April fools day is upon us again, and we will have to run the gauntlet of practical jokes and pranks aimed to embarrass us or send us on a fool’s errand. It's a tradition that has gone on for hundreds of years, and is still going strong.
As Christians we are quite used to being made fools of – and it was always so. Even two thousand years ago most believed that the humiliating death of the ‘King of the Jews’ on a brutal cross alongside common criminals was foolish. To suggest that God would actually come to earth to die in such a way is just ridiculous!
Saint Paul spoke to the people of Athens about the story of God, and he was listened to politely, until he came to the cross and the resurrection of Jesus. This was just too foolish for them, and they stopped listening. (Acts 17.15-32).
The story of the death and resurrection of Jesus is strange to many in our society, but it's a story nobody would have made up, and there is plenty of historical evidence that it actually happened – so what does it mean for us?
Like those first disciples, the resurrection gives us a new perspective on our lives, we have a new purpose in life now and hope for life that goes on after we die.
The resurrection shows us that Jesus’ death on the cross was not a tragic defeat but a victory over sin, death and Satan, ‘But God raised him from the dead, freeing him from the agony of death, because it was impossible for death to keep its hold on him’ (Acts 2:24).
The resurrection confirms that Jesus truly is the Son of God as he claimed to be. It gives us a confident hope for our own bodily resurrection, rather than a vague wish that everything will be alright.
The resurrection ensures that we can know the reality of Jesus’ risen life today. Millions of Christians around the world share this foolishness with us, and are proving by their way of life that Jesus Christ is alive and lives in them, and in us.
We look forward in April to explore the meaning of the resurrection for each of us, and to celebrate the giving of the Holy Spirit at Pentecost. God hasn’t finished with us yet! He’s still working in us!
He has given us his Holy Spirit! And he will bring us finally to completion, to resurrection, to glory and to be with him for ever!