He was despised and rejected— a man of sorrows, acquainted with deepest grief. We turned our backs on him and looked the other way. He was despised, and we did not care. Yet it was our weaknesses he carried; it was our sorrows that weighed him down. And we thought his troubles were a punishment from God, a punishment for his own sins!
This passage is timely for Believers not only because Easter is right around the corner but also because of our current global situation. Clearly, the world misunderstood Jesus' purpose at the time of his death. He wasn't receiving a punishment from God, and every modern Believer knows this. But back then the "God fearing" Jews were very mistaken. Actually, Jesus truly was carrying OUR sins to the cross, not his like they thought.
People who say the current pandemic is a punishment from God, God's way of getting our attention, or that it's his judgment on us are just as mistaken about Jesus' purpose as people were back then. John 3:17 clearly states that Jesus didn't come to judge us but to SAVE us.
God sent his Son into the world not to judge the world, but to save the world through him. There is no judgment against anyone who believes in him. But anyone who does not believe in him has already been judged for not believing in God’s one and only Son. And the judgment is based on this fact: God’s light came into the world, but people loved the darkness more than the light, for their actions were evil. All who do evil hate the light and refuse to go near it for fear their sins will be exposed. But those who do what is right come to the light so others can see that they are doing what God wants. (John 3:17-21)
If God's not judging us, then what is really going on?
We have an active Enemy who loves death and destruction. Jesus warned us about this when he said we would have "many troubles" during our lifetime (John 16:33). But Jesus' solution isn't what we expect. He prayed, I’m not asking you (heavenly Father) to take them out of the world, but to keep them safe from the evil one (John 17:15). Why would he pray this if the bad things that happen were supposed to be little judgments to keep us in line and teach us a lesson? He wouldn't.
Jesus' purpose is to give us a rich, full life for our souls (See John 10:10). Jesus is the RESCUE not the source of all the bad stuff that goes on. God sent his Son to rescue us not condemn, for the whole world already is condemned for not believing in Jesus. So he gives everyone an opportunity to be UN-condemned by believing in Jesus. And we are invited to believe in Jesus before, after and even during pandemics.
I hope Believers will not be mistaken or mistakenly spread misinformation. Just as sure as the crucifixion of Christ was NOT a punishment for him, COVID19 is not God's judgment on us all. All circumstances (good and bad) are simply invitations for us turn our hearts to the one who has overcome the world!
I have told you all this so that you may have peace in me. Here on earth you will have many trials and sorrows. But take heart, because I have overcome the world. (John 16:33)
You being in control doesn't mean you're spreading out illness, it means that anything awful that happens can't interfere with your presence, protection, provision and peace. You have made us right with you through your Son and no one and nothing can take that away. This virus is a huge reminder that life is short and temporary and thankfully in no way disrupts your eternal plan for all who love and trust you. Thank you! I love you and I pray in Jesus' name, according to your good will. Amen.