As an Easter tradition in the Philippines, a group of devout Catholic men would march the streets across the country and flog themselves. Some would carry heavy crosses, and others would go to an extreme and reenact the crucifixion of the cross by nailing their hands and feet. They believe that by hurting and punishing themselves their sins would be forgiven and that God’s favor would be upon them.
Growing up in the Philippines, I would always see these men harming themselves in the news, and I remember feeling a heaviness in my heart. It was sad to see how blinded these people were to God’s grace. Every year they would try to earn God’s forgiveness, His grace, and His mercy, but their work was empty and their hope in vain. They didn’t realize what they already had by the real power of the Cross. They are in need of the Gospel and they need the Savior.
This Easter let us not only celebrate our risen Lord, who is our “living hope,” but let us also share this hope that we have in Christ to those people we know are lost. People need the Lord, they need Jesus Christ, our risen Savior. Apart from Him, there is no hope in this life and for eternity. Praise God for He has given us this hope in Christ Jesus. As believers, it is our calling to pass it on to others and share this hope we have in Him to all people.
As the Word tells us, “Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who according to His great mercy has caused us to be born again to a living hope through the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead,” 1 Peter 1:3.