn’t believe her. (Mark 16:11)
- When two disciples reported they had seen the risen Lord on the road to Emmaus, none of the other disciples believed them. (Mark 16:12)
- When Jesus appeared to the eleven disciples, they were frightened and thought they were seeing a spirit. (Luke 24:37)
- When the disciples told Thomas that they had seen the risen Lord, he didn’t believe them. (John 20:25)
The disciples couldn’t believe that Jesus had risen until they saw Him with their own eyes. They couldn’t understand the meaning of His death and resurrection until He explained the Scriptures to them. And only after the Holy Spirit fell on them were the disciples imbued with power to share the Gospel with the world.
The disciples would go on to experience much hardship and persecution, and many would die for proclaiming the Gospel—but they would never let their fear override their faith again. These men, who fled from the specter of their own fears, found great understanding and courage after they encountered the risen Lord.
For the disciples, and all of Jesus’ followers, Easter began with grief, fear, and doubt…but it ended with a new understanding of Scripture, with renewed strength and hope. The disciples weren’t perfect, but they came to know the One Who is Perfect, and that changed everything.
This is great news for us! It means that…
Easter isn’t about what we bring to it—how upbeat we are, how shiny our shoes are, or how nice the sermon is—but about the transformation we experience when we finally see that the tomb is empty and Jesus is risen.
Once we claim Jesus as Lord, then we also claim His resurrection as our own. That’s when we replace our doubts and fears with the joy and courage of faith.
If you’re suffering from fear and anxiety, if you’re feeling the pressure of social-distancing and self-isolation (and who isn’t?), then take heart. The churches may be empty this Easter, but so is the tomb! Jesus is risen! If we believe on Him, our sins are forgiven. If we trust in Him, His Spirit will give us all the wisdom, comfort, and peace we need to get through this pandemic and the years to come.The churches may be empty this Easter, but so is the tomb! Click To Tweet
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Check out this awesome Dr. Seuss-inspired poem by Kristi Bothur, blogger at This Side of Heaven. It’s a wonderful reminder that Easter is not something that can be bought—or something that can be taken away from us.
“Twas late in ‘19 when the virus began
Bringing chaos and fear to all people, each land.
People were sick, hospitals full,
Doctors overwhelmed, no one in school.
As winter gave way to the promise of spring,
The virus raged on, touching peasant and king.
People hid in their homes from the enemy unseen.
They YouTubed and Zoomed, social-distanced, and cleaned….”
Click here to read the full poem on Kristi’s site. You may even want to share this one with your kids!