Jesus the April Fool

Easter is on April Fool’s Day in 2018, …an irony that should not be lost on any preacher or Sunday School teacher.

In an increasingly secular and atheist-leaning world, the story of a supreme being saving his “son” from the grave surely seems like the ultimate April Fool’s joke. And every honest Christian has to admit that it does sound foolish. A dead body coming back to life?  Come’on.

At the heart of Christianity is a doozy of a joke.

  • You thought you were alone?  I’m still here.
  • You think religion is about punishment? I forgive.
  • You think the strong will win? I won’t let them.
  • You thought death was the final answer? I have prepared a place for you.

To tell this joke, God chose what was shameful and embarrassing to fool us, –a humble man dying the horrible death of a criminal. And here we are 2000 years later still telling it. A Savior walks into a bar….

There is only one way to “get” this joke, and that is to see the world as God sees it: upside-down –a position which is at first disorienting, and then makes your head feel like it’s going to explode, …until you get used to it. 

Science tells us that the lenses in our eyes actually project an upside-down image of the world onto our retina. It is our brain that decides to turn it right side up. And while that miracle of sight allows us to see the world right-side-up, it also lulls us into thinking we are seeing everything the way it really is.

Yet, what all that even an atheist even sees are photons bouncing off of molecules. It is up to our brain to decide if those photons are a dog or a baby. All we are really seeing are reflections.

People of faith do the same thing. We see light bouncing off of something we literally cannot see, and something in our experience tells us it is God and not a dog.

People tell us they see nothing where we see something. They see the weak losing, the strong winning, and the grave as final. But our spiritual brains turn it all upside down and see something they cannot, until they do.

Some think we have our heads in the sand. What they can’t see is that maybe we’re using the sand for something else.

According to Origen of Alexandria, an “Early Church Father,” Peter requested to be crucified upside down because he did not feel worthy to be crucified like Jesus. But perhaps Peter was saying something else.

Happy April Fools everybody.

<>< Neil


Neil MacQueen is a Presbyterian minister specializing in Christian education and Sunday School resources. www.sundaysoftware.com and www.rotation.org.

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