Today, we continue the celebrations of the resurrection of Jesus Christ, the founder of Christianity, from the dead. The Easter period, in some Christian denominations, kicked off with the 40-day Lenten period of self-denial, while in some it started with Palm Sunday.
This day that marked Christâ€™s triumphant entry into Jerusalem to begin his rites of self-sacrifice for the salvation of mankind, especially those who believe and accept His work of grace.
Easter is easily the holiest observance among Christians. There is hardly any denomination that does not celebrate the sacrament of the Holy Communion, which symbolises and marks the shedding of blood for the remission of sins. In this wise, Easter is taken more seriously in most Christian sects than other celebrations such as Christmas.
Many people (Christians inclusive) find it difficult to reconcile with the lessons of Easter. To them, it is inconceivable that Godâ€™s love for man could be at such a high level that He would send his only begotten son to come down to earth, be born in an animal shed, live the life of a humble and poor man, live for 33 years without committing a single sin, voluntarily laid down his life for sinners, and rose from the dead having conquered the greatest enemies of mankind: sin and death! The world is more familiar with the concept of a saviour who comes riding in intimidating chariots, leading mighty armies, conquering his enemies, amassing large territories, subjugating those he conquered, living in power and glory and being revered and feared by friends and foes.
The question people should ask themselves is: why is it that mortals who came in the mortal way are but footnotes of history while the mission of the humble Christ, which He started with a motley band of twelve disciples, has become the largest religious faith in the world today?
The simple lesson of this is that love, humility and self-sacrifice of a few persons are the ingredients that are required to assure the future of mankind. Wherever nobody is willing to offer himself for the good of others, everyone will soon perish. And it is not every time that one offers himself that such a person perishes. The resurrection of Christ shows that self-sacrifice often results in self-renewal, with the renewed person emerging more glorious, more victorious and triumphant than the version that perished.
Nigeria is in the mess she finds herself because everybody is shifting for themselves. Those who have found themselves in places of authority only think of what they can take away from government back to their families and communities. When everybody is struggling to fill their pockets, little room is left for love for our country, compassion for our fellow countrymen and women and the good of all.
Let us reflect deeply on the lessons of Easter and apply some of its principles in our daily lives, even if we are not Christians. The lessons of our major public religious festivals are for the benefit of all.
If we learn to be good Christians and Muslims (even people of indigenous faiths) we will be excellent Nigerians and our country will be exemplary.