Reflection On Christ’s Exemplary Life
ONCE again, the world Christian community, or the Christendom, is celebrating Easter, which marks the crucifixion and resurrection of the Lord Jesus Christ more than 2000 years ago.
For two reasons, this sober religious event is fully laden with real significance for millions of people around the world, irrespective of race, culture or creed. Firstly, Christ’s crucifixion encapsulates God’s abiding love for humanity by sending His only begotten son, a promised seed of Abraham the great patriarch, to earth in order to lay down his life as an atonement for the curse of Adamic sin and the associated damaging effects of imperfection, suffering and death.
And secondly, his resurrection from death, three days after his crucifixion on the cross of Calvary, has become the cornerstone of Christian faith because without it, the hope of its adherents for life of eternity after their earthly sojourn would have been in vain.
On this score, Jesus assured that he was both the resurrection and the life and those who exercise unwavering faith in him and worship his heavenly Father in spirit and truth will not perish but will gain eternal life.
Throughout his earthly ministry, Jesus Christ, in his quintessential spirituality, established deep personal relationship with God by doing His will.
This is unlike religiosity that has become the zeitgeist or spirit of our age, as reflected in mere outward expression of religious passion by many people who attend places of worship all the time, give tithes or offertories or make donations without commensurate display of spirituality, morality and goodwill.
Admittedly, faith without work is the main reason why hypocrisy, duplicity, treachery, jealousy, apostasy, heresy, deception, hero worship, occultism, immorality, perversion, false prophecy, politics, crass materialism, exploitation, hatred, intolerance, extremism, wickedness and suchlike have made inroads into many religious organisations today.
Worst of all, some of our religious leaders have subjected the system of faith and worship to suspicion, disdain and mockery because of their lifestyle, which smacks of “do as I say but not as I do”.
Needless to say, we cannot build a vibrant society of our dream without placing premium on spirituality, morality, values and sense of humanity, as the Lord Jesus Christ demonstrated during his life on earth.
This is considering that the seemingly endless problems of lacklustre leadership, corruption, mismanagement, nepotism, indiscipline, crime, violence, bloodshed, deprivation, exclusion, oppression, abject poverty, suffering, injustice, angst, fears, uncertainties and others in the country are an unfortunate by-product of negation of the aforementioned social imperatives.
Evidently, Christ showed the way to a well-ordered human society, which is life of righteousness, as can be rekindled by divine worship and repentance. Described in the Holy Bible as the Lamb of God because of his meekness and humility, Jesus was a progenitor of the principle of non-violence.
In this connection, he believed in peaceful proselytizing as a means of spreading the good news of the Kingdom of God. Christ also allowed himself to be used by his heavenly Father to appease the sins of the world by dying on the cross. Of course, he did not resist his persecutors who led him to Golgotha for execution, because, according to him, his kingdom was not part of this world.
This should be a worthy lesson to religious extremists whose intolerance, bitterness and hatred have found outlet in wanton destruction of lives and property in places like Nigeria and the Middle East in recent years.
As an exemplary good shepherd who took care of his flock (followers) with loving kindness, Christ should be an inspirational figure for those in our corridors of power at all levels. Accordingly, they should be God-fearing, honest, humble, compassionate, benevolent, altruistic and even-handed in the way they treat their subjects.
Such sterling qualities are the hallmarks of servant-leaders who are expected to rise beyond the confines of self-interest in addressing the hopes and aspirations of their populace, as exemplified in protection of lives and property, provision of infrastructure and social services, inclusion, equal opportunity, human welfare and social justice.
For our religious leaders, they should take a cue from Christ’s grand generosity by taking care of their underprivileged followers. Any religious body that is only interested in winning souls for God without doing something tangible to alleviate the agonising challenges facing such people is a spiritually moribund one. One of the exceptional attributes of Christ while on earth was self-sacrifice.
Before his crucifixion, he explained to his 12 apostles during the Last Supper that the unleavened bread and wine to be shared with them symbolised respectively his body to be given out for execution and blood to be spilt as a remission for the Adamic sin.
From his ransom death, which completely atoned for mankind’s sins once for all time and gave us the opportunity to be reconciled to God, it can be deduced that life of self-sacrifice is what makes a person or society tick. • Emeh sent this piece from Abuja.
This is unlike that of self-centredness, which buoys narcissitic individualism, greed, selfishness, avarice and personal aggrandisement and the resultant dog-eat-dog mentality. Most of the social ills plaguing our society today are the offshoots of self-gratification like bribery, corruption, nepotism, cronyism, armed robbery, kidnapping, ritual murder, narcotic peddling, sale of expired or fake products, smuggling in contraband, human trafficking and prostitution.
However, by seeking to advance the well-being of the whole society rather than that of an individual or a group, our polity can achieve common good, which is a product of self-abnegation, self-denial, selfless service or altruism. As humans, in spite of our frailties, we should always work energetically to achieve perfection by avoiding sin, which is a violation of God’s law or perfect standard that, in turn, makes one come short of His glory.
“The wages of sin is death, but the gift of God is eternal life through Christ Jesus our Lord” (Romans 3:23). To access that gift, we must lead a meaningful and fulfilled life that is brimful of spirituality, morality and goodwill. There is no salvation in deathbed repentance. Besides, we cannot afford to indulge in wilful practice of sin, which is tantamount to trying to crucify Christ on the cross for the second time – an unforgivable act that is like committing sin against Holy Spirit (1 John 3:6-9).
As we reflect on Christ’s exemplary life in this festive season of Easter, it is hoped that a moment like this would propel us to build a new Nigeria that will work for her struggling people. To Almighty God, the overall sovereign of the whole universe, we say thank you for sending your most beloved son to shed his priceless blood for our sins. • Emeh sent this piece from Abuja.
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