During this time of what the President calls a “war against an invisible enemy,” we are taking unprecedented measures to protect vulnerable people and to prevent our hospitals from being overwhelmed. As with any war, there are heroes emerging who are risking, and even giving, their lives to aid, protect and even save others. We owe a great deal of gratitude to our first responders and medical professionals. I personally see them as heroes. Why? They’re on the front lines facing a somewhat mysterious virus that threatens the lives of our elderly and those suffering from certain underlying illnesses. For example, recently there was a plane full of medical professions flying from an undisclosed location to New York to assist in the epicenter of the spread of this virus. And, for that matter, others are on their way. These heroes are courageously facing many unknowns and the final impact is yet unpredictable.

Some people see athletes and actors/actresses who make millions to entertain us as heroes. However, in my mind, the real heroes are those who go above and beyond to aid, protect and rescue others. Even more, these heroes often risk and even give their lives for others.  In the words of Jesus, JN 15:12 “This is my commandment, that you love one another as I have loved you. 13 Greater love has no one than this, that someone lay down his life for his friends.” And beyond that, those who give their lives for people they don’t even know are even more courageous and selfless.

Speaking of laying down our life for others, reflecting on the Easter season, I can’t imagine the suffering and scorn Jesus endured on our behalf to redeem us from our sin. You may have never thought about sin this way but, sin is the most dangerous and fatal disease of all. With that, I can’t fully comprehend the magnitude of the Son of God willingly bearing the sins of the world. If you can imagine, He humbled himself as a man, even though He is fully God, and died on our behalf to give us life. Why? JN 3:16 “For God so loved the world, that he gave his only Son, that whoever believes in him should not perish but have eternal life.” Allow me to state it again, “JN 15:13 Greater love has no one than this, that someone lay down his life for his friends.” Our first responders and medical professionals are great, but no one has ever loved us more than God. And, lest we forget, no one has ever came to our aid and protection bringing comfort and healing like Jesus. And, even more, no one can save us and give us eternal life other than Jesus. To say that Jesus is the greatest of all heroes is an understatement. In fact, there have been many heroes in the course of human history but Jesus is THE HERO. After all, He is Savior and LORD!

On the physical health side of things, I hope you take the necessary precautions to protect yourself and others. And, if you’re sick, I also hope and pray that you take the initiative to get the help you need. On the spiritual side of things, I hope and pray that you realize that you’re a sinner, every person is a sinner, and that you stand condemned by your sin. However, there is the hope of forgiveness, restoration and salvation in Christ Jesus. We’ve already established that God loved the world and gave His only son Jesus so that we can have the promise of eternal life. But, again, you must take the initiative to confess your sin and believe. Believe what? Believe that Jesus is your Savior and Lord. As Jesus continues his statement recorded by the Apostle John, JN 3:17 “For God did not send his Son into the world to condemn the world, but in order that the world might be saved through him. 18 Whoever believes in him is not condemned, but whoever does not believe is condemned already, because he has not believed in the name of the only Son of God.”

Jesus has given the ultimate sacrifice to give us the gift of eternal life. Even so, He brings us hope and comfort even in the midst of a pandemic. In addition, first responders and medical professionals are courageously facing many unknowns of the COVID-19 virus and the final impact is yet unpredictable. With that, at the risk of being redundant, it is important that we take reasonable precaution to not only protect ourselves but protect others as well. Of course, this includes protecting the viability of our hospitals. And for us, certainly, this is not a time to remain silent but to pray. It is not a season to think of just yourself but to care for others with the compassion of Christ. It is not a stretch to hoard but to share. It not an occasion to be stingy but to give to support your church, our missionaries and those in need.

A Work in Progress,
Pastor Gene