“This Is No Joke!”
The calendar is not helping me out any this year. The Resurrection of Our Lord (Easter Sunday) falls on April 1, a day normally known as April Fool’s Day. How many times have you been ‘pranked’ by April Fool’s Day jokes? How often have you shared some silly little joke and then said “April Fool’s Day”? Probably more than a few, right? Well, you can’t begin to imagine the comments and suggestions about how to make use of the fact that it is April Fool’s Day and Easter Sunday, all within the same 24 hour period. Even our local clergy group discussed the connection these two days have this year as we were enjoying lunch together following one of the Wednesday Lenten services. Apparently, quite a few people are enjoying the way the calendar has lined up this year.
Thinking about this I remembered a book I read many years ago. The book was entitled “Foolishness to the Greeks.” Perhaps that book has something to say to us this April and Easter Sunday. I also remembered a verse written by Paul to the church at Corinth. We find the particular verse in the first chapter of 1 Corinthians. Paul writes: “For Jews demand signs, but we proclaim Christ crucified, a stumbling block to Jews and foolishness to the Gentiles, but to those who are the called, both Jews and Greeks, Christ the power of God and the wisdom of God.” Foolishness versus Wisdom! Think about that for a moment. Foolishness versus Wisdom!
You and I live in a society and world that is always looking for the next big discovery, the next big provable scientific theory and fact. Throughout our lives, in fact, throughout history there has always been this need among some to prove the existence of God, or else, God couldn’t exist. The late Stephen Hawking would be one of those who denied the existence of God. And there are others.
A little over two thousand years ago, the disciples followed Jesus to the cross where they had their hopes crushed. Jesus was no match for the Roman soldiers and Jewish authorities. So he was nailed to the cross, died a horrible death, and was then laid in a tomb that was sealed off. This was by request of the chief priests and Pharisees and by order of Pilate. They remembered that Jesus had said he would rise again, and they were afraid the disciples might steal the body and claim Jesus had risen. So the tomb was sealed and guarded by soldiers. The disciples’ hopes were crushed. They thought it was over. And the Pharisees and chief priests were afraid of a possible “April Fool’s Joke” so they made certain that couldn’t happen. And it didn’t!
The resurrection of Jesus Christ is no joke. It is the most certain thing I know and believe. Because of our Lord’s death, burial, and resurrection, we have been forgiven and have the hope and promise of a resurrection to eternal life with God. Because that tomb was sealed by the Romans, we know the body was not stolen. Because Mary saw the resurrected Jesus and then Peter did and then the rest saw him too, this is no foolish tale. This is the gospel. Jesus lives and because he lives, we shall live also. NO, this is no foolish tale. This is no joke. This is God’s action plan for the salvation of the world. Jesus is risen from the dead. Hallelujah.
Easter may fall on April 1, but it is no fool’s day. It is the day when all who believe gather to proclaim the truth of the resurrection. It is the day when we bow our heads in awe and wonder and thankfulness for a loving God who sent His son into the world to save the world. It is the day when we invite others to come and see this greatest event in the history of all time. Christ is risen. Hallelujah.
But there are still those who do not believe. To them our faith in the risen Christ is foolishness. And yet, to us, their unbelief is foolishness. So, I encourage you to issue the invitation to come and see and hear about the empty tomb of death that Christ overcame. Come and see and learn about the love of God that burst forth from the sealed tomb. Come and see and hear again the one story in history that changes lives for an eternity. Bring yourself and your family and your friends to come and know that this is no joke – this is the Gospel Truth. This is Easter! Christ the Lord is Risen today! Amen!
Hallelujah! Christ is risen. He is risen indeed. Hallelujah!
Pastor Butler +