I grew up playing the game My mother taught me and often got me with it! For many, the first of April meant the beginning of fishing season, but for me it meant trying to fool someone with a practical joke or some sensational story. Who would buy into it? But once they did I would cry out, “April fool’s!”

I suspect many in Jerusalem might have thought the same thing They had watched this Jesus (no doubt a misguided rabbi) ride into the City of David on a donkey to the adulation and praise of ignorant throngs of his followers there for the Passover festival, only to later see him lumber up the streets out of the City to be crucified in the company of common thieves. “Right… what was he thinking?! Who was he claiming to be, Messiah? No, he was crazy; a misguided madman! Fool!

True, there were many other people who had told amazing stories about this man They had seen him perform miracles and wonders. He had healed hundreds and fed thousands. He had even associated with sorted social outcasts, even calling a few of them his brothers and sisters. Some actually said he once brought a local man named Lazarus back from the dead. And it had been after his being already 4 days in a tomb!

Sensational stories, true However, it was evident to all that this rabbi’s teaching had absolutely rocked the religious establishment. As well, he had gained many outcast followers along the way. His outward appearance was not sensational, but he spoke authoritatively like no other teacher. The Sadducees and Pharisees had always debated him, arguing with each other around him. Yet he always seemed unfazed by it all, putting them in their rightful place.

Even the Sanhedrin had been astir over him This was especially so after he had gone into the Temple and angrily attacked the venders and money-changers. They had taken over the place as they worked the outer courtyard. Perhaps in his actions this man had foolishly gone too far! One thing is certain though, at the end of Passover week, all that it really got this “Messiah” was Roman execution on a cross.

Yet after all of that, an even greater claim was made by his followers This Jesus, who had been officially crucified, declared dead and buried, was no longer in his tomb but was raised and alive again! “Is this some kind of practical joke? Who would believe it? Who would buy into it?” Clearly, his disciples did. They still speak of viewing not only the empty tomb but seeing the Man himself. At their own risk they confess, “I have seen the Lord!” Some say that up to 500 of them saw him at the same time. Incredible!

So, what would those skeptical bystanders in Jerusalem later think? What had their eyes seen and their ears heard over the ensuing days and months? “Maybe this wasn’t a misguided, mad, rabbi after all. Maybe he was the Messiah. Maybe not.” What would they do? What should they do with it all?

In the end, who really is the April Fool? Is it the doubter of Jesus or the disciple of Jesus? Personally, I had many years to ponder that question of faith. I looked at it then through glasses no longer rose-colored. Yes, I have wrestled over the years with more than my share of doubts, and still have a few. But almost 50 years ago I finally stopped playing the game. No more!

No more “I’m just seeking” but never following. No more, “I have so many questions” but never acting on the answers already given. No more, “Who wins and who loses” in debates about the viability of Christianity as a religion. No more, “Someday I’ll decide.

I bought it all; the whole story from Hosannas to Hallelujahs. Call me a fool. To me that no longer matters. For on one hand, with the hard reality of my eventual physical death daily staring me in the face, and on the other hand, the hope-reality of my spiritual life eternally beyond, I daily choose being a wholehearted disciple of Jesus. He first loved and chose me, so I freely love and follow Him; “in the dust of The Rabbi.”

“He is no fool who gives what he cannot keep to gain that which he cannot loose” Jim Elliot, a young Christian missionary who later was martyred, once penned these often quoted words. Jesus the Messiah is no fool, neither are those who, like Jim, have followed suit all the way to the end.

The life I used to live I could not keep but the life I now live I cannot loose! Because of this, am I an April Fool? What are you?

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. ~ 1 Corinthians 1:18 NIV