The Pharisees and good religious folk of Jesus’ day wanted to engage him in an argument, but Jesus avoided the debate by telling them to love instead of argue. What amazing advice for us all! What if everyone who claims to follow Christ stopped trying to win arguments and instead focused on acting like Jesus and loving other people unconditionally?
God designed us for deep and meaningful relationships with one another, but often we replace those potential relationships with shallow conversations about what is wrong with the world around us. How might we spend more energy nurturing our own relationships and less energy pointing out the faults and differences of others?
Jesus taught that we are only to judge ourselves and consider our own needs for improvement. It is easy to worry about who fits into our group rather than loving all God’s children as family. How can we strive to work on our own problems, while acknowledging the struggles of others, instead of focusing on what is wrong with everyone else?
In the modern world we have become accustomed to sharing certain parts of our lives without really getting to know anyone, or letting others get to know us. We worry more about the Wi-Fi password than we do about building real connections with others. How might we grow to care more about one another than we do about our online profiles?
We often worry about minor choices, such as what is on the Wednesday night church dinner menu, when there are people nearby who do not have enough to eat. How might we look past our preferences and abundance to see the real need and hunger in our world? When we serve the least among us, we serve Jesus Christ.
As we experience Easter hope and resurrection in our lives, how do we respond? Will we take off in a new direction and begin to share that love with the world? What might we do to offer new hope to others?
What happens when Jesus meets a tax collector who is known to defraud and take advantage of people? He gets a second chance and begins to live his life differently. How can we take the second chance offered by God and respond by making a difference in the world?
Are you living the perfect life, fully the person God wants you to be? Of course not, no one is, but God’s grace and forgiveness offers us second chances. When we can admit our need for God’s forgiveness, it opens us up to thankful living in Christ and helps us appreciate the truth that all of us need God’s love.
The accounts of Jesus’ ministry on Earth are filled with stories of Jesus meeting people where they were, loving them unconditionally, and inviting them to see and do things in new ways as they moved forward. When we meet Jesus, we too can begin to see things in new and more meaningful ways.
Easter is the story of Jesus resurrecting from the dead in order to show us that God’s love can overcome anything. It is also the story of people’s lives being resurrected by encountering the risen Lord. When we encounter and enter a relationship with Jesus Christ, it changes our lives and gives each of us a new chance through God’s love and grace. Easter is the story of second chances, the story of new beginnings!