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Friday, May 2, 2008

The Message of Jesus

The Message of Jesus

All over the news and the Internet we find clips of the Reverend Jeremiah Wright cursing the United States, stating that the US Marines are just like the Roman soldiers who crucified Jesus, and saying that when terrorists attacked the twin trade towers, "the chickens came home to roost." He went on to say a lot of other weird, hatful, and racist things. He’s not defensible. And it’s hard to understand why Barack Obama stayed at his church for more than 20 years, contributing lots of money.

Politics aside, I am disturbed by the fact that a preacher like Wright damages the Christian message just as much as Jim and Tammy Faye Bakker and the other "fallen" Christian leaders.

The message of Jesus wasn’t revenge. It wasn’t hatred. It was love. In fact, Jesus said in Matthew 5:43-45, "You have heard that it was said, ‘Love your neighbor and hate your enemy.' But I tell you: Love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you, that you may be sons of your Father in heaven." 

The result of Jesus’ love was forgiveness. In fact, as he was dying on the cross, Jesus said, "Father, forgive them, for they do not know what they are doing" (Luke 23:34). 
It was because of the Father’s love for you and me that he sent his Son, Jesus, to earth. He shed his power and his glory to become a simple, humble man. We are not lovable, but Jesus still loved us.

He then lived the perfect life that you and I can’t live and in his innocence gave his life on the cross for your sins and mine. As it says in 1 John 3:16, "This is how we know what love is: Jesus Christ laid down his life for us. And we ought to lay down our lives for our brothers."

Thankfully the story didn’t end there. Jesus rose triumphantly from the grave in a victory that he shares with us if we only trust in him.

That is the Christian message. It is worth saying again. It is a message of love, not hate; of forgiveness, not vengeance. 

Politicians and misguided preachers come and go, but the good news of Jesus gives you and I hope that never fails.

All Biblical references are excerpted from Compton's Interactive Bible NIV. Copyright (c) 1994, 1995, 1996 SoftKey Multimedia Inc. All Rights Reserved

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