Trapped. Powerless. Uncertain. These are some of the feelings I have had during this time of quarantine. The coronavirus is causing anxiety all over the world, and people, governments and nations are trying to figure out how to respond. They make their plans: close stores and transport, limit how people can move around. They say to stay home and only go out for special reasons, and only with masks and gloves. I have the feeling that larger powers are controlling my life.

       I have had this feeling even in normal circumstances when there is no pandemic. I sometimes feel that greater powers trap and control me so that I am not truly free: the government limits my freedom to move around, the economy limits what I can buy, enemies both inside and outside are looking for ways to conquer us. I feel uncertain about the future because I don’t know what the president will do, or Putin, or the economy. These powers are much stronger than me, leaving me feeling powerless, subject to someone else’s agenda. So, when we come to celebrate the resurrection of Christ, I want to rejoice, I want to celebrate; however, I feel like I am celebrating new life in a cave. I want to focus on joy, but when I really think about it, I still feel trapped.

      Even sometimes as a Christian thinking about the Bible and salvation, I have a feeling of powerlessness. Before I was born, someone sinned and now I am born into a sinful world. But Jesus died for my sins and rose from the grave and gives me salvation. There is nothing I can do to earn it. I just accept it and wait for him to return. All of this is true, but with Jesus, the Holy Spirit, the world, the flesh, and the devil and all his demons, the Bible, the pastor, and the church, I sometimes feel like a small child in a big room being pushed and bumped by large adults moving around and not really seeing me.

      There is a spiritual battle and most all of the participants are much stronger than me, but a true understanding of God’s work of salvation means that my life, my activity, my existence in the world, has meaning, purpose, and real significance. My sin made me guilty, weak, and hopeless. But because Jesus died for my sins and rose again, by faith I have forgiveness, a new strength, and a living purpose for my life. Peter says that God “who according to his great mercy begat us again unto a living hope by the resurrection of the Jesus Christ from the dead” (1 Peter 1:3). Paul says that “like as Christ was raised from the dead through the glory of the Father, so we also might in newness of life” (Romans 6:4). Jesus Christ became a human like me, bound by all the circumstances of human life, and died at the hand of human and spiritual powers. But God the Father raised him from the dead, giving new life to all who believe.

      So, what does the resurrection of Christ mean for us? Resurrection means that by faith in Jesus, I am not limited by the government or the economy or Putin. Resurrection means that we are free to live. True living is found in the freedom to love – to love God in worship, and to love people by blessing them and lifting them up. I am not trapped by bad family relationships, a bad job or no job, a bad economy, or an uncertain future in a country at war.

       Jesus “came that they may have life, and may have it abundantly” (Иоанна 10:10). This abundant life means that by God’s grace, I am alive and that neither quarantine, viruses, nor anything else can trap me in the ways that really matter. In this moment I am free to love. In this moment, because Jesus rose from the grave, I can bless the person nearest to me. In sickness I can pray. In quarantine I can grow in love for God and in character by reading his word. In poverty or even in prison, like Paul (Acts 16:25), I can sing to Him who loves me. Because Jesus lives, he has given me this blessed gift of life. In this moment, I choose to live!

Mark McDonnel,
Director of Biblical Studies Program