With COVID-19 vaccinations underway and restrictions lifted almost everywhere, people now feel a sense of freedom and liberty to begin moving around. They are having family reunions, going back to school, attending weekly church programs, resuming work schedules, traveling, exercising, and doing other routine activities. Perhaps the virus is still living with us and, like other viruses such as influenza, COVID-19 is here to stay. As time goes by, we learn how to live with it.
While for many, the pandemic is only a health issue, for others, this is just another sign of the times in today’s world. We wait to see even more signs in the last days of earth’s history as announced by Old Testament prophets, predicted by Jesus, and preached by the disciples. More importantly, we should remain on alert since there may not be another special announcement before the next crisis strikes.
Several new coronavirus variants are now identified, making its eradication more difficult. So, it begs the question: Is it really over? This question reminds me of the time when Jesus was visiting the temple in Jerusalem (Mark 13). It looks as though those who were with Him were seeing the edifice for the first time, and they were amazed at what they saw. The architecture was like no other building they had seen before. However, there was a disconnect between what Jesus was teaching and what they were seeing.
Calling Jesus’ attention to the magnificent works, His followers were confused at His response. However, Jesus was about to teach them a great lesson. We often focus our admiration on worldly successes, scientific achievements, Olympic medals, new millionaires, and technological discoveries, forgetting that “there shall not be left one stone upon another, that shall not be thrown down” (Mark 13:2, KJV).
The other lesson that Jesus wanted His disciples to understand during that visit was that it was not really over. The most important activity in which they could be engaged was sharing the gospel with a world that was living in darkness (Mark 13:10). They needed to keep their eyes wide open because those same signs were deceitful, and many believers would be prone to errors.
Let me share with you a quote I read early in my ministry: “The work which the church has failed to do in a time of peace and prosperity she will have to do in a terrible crisis under most discouraging, forbidding circumstances. The warnings that worldly conformity has silenced or withheld must be given under the fiercest opposition from enemies of the faith. And at that time the superficial, conservative class, whose influence has steadily retarded the progress of the work, will renounce the faith”—Testimonies for the Church, vol. 5, p. 463.
Beloved, it is not over yet. The gospel has not yet reached all the nations of the earth. Let’s include a reminder on our busy agendas to witness to someone. By sharing love and kindness, being compassionate, helping others, praying for someone, and intentionally participating in outreach programs, we can advance the kingdom.