Easter: one perspective on the gift Jesus gave to us
The Qu'ran acknowledges that Jesus was a prophet and that both the Jews and Christians got it all wrong and that they need to be removed from the earth or brought into submission. It seems to me that Muslims are most concerned that Christians believe in the Trinity, saying that we do not believe in the One true God. I can't reconcile that with wanting to kill all of us. It is time to leave the wars from the 7th Century between Muslims and Christians in the past and not bring this nonsense into the 21st Century. Many of us believe that God is not limited in His ability to communicate with us and does so through God the Father, God the Son, and God the Holy Spirit. God is all mighty and knows no limitations. God teaches "Love thy neighbor as thyself." Jesus taught Love, Charity, and Wisdom. He taught "For God has not given us a spirit of fearfulness, but one of power, love, and a sound mind." 2 Timothy: 7 To me, America is a Judeo-Christian nation - a nation which allows freedom of religion only because of the teachings found under Judeo-Christianity. Remember the young woman at Columbine when asked by one of the young murderers - a fellow student - if she believed in Jesus. She stood and said,"Yes" as he pulled the trigger and took her life - for her bravery; for her faith; for his own godlessness; for his drug-induced mindlessness? I have been chastised for mentioning that Jesus entered this earth at a time of political unrest and war. From my understanding, the Jewish leaders looked to him to become, like Mohammad 600 years later, a warlord to run the Romans out of Israel, Judah - the region. It has been argued that Jesus was crucified because he taught love and tolerance and did not amass an army to fight the Romans. Certainly, one major message Jesus brought was one of Love - not submission but Love and forgiveness along with repentance. Several Easters ago, I had an experience that opened my eyes to another meaning or message the story of Jesus at Easter was passed on to me through insight. I'm not going into the tangents of giving His life for our sins and all the other meaningful and theological points. Nor am I discounting them but from that Easter long ago, Jesus' story brought one more message for me. One simple message... In a Sunday School class, the man teaching the class said that he didn't think he could "give his life for us." I spoke up and said that he would be able to do so if he were asked because he would know the outcome, the resurrection - the joy of Easter. More discussion followed and it was a good Easter Sunday. But what was added for me - the recognition that even with His knowledge of what was to follow, of the resurrection, of Jesus' request that the cup be taken from Him because of the pain and suffering He knew He would endure through physical pain - Jesus demonstrated the truth of His teachings. Jesus took the cup of suffering, took upon himself the sins of the world, and showed us that life is eternal; He rose and through the resurrection He taught us by doing... To me on that Easter Sunday morning, it was like a brilliant light bulb went on: He set the example; He set the example of our own death and resurrection with God... God has not given us a time limit or a "date certain" for His withdrawal of His eternal Love and forgiveness for us... God in human form demonstrated His word and His love; He set the example and gave us the lesson of strength. We are taught to "lead by example." For me on that Easter Sunday morning, it was as if the classroom glowed and, for the first time, it hit me, Jesus put his physical life where his words were; He led by example; He wore that crown of thorns; He dragged a beam of His cross; He endured the lashings; and His physical body died; and on the third day He rose. By example, He has led and continues to do so today and all for Love. We exist because of His Love for us... and therein is His gift.