Easter and April Fools’ Day

Pastor Paul Witkop

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By Paul Witkop –

In 2018, Easter was on April Fools’ Day. The last time these two notable days fell on the same day was 1956. After 2018, the next time is 2029 and then again in 2040. After that, we have to wait until 2108. (Some Gregorian calendar trivia.)

April Fools’ Day is an occasion where people play jokes on each other, sometimes harmless and sometimes very mean. Though the day has no connection to Christianity, it occurred to me that the first people who found Jesus’ empty tomb must have felt like they were the victims of a bad joke. They had hoped that Jesus was the going to be their hope for the future by becoming king. Jesus had been pronounced dead and his body placed in a tomb. His death shattered their hope. They were holding on to life by a thread. History records that hundreds of people saw the resurrected Jesus. They ate with him. They touched him and spoke with him. Their lives changed forever because of Jesus. It was no joke when they traveled all around the Mediterranean to tell people about what had happened.

Many people today think that life is a little like a bad joke. We live in the most educated, and the most economically and technologically advanced culture ever, yet there are so many people seemingly holding on by a thread. I spoke with a man whose wife had just left him to file for divorce and to go live with another man. He told me that he was holding onto life with a “white knuckle” grip. Another person confessed hopelessness because his company was going out of business. Still another mom and dad are struggling with a son who is taking drugs. A recent high school graduate is discouraged because she is having a difficult time finding a job and direction. Our whole country feels helpless in the wake of shootings at schools.

Challenging times have a way of making us stand back and truthfully ask the question “What/Who am I counting on?” Is the foundation of my life so solid that in circumstances beyond my control I can still navigate life?

Easter celebrates that there is someone we can count on, someone who is the rock-solid foundation on whom we can build our lives. Jesus Christ was born, lived on this earth with a group of followers, predicted that he would die and rise from the dead, and then actually be put to death and rise from the dead after three days. He claimed to be the Son of God and his invitation to all of us is to place our faith in him so that we can have confidence now and forever.

You might be going through a very difficult time right now and feel like everything you used to count on has eroded away. God wants to turn your heart from discouragement to hope. He wants us to take a step of faith, put our trust in the resurrected Jesus and listen to him by reading the Bible.

Philippians 4:13 — “I can do all things through Christ who gives me the strength.”

The truth is, your circumstances may or may not change. But what we do know is that he will give you power for living, the same power that raised Jesus from the dead, to help you through whatever seems to be defeating you today. May you receive his gift of strength and be encouraged that with Christ, all things are possible.

Photo on Foter.com

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