Anyone else unable to get into the Easter spirit?
Holy week is my favorite time to the year. I love it more than any other holiday, but this year, under these circumstances, it has felt distant, disappointing, and dull when juxtaposed against the myriad of church services I usually attend. Online services just don’t have the same appeal as immersing myself in the ritual I’ve participated in for years.
I sat on my porch this morning and confessed the emptiness I felt, and conviction came gently. Despite my best intentions in observing the holiest week of the year, I’d succumbed to a virus that has plagued humanity from the very beginning.
This invisible virus isn’t the one that makes us hide in our homes and wear masks over our faces.
It’s the virus that says I’m better than my fellow man or woman…
the virus that lures us into believing we are self-sufficient…
the virus that says we are in charge of our days…
the virus that convinces us our way is just, our feelings are truth, and that our hope lies in the institutions we have created.
And it is the same virus that nailed Jesus to the cross on that Good Friday.
This Spring, it seems like all the manmade trappings of this world have been removed. The entire world has seen the disintegration of the institutions we put our faith in, and we have been laid bare.
The economy is shaky.
Our supply chains are broken.
Our military is unable to defend us.
The government is disorganized and lacking.
Our health care systems are inadequate.
Drugs and vaccines don’t work.
There are no sports, activities, church programs, or social events to keep us pacified.
All our resources have failed and humanity as a whole is shaken, but what if I told you, this was a good thing? This Good Friday reminds me of how the institutions in Jesus’s day failed and laid everything bare before the Almighty.
The Roman government was idolized in Jesus’s day, but when it came to dealing with Jesus – they proved disorganized and lacking. They tossed Jesus around from place to place unable to judge him with a crime but unable to set him free for fear of the people, so they allowed the Jews to determine His fate.
The premiere Jewish scholars and leaders were so blinded by their religion, they chose to release a murderer instead of him. They demanded he be crucified, and even though the government found no fault in him, they succumbed to the pleas of the Jewish mob:
The justice of the government – as well as the love and mercy God’s people were supposed to exhibit – completely and totally failed. To top it off, all of this was taking place during the holiest week of the year for the Jewish people: Passover.
Passover was a holy day God himself put in place to remind His people of the time that the blood of a spotless lamb saved them from His judgment on the evil in the world. Because of that blood, death would not enter their homes. Their lives were spared and their futures secured.
The whole of Israel, did indeed sacrifice a spotless Lamb that year but it wasn’t the one they were expecting. They sacrificed the Lamb who lived and walked among them; the Lamb they didn’t recognize despite His attempts and their best intentions.
Today, God reminded me that I am no better than them despite my best intentions. I am inflicted with the same disease all of humanity has been infected with, and so are you.
It doesn’t matter how many church services you attend, or how many Good Fridays and Easter Sundays you observe. It doesn’t matter if you follow all the rules or fail to meet them entirely.
None of us are deserving of the sacrifice Jesus made that day. We simply don’t deserve the blood He shed on our behalf, and we certainly don’t deserve the power of that blood which spares our lives and secures our future.
This virus we are fighting right now, it isn’t the virus we hear about in the news. It’s the virus of pride. Don’t succumb to it. Don’t let it prevail.
Don’t put your hope in the manmade institutions of this world. Don’t put your trust in the economy, the government, the military, the healthcare system or your social calendar.
Don’t put your trust in the walls of the church or in its leaders.
Just as they failed in Jesus’s day, we are seeing them fail now.
Instead, put your trust in Jesus – on His character and in His blood. He is the source of all things, the One who holds all things together. He is our strength, our song, our salvation, and the Lamb of God who takes away the sins of the world.