It’s almost June and it’s week I-don’t-know-what of the lockdown measures because of COVID-19. This has been a season of struggle and suffering for many. The ‘norm’ has been changed to a new normal. It’s been months since we’ve been able to hug someone outside of our home. We have to give those we pass by in the street a wide birth due to social distancing. Many of us have had time to rethink our priorities and what is important when push comes to shove. Fighting over toilet paper seems a distant memory now as the weeks roll by and we long for some of the things we’ve left behind. The truth of the matter is – it’s hard.
The Truth of our Mortality
There is another kind of truth that needs to be unearthed. The truth of our mortality. No amount of medical or scientific help is going to prevent what will happen to each of us at some point. We can’t use the escapes that we have relied on in the past to save us. It’s a very present reality in our world and death is a part of life. Many around the world come face to face with death every day, but we have been ‘shielded’ for so long here in the West. This is a wake up call.
The Truth of the Gospel
Is there any hope in the face of death or is death the end? Many live without hope where hope can be found. An example of someone who found a hope worth living for was Ravi Zacharias. Ravi was an incredible man of God, evangelist and apologist of the Christian faith who died this month from a rare form of cancer. Ravi had a hope that transformed his life from a place of suicide in his late teens to then pursue the truth he discovered in Jesus Christ. He went on to tell others around the world about the truth found in the Christian faith and he did this with gentleness and respect. Here is a recent clip that he shared, which is even more poignant and timely at his passing:
The Truth in a Pandemic
With the technology available, many of us are able to stay in touch with family, friends and colleagues through social media, Zoom chats and more. In a time of being physically absent, we are virtually present and can encourage one another at this difficult time.
There have been reports that church attendance has increased dramatically as people are watching online. As hard as it is to be away from a gathering of believers, there is an immense opportunity to tell others about the truth and hope found in the gospel. At a time where death, fear and suffering make up the headlines of the day, people are looking for answers and many are turning to prayer. As services go online is the message of the gospel being heard? Is it clear what the life, death and resurrection of Jesus Christ mean for people today?
The Truth as a Bold Witness
My prayer is that those who are leading the way online who have faith in Jesus are using this opportunity to not shy away, but to proclaim the gospel boldly. Christians have a unique message of hope that is grounded in solid, verifiable truth and this is what a hurting world needs. Truth does not always sit well with some. The Bible says that some will not believe – if some didn’t believe Jesus, it’s to be expected for us too. Yet, for those of us who have put our trust in Jesus, we know what a transformation of life has taken place. It’s a hope not just caught up in this life, but is the hope of being with Jesus always, even after death. Jesus overcame the power of the grave and He offers everlasting life to all those who trust in His work on the cross that saves us from sin and reconciles us to God. We have this hope because death could not hold Him down. And His love overcomes all.
I was particularly impacted and encouraged by the truth that was proclaimed this last Sunday from two ministers that I know personally. They both challenged me, encouraged me and reminded me of the good news of Jesus, whilst addressing the issues of the day. I pray that their words may speak to you as they did to me. Let us be bold in our hope, knowing it is a hope that can save people and that the truth of the gospel changes lives.
Pinhoe Road Baptist Church – Sermon starts at 23:26, but the whole service is worth watching!
St Mark’s Church, Cardiff