April 3, 2021

Happy Easter

By Glenn

Reading the Gospel of John on Easter provides a great insight into “Christian Leadership” and “Christian Citizenship.”  John expresses in clear, unequivocal language the call to service and self-sacrifice.

The mystery of Easter starts in John 13.  Jesus is sitting down with his disciples for his “Last Supper.”  He surprises them by getting down on his knees to wash their feet.  Peter objects, “Never shall You wash my feet!” (John 13: 8) Jesus, however, continues undeterred and explains what it  means to be a leader and a citizen.

St. Ann’s Catholic Church, Sherman Texas

He said to them, “Do you know what I have done to you? You call Me Teacher and Lord; and you are right, for so I am. If I then, the Lord and the Teacher, washed your feet, you also ought to wash one another’s feet. For I gave you an example that you also should do as I did to you.  Truly, truly, I say to you, a slave is not greater than his master, nor is one who is sent greater than the one who sent him. If you know these things, you are blessed if you do them.” (John  13: 12-17)

Can you imagine a more beautiful message?  Being a Christian leader is not about throwing stones or lording over others.  Being a Christian leader is taking on the dirty jobs.

Jesus then explains the meaning of Christian citizenship.  As a Jew, Jesus knew the law.  God told them, “You shall not bear hatred in your heart.  Though you may have to reprove your fellow man, do not incur sin because of him.  Take no revenge and cherish no grudge against your fellow countrymen. You shall love your neighbor as yourself.” (Leviticus 19: 17-18)

Jesus, however, took this a step farther and gave his followers a new commandment.  “Love one another.  As I have loved you, so you also should love one another.  This is how all will know that you are my disciples, if you have loved one another.”  (John 13: 34-35)  Here Jesus ups the ante by laying down a clear example for his followers.  Christian citizenship requires putting the interest of those around us ahead of our own.

Christian leadership and citizenship rests on the twin pillars of serving others and self-sacrifice.  If we take these literally, won’t we be worse off?  Jesus didn’t think so.  When the soldiers came to arrest Jesus, Simon Peter acted as any “normal” person would.  He drew his sword and struck the high priest’s slave.  Jesus rebuked him.  “Put your sword into your scabbard.  Shall I not drink the cup that Father gave to me?”  (John 18: 11) 

The Easter message ends with the suffering, death and resurrection of Jesus.  By human standards there could be no greater humiliation.  There was no greater failure and sign of powerlessness than death on a cross.  By God’s standards, however, Jesus follows the law literally.  He loves his neighbors so greatly that he willingly sacrifices himself for the good of others.  Because of his voluntary sacrifice Jesus was glorified.

In the midst of all the candy and pretty cloths, let’s not forget this beautiful message. Service and self-sacrifice will renew the face of the earth. Have a happy Easter.

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