Apr 13, 2020
Join us as we explore God’s ancient wisdom and apply it to our modern lives. His word is as current and relevant today as it was when he inspired its authors more than two and a half millennia ago. The websites where you can reach us are alittlewalkwithgod.com, richardagee.com, or saf.church.
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Thanks for joining me today for "A Little Walk with God." I'm your host Richard Agee.
It seems like all we hear about these days is the coronavirus. 80% or more of the news stories talk about it. Conversations on the phone or in emails or wherever you might find yourself (at home, hopefully), continually focus on the dreaded little organism that begins to touch so many lives around the world.
Unfortunately, the crisis isn't over by a long-shot. The scientists tell us the first wave might be slowing in some parts of the world, but there will be another wave that comes through, and in the United States, we haven't seen the peak of our first wave yet. The numbers seem to climb relentlessly. It is the way of pandemics.
My podcast today is starting to sound like a lot of gloom and doom, I know. But there is good news ahead, I promise. We can compare this pandemic to others that have torn through the world and see that many have been far worse. The Spanish flu killed an estimated 25 million people in 1918 and 1919. The Black Plague took away about 25% of the total population. Smallpox wiped out entire tribes when introduced into communities without immunities.
We hear more about this one because of our instant global communications. And don't get me wrong, the numbers of people affected by the current crisis are enormous, but we misuse the word unprecedented. Pandemics have happened before and on a greater scale than we've seen so far. Partly, because we understand the mechanisms by which viruses spread, and we are taking precautions through social distancing, wearing some protective gear, disinfecting high touchpoints, and so forth. We are battling the bug, and although it may look like we are losing in many areas, we really are doing a much better job than in decades and centuries past. Keep up the rules the CDC has given, and we will get through this.
The best news today, though, comes from the correlation I find from the pandemic and the Easter message. You see, as I mentioned before, pandemic comes from a Greek word that means all people. And that's who Jesus came to save. Listen to a short sermon Peter gave to a group of people gathered in a Roman centurion's house in Caesarea. It's found in the book of Acts, Chapter 10.
Then Peter began to speak to them: "I truly understand that God shows no partiality, but in every nation anyone who fears him and does what is right is acceptable to him. You know the message he sent to the people of Israel, preaching peace by Jesus Christ--he is Lord of all. That message spread throughout Judea, beginning in Galilee after the baptism that John announced: how God anointed Jesus of Nazareth with the Holy Spirit and with power; how he went about doing good and healing all who were oppressed by the devil, for God was with him.
We are witnesses to all that he did both in Judea and in Jerusalem. They put him to death by hanging him on a tree; but God raised him on the third day and allowed him to appear, not to all the people but to us who were chosen by God as witnesses, and who ate and drank with him after he rose from the dead. He commanded us to preach to the people and to testify that he is the one ordained by God as judge of the living and the dead. All the prophets testify about him that everyone who believes in him receives forgiveness of sins through his name." (Acts 10:34-43 NIV)
The coronavirus shows no partiality. It doesn't care what country you call home. It doesn't care about your race or religion or socioeconomic position. You can't buy your way away from it. You can't wish your way out of it. Pandemics are indiscriminate in their advance through communities. Pandemics, like the word implies, affects all people.
Jesus came to change the lives of all people. In his words, "For God so loved the world that he gave his only son, that whoever believes in him will not perish, but have everlasting life." (John 3:16 NIV) Whoever is all-inclusive. No one is left out.
Peter reiterates that message when he says, "I truly understand that God shows no partiality, but in every nation anyone who fears him and does what is right is acceptable to him." Peter's message to Cornelius and all of us reminds us that Jesus came for all of us. He does not discriminate. Regardless of race, ethnicity, socioeconomic status, nationality, political party, or any other characteristic that seems to divide us, Jesus accepts everyone who believes in him for forgiveness for their sins. His redemption encompasses all believers everywhere.
I would so like to see a different pandemic in our world today, not one that causes fear and illness and death. I don't want to experience another pandemic that takes the lives of thousands or causes us to continue our social separation. I'm not anxious to go through another crisis that causes our medical systems to collapse and panic to race through our societies.
The pandemic I'd like to experience, remember the Greek word meaning all people, is one in which we all understand Jesus is Lord, repent, and follow him. Can you imagine what kind of world that would be if it happened? No more theft. No more lying. No more deceit. The covetousness that drives people to destroy others to gain their own wealth would stop. Drug addicts would find healing because drug pushers would quit their businesses. All the illegal activities across the world would come to an end. People would care for each other and show God's love toward each other. Can you imagine such a place? Can you imagine a pandemic like that? It's that prayer Jesus taught us to pray, "Thy will be done, on earth as it is in heaven" - a pandemic of God's will here and now.
Stay safe and may God bless you richly.
You can find me at richardagee.com. I also invite you to join us at San Antonio First Church of the Nazarene on West Avenue in San Antonio to hear more Bible-based teaching. You can find out more about my church at SAF.church. Thanks for listening. If you enjoyed it, tell a friend. If you didn't, send me an email and let me know how better to reach out to those around you. Until next week, may God richly bless you as you venture into His story each day.
Scriptures marked NIV are taken from the NEW INTERNATIONAL VERSION (NIV): Scripture taken from THE HOLY BIBLE, NEW INTERNATIONAL VERSION ®. Copyright© 1973, 1978, 1984, 2011 by Biblica, Inc.™. Used by permission of Zondervan