It’s been another strange week in Coronaville…

And no, I’m not referring to the news that not even James Bond can escape the effects of the global pandemic, or that even Batman has fallen prey to this invisible enemy… but now Donald Trump, the leader of the free world, has tested positive too.

And this is now today’s big news – the BBC news website alone has at least 7 separate news stories all about it! (The number may well have increased by the time you read this!)

I suppose it is inevitable that when people in key positions of leadership and responsibility are taken ill it gets reported in such a big way; but the truth is that, famous and powerful or not, every single one of cases and every single one of the one million who have died from COVID-19 matters.

 

For me, one of the most striking things about Jesus – in the three short years of public ministry – is how much time He dedicated to individuals, families or His small group of disciples.

When you stop and think about it, He had three years to change the world and although there are big public moments (The Sermon on the mount, the feeding of the 5000, etc.) we also have long recorded conversations with very unlikely people: a Samaritan woman by a well, Nicodemus (a Pharisee!) at night; and then the cripples, prostitutes, tax collectors, children – they all mattered to Jesus! Each and every single one worthy of His time, His thoughts, His truth, His heart, His help, His healing…

His simple, but world-changing message:

For God so loved the world that He gave His one and only Son, that whosoever believes in Him should not perish but have eternal life!

JOHN 3.16

The Whosoever.

The World.

 

Quick bit of bible trivia for you to impress friends with at parties and quizzes… what the only book of the Bible to end with a question? Answer: the book of Jonah: surely, one of the only reluctant missionaries in history to begrudge a national revival(!). The question itself?

And should I not have concern for the great city of Nineveh, in which there are more than a hundred and twenty thousand people who cannot tell their right hand from their left – and also many animals?”

JONAH 4.11

Should I not have concern? Challenging words to read, let alone about your archenemies.

 

One hundred and twenty thousand people. That’s a lot of people to carry in your heart… but a drop in the ocean compared to everyone He cares for. As Paul writes to Timothy:

This is good, and pleases God our Savior, who wants all people to be saved and to come to a knowledge of the truth.

1 TIMOTHY 2.3-4

 

The longer this continues, and the larger the count gets, it can become very difficult to keep our compassion alive and well. Numbers, percentages and statistics are hard to care about – but let’s not forget that Jesus was all about people: welcoming people, empowering people, discipling people…

Of course we should care when famous people living in White Houses contract this virus, but no more than we should care about unnamed elderly people with underlying health problems die in care homes – and everything in between. Jesus calls us to be all about people too.

 

That is, after all, what He came to this world that He so loved, gave His one and only life for:

Since the children have flesh and blood, He too shared in their humanity so that by His death He might break the power of him who holds the power of death – that is, the devil – and free those who all their lives were held in slavery by their fear of death!

HEBREWS 2.14-15

He is, after all, the only one able to break the power of our greatest enemy – death itself, and to save us from a fate worse that coronavirus – fear of death in this life, and an eternity outside of His presence after it.

There was no other good enough to pay the price of sin.

He only could unlock the gate of heaven and let us in.

CECIL FRANCES ALEXANDER

 

The message of Jesus is just as relevant today, as it was to the individuals (and the crowds!) who heard it for the first time. Maybe as we are faced with the reality of our powerlessness against our own morality all the more during this pandemic, people may be more ready to hear it than ever before?

However long this thing lasts, and whatever comes next – we’ve just got to be all about Jesus – and all about people… all of them.

O, that the world may taste and see the riches of His grace!

The arms of love that compass me would all mankind embrace.

CHARLES WESLEY

 

Let’s be people of the greatest news this world has ever been graced with – let’s make that the biggest news story of our day!

 

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