What a great alignment is happening right now! We are celebrating the resurrection of Christ on Fool’s Day! For many of those who don’t share our beliefs, such alignment can offer an excellent opportunity for mockery. But we shouldn’t get upset about it, because it means we join a great line of people who faced such mockery since day one, namely the day of the resurrection. Firstly, the Apostles Peter and John didn’t believe the women reporting Jesus’ resurrection, so they went to the tomb to see for themselves. When they arrived there, John believed but Peter remained sceptical. Then there were two disciples running away from Jerusalem to the village of Emmaus that Sunday afternoon. Joined by a traveller on their way they made very clear their disbelief in the old-wives tales about Jesus’ resurrection. Only later on did they recognised Jesus in their incidental travel companion. The list of people, at best sceptical, at worst violently opposed to such nonsensical folly, is very long indeed in the New Testament. Perhaps the most infamous of them was a certain Pharisee named Saul. He was vehemently fighting the absurdity of the new religious movement. Determined to eradicate it completely, he travelled to the distant city of Damascus to find and to imprison the followers of the Risen Christ. Yet that journey changed him completely. He became as a passionate champion of the new faith as he used to fight it. He even changed his name: from Saul, which means ‘asked for; inquired of God’ to Paul, which means ‘small’ or ‘humble’. It’s the same Paul who wrote a passage fitting perfectly this alignment of Easter and Fool’s Day. It’s a bit long-ish, but please bear with me:
Where is the one who is wise? Where is the scribe? Where is the debater of this age? Has not God made foolish the wisdom of the world? For since, in the wisdom of God, the world did not know God through wisdom, God decided, through the foolishness of our proclamation, to save those who believe. For Jews demand signs and Greeks desire wisdom, but we proclaim Christ crucified, a stumbling block to Jews and foolishness to Gentiles, but to those who are the called, both Jews and Greeks, Christ the power of God and the wisdom of God. For God’s foolishness is wiser than human wisdom, and God’s weakness is stronger than human strength. (1 Corinthians 1:20-25)
By definition, if you believe in the crucified and risen Christ, you are deemed by the world a fool. However, being deemed a fool doesn’t mean you have to be a foolish ignorant. The resurrection of Christ is a matter of faith, but it doesn’t mean throwing reason out of the window. In fact, the increasingly common disbelief that Jesus lives can be partially blamed on such a disastrous attitude of separating or even opposing faith and reason. The early Church’s efforts were focused on giving scriptural backing to the resurrection. The Apostles trawled the Old Testament to find references to the ‘outrageous’ claims made in their proclamations. They read the Scriptures through the prism of Jesus’ resurrection and find a plethora of biblical prophecies and events that had foretold it. Virtually the entire New Testament argues the case of the resurrection. So, finding arguments backing the claim that Jesus is alive isn’t optional, it’s mandatory for us.
In my short, 20-plus year long career I’ve seen too many people’s lives changed and transformed for the better by Jesus to have any doubts that He is alive. I don’t need any convincing. However, I’ve had, still have and most likely will have doubts and questions regarding certain aspects of faith, the Bible and so on. And I’m grateful for those, because they force me out of my complacency and spiritual laziness and push me to search for better answers or explanations. Paradoxically, that leads to a stronger, deeply rooted faith, but at the same time to much more open and sympathetic attitudes towards others. Yes, the world can deems us darn fools, and we can take on the chin as long as we don’t prove the world right by our own ignorance. Let’s be fools in world’s eyes for Jesus’ sake; and let’s argue for such ‘folly’ by the way we live. Or rather, by letting Jesus live in us.