This Sunday, Christians around the world will celebrate Jesus’ miraculous resurrection. We will sing of our risen Savior, “He lives, He lives!” and worship Him as the flawless lamb of God who bore our sins to death.
What is the connection between the Easter story and a homeless shelter? And does the truth of Easter have any practical bearing on the lives of our residents and guests?
This is the question we asked our guests:
Who is Jesus and how has the gospel transformed your life?
“Jesus is everything to me. Without Him, I can do nothing.” Talia
“The gospel is the best and greatest news of my earthly life. To believe, accept and know that the Lord and Savior Jesus Christ died for my sins and salvation gives me true joy and wholesome fulfillment.” Marilyn
“Jesus is the love that my life was missing. A reason to live my life for others and not be selfish.” Jen
“He is the light, He is God, He is the Savior. When I read the story of Jesus, He was not out there hanging around with everyone that had their lives together, He was out there hanging around with people who were down and out. His love is so great that He is not too good for people who mess up all the time. Knowing this gives me hope.” Sabra
“Jesus is the reason I live freely. With the availability to make choices and feel reassured that I can fall (make mistakes (sin)) and get back up (learn from) try again (find a new way) and still be loved, accepted and ultimately forgiven.” Kimberly
“Jesus is my only chance at a better life. He is my Creator and my Savior, my friend and my healer. He returned me to sanity, and I am forever grateful!” Tristan
“Jesus is there for me when I can see Him and even when I cannot. Jesus will always love me no matter what.” Sharon
“I used to be a hopeless dope fiend; now because of Christ, I’m a dopeless hope fiend.” Garrett
“The gospel has been filling me with the Lord and hope, love, kindness and wisdom/knowledge.” Sarah
“He is why I have a reason to be alive. He is my fullness of true joy.” Kallie
“The gospel is my blueprint for living. I am different than before. I have a peace I didn’t possess. My values have completely changed. I want to do good, the right thing. I feel much deeper, love differently and I hope to live differently.” Angela
“The gospel has transformed my life in the most extraordinary way possible. It’s brought me back to my faith in God.” Alyssa
“The gospel has empowered me with strength and motivation. It has instilled faith and hope for my future, that I can and will become what God has created me to be. It has brought me, time and time again, back to where I’m supposed to be.” Kimberly
“Jesus, to me, is my Savior from my sins. The gospel has brought joy and peace because it gives me purpose. I love teaching it to newcomers.” Jaymee
“Jesus is God incarnate and my salvation. The answer to addiction.” Isaiah
“The gospel has brought peace to my life that has never been there before.” Glenda
“Jesus is God’s Son who died on the cross to wash away our sins and to make it possible to live in Paradise. The gospel has made me a new person. I am not living the life I was anymore. I now am living for Jesus.” Rachael
“The gospel has given me a purpose, identity, a forever love in my heart, forgiveness, self-worth, something to look forward to and to forever learn from, and someone/something to guide me along my way.” Teri
“Jesus is my Savior. I know that my redeemer lives to serve and bless us. I have been redeemed and forgiven of my mistakes.” Melissa
“He is the one I talk to when I’m happy, sad, or feel like giving up. The gospel has given me hope. It has shown me what unconditional love is. I’m still trying to grasp this concept because I’ve never known it.” Anonymous
“Jesus is my King, Savior, Redeemer. The gospel has transformed my life, knowing I’m a child of the Most High God. Always thought He was far away.” Isabel
“I love Jesus. He has saved me and changed the way I think and act. I think twice about the things I do and say.” Trina
“Jesus is my Savior and greatest teacher, God’s Son with whom He’s well pleased.
I’m transformed through discovering my true identity in Christ.” Jenifer
“The gospel taught me how to treat people, think about people. It has taught me the right ways to live. It has taught me that Jesus is the way, the truth and the light. He died for my sins, so I can be set free. Jesus will always love me.” Cindy
“I have been transformed from the inside out. I’ve cleaned up my mouth and my thoughts, I’m no longer stricken with shame and guilt. I know I am forgiven because Jesus gave up His life for my sins.” Ruschell
“The gospel has been astronomical in the impact for my life. It gives my mind, body and soul the fuel and desire to seek God and Christ Jesus and keeping that relationship open and vibrant every day.” Allen
“My Savior, teacher, protector, mentor, healer. My Father. The gospel showed me the power of Christ. Showed me forgiveness, compassion and is teaching me about healthy relationships.” Patrick
“Jesus is my Lord and Savior of my life. He died for my sins. He is everything. He is also my best friend and the Love of my life. …He set me free from condemnation.” Casey
The connection between the story of Easter and a homeless shelter is people – in particular, people in search of hope. Jesus said in Mark 2:17, ‘It is not the healthy who need a doctor, but the sick. I have not come to call the righteous, but sinners.’ It is true that we are all sinners in need of a Savior, but the truth we witness at our shelters daily is there is no one so eager to receive the love of God as someone who has reached the end of their rope. At Union Gospel Mission, we teach the gospel because it is the single most life-transforming truth given to humankind. The gospel says we don’t have to “clean up our act” in order to be loved, pursued and accepted by God. Jesus took our place. He endured our shame and the consequences for our rebellion and rose to life again in order to make us right in the eyes of the holy and perfect Creator.
Is there any better news for those of us who have tried and failed to save ourselves? Is there any better news for our brothers and sisters battling homelessness, abuse and addiction?
"God made him who had no sin to be sin for us, so that in him we might become the righteousness of God." - 2 Corinthians 5:21
Learn more about how God's love impacts UGM guests in this free e-book.