A Tale of Four Coronas
Corona is the Latin word for crown. A crown usually indicates royalty. When a product wants to be known for its supposed high value, its sponsors typically aim for that crown. Some products even contain the words crown or corona in their names. When we speak of crowns, we are typically speaking of important matters. It is no wonder that the feeding arteries of the heart muscle are called coronaries.
A Lethal Corona
Nowadays, there’s one crown preoccupying the world: the SARS-CoV-2, a coronavirus responsible for the COVID-19 pandemic disease. Corona here does not indicate royalty, but rather the shape of the viral cell with protein spikes projecting from it, resembling crown jewels. Yet do not be mistaken: they are no jewels, but merely the vectors of disease and death.
A Shameful Corona
On the other hand, this week also marks the remembrance of another crown. Two thousand years ago, a spiky crown was used not to display royalty, but rather as a vector of shame and suffering. It was a crown of thorns, meant to deride the kingship of the Son of Man, intended to afflict shame, adding with its thorny spikes constant pain to bruises and nails.
It was the crown that participated in the act or propitiation that brought about the salvation of the world. Created for dishonor, disdain, and a painful procession, it has come to proclaim freedom. Jewels they were not, nor were they proteins, but the Son of Man wore the thorns nonetheless. Arguably the worst and most sinfully made corona ever, it garnished the head of the king to be slain (Mark 15:16-20). And the king was slain, and was buried. His body lay in the ground. One day. Then a second day…
A Glorious Corona
But on the third day he rose again. He ascended into heaven to sit at the right hand of the Majesty on high. There, he was highly exalted and given the name above every name (Philippians 2:9-11). The crown of thorns would not be the final corona. For the Savior was crowned King of kings and Lord of lords.
The Lamb that was once crowned with thorns and slain in infamy, is now exalted and crowned with glory and honor. This Easter season comes amidst unprecedented times and a worldwide outbreak of coronavirus. This corona is the result of natural evil, causing much suffering, pain and death. But it shall not last forever. It will not last long. Nor did the crown of thorns. It could not. For Christ is risen. Thorns and nails are no more. Sin and death have been defeated. The Lord of life is now enthroned with many crowns (Revelation 19:12).
My Redeemer Lives
A long time ago, Job was faced with human, natural and Satanic evils. Storms, marauders and Satan all led to death and destruction of his family and his possessions, even bringing his own body to the verge of death. Yet in the midst of the storm, from deep sorrows, in pitch black darkness, Job considered him faithful who is able to raise the dead, the Lord of life, himself living forever and giving life eternal. Standing as a hinge nearly in the middle of the book (Job 19:23-27) are these words form Job:
Oh that my words were written!
Oh that they were inscribed in a book!
Oh that with an iron pen and lead they were engraved in the rock forever!
For I know that my redeemer lives,
and at the last he will stand upon the earth.
And after my skin has been thus destroyed,
yet in my flesh I shall see God,
Whom I shall see for myself,
and my eyes shall behold, and not another.
My heart faints within me!
A Corona of Life
We all know our days are numbered. We all realize that death comes to all: a stroke, a heart attack, an infection, a fall, a car accident, a work incident, a terminal diagnosis… We are quick to answer “yes” when asked if we realize that this day could be our last. But if we are honest with ourselves, we rarely live as if today might be our last. We rarely live in light of eternity. Because if we do, we would be running around proclaiming the good news of Jesus at the top of our lungs. But now the reality of death is hard to overlook.
When faced with the reality of death, Job trusted God.
When faced with his imminent death, Jesus Christ entrusted his soul to the Father.
Now that we are faced with the deadly threat of this pandemic, let us trust God and entrust ourselves to him. For Christ is risen, and we will rise again with him. And if we are faithful, he will give us a new corona, a much better corona, a corona not worthy to be compared with the current suffering: the crown of life. He is faithful. He will do it. So let us be faithful to trust it and proclaim it.