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Shelter in place is taking its toll

Shelter in place is taking its toll

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Pastor Adam Mueller serves as Senior Pastor at Redeemer Lutheran Church in Marana. He serves nationally as a consultant for at-risk congregations and leadership development. Mueller lives in Marana with his family of five.

This devotion is based on 1 Corinthians 15:12-20. Read the chapter for additional information.

Months of sheltering in place has taken its toll. People are discouraged.

Until last week, everything was closed. Many restaurants, shops and gyms are starting to reopen. Perhaps parks are close behind. Arenas and stadiums are still closed. Especially disheartening, churches were closed for Easter.

Is Christianity closed? On Easter morning, the ladies walked to the tomb feeling like that. They carried embalming spices in their hands. They thought Jesus Christ was dead. Their topic of conversation was, “How will we roll the stone away?”

Their experience at the tomb was nothing they expected. The stone was rolled away and the tomb was empty. Jesus was alive.

Many things in our world may be closed, but Christianity is definitely not closed.

Many have invested a lot of conversation about what would happen if their businesses closed permanently. The Bible asks the same questions. What would the world look like if Jesus’ tomb were closed? What if there were no Easter?

Christianity falls apart without Jesus’ bodily resurrection. Obviously, clergymen from every generation would be guilty of fraud in the name of faith. Less obvious is that Jesus himself would be proven a cheat. He repeatedly claimed he would rise on the third day, and even offered the sign of Jonah as a proof. Without Easter, Jesus is history’s most consequential con-man. The Bible he claimed was both inspired and authoritative would not be worth the paper it’s printed on.

Practically speaking, our own lives fall apart without Easter.

God is the bond holder of our sin debt. Christianity is the one world religion that has a legitimate answer for personal sin, Christ paid the world’s debt in full. Easter is objective proof that God accepted Christ’s payment for sin; our sin debt has been forgiven. Without Easter, then, we still owe the debt. What happens when God demands payment? Do you think he’ll accept bitcoin?

Finally, God argues there is no afterlife without Easter. The pious wishes of the funeral director who assures “she’s in a better place” no longer ring empty or hollow. They’re patently false. Without Easter there is no life after death, no eternal bliss, no “better place,” no heaven. If Christianity is closed, life is pointless. Cue Twenty One Pilots and buy your tickets to Burning Man.

If only for this life we have hope in Christ, we are to be pitied more than all men. Christ has indeed been raised from the dead — 1 Corinthians 15:19-20. Jesus showed himself alive to the women. Later he appeared alive to his disciples on multiple occasions. Eventually, he had a post-Easter audience before more than 500 souls. Easter is objective proof the world stands forgiven.

Christianity is the definition of essential. It’s been in continuous operation since the beginning of time. God wins. Christ is alive. Forgiveness is real. Heaven is open. Hope is yours.

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