April Fool’s Day. It’s actually one of my favorite days of the year. I can be a very sarcastic (sometimes too sarcastic) of a person, so a day set aside to pull pranks on each other is just a fun day. Actually, I haven’t pulled an April Fool’s Day prank in recent history that I can remember. But it is still fun to watch others try to figure out if you are going to do something or not. It’s also fun to watch other pranks being pulled (mostly on television or the internet).
As I was trying to figure out what to write this article about this week, it occurred to me that it would run on April 1. And that made me think of a great analogy with Easter Sunday on its way as well. From today, Easter is in two weeks and a day. Before I go any further, I want to extend another invitation to join us at Central Christian Church on April 16. We would love to have you celebrate Easter with us.
But what about that first Easter morning? The one that we gather to celebrate every year (and some every day). Could you imagine something like that happening in today’s society? An empty tomb. A claim of a resurrection. The Son of God in the flesh, living as a human being, killed, buried, and then suddenly appearing again would have most of us looking around for the hidden cameras. We would just be waiting for someone to come around the corner, yelling “April Fool’s!” Or if it wasn’t April Fool’s Day, a simple “I got ya!”
But that’s not what happened. It wasn’t a prank. It wasn’t a joke. Jesus was crucified. He was beaten beyond recognition. And He died on the cross. But He did it willingly. No one forced Him to do it. He did it of His own free will. Why? Because He loves you. He did it to pay the price for each and every one of us because we could never cover the debt of our own sin sufficiently. Only His perfect blood could do that. Jesus says in John 10:14-15;
14 “I am the good shepherd; I know my sheep and my sheep know me— 15 just as the Father knows me and I know the Father—and I lay down my life for the sheep.” (Emphasis mine)
Three days later, He arose from the grave. God the Father raised Him back to life to finish the promise of Jesus’ sacrifice. There were some that thought this was all an elaborate prank. Especially the chief priests and the teachers of the law. They made the claim that Jesus’ disciples stole His body. But that’s not what happened. I don’t have a lot of space left to go into detail, but let me give you some evidence that Jesus really did come back from the dead.
First, women were the first one’s to claim that they saw Jesus after the resurrection, and they found the empty tomb. If you were going to try to fake something like this, women would have been the last one’s that you would want “finding the empty tomb”. In the culture they lived in, women were little more than property and they would not be believed as quickly as men would have been.
Second, all but one of the disciples, whom people claim stole the body to fool others, died horrible martyr’s deaths. All they had to do to escape these deaths was to denounce their belief in Jesus, and they would have been spared. If they had stolen the body, they would have known that Jesus was a fake, and I highly doubt eleven men would go to a martyr’s death willingly for what they knew to be a lie.
There are other evidences as well, yet I run out of space. My invitation to have coffee with you and discuss further still stands. Contact me at firstname.lastname@example.org.