Obama says Jesus inspires hope, courage

April 4, 2012 at 3:12 PM

WASHINGTON, April 4 (UPI) -- U.S. President Obama, speaking at an Easter season prayer breakfast Wednesday, said the pain Jesus Christ endured inspires courage and hope.

Speaking to a gathering of Christian leaders in the White House's East Room, Obama said Easter is "an opportunity for us to reflect on the triumph of the resurrection, and to give thanks for the all-important gift of grace."

"And for me, and I'm sure for some of you, it's also a chance to remember the tremendous sacrifice that led up to that day, and all that Christ endured -- not just as a son of God, but as a human being," Obama said.

Jesus, Obama said, knew doubt, fear, sorrow and pain, but overcame them.

"It's only because he endured unimaginable pain that wracked his body and bore the sins of the world that he burdened -- that burdened his soul that we are able to proclaim, 'He is risen!'" Obama said.

"So the struggle to fathom that unfathomable sacrifice makes Easter all the more meaningful to all of us. It helps us to provide an eternal perspective to whatever temporal challenges we face. It puts in perspective our small problems relative to the big problems he was dealing with. And it gives us courage and it gives us hope."

The Democratic president also expressed appreciation for those who pray for him.

"It especially means a lot to us when we hear from folks who we know probably didn't vote for me and yet, expressing extraordinary sincerity about their prayers," Obama said. "And it's a reminder not only of what binds us together as a nation, but also what binds us together as children of God."

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