By Jerry Okungu
April 2 2010
As we remember the crucifixion of Jesus Christ this Easter season, a little reflection would be in order for Christians for who this moment throws a lot of challenge. Yes, Christians like I are challenged when we sit back and reflect on what Jesus taught us to be in those three years that he preached in the deserts of Palestine more than two thousand years now.
Although we celebrate the birth of Christ as much as we do his death, these are two events in the history of Christianity that need a remarkable difference in the way we observe them. Just like in our everyday lives, we celebrate the births of our beloved ones with pomp and extravagance. It is our joy that makes us stop at nothing to ensure that the births of our children are memorable each passing year until they outgrow us and even move out of our homes.
However, in the African setting, we have never been known to celebrate death and a violent death at that, with such extravagance as we do with Jesus’ death on the cross. It is a mystery that has baffled many people; believers and non believers alike in the Christian faith.
As the years have passed, Christmas and Easter have become synonymous with extravagance, alcoholism , partying and reckless deaths on our roads. We travel long distances merely to go and waste our resources in unproductive activities with hardly any thought why Jesus Christ died in the first place. Some of us don’t even go to church on such days yet we claim to be believers in Christ.
Therefore as we celebrate this Easter Season in remembrance of the day Jesus Christ died thousands of years ago, let us remember that solemn Last Supper when he gathered his 12 disciples to share his last meal with them. His utterances that evening in the house of one of his humble followers were telling. He broke bread and gave it to his disciples to eat in remembrance of his body that would soon be crucified on the cross. He passed a sip of wine to the 12 disciples letting them know that, that wine was symbolic of his blood that would soon flow on the cross for mankind.
But why then did Jesus choose to die for mankind? Was it mere salvation in order that God may not punish sinners at the end of time? What was it that was so dear to Jesus’ heart that he spent the better part of his three year of his mission preaching to the people of Palestine?
In summary, Jesus preached and stood for two things in life; humility and service to mankind and love for one’s neighbour. In his many sermons and deeds as he traversed the deserts of Palestine, Jesus challenged Judaism in all its forms. He challenged a religion that was more known for its strict adherence to the letter of the law than the welfare of its followers. Because he wanted to revolutionize God’s relations with man, he literally broke some of those Sabbath laws to illustrate that God valued mankind more than the laws he had given them- which the high priests had modified to suit their needs.
If Jesus truly died for mankind in order to cleanse mankind, then the best we can do at this point in time is to look for ways of minimizing the sufferings of our fellow men. Let us take a moment this season to lend a hand to a neighbor in need. Let us take a moment to be like the little children in our innocence and humility; because like children, we will never hold a grudge against one another nor scheme to injure or steal from one another. Let us make it a point to give true love to our neighbors even as we celebrate with our families. Let us remember the less fortunate destitute children in foster homes, street families and IDPs that may still be languishing in camps .
On the political front, let us make this the season of reflection and tone down our rhetoric against things and opponents we do not like. Let the spirit of Easter fill us with the Holy Spirit so that we can see more clearly the direction we should take our constitution. Let us not be blinded by our personal righteousness and fail to see one another’s good deeds.
And as we reflect on the life and teachings of Jesus Christ, let us search our souls and see where we have transgressed. If as politicians we have misled our followers, this is the time to repent. If as leaders we have stolen public resources for our personal gains, this is the time to ask for forgiveness. If as leaders , we have connived to tell lies about one another, undermined each other or berated one another in public for personal gain, this is the time to repent our sins. If as pastors, we have stolen church funds or lured young girls and other people’s wives into our dens for illicit sexual desires, now is the time to ask for forgiveness.
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