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As millions of people reflected this past Palm Sunday upon the triumphant entry of Jesus Christ into Jerusalem, this is the question facing the world during Easter Week, “Is Jesus Christ still triumphant as the coronavirus sweeps across the globe?”
There has been a long line of doubters and detractors throughout history who have claimed “the problem of evil” is the weak link in Christianity’s theological chain. Scottish philosopher David Hume once wrote, “Is God willing to prevent evil, but not able? Then is he impotent. Is he able, but not willing? Then is he malevolent. Is he both able and willing? Whence then is evil?”
Hume was not the first to ask this important question and he certainly would not be the last. Does Christianity offer a response to his critique?
More importantly, does Christianity offer hope for the husband whose wife is being kept alive on a ventilator in New York City? Does Christianity offer hope to grandchildren in New Orleans who just lost their beloved Pop-pop? Does Christianity offer hope to the small business owners in Detroit who just lost everything they worked so hard for and sacrificed so much for?
As our national leaders had been predicting that Easter Week would be the apex of coronavirus’ devastation in the United States, there is no better place to find help, healing and hope than at the cross of Jesus Christ.
It is at the cross where the wounds of Jesus bring healing from our guilt. Isaiah 53:5 proclaims, “the punishment that brought us peace was on him, and by his wounds, we are healed.”
It is at the cross where in Jesus’ death, death died. Proclaims 1 Corinthians 15:55-57, “Death is swallowed up in victory. O death, where is your victory? O death, where is your sting? The sting of death is sin, and the power of sin is the law. But thanks be to God, who gives us the victory through our Lord Jesus Christ.”
It is at the cross where God deals finally and forever with evil. Not just the world’s evil, but my evil. To answer Hume’s critique of Christianity, in order to prevent evil God would have to prevent humanity from having autonomy.
Why does God allow hate? For the same reason, God allows love.
In order to prevent evil, God would have to prohibit love.
The Good News is that God is both willing and able to overcome our evil with good! This victory over evil would not be decreed from a detached, celestial throne. No, this victory began in a lowly manger in Bethlehem.
God’s willingness to overcome evil was demonstrated when He entered the world through His Son as a tiny, fragile baby.
God’s willingness to overcome evil was demonstrated when He entered the world through His Son as a tiny, fragile baby. Marvel my friend! The infinite became finite; the creator of the cosmos lying in a cradle; the One who needed nothing now depends on the care of two poor Hebrew parents.
God’s ability to overcome evil was demonstrated when His Son’s hands were pierced with nails, His brow was pressed with a crown of thorns, His back was scourged with whips and He was crucified with convicted criminals. Be aghast my friend! The perfect, sinless Son of God became sin for us; He experienced open shame and degradation; He was mocked and abandoned, all to pay the penalty of our rebellion. Overcoming evil came with an overwhelming cost — we crucified God.
The story does not end at the cross though. Rejoice, my friend! Jesus breathed His last breath on a lonely hill called Golgotha on Friday, but Sunday was coming. God’s victory in overcoming evil was demonstrated in the empty tomb! Jesus is alive!
For those whose battle with the coronavirus is anxiety, may you find peace in knowing the Prince of Peace is also the King of Kings (see Matthew 6:25-34).
For those whose battle with the coronavirus is financial, may you trust that Jehovah-Jireh, our Good Father and Provider, will supply your needs (see Philippians 4:19).
For those whose battle with the coronavirus is medical, as we all pray for a cure may you believe that the Great Physician has promised to heal our diseases, either in this life or in the next (see Psalm 103:1-5).
For those whose battle with the coronavirus is grief, may you sense Jesus weeping beside you; may you know God is near the brokenhearted; may you truly believe that death does not have the final word and neither does the coronavirus (see Psalm 34:18, 2 Corinthians 4:7-18).
Yes, 2,000 years later Jesus remains triumphant and His victory is available to all who believe. As He Himself declared, “I have told you these things, so that in me you may have peace. In this world, you will have trouble. But take heart! I have overcome the world” (John 16:33).