The idea of “lockdown, shelter in place” happened in the NT when the 1st-century believers went into hiding, fearful of the Jewish leaders!
On the evening of that first day of the week, when the disciples were together, with the doors locked for fear of the Jewish leaders, Jesus came and stood among them and said, “Peace be with you!” John 20:19
Think for a moment, the disciples feared for their lives, confused and worried. They became Jerusalem’s public enemy #1. Their hope crumbled and fall with the death of their Messiah.
Suddenly Jesus passed appeared in front of the startled disciples and spoke the most refreshing encouragement – Peace be with you! He can pass through any locked doors or any barriers to bring you peace.
“ Peace be with you” – means no fear, now worry I am here.
So that Easter Sunday (1st day of the week) Jesus rose from the grave with his only agenda – to look for his disciples and each one of us too.
Its About Peace not War
Revenge is the usual theme ingredient of an action story—BUT NOT the resurrection story. Jesus upon getting up from the tomb He didn’t seek revenge for what the Jews, (or Poncio Pilato) did to him. He didn’t seek for His enemies to torture them one by one. Instead, He sought His disciples, the church to encourage them, to build them up. He rose to bring–Peace to the World.
Jesus didn’t show the prevailing “Make My Day” image nowadays when he removed the bundle of linen wrapped around His body. Looks like He gently escaped from the wrappings by passing through it as a Spirit- Body. Enclosed on a tightly sealed grave nothing can restrain Him.
According to John 20:7 the cloths, strips of linen were arranged and folded them up by itself. One important lesson l learned every time I woke up is to give thanks I am alive. Then the first accomplishment of my day starts with making up my bed.
CoVid19 Lockdown Message
Okay, going back. Jesus’ message to us during these Corona Virus crisis is — Peace Be With You, Fear Not. We will Overcome. As Christians, our words should be words that give life. Not death. No lies. No fake news. Don’t take part in those spreading lies, negativity, and fake news in social media.
Lockdown means an emergency protocol that prevents people from leaving. In the Philippines, you need a “quarantine- pass” to go out of the house. You would show that to authorities when you’re getting the essentials (food, water, getting money from the bank). Whereas here in the US the term appropriately used is – “shelter in place”.
You don’t need any pass or permit yet to buy or things, to make transactions or to get things done. In the near future the Bible says people need some kind of a special Mark or ID to buy and sell., get things done. This global pandemic experience seems to be just a rehearsal, a foretaste of what will happen in the future!!!
St Paul’s Lock Down, No Excuse
Paul, the apostle showed us a good example of what to do during a lockdown. While locked up in prison he actively moved. At a fixed social distance with Silas, both prayed and sang worship songs on top of their lungs.
Their fellow prisoners heard them and then a strong earthquake shook the place unlocking all their chains. You see prayer is active, not passive work. Prayer makes you a hypocrite when you pray for someone hungry or in need but you didn’t lift a finger to help when it is within your power to do so.
While we may think we would be ’stuck, immobilized and paralyzed to do our Christian duties while on lockdown the apostle Paul moves actively while in prison.
Paul Used Influence, Resources while in Prison
During his imprisonment he accomplished the following:
1) he wrote 14 letters /epistles, 1 under dispute by scholars, the book of Hebrews. The purpose is to build up and multiply churches.
2) He exercised his influence on mobilizing leaders. Greeted so many people personally (especially Romans 16 , a list of 37 names ..Phoebe, Prisca, Aquilla, Epaneutus, Mary, Andronicus, Urbanus, etc. How many of you can enumerate the name of their children, grandchildren, including birthdays? Your wedding anniversary?
3) Paul proclaims the gospel while in jail. Friends visited him and even “did errands” for him. One of them, Timothy brought him items of clothing, materials or even food.
Notice while Paul was in lock down he used his “resources” to change the world. He exercised his influence, by the power of God.
Things We Can Do While On Lockdown
How about you singing karaoke with your loved ones?
Eating together, exercise or walk in park, read book?
How about you start one important habit… Joshua 1:8 One year Bible Reading/Devotional which is 15 min, a day is a good one. (the rooster has a habit every morning to praise the Lord!!)
As a church group, you can send “care packages” (toilet papers, soda drink, ) to seniors or to those in need. (Or maybe send help to another country?)
Bring words of life, connect with your friends who may be feeling lonely. (Get a list of seniors, or those in care homes ). Take advantage of your smartphones and social media.
*** Partner and invest in your church or in missions work of spreading the gospel. Reach the world of the marginalized poor, homeless, educational sponsorship of children in places like a garbage dump in Manila, or Africa, end human trafficking of children/women.,
The Church’s Finest Hour
Winston Churchill, the British prime minister made a powerful speech that rallied the people during WW2 and led his country from the brink of defeat into victory…
”Let us therefore brace ourselves to our duties, and so bear ourselves that, if the British Empire and its Commonwealth last for a thousand years, men will still say: ‘This was their finest hour.”
In the same way – this is the church finest hour. Proclaim the message of hope – “Peace BE With YOU —Fear Not for I am with You, I will never leave you nor forsake you”
As resurrection people, we are the bearer of Good News this time and season. During this crisis and difficulties, God’s people should rise up. Because this is the church’s finest hour in history is to raise the banner of the cross giving the world- “Peace be with You”.
We will not be paralyzed, immobilized by fear while observing “shelter in place”. We can start —as a church, and as individual Christian by bringing the message of hope and peace through our communication, speaking words of life via telephone or social media. ( Prov 18:21 says the power of life and death is in the tongue)
we are victorious, we will overcome.
Mobilize our resources and means of influence to help support the church and mission work that God has placed in our hearts.
We have victory in Jesus. We will overcome it. We will get through this.