Easter 2018 falls on April 1st. It’s April Fools’ Day. The same happened in 1923, 1934, 1945, and 1956. But it now won’t happen again till 2029.
Many sceptics believe that our Easter faith makes Christians the stupidest fools of the world. Of course dead people do not rise. Once dead, always dead, full stop. And I have to admit that sometimes I find it hard to believe that I really do believe it. Until I remember …
- He really was dead and buried on Friday.
- The tomb was empty on Sunday.
- The risen Jesus was seen; they touched with him, talked with him, ate with him.
- And many of those who witnessed it and spread the news later suffered and even died because they really believed it so strongly: they knew it to be true.
- And I too have seen Jesus at work in my own life. I talk with him, I know him, I know his love, and I love him. Can’t you say that too?
Sceptics can call us fools if they want to, but the Bible calls them fools. Psalm 14:1: ‘The fool says in his heart, ‘There is no God.’’
The New Testament is fully aware that the message of the cross looks like foolishness (what sort of God bleeds and dies a criminal’s death?). And that if the resurrection did not happen, our faith is foolish and futile (Jesus was not God, and he is dead and finished).
And yet the evidence is solid. Jesus died and rose. And so we believe, we still believe, even on April Fools’ Day, that Jesus is God, that he died in our place, for our forgiveness, that we may be friends with God. And that he rose to bring new life to us, and to open the door of the new creation, so that we might see the light that streams in from beyond the present world with the certainty of a glorious future for God’s people when our turn comes for resurrection too.
The word April comes from Latin: aperire, to open. Maybe the Romans coined this name for the fourth month because the flowers opened at this time of year. But yes, for Christians, Jesus opens the door of the new creation. Christ is made alive as the firstfruits; so shall it be in due course for those who belong to him (1 Corinthians 15:23). It is not the Christians who are April fools! Close your eyes and praise God for the vistas of glory that the Easter gospel opens before us.
With my best wishes – James