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What Resurrection Sunday Means to Me in the Midst of These Challenging Times?

For most of us, the COVID-19 pandemic is easily the worst pandemic we have seen so far. At the time of writing, the number of confirmed cases has exceeded one million worldwide, and the confirmed death toll from COVID-19 has crossed the 74,000 mark. Many governments worldwide are taking strict measures to control the spread of the coronavirus, including closing their borders and restricting movement within their countries.

Singapore has imposed a stricter “circuit breaker” measures to control the spread of COVID-19. These measures include the closures of most workplaces except for essential services and key economic sectors and implementing home-based learning for schools. All religious services remain cancelled, though religious institutions may still perform essential rites like weddings and funerals on a small-scale.

At the same time, the government has required everyone to stay home, avoid socialising with others beyond our households, and only go out to do essential things like grocery shopping.

As a result, most of us are confined to our homes during this Holy Week, as we commemorate our Lord’s suffering leading to His crucifixion on Good Friday.

What does Easter — or, as I would prefer to call it, Resurrection Sunday — mean to me in the midst of these challenging times?

Staying Home

Our position right now is similar in some ways to the position of the Israelites at their first Passover (in Hebrew, Pesach) and the disciples of Jesus Christ on the first Resurrection Sunday.

At the first Passover, the Israelites were still slaves in Egypt, and God had commanded them to stay within their own homes and observe the Lord’s Passover (Exodus 12).

Among other things, they were to put the blood of the lamb on the top and sides of the doorposts of their houses. The lambs had to be year-old males without defect. Those households who were covered by the blood of the lamb would be spared from destruction.

Years later, God sent His own Son, Jesus Christ, to be our Passover Lamb (1 Corinthians 5:7). We remember the sacrifice of the Lamb of God on the cross for us when we observe Good Friday.

Jesus rose from the dead on the third day, and the disciples saw the empty tomb that first Resurrection Sunday. Yet in the evening, the Bible tells us that, at the place where the disciples were gathered, the doors were locked “for fear of the Jewish leaders” (John 20:19).

Of course, unlike the situations of the Israelites or the disciples, we are complying with the measures imposed by the government to combat a public health situation.

However, like the Israelites, we remain within our homes even while the deadly COVID-19 disease sweeps through Singapore and many different parts of the world. Like the disciples at the first Resurrection Sunday, we do not gather in public, but stay at home.

Are We Covered by the Blood of the Lamb?

God sometimes uses times of solitude and isolation as precursors to great things ahead.

For the Israelites at the first Passover, they were kept safe as they ate within their homes even as death raged outside. This period of hiding was a prelude to their freedom from slavery in Egypt and their journey towards the Promised Land.

For the disciples at the first Resurrection Sunday, the time of uncertainty and hiding in fear preceded a mighty revelation of the Risen Lord standing before them in glory. They heard with their own ears His voice saying, “Peace be with you.” They saw with their own eyes His hands and His side.

Our current situation of anticipation, uncertainty and waiting should prompt us to examine ourselves, our attitudes and our standing before God.

How are we spending this time? Are we living in fear or faith? Most important, are we covered by the blood of the Lamb?

Each of us has a choice of how we decide to spend this month when everyone is hunkering down at home. On one hand, we can choose to allow fear to overwhelm us when we focus incessantly on the terrible news of COVID-19 around the world, binge-watch shows on television or online streaming, or lead unhealthy lifestyles by eating and drinking recklessly.

On the other hand, we can choose to spend more time reading God’s Word, show love and care to our families, call and connect with loved ones, and pray and intercede on behalf of others, including praying for the salvation of those who do not yet know the Lord.

How are we spending this time? Are we living in fear or faith? Most important, are we covered by the blood of the Lamb?

During the first Passover, the Israelites were called to share the lamb with their nearest neighbour “if the household is too small for a lamb” (Exodus 12:4). In our circumstances, do we take the opportunity to be outward-looking to share our possessions with our neighbours and share the abundant life that comes from the Lamb of God?

Power to Witness

In the Book of Acts, we read of another instance when the disciples of Jesus Christ were again gathered in a house (Acts 2). This time, they were not hiding in fear, but had gathered for a time of constant prayer after Jesus had ascended into heaven following His resurrection.

Before His ascension, Jesus had promised them, “You will receive power when the Holy Spirit has come upon you, and you will be my witnesses in Jerusalem and in all Judea and Samaria, and to the end of the earth.” (Acts 1:8)

The power of the Holy Spirit came mightily at Pentecost (in Hebrew, Shavuot, the “Feast of Weeks”), which was about a month and a half after Resurrection Sunday. The same disciples who were cowering in fear now boldly went out and testified of the Lord’s resurrection in the new tongues that the Holy Spirit had given them. About three thousand people were saved that day (Acts 2:41).

By God’s grace, the COVID-19 pandemic will pass. As believers, we should not only intercede, but also support all the medical staff and government officials who are working tirelessly to fight the coronavirus.

At the same time, let this be a time when we deepen and strengthen our faith, dig deeper into God’s Word, and eagerly seek the gifts of the Holy Spirit. Let us confess the lordship and deity of Christ, and believe in His sovereign power over our lives and over the COVID-19 situation. He is the Resurrection and the Life; whoever who believes in Him will live even if he or she dies (John 11:25).

Thus, when the day comes that we can step out into the public square again, let us testify boldly in word and deed to the resurrection power of our Risen Saviour, and His gift of eternal life to all who will call on His name.

Darius Lee likes to read, write and ponder deeply about matters of ultimate value. He enjoys having deep and meaningful conversations over a cup of cappuccino.

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