There was no way the Israelites would have acknowledged in the moment that the plagues in Egypt were a part of the redemptive story. Beyond being a punishment to the Egyptians, the plagues were a step in the process of redeeming the world. The final plague would be the Passover and would set the stage for the coming Passover Lamb who would take away the sins of the world.
What might God be saying to the Church today with COVID-19? This plague has swept the earth with its devastating effect. Long ago, at Calvary the God/Man hung on a cross and breathed his last in His earthly ministry. Satan had bruised the ‘heal’ of Jesus, but on Resurrection Sunday Jesus would return the blow and crush the enemies head.
Easter 2020 was the first time in history where the Church was unable to ‘gather’ together. Satan thought he had dismantled the Church, but instead the Church was multiplied in countless homes and billions ‘tuned’ into the Gospel as the Church celebrated the Resurrection of Jesus. The spike in Church Planting today is off the charts.
The Israelites had seen first-hand severe poverty, slavery, corruption and ultimate injustice. The plagues although unimaginable to have experienced were used by God in the story of the Exodus. God often uses injustice and ‘plagues’ for His purpose in redemption.
What we experienced this Easter 2020 was unprecedented. While Church buildings were empty the Church would rise. Had Jesus not been raised from the dead and vacated the tomb leaving it empty, redemption would not have been possible. This Easter the Gospel was displayed in creative ways through relationships, in homes, utilizing modern day technology.
Like the men of Issachar, who understood the times and had great wisdom, we would do well to lean in and listen to the heart of Jesus. Do you hear Him? He is saying, do you get it? It is about Church “168.” 168 hours each week. We are the church. God is teaching us that the Church is ‘not’ about the weekend, it’s about a people, a family and a body commissioned and equipped with ‘all authority’ to invite people living in darkness into our homes to experience the light and life of Jesus.
Prohibited from ‘going to the temple courts’, we have learned that we in fact can accomplish what it meant to go to the temple courts. We can sit, we can learn and we can be taught the teachings of Jesus. Like then, the question is will become ‘doers’ (implementors) regarding the teachings of Jesus? Will we love God and love people? Will we make disciples by going (not coming), by baptizing and by teaching them to observe and obey all of Jesus’ teachings? Will we commit to doing ‘greater works’ in His name?
Is COVID-19 a wake up call to the Church to get our eyes back on the purpose of the Cross and Resurrection? “He is not willing that any should perish but that ‘all’ should come to repentance.” The Church was sent ‘out’ into the world to be like Jesus by demonstrating His unconditional love.
Like Israel, we have been freed from the ‘bondage’ of performance and programming and we have experienced an exodus and we have the potential of a brighter future. Perhaps like we read about those heroes persecuted for their faith in Chapter 11 of Hebrews, we are learning that maybe, like them, we have not received what had been promised, since God had planned SOMETHING BETTER for us, so that only together with us would they be made perfect. Hebrews 11:39,40.
We have the opportunity to deliver hope and healing to a world severely struggling with: (thepeaceplan.com)
- no relationship with God and in need of redemption and reconciliation
- the debilitating effects of corruption and self-serving leadership
- extreme poverty (materially, relationally and spiritually)
- pandemic disease
- illiteracy and lack of education
The Church is the hope of the world…when it’s working the way in which God designed her. We are the hands and feet of Jesus and we have the message of truth and hope. In this next season…let’s look and be more like Jesus!