Pandemics…start out with complete absence of the impact it will have on society, with no inkling of a cure. They all last for varying periods of time, with some really never going away completely. Fear, caution, and a search for a vaccine begin to dominate humanity. We are living through one now, seemingly unlike the others. The medical world appears to have many conflicting opinions and answers. My generation has lived through several.
Two thousand years ago a ‘spiritual pandemic’ occurred. It lasted fifty days. A fallen, sinful world crucified the Christ, the Messiah, Jesus. Terror struck the land. How could this happen? Three days later, he rose from the dead and appeared for forty days to the disciples and others associated with the Way. There was so much confusion and anxiety. Where do we go from here? We need answers. Finally, Peter decided to go back to work, fishing, and others joined him. Would anything ever be the same again? Do we venture out into society? Will the Romans and Jews kill us also? Sound familiar?
Jesus announces the cure
While still on earth, Jesus attempted to calm them with his presence and encouragement for forty days after being resurrected. But still, confusion reigned. He speaks with them for the final time before ascending to the right hand of the Father. As he was departing, he promised them a cure, a solution to the ‘spiritual pandemic’ they were experiencing. He answered their critical question. So when they had come together, they asked him, “Lord, will you at this time restore the kingdom to Israel?” He said to them, “it is not for you to know times or seasons that the Father has fixed by his authority. But you will receive power when the Holy Spirit has come upon you, and you will be my witnesses in Jerusalem and in all Judea and Samaria, and to the end of the earth” (Acts 1. 6-8 ESV).
Jesus had announced the cure, the vaccine would be delivered in short order. Just ten days from then, his pronouncement would be fulfilled. They were to go back to Jerusalem and ‘wait’. In a pandemic, isn’t this the hardest thing to do? When, is our cry! They obey—what else can they do? While meeting together, closer than 6’ apart I bet, they suddenly were overwhelmed and astonished. It was Pentecost. Fifty days had passed. The vaccine was delivered.
“When the day of Pentecost arrived, they were all together in one place. And suddenly there came from heaven a sound like a mighty rushing wind, and it filled the entire house where they were sitting. And divided tongues as of fire appeared to them and rested on each one of them. And they were all filled with the Holy Spirit and began to speak in other tongues as the Spirit gave them utterance” (Acts 2. 1-4 ESV).
The ‘spiritual pandemic’ ended after fifty long days. The Spirit would now take up residence on the earth and reveal the truth of the gospel, the one and only cure for sin. It still exists today in the hearts and minds of mankind, but to those who believe, and trust the cure, forgiveness and salvation will be provided. And what is the gospel according to the Spirit? “Christ, the Son of God, died, was resurrected, ascended and now reigns through his Spirit.” O, the best news is, this vaccine lasts for eternity! One dose of belief is all you will ever need. Hallelujah!!