Easter Is Not Another Ordinary Day by Jennifer Campbell
Not too long ago, we were living ordinary lives, enjoying ordinary days, and doing ordinary things. Then, our lives literally started to change overnight when entire nations began ordering stay-at-home lockdowns. Today, over 180 countries have recorded COVID-19 cases. More than 1.8 million people have been infected, and tragically, over one hundred thousand people have lost their lives to this highly infectious respiratory disease. The coronavirus pandemic literally changed the world, and it all started on what seemed to be another ordinary day.
Just over two thousand years ago, men and women, boys and girls, awoke to another seemingly ordinary day. They got out of bed, dressed, combed their hair, ate breakfast, and started their daily routine. Only nothing about this particular day was business as usual. The night before, Jesus and His disciples sat down for their last meal together before Jesus would be crucified. Early the next morning, â€œall the chief priests and the elders of the people made their plans how to have Jesus executedâ€ (Matt. 27:2 NIV). A short time later, Jesus was lashed and beaten beyond recognition. Simon from Cyrene carried Jesusâ€™ cross to the hill known as Golgotha (Matt. 27:32-33). Jesus was hung on this cross with nails piercing His hands and His feet.
Matthew 21:45-46 says, â€œFrom noon until three in the afternoon darkness came over all the land. About three in the afternoon Jesus cried out in a loud voice, â€˜Eli, Eli, lema sabachthani?â€™ (which means â€˜My God, my God, why have you forsaken me?â€™)â€ As Jesus took His final breath, a violent earthquake came upon the land, the temple curtain was torn in two, and many tombs were opened and people were raised from the dead (Matt. 27:51-53). Even the centurion and some of the soldiers who previously mocked Jesus, saw what happened and exclaimed, â€œâ€˜Surely he was the Son of God!â€™â€ (Matt. 27:54 NIV). Jesus Christ did not stay on the cross, for He rose to life on the third day (Matt. 28:6 NIV). From the moment Jesus arose, the world would never be the same again.
This year, Easter will be observed a little differently, which will hopefully give everyone additional time to reflect on what Christ did for us. As I look forward to worshiping the Lord on Resurrection Sunday, in the comfort of my own home, I am reminded of a dream I had a couple of months ago. I dreamed that I was going through some papers and found two Easter Sunday bulletins from two distinct years past. In the dream, I commented to my dad that it would be unusual for there to be no Easter Sunday services anywhere in the world. At the time, this dream seemed very unrealistic, so I thought little more about it. Two weeks ago, I was sorting through some papers, found two different Easter Sunday bulletins, and reminded my dad of the dream I had two months ago. I feel that God was preparing my heart for this unpredictable turn of events.
Although special religious services can encourage believers and even attract non-believers who come to church on religious holidays, I feel that the Spirit of God may be speaking to the churches through this pandemic. The entertainment and sporting venues have widely been shut down. Even churches are primarily closed, with the exception of online services. Perhaps God is using this â€œpauseâ€ to allow us time to listen to His leading. A.W. Tozer said, â€œSometimes I think the church would be better off if we would call a moratorium on activity for about six weeks and just wait on God to see what He is wanting to do for us.â€ During these less-than-ordinary days, let us make it a point to listen to Godâ€™s voice. He has a master plan for each of our lives, if we are willing to listen to His sovereign guidance.
For many pastors and congregants, the absence of an Easter service seems like a major roadblock on the religious calendar. Yet, the church is not a building; it is a body of believers. Jesus did not tell us to build a sanctuary; He commissioned us to â€œâ€˜Go into all the world and preach the gospel to all creationâ€™â€ (Mark 16:15 NIV). Even now, as the majority of regions are under shelter-in-place orders, we can still proclaim the Gospel of Jesus Christ on the Internet or through telephone calls, letters, and other forms of communication. Yet, the glorious message of salvation is too wonderful for us to only share on Resurrection Sunday. I once knew someone who only wanted to sing the song, â€œHe Lives,â€ as an annual tradition on Easter Sunday. Jesus Christ did not give His life so we could be saved, celebrate the risen Savior one day a year, and then wait patiently for His return. He gave His life so we could worship Him forevermore, and so we could share the wondrous love of Jesus Christ, 365 days per year.
Jesusâ€™ resurrection is something we should praise God for every single day of the year. God knew we needed a Savior, since we have all sinned (Rom. 3:23). He loved us so much that He gave His only Son to shed His blood and to die on a cross for the forgiveness of our sins (John 3:16). Jesus gave His life because of love (1 John 3:16). There is no other name by which we can receive salvation. The manmade holiday known as Easter cannot save anyone. Jesus Christ came to seek and save the lost. When we confess our sins and put our faith in Him as our Lord and Savior, then we will become a new creation in Christ Jesus. Let us remember to thank Him for His mercy and grace every single day, always keeping our eyes on Jesus, the author and finisher of our faith (Heb. 12:2).
Jesus is the One we should be listening to above all others. Do not let the sounds of the world surpass the sound of the Holy Spirit speaking to your heart. During this pandemic, be careful not to be drawn in by the news headlines, the inconveniences of getting groceries, or the concerns you have for your family and friends. Instead, take time to read Godâ€™s Word. Take time to pray. Take time to listen to His voice. Focus on the risen Savior. May we all tune our hearts to Him, as we worship Him in spirit and in truth (John 4:24)! For there will come another seemingly ordinary day when Christ will return to this earth, and that is the moment that will truly change the world for all eternity.
By Jennifer Campbell
More about Jennifer:
Jennifer knows that God has a dream for her life. Whether she is on stage singing solo, singing with her dad as a duet, speaking at churches and other locations around the globe, or teaching English Language Arts at Suwannee Middle School, she knows God will always guide her footsteps in everything she does. She is grateful for the talents God has given her and she strives to use them for His glory every single day. God has blessed her with the ability to play the piano and drums. She has served as a Group Leader for Women of Faith as well.
Jennifer is a prolific writer, penning songs, writing an inspirational blog, and serving as a Feature Writer forÂ SGN Scoops Digital Magazine, the first all digital Southern Gospel music magazine. She has written for SGN Scoops for over 20 years, including features on The Brooklyn Tabernacle Choir, Bill Gaither, Janet Paschal, Goodman Revival, Karen Peck and New River, The Whisnants, Canton Junction, The Hoppers, and many others. She was also honored to be able to write special tributes to Lari Goss and LaBreeska Hemphill.
Jennifer recently published her first book, an inspirational autobiography titled,Â When You’re in the Sunset, There’s Sunshine Awaiting You, which she hopes will inspire others through its message of hope. You can read a complimentary chapter by clicking thisÂ link, and you can also purchase a copy onÂ Amazon. Already working on her second book, it is her prayer that God will give her the opportunity to publish many more books in His timing.
In addition, she has a food and travel blog atÂ www.jennifersjourneys.net, where she featured William Jack Degel of Uncle Jack’s Steakhouse and the Food Network showÂ Restaurant Stakeout. Jennifer would love to have her own food and travel show one day.
(Excerpt from Jennifer Campbell’s biography: http://www.jennifercampbell.net/biography.htm )