Andrew C. Schroer
It all began with an edict by Pope Gregory XIII in 1582. The Julian calendar used by most of the Western world had some problems. Among other things, seasons and solstices did not always line up because the calendar did not accurately calculate leap years.
The new calendar, called the Gregorian calendar, established a more accurate number of leap years as well as other innovations. Pope Gregory’s calendar also established Jan. 1 as the official beginning of the year.
Though Jan. 1 had traditionally been the first day of the year on the Julian calendar, by the Middle Ages many Western European countries celebrated the new year on different days. In some countries, New Year’s was celebrated at the end of March and the beginning of April.
When Pope Gregory published his new calendar, there was no Facebook and no CNN. There wasn’t even radio. News about the changes spread slowly. Many continued to celebrate New Year’s on their traditional dates decades, and even centuries, later.
Those who continued to celebrate the New Year at the end of March and the beginning of April, either due to ignorance or just plain obstinance, were soon mocked by their fellow countrymen. They were called fools, and practical jokes were played on them.
According to some historians, thus began the celebration of April Fools’ Day.
Much has been made in the media about the fact that Easter this year falls on April Fools’ Day. It’s ironic. As Christians we often play the role of the fool for believing the Easter message.
For those who don’t believe in Jesus, what we believe seems ridiculous. We believe that because God was born as a man, nailed to a piece of wood, died, and came back to life, we are now free from any guilt or punishment for every bad thing we do. We believe we will live forever with him one day in a perfect place of happiness called heaven somewhere beyond our existence here on earth.
Many of the greatest scientists and scholars of our age mock us and call us dumb for believing the Bible. Even the apostle Paul was laughed off by the educated elite of his day (Acts 17:32). As Christians we are fools. To be more accurate, though, we are sophomores. You see, the word sophomore literally means “a wise fool.”
But even though the world considers us foolish, we have true wisdom. To the world, what we believe as Christians is weak and foolish. The apostle Paul reminds us of that but concludes, “The foolishness of God is wiser than human wisdom” (1 Corinthians 1:25).
How can anyone believe in what so many think is for fools? Only through faith can a person see its true wisdom and power.
Through Jesus’ humble death and glorious resurrection, we have become heirs of heaven. We are now sons and daughters of the King of all creation. Through faith, we have true understanding, but we can’t prove any of it. The world cannot see it. It seems foolish to them.
But instead of getting upset when the world calls us fools, instead of getting embarrassed, instead of feeling like you have to defend or prove what you believe, embrace the foolishness of the cross. Accept the fact that the world does not and will never understand. Jesus told us it would be that way. Some will mock us. Some will point and call us fools.
Don’t worry about it. Don’t be ashamed. Don’t back down. One day, God will reveal who the true fools really are.
Contributing editor Andrew Schroer is pastor at Redeemer, Edna, Texas.
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Author: Andrew C. Schroer
Volume 105, Number 4
Issue: April 2018
Copyrighted by WELS Forward in Christ © 2018
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