The Hope of Easter in a Pandemic

He is risen! He is risen indeed! Alleluia!

Because of the COVID-19 pandemic, Easter impacted the world in a unique way this year. To unpack why, we’re going to focus on a key person in Jesus’ death and resurrection: Mary Magdalene.

A follower of Jesus, Mary Magdalene…

  • Joined other followers at Mount Calvary as Jesus was crucified and died. (John 19:25)
  • Watched Jesus dead body being laid in the tomb, then witnessed a stone being rolled in front of the tomb. (Mark 15:47)
  • Discovered, early the next morning, that the stone had been rolled away. (John 20:1)
  • Rushed to tell some of Jesus’ closest disciples about the stone being rolled away. (John 20:2)
  • Lingered around the tomb, even after the disciples investigated her report and found Jesus was no longer in the tomb. (John 20:11)

We’re told in John chapter 20 that, after the disciples left, Jesus appeared to Mary. However, she did not recognize him. She thought he was a gardener. After a brief discussion, Jesus revealed himself to Mary Magdalene: 

“Jesus said to her, ‘Mary.’ She turned and said to him in Aramaic, ‘Rabboni!’ (which means Teacher).” (ESV)

He is risen. He is risen indeed. Alleluia!

While Jesus’ murder was brutal, Mary Magdalene was blessed to witness both his death and resurrection. She was blessed because Jesus had just offered the ultimate sacrifice, giving His life for the sins of the world. In His resurrection, Jesus proved beyond all doubt the sins of the world truly were forgiven. 

That’s why the apostle Paul had these words of celebration in 1 Corinthians chapter 15: 

“O death, where is your victory? O death, where is your sting?” (ESV)

This message can have a special impact on the world this Easter. In country after country, people are having to change their daily lives. As Christians, we are adapting out of love for our neighbors, respect for civil authority or our witness to the community. 

However, around the world there are being who are practicing social distancing or self-quarantined out of fear of the virus or fear of death. That is the key difference between Christians and our non-Christian friends, family and neighbors. We may well be anxious about the process of dying, but we do not death itself. This means we are in a unique position to provide comfort and hope for our neighbors. We can do so by sharing the accounts we know so well starting with Jesus’ passion and ending with Jesus’ resurrection. 

He is risen. He is risen indeed! Alleluia! 

A video version of this devotion is on the Kevin Wilson 360 YouTube channel and at oh.lcms.org.


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