Good news! The rules have been relaxed. Shielding has been lifted. People are less afraid and have more freedom. This has happened part-way through the Jewish festival of Passover, and in time for Easter weekend.
Two thousand years ago just after the Jewish Passover, Jesus’ disciples were cowering behind locked doors ‘for fear of the Jews’ (John 20:19). Jesus had been crucified: their world was shattered; their hopes reduced to tears of despair.
But they soon changed. Jesus was alive again! Raised from the dead never to die again.
I am he who lives, and was dead, and behold, I am alive for evermoreRevelation 1:18
The disciples were utterly convinced of this. They risked their lives, disobeying the authorities by continuing to preach about the risen Jesus.
This is the bedrock of the Christian faith. It is the best news ever. It is the most important event in the world’s history.
In 1 Corinthians chapter 15 the apostle Paul argued, very strongly, that without this belief:
- our faith is futile;
- we are still beset by sins and their consequences;
- faith in the Word of God is worthless;
- faith in God’s forgiveness is futile;
- hope of an after-life is invalid.
These are strong words. In contrast, he tells baptised believers that they are ‘free from sin’, and can hope for eternal life.
But now having been set free from sin, and having become slaves of God, you have your fruit to holiness, and the end, everlasting life.Romans 6:22
Echoing the words of Jesus himself:
“Most assuredly, I say to you, whoever commits sin is a slave of sin. And a slave does not abide in the house forever, but a son abides forever. Therefore if the Son makes you free, you shall be free indeedJohn 8:34-36
And freedom from fear:
So we may boldly say: “The Lord is my helper; I will not fear. What can man do to me?”Hebrews 13:6
This is true, eternal, freedom. It is still the best news ever.