Clergy View: Not even COVID-19 can challenge Jesus’ power today

Pastor Brent Costello

Uncertainty. Fear. Loneliness. A situation that looks remarkably different than it did only days or weeks ago.

Certainly this applies to our situation today. While not unprecedented in history (the Great Flu pandemic of 1918 has repeatedly been invoked as a similar circumstance), virtual classrooms, the stay at home order and closed businesses and churches, have created a world to which this generation is a stranger.

The rapidity of change, and the removal of things that we wouldn’t have given a second thought a month ago has created uncertainty and anxiety that impacts us all. As if that wasn’t enough, we’re robbed of many of those support systems that we generally rely upon in times of difficulty. Coffee with a friend, a small group meeting in your home, or sitting next to your family in a pew to worship God, hear from His word, and partake of shared bread and wine are all on indefinite hold. We are not only socially distancing, we feel socially distant. This is hard.

As we consider our current reality in these days of COVID-19, I think about the disciples on a Friday 2,000 years ago. The uncertainty that comes from having the Lord and teacher whom they’ve followed for the past three years dead in a grave. Huddled in fear, wondering what will become of them now that Jesus has been killed, facing the most difficult weekend of their lives. In all of it, feeling utterly alone as they think about how different the world was five days earlier when the crowds waved palm branches and shouted praises as Jesus entered the city.

Nothing that happened 2,000 years ago was a surprise to Jesus. Nothing that has happened in the past month is a surprise to Jesus. Since this is the case, Jesus took steps to prepare his disciples for the situation they found themselves in. He “eagerly desired” to eat a Passover meal with them (Luke 22:15), a meal at which he would take bread, and after breaking it and giving thanks for it, would pass it to his friends and tell them, “this is my body given for you; do this in remembrance of me.”


In the first Lord’s Supper, Jesus told his friends that he would be with them and encouraged them to remember his presence every time they ate the bread of his table together. They didn’t know how critical his presence would become, but he did. He not only gave them (and us) his words to remind and assure us of his presence, he gave us a physical, holdable symbol of the fact that he is with us. However communion is understood, it is a reminder that God is with his people.

Though on Friday it may have seemed an empty gesture, Christ’s reminder of his presence would be confirmed three days later by the empty tomb. Nothing, not even death, could challenge the power of Jesus 2,000 years ago. Nothing, not even COVID-19 and all that comes with it, can challenge his power today. When we are tempted to fear, let us remember that just as he was present long ago, he provides his presence to comfort and his resurrection to assure today.

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