“But the angel said to the women, “Do not be afraid, for I know that you seek Jesus, who was crucified. He is not here, for He has risen, as He said.”—Matthew 28:5-6
Everywhere we turn these days, we’re surrounded by bad news. As of this writing, 89,773 people have died worldwide from COVID-19. Deaths in the United States alone amount to 14,814. Jobless numbers have jumped by 6.6 million, with 10 percent of the U.S. workforce unemployed—and those are just the ones who have successfully filed. Thirty-one percent of renters can’t pay the rent. The situation is bleak as a hurting world awaits an end to this crisis while anticipating what our new normal will look like.
But even in this, there is beauty. Heroes have emerged: medical professionals, truckers, restaurant employees, delivery people, grocery store and retail employees. People are putting aside personal and political divides because the world has become united by common suffering.
Families are spending more time together. Do you remember the campaign that encouraged families to have an occasional dinner together? Who knew that would ever become the norm? With obesity affecting a third of all U.S. adults, people are exercising more—possibly out of boredom, but the result is the same.
Neighbors are helping neighbors. People are checking on and helping one another. Factories are voluntarily retooling to produce much-needed medical supplies. Charities, as well as individuals, are doing what they can to meet overwhelming needs in their communities. Churches are blowing up the Internet every Sunday morning with treasured virtual meetings. Many people are beginning to consider the needs of other people as more important than their own—a biblical principle.
The challenges of our day hearken back to when Jesus died, leaving the world in a dark place. Only a week before, His followers had rejoiced to see throngs worshiping their promised King. God’s chosen people would have victory over their Roman oppressors. But the very crowds who had celebrated Him quickly turned on Him. His followers saw their Deliverer humiliated, beaten, bloodied and killed. They saw His nearly unrecognizable body nailed to a cross. Hope seemed lost.
But three days later came good news—news so good they couldn’t believe it till they saw their risen Savior with their own eyes. Jesus was risen, defeating death and hell for all who believe. Those who had sought earthly victory now could have eternal victory. Jesus had died to give us life. This is the gospel, the ultimate good news.
Now, brothers, I want to remind you of the gospel I preached to you, which you received, and in which you stand firm. By this gospel you are saved, if you hold firmly to the word I preached to you. Otherwise, you have believed in vain. For what I received I passed on to you as of first importance: that Christ died for our sins according to the Scriptures, that He was buried, that He was raised on the third day according to the Scriptures, and that He appeared to Cephas and then to the Twelve. After that, He appeared to more than 500 brothers at once, most of whom are still living, though some have fallen asleep. Then He appeared to James, then to all the apostles. And last of all He appeared to me also, as to one of untimely birth.—1 Corinthians 15:1-8
No doubt COVID-19 has thrown your Easter celebration into a tizzy. But nothing and no one can take away the joy we should have at what Jesus has done for us. Celebrate His gift, and pass it along. Everyone could use some good news these days.