Easter message: Jesus' message was a simple one

By David Snell,
President, Fuller Center for Housing

Easter is coming early this year and winter is staying late.  Makes it hard to feel springlike when the folks up north are still shoveling snow!  Down here in South Georgia, the trees are starting to bud and some are in flower, so there’s hope.

The good news is that the weather doesn’t have much effect on the miracle of Easter, the one holiday that truly defines Christianity.  Many religions teach kindness and call on their believers to care for one another. Only one, though, can claim the redemption that comes through Jesus’ death and the promise of salvation that comes through his resurrection.  In three short days, Christ fundamentally defined the relationship between God and humankind.

Those two miraculous events, while they define our belief system, we will most appreciate when we come to the end of this life.  It’s what He taught during the three years before His death and resurrection that should guide how we behave before we get to there.

His message was a simple one — love one another. He walked us through a number of ways of doing that, but the basic message was always the same — love one another.  He gave special attention to the poor and the oppressed and He was always more interested in the lost sheep than in the righteous.  That could be due to the fact that lost sheep are generally more interesting than the ones who stay closer to the flock.  At least that’s been my experience.

We here at the Fuller Center like to think that in addition to our obvious ministry to the poor we provide a meaningful ministry to the rich.  In addition to noting that the poor need capital more than charity Clarence Jordan wrote that “what the rich need is a wise, honorable and just way of divesting themselves of their overabundance”.  We seek to provide those with resources just such a way to bless themselves by blessing others.  We provide a way for the rich, which is most of us, to do what the Lord commanded and show some love to one another.

When Jesus was asked to name the greatest commandment He replied, “Thou shalt love the Lord thy God with all thy heart, and with all thy soul, and with all thy mind.  This is the first and great commandment. And the second is like unto it, Thou shalt love thy neighbor as thyself.  On these two commandments hang all the law and the prophets

So there you have it: love God, love your neighbor and, interestingly, love yourself.  That’s it.  As we mark this Easter season and wonder at the great gifts Jesus gave when He died for us and rose again may we give special thought to how we might better honor his counsel and love one another.

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