He himself bore our sins in his body on the tree, that we might die to sin and live to righteousness. By his wounds you have been healed.
1 Peter 2:24
One thing that the past weeks have taught us is that the things which appear distant and unreal can soon come close and become very real. Although the virus has been a reality for some time, I’m sure that most of us had not paid it much attention when we first heard about the outbreak in China before Christmas. Of course, we had sympathy for the people in Wuhan, but it is unlikely we gave it a lot of thought, or wondered about the effect it could have on us. Now however, it is here amongst us – the virus has left our TV screens and has become a reality that could occupy our very real bodies. Things have changed.
The danger of ignoring far-off things is something that effects all of us – even in our spiritual lives.
Two thousand years ago, the Son of God was nailed to a cross in Israel. Real wood, real nails, a real body that was broken, and real blood that flowed accordingly. We don’t know where the wood and the nails are today, they have probably long since rotted away, and nowadays it is only through the pages of the Bible that we can draw close to that event.
The cross can feel far-off sometimes. But as we have seen, the things that feel distant are no less real than that which we see and experience day to day.
The wonderful news of the gospel is that the consequences of that which happened on the cross has become very close to us. Not like a dangerous virus which can make us sick, but as a wondrous force which brings life, peace and eternal life.
Today, let the cross come close to you – look upon your saviour dying there, taking your sin upon himself. Wonder at his love as he suffers wound after wound in order to heal you and bring you back into a relationship with your heavenly Father. Rejoice in the resurrection that broke death’s hold over us and gave us the ability to die to our sins and live to righteousness.
Yes, the virus is close, but the cross, and the One who died on it, is closer still, along with his invitation to all: ‘Come to me, all who labour and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest’.
Steffan Job (Capel y Ffynnon, Bangor)