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Northview Blog Amazed By The Love: How to Glorify Christ During the COVID-19 Pandemic

April 13, 2020

Amazed By The Love: How to Glorify Christ During the COVID-19 Pandemic
One of the scribes came and heard them arguing, and recognizing that He had answered them well, asked Him, “What commandment is the foremost of all? Jesus answered, “The foremost is, ‘Hear, O Israel! The Lord our God is one Lord; and you shall love the Lord your God with all your heart, and with all your soul, and with all your mind, and with all your strength.’ The second is this, ‘You shall love your neighbor as yourself.’ There is no other commandment greater than these.” (Mark 12:28-31, NASB)

The panic produced by the COVID-19 pandemic has caused a lot of nasty behavior. People are going into grocery stores and clearing out the shelves, hoarding things they think they cannot live without. Some are buying supplies like hand sanitizer and then reselling them at ridiculously high prices. Others are purposefully breaking quarantine and spreading the disease to people because they aren’t happy where they are. 

Of course, Christians shouldn’t do such things. But what should we do? The answer is quite simple, and it is given by what Jesus says is one of the two foremost commandments: We are to love our neighbor as ourselves.

When we see others suffering in this time of uncertainty and panic, we should ask, “How would I want to be helped?” and then act accordingly.

Please understand that throughout history, Christians have done just that, and as a result, Christ has been glorified. In the middle of the third century AD, the Roman Empire suffered a pandemic called The Plague of Cyprian. It is named after Cyprian, the bishop of Carthage, because he preached powerful sermons telling his flock not to grieve for the dead, because they are in heaven. Instead, Christians should redouble their efforts to care for the living. His followers did so, and their actions caused many to come to Christ. Of course, such sacrificial love comes at a cost. Cyprian’s fellow bishop, Dionysius, stated that in caring for the sick, many Christians who would have otherwise lived ended up dying. 

One of the most incredible examples of this kind of sacrificial love comes from the life of Martin Luther. In 1527, the bubonic plague hit Wittenberg, where Luther lived and preached. He was told to flee the city. After all, the church couldn’t possibly afford to lose such an important voice! However, he stayed. In fact, he wrote a letter telling all Christians to stay so that they could minister to the sick. His wife was pregnant at the time, but she did what Luther wanted. She gave birth after the plague was over, but because of her exposure, the baby girl was born sick and never recovered. She died eight months later. We sing about the “reckless love of God,” but Martin Luther and the Christians who heeded his call in Wittenberg actually showed how reckless that love really is.

While these are very trying, uncertain times, they are also times through which Christ can be glorified, as long as we are willing to show the world the love of God that we have been singing about for so many years.

by Dr. Jay L. Wile

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