It is Easter again, the day and season set aside by Christians to mark the arrest, trial, crucifixion and resurrection of Jesus Christ. For more than 2000 years this has been the practice the world over. It was an event that shook the world and changed practices, cultures and perceptions – especially of God.
The Christian world is agog at this moment because of the significance of the teaching, perseverance and person of Jesus who the Christians regard as the messiah and saviour. A major lesson from the life of Christ is that he did not only live to please the father, God almighty, but to serve mankind.
Even when he was misunderstood, knowing his purpose on earth, he remained faithful and steadfast. He had come to reconcile man to God, so his followers believe till this day. He fulfilled his mission. Jesus showed the way by being humble and living a lowly life. The flamboyance associated with some Christian leaders did not originate from Him. Even when he had to depict his glory and victory by riding into Jerusalem just before his crucifixion, he chose to do so on a donkey. He was not carried away by the multitudes that followed him everywhere because of the signs and wonders they saw him perform. At every point he ascribed all things to his father.
Jesus identified with the poor and the sinners. He said he came to seek the lost and heal the sick. He was not one to identify with only the rich, high and mighty. Rather, he taught that a rich man will have to humble himself, if he is to gain salvation. At a time he taught that it would be easier for the camel to pass through the eye of a needle than for a rich man to enter into the kingdom of God.
We therefore call on all Christians, especially in Nigeria, to be faithful to the tenets and doctrine of their religion as laid down and depicted by the crucified and risen Christ. In the Christian fold today, there are strange divisions along racial, ethnic and class lines. This is contrary to the teachings of God. Christ taught tolerance. While he was buffeted and assailed, he kept praying for his traducers. Those who preach an eye for an eye and a tooth for a tooth are therefore not practicing Christianity.
Christianity is a religion of love and truth. It teaches love to God and love to man. It teaches sharing with the under-privileged. If the leaders of Nigeria could follow the examples of Christ and his disciples who were selfless in all things, the country will not be in the doldrums today. The corruption that has eaten so deep into the social fabric stems from selfishness, nepotism and utter lack of love. Yet, many of those in government and the corridors of power profess to be Christians.
We therefore call on all churches to teach the pure, unadulterated word of God. If there is love in our country, we would overcome the current challenges. Christians would love not only Christians but Muslims, adherents of other religions and free thinkers, relating and associating with them as Jesus ate with the sinners. If Nigeria is to rise again, there must be tolerance. It should be realised that no one should forcibly convert another.
For decades, Nigeria has been known as a potentially great nation, the challenge now is to make it great. All, as Christ taught should stand on the truth at all times. When this is the case, electoral perversion will be averted, the judiciary will dispense justice without fear of favour, elected and appointed leaders will run public affairs with the fear of God. The followers too will seize putting unnecessary pressure on political leaders who then see this as an excuse to embezzle inadequate resources; this is the recipe for national development
Christians and, indeed all Nigerians, owe it a duty in this season to seek the good of all and pray for divine intervention in the country’s affairs. The slide in the social, political, economic life of the country should attract the attention of all during this period.
We therefore call on Christians all over Nigeria today to elevate religious observances beyond marrying and partying.