As most of you know, the persecution of Christians around the world has reached levels not seen since the early days of the church. In fact, according to a recent report by Reuters, the number of Christian martyrs doubled between 2012 and 2013.
Recently, American Values, my public policy organization, traveled to the Middle East to learn more about how our brothers and sisters in Christ are suffering at the hands of Muslim extremists. Please watch and share this riveting short video, which tells the stories of a few of the Christians in Lebanon and Syria who are risking their lives by living the Gospel message.
It is appropriate that we learn about the sacrificial love of Middle East Christians today, on Good Friday, a day in which we reflect on the cross and the sacrifice paid for our sins.
When I learned about the Easter story as a child, part of me wanted a different ending. If only He had come down from the cross and destroyed His enemies, I thought -- that would have demonstrated His power to the world! Of course, I soon realized how wrong I was.
Christ had to die so that we might have everlasting life. His sacrifice on the cross saved all who believe in Him. If Christ had not risen from the grave and ascended to Heaven, he would have been forgotten as a criminal.
Thank God for the cross and the empty tomb! Carol and I send our love to you and yours. This weekend, may each of you find a remembrance of the peace that surpasses all understanding.