Monday, April 09, 2007

The Fools of Easter

He said to them, "How foolish you are, and how slow of heart to believe all that the prophets have spoken! (Luke 24:25)

It is significant that this year April Fool's Day, Passover and Easter fell during the same week. Much has been said and done to discredit and marginalize faith. Christians are regularly made the blunt of jokes for their beliefs, as if our faith system is not historically sound. Faith alone makes the facts believable. The only measurement to believing anything is whether it is true. The tenets of the Christian faith, based upon the life, death, and resurrection of the Lord Jesus Christ, are not found wanting. Both biblical and extra-biblical sources attest to the validity of our faith. Passover gives identity to the Jewish family. Easter gives identity to the Christian community. It is the distracters and doubters who always become the fool for their unbelief.

Who Is A Fool?

There is a difference between being foolish and a fool. The disciples were being foolish in forbidding mothers with their tiny tots away from Jesus when He desired to bless them. Peter was foolish in his attempt to talk Jesus out of the sacrifice He was committed to make. They all made brave boasts and then ran away in the dark of night. Their intentions in protecting Jesus were noble but foolish; they were naive but teachable. Foolish but not fools.

A fool, on the other hand, is willfully and deliberately ignorant and rebellious toward God; they are godless, void of any spiritual and moral aptitude.

King Herod was monarch when Jesus was born in Jerusalem. He was known for his political savvy and building programs. History has nominated him: "Herod the Great." But any man who tries to defeat the eternal promises of God through an inquisition of infants is a fool.

Judas surrendered to his greed and for fool's gold kissed his Master good-bye. The priests in the office of God arrested and illegally tried Jesus, buying the testimony of liars, creating new and ever-changing charges, and bullied Pilate into arranging the crucifixion. Pilate himself thought he could have peace by washing his hands of the whole set-up. The crowds thought they could please their leaders if they shouted long and hard enough for the blood of the only One in the world who loved them best. All fools with intentions of playing the wise.

In the end the government which boasted of its legal system crumbled like a house of cards and the religious leaders rebelliously rejected the facts of the empty tomb as reported by the guards in favour of a bribe. They'd rather create a lie than face the truth.

Modern Fools

Today there are voices saying that God and His church are liars when we proclaim God's Gospel: That Jesus died on the cross and rose from the dead. That our sins were paid for that day on Golgotha. To them Jesus wasn't anything more than a misunderstood carpenter's son.

These fools want you to believe that Jesus was just a man. A good man, a great man even, but only a man. They want you to believe that the resurrection of Jesus is a
hoax; that Jesus was buried and then revived in that cold, damp tomb. After recovering from being whipped, beaten, crucified, and stabbed in the heart with a Roman spear Jesus managed to escape, married and had children and lived happily ever after.

Others say that the Scriptures have lied and that Jesus and His bones and those of His family have been discovered in some Jerusalem excavation. These fools would have us believe that our forgiveness is unfounded; our hope is based on falsehood and our belief in heaven is nothing but some cosmic April Fool's Day joke.

The Fool of a Dean

The Church of England has a fool in its midst. The Dean of St. Albans, Rev. Jeffery John, a practicing homosexual, has revealed his reprobate intelligence by rejecting penal substitution - that man is sinful and needs a Saviour - and announcing that Christ's sacrifice is 'repulsive', 'insane', 'nonsensical', and makes 'God sound like a psychopath'. His reinterpretation of the Cross is merely one of example and encouragement in our hour of trial and suffering. Jesus died to share our pain, not to redeem from sin.

Needless to say John hasn't pleased everyone within the ranks of Anglicanism. Though the Church has suffered in attendance since the 197o's due to liberal theology there is a growing conservative element, consisting of evangelical and charismatic churches, praying and working to restore the Church to its authentic faith.

Is God a Psychopath?

Are we to understand and view the God of the Cross as a mentally unbalanced person who is inclined toward antisocial and criminal behaviour? No, being psychopathic is a human condition, never associated with the Divine Being who is God. But God has an adverse condition to human folly, anything and everything that distorts human life. The Cross is the answer for both parties. And God initiates the comeback to reconciliation.

This month Canada is remembering the Battle of Vimy Ridge in France 90 years ago where 3,598 Canadian soldiers paid the ultimate sacrifice for freedom. Along with that death toll were 7004 wounded returnees. That victory during The Great War gave rise to the birth of our nation. The Cross gave birth to the Christian nation called the Church. As death and combat shaped our nation so the death and battle of the Cross shapes the Christian's life.

The frontlines between the German and Canadian soldiers were in places talking distance apart. The Cross connected heaven and earth, locked in mortal eternal conflict; Jesus dies and rises the Mighty Conqueror.

The Vimy Monument symbolizes the War to end all Wars. The Cross symbolizes the defeat of Satan and his agents of sin, death and hell. The Twin Towers of the monument represents Canada and France. The twin timbers of the Cross represent Divinity and humanity.

About four thousand Canadian students bore the names and stories of soldiers at Vimy. Christians bear the name and story that's all about Jesus before the world.

After decades of discoloration the Monument has been restored to its former beauty, shining like a gem in the sunlight. The message of the cross needs no facelift. It will forever shine as a beacon of hope in the darkness of depravity.

Though a testament to Canadian courage the Monument also stands as a testament to human failure in resolving conflicts. The Cross too was erected because of human sin and the need to reconcile mankind to God.

The cost for the Monument's restoration ran into the millions. The cost to the Cross runs red with blood, sweat, and tears. Though located in France the Monument grounds were perpetually donated to Canada in remembrance. The ground surrounding the Cross has forever been given by God to His Community and the nations of the world for rebirth and victory.

Would anyone dare call that valiant act of Canadian history psychopathic? The death and resurrection of Jesus Christ answers the call of God's justice, God's grace, God's integrity, and God's law. (Rom. 3:25-31)

The Cross does four things: 1) It introduces forgiveness and freedom. 2) It demonstrates the love and justice of God. 3) It reveals the human condition ..."sin entered the world" (Rom. 5:12). 4) It presents Jesus as God's ultimate sacrifice for reconciliation, through faith in His blood. The Cross remedies the statement by Matthew Henry (1661-1714), 'There is nothing we can call our own but our sins and our death.'

The Foolishness of The Cross

For the message of the cross is foolishness to those who are perishing, but to us who are being saved it is the power of God. For it is written: "I will destroy the wisdom of the wise; the intelligence of the intelligent I will frustrate." Where is the wise man? Where is the scholar? Where is the philosopher of this age? Has not God made foolish the wisdom of the world? For since in the wisdom of God the world through its wisdom did not know him, God was pleased through the foolishness of what was preached to save those who believe. We preach Christ crucified: Christ the power of God and the wisdom of God. For the foolishness of God is wiser than man's wisdom, and the weakness of God is stronger than man's strength. But God chose the foolish things of the world to shame the wise; God chose the weak things of the world to shame the strong. Everything that we have - right thinking and right living, a clean slate and a fresh start - comes from God by way of Jesus Christ. (1 Cor. 1:18-30 NIV/Mes)

There is a foolishness to the message of the Cross - a foolishness not born of naivety or rebellious unbelief but of profound simplicity. The worldly minded seek to defame it. The enemies of the Cross, within and without the Christian Community, seek to destroy it. The Jewish hierarchy, the Roman government, and the crowds, were responsible and instrumental in the murder of Jesus. And Islamic jihadists were responsible and instrumental in the crucifixion of a 14-year-old male youth in Basra, Iraq, in an effort to destroy one of the oldest Christian churches in the world, the Assyrians. This not only reveals the ongoing persecution of the Body of Christ but also the depravity to which mankind will stoop to eradicate the message of the Cross.

However, Christians worldwide joyfully celebrate Easter - the Cross and Resurrection/Ascension - because we are given a "new birth into a living hope through the resurrection of Jesus." (1 Peter 1:3) This hope is not a wishful desire. It is secured in historical and personal evidence. It's a firm foundation of our saving faith and a comfort in the midst of suffering, more precious than gold.

Through Christ's resurrection we know and believe that truth is stronger than lies, good is stronger than evil, love is stronger than hate, and life is stronger than death.

Christ is risen! Christ is risen indeed!


Post a Comment

<< Home