Jesus is the answer to all our Easter fears

By Chad Hobbs

Since Adam and Eve made that fateful decision to eat from the tree of knowledge, both fear and death have been constants across the chronicles of humanity, all the way up to the present day. The recent outbreak and spread of the corona virus across the world seems to have only amplified them both.  In my four decades on this Earth, I have witnessed fear manifested in many shapes and forms, but never have I witnessed it manifest itself from sea to shining sea the way it has over the last few months in households across this country. It has paralyzed the world in many ways and led to all out panic in others.  This weekend we will celebrate Easter in a way that none of us has ever done before. There will be no Easter church services celebrated by congregations across our communities. Broadcasts online or on the television are the only way they will be witnessed. Groups of children gathering for Easter egg hunts will be replaced by ones done in individual homes. Most extended families will be separated without gathering to share a traditional Easter meal. Fear seems to be the predisposition consuming people’s minds far more than any sense of joy.  I cannot help but find it ironic that most of us will spend this Easter sheltered at home, uneasy with fear, just as the first Christians did almost 2,000 years ago, when the events that led to this holiday first took place.  Imagine the fear and panic that came upon the disciples as their Messiah was bound and led away. Imagine the pain and agony Mary endured as she watched her son’s skin ripped from His body as He was scourged at the pillar. Imagine staring up at a wooden crucifix with your son’s beaten, bloody, bruised and broken body nailed upon it. As blood drips from His dying, tattered figure, you realize that all your hopes and dreams appear to be fading as quickly as His breath.    By the time Jesus was crucified, only one of His twelve disciples remained. One had betrayed Him, one had denied Him three times to save his own skin, and they had all fled in fear, except for the one who stood by His mother’s side.  Oh, the fear for their own fate as they locked themselves away in a room out of sight in the days after Jesus’s death must have been thick enough to cut with a knife. He had promised the kingdom of Heaven to them, but in that moment, his horrific, brutal death was all that endured in their minds. They were alone and paralyzed. It must have felt like the whole world was collapsing upon them.  Fear ensued when they found Jesus’s tomb empty on Easter morning, and more fear surely came when their resurrected Savior appeared before them, after spending days trying to come to grips with the fact that He had died. As imperfect as it may have been at times, it was their faith and love that got them through the ordeal, along with the grace of God. It was that faith and love that led Jesus’ sacrifice to still be remembered and celebrated, almost 2,000 years after He offered His body up in the most brutal of fashions, freeing us from our sin. As the gospel of Luke tells us, Jesus once said to his disciples, “Can any of you by worrying add a moment to your life-span? If even the smallest things are beyond your control, why are you anxious about the rest? Notice how the flowers grow. They do not toil or spin. But I tell you, not even Solomon in all his splendor was dressed like one of them. If God so clothes the grass in the field that grows today and is thrown into the oven tomorrow, will he not much more provide for you, O you of little faith?”  Prior to this pandemic, life seemed to be a blur at best. Social media, sports, celebrities, wealth, politics and a whole slew of other preoccupations robbed ever moment of many of our days, but social media now has a lot more pictures of family time at home or in the outdoors together than I’ve seen in quite a long time. The home and family unit for many of us are being redefined right before our very eyes.  Maybe this is God’s message. Maybe drastic times call for drastic measures, and this is what it took to get our attention long enough to slow down and reevaluate what truly matters.  No matter how long life lasts for each of us, we were all born to eventually die. All that really matters is what we do with the time we are granted in between those two dates. Faith and love are what will serve us best along our journey.    Death is not final; it’s only the end of our Earthly test. How much more glorious will that final judgement be if we free ourselves from fear and worry, and instead put our faith and love back with God where it always truly belonged. Never have I met a person more at peace in their life than those who fully trust and love the Father and His Son. As Jesus also tells us in Luke, “Are not five sparrows sold for two small coins? Yet not one of them has escaped the notice of God. Even the hairs of your head have all been counted. Do not be afraid. You are worth more than many sparrows. I tell you, everyone who acknowledges me before others the Son of Man will acknowledge before the angels of God. But whoever denies me before others will be denied before the angels of God.” 

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