It’s been such a strange year! First, Ash Wednesday clashed with Valentine’s Day, making it Va-LENT-ine’s Day, and now Easter is on the same day as April Fool’s Day.
As much as this may be a coincidence, these two days may have more in common than one may think.
People who celebrate Easter are fools, after all, aren’t we? Think about how ridiculous the Easter story is:
A man was sentenced to the worst, most horrific death for healing the blind, the deaf and the lame, for raising dead men, for befriending the lonely and the oppressed, and for calling out prideful, arrogant religious men.
He hung on a cross for hours and then died, taking our place, paying the price for our mistakes.
Three days later, when some women went to His tomb to anoint His body, they found the tomb empty and two men dressed in white standing outside it. The men told them that the dead man wasn’t dead anymore, but had risen and was now alive.
Then He appeared to His followers out of nowhere, when they had decided to meet in a closed room. He made one of them touch His scars, He gave some others breakfast on the beach, and even predicted one’s future by telling him that he was going to die horribly.
That’s not all, it gets better…
His followers watched as the dead man, who was now alive, rose from the ground and disappeared behind the clouds. And as they stared, men dressed in white appeared again telling the followers that they would see Him again.
Oh yes, before going, the man also told His followers to tell everyone that He’s not dead anymore. Oh yes, just before leaving them! He also convinced them that He’d come back as fire over their heads, and make them speak in different languages (well, He didn’t really say that, but it happened anyway).
Yes, that is the story of Easter. That is what we believe. That’s the story of Jesus Christ and His apostles.
How ridiculous is that! If anyone deserves to be wished on Fool’s Day, is it not us who believe in this?
The apostle Paul, whipped, imprisoned, tortured, shipwrecked and killed because he went about doing exactly what Jesus had told His apostles to do, kind of agrees with us here by saying, “we are of all people most to be pitied.”
And that’s true. We fools, who believe this story, are to be pitied…
…unless it’s all true.
That’s where Paul gets it right again, for he goes on, “and if Christ has not been raised, your faith is futile; you are still in your sins. Then those also who have fallen asleep in Christ are lost. If only for this life we have hope in Christ, we are of all people most to be pitied. BUT CHRIST HAS INDEED BEEN RAISED FROM THE DEAD, THE FIRSTFRUITS OF THOSE WHO HAVE FALLEN ASLEEP.”
All the apostles lived according to this way after they saw Jesus raised from the dead. The apostles, the ones who denied Jesus and ran away at the first sight of trouble, were all executed, speared, tortured, crucified or skinned alive for telling people that they had seen Jesus alive.
And about them, and us, Paul says, “we are of all people most to be pitied”, but only if what they believed in was not true.
The message of Resurrection and the message of the cross is utter foolishness, and the Bible agrees. But it is foolishness only to those who do not understand it.
But for those who are being saved, it is the power of God – power that caused cowardly apostles to die for what they believed in, power that caused the sick to be healed, the lonely to be comforted, power that has caused people all over the world to stay strong in faith and push back the forces of darkness.
It’s the same power that calls us to be filled today, to operate in faith – bold, powerful faith- to embrace what the world believes to be foolish and learn what it means to live lives that can change the world.
“Oh the wonderful Cross, bids me come and die and find that I may truly live”