By Paul Bawden
In the midst of the Coronavirus crisis, we are in the Good Friday Easter season.
So what does that have to do with what is happening in our country and the world, as all of us are affected in different ways, some suffering from the virus, and others have lost loved ones due to the virus? Thankfully many are getting better. We need to keep praying that the virus will end soon.
May I suggest that the Good Friday Easter season reminds us that in the midst of this tragedy, and in any tragedy, there is eternal hope, because the biblical God understands and has done something for us that can change our lives eternally. What do I mean by that?
First of all, God understands suffering. Really? Yes, really. Jesus Christ’s unbearable and indescribable treatment before His crucifixion, and now His hanging on the cross was the worst way to die. One writer (Dr. C.T. Davis) describes it this way,
“Hours of limitless pain, cycles of twisting, joint-rending cramps, intermittent partial asphyxiation, searing pain as tissue is torn from His lacerated back as He moves up and down against the rough timber.
“Then another agony begins, a deep crushing pain deep in the chest as the pericardium slowly fills with serum and begins to compress the heart. It’s now almost over – the loss of tissue fluids has reached a critical level – the compressed heart is struggling to pump heavy, thick, sluggish blood into the tissues – the tortured lungs are making a frantic effort to gasp in the gulps of air. The markedly dehydrated tissues send their flood of stimuli to the brain.” Jesus gasps, “I thirst.”
“At this moment,” the writer continues, “Jesus could feel the chill of death creeping through His body. He cried, “It is finished.” And finally His last cry, “Father, into your hands I commit my Spirit.”
If you deny God doesn’t know anything about suffering, you need to take another look at what Jesus Christ, God’s Son – the God-man – suffered on Calvary’s cruel cross. Is it nothing to all you who pass by?
Since Jesus Christ suffered more than we will ever suffer, He can identify with us in whatever we are experiencing in life. He is touched with the feelings of our weaknesses (Hebrews 4:14-16). He aches when we ache. He feels our sickness and our crisis. He feels our heartbreak in tragedy and loss.
Secondly, Christ not only can identify with us in our suffering, because of His dying on the cross, but also, He did for us in His death, what we can never do for ourselves, provide us His forgiveness and eternal life – yes, His eternal hope – which all of us desperately need. For His words, “It is finished,” tell us that He has paid in full our price for breaking God’s law, which is death (Romans 6:23). But rising from the grave bodily, Christ has demonstrated in time and eternity that eternal hope is available to anyone who will accept Him as personal Savior (John 3:16; I John 5:11-12).
Sure, one can deny the bodily resurrection of Christ, as many do today, meaning there is no eternal hope for anyone. This life is it. But the eyewitnesses give us undeniable evidence that Jesus Christ rose from the grave bodily. That’s why biblical Christianity spread in that day and is alive and well today.
Which means thirdly, you and I have a choice to make. Either to reject Jesus Christ, or to accept Jesus Christ as personal Savior and receive His forgiveness and eternal life – His eternal hope right now – with His promise that He is with us in our suffering and challenges, while providing us lasting meaning in what we do here, in addition to having His promise of being with Him in eternity forever after this life. That is eternal hope in one’s crisis!! That is what Good Friday and Easter are all about. Don’t miss it!
Paul Bawden is married and served in the pastoral ministry for 45 years, retiring in 2011. He graduated from the University of Wisconsin-Madison with a B.A. in Speech and attended Dallas Theological Seminary, receiving a Master of Theology. He has taken counseling courses at Trinity Evangelical Seminary in Deerfield, Illinois. Paul is a lifetime member of the Evangelical Free Church of America, as well as being a member of Interim Pastor Ministries (IPM), which serves churches during their time of transition in searching for a new pastor. He writes for Union Gospel Press, as well as being a volunteer writer for GotQuestions.org. Paul likes to write, read, bike, and work in the yard. The Bawdens have had the privilege to travel to Mexico and Romania on mission trips and visited various countries in Europe.
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