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David Platt is the Lead Pastor of McLean Bible Church in metro Washington, D.C. We invite you to join one of their Easter gatherings online this Sunday at mcleanbible.org. They are at 9 and 11 AM, and 1 and 5 PM (all times Eastern).
As we come to Easter weekend, when multitudes of people around the world will gather online to celebrate the resurrection of Jesus, multitudes of others will wonder what’s the point. Isn’t religion disconnected from reality? Just look at the pandemic that surrounds us. How can you believe in a good God when suffering like this is spreading around the world? That’s a good question, and now is definitely not the first time it’s been asked.
But if I could flip the question, I would ask, “How can you not believe in a good God when suffering like this is spreading around the world?” If there is no God, and if this natural world is all there is, then what does that mean for thousands of people dying right now from this virus, and countless others who are in danger of succumbing to it? If there is no God, and if this natural world is all there is, then the last word for many (potentially millions of) people during these days will be COVID-19.
But God in His goodness changes this reality in its entirety. Without question, we live in a world of sickness, suffering, and death, all of which trace their roots back to the reality that we have all sinned against God. Essentially, this means that every one of us has chosen our ways over God’s ways, spurning God in favor of ourselves. The result of our choice is separation from the fullness of God’s goodness in this world, and if we die in this state, separation from the fullness of God’s goodness forever. But God in His goodness has not left us alone in this world of sin, sickness, suffering, and death.
Amidst all the headlines you or I could read today, the greatest news in all the world is that God has come to the world in the person of Jesus. Jesus came to live a life of no sin, to die on a cross to pay the price for our sin, and to rise from the grave in victory over sin and death. As a result, anyone anywhere who turns from themselves and their sin and trusts in Jesus will be forgiven for their sin and restored to relationship with God forever. This means that through faith in Jesus, we don’t have to fear sickness or death because we can know beyond the shadow of a doubt that we have eternal life with God. In other words, precisely because of God and His goodness, we can be confident that COVID-19 will not have the last word.
And that is what Easter is all about. Easter is a declaration that no matter how dark the days may be, sickness and suffering, coronaviruses and cancer, despair and death will not be the end of the story. Easter is a celebration that hope is here for every person sheltered in a home, every patient secluded in a hospital, and every public servant working on the front lines to help others in need. Ultimately, Easter is an invitation to every single one of us: trust in the One who came and conquered death, and even in the midst of a worldwide pandemic, you can experience otherworldly peace that will never pass away.