Resurrection Sunday 2018. We’ve been planning and waiting for this day since we put the red bows away in January. For us at Peninsula, this is a much bigger celebration than the one in December. Today gives December meaning. But, this year, something is a little different. Right?

This is one of those interesting years, when Ash Wednesday is on Valentine’s Day and Resurrection Sunday is on April Fools’ Day. We hope to overwhelm that foolishness of the other April 1 holiday with something infinitely more important. And fun. When you think about it, the juxtaposition of these two “holidays” is a little strange and odd, but actually it is kind of perfect. How?

It’s perfect because Easter is the day when Jesus completely shocked the world. Even His most devoted followers thought he was dead. After all, they watched him die; they helped bury him. I think they spent the rest of that long weekend confused and sad and drained from the whirlwind of events of the week before.

Some women came back very early on that first day of week, with the Jewish holiday behind them, to finish the burial rites they could only begin in the rush to get Him into the tomb before Passover.

But on that Sunday morning, Jesus defeated death and rose from the dead. An angel showed up to roll away the massive stone in front of the new tomb. And the seal placed by the government was broken on that morning. Jesus appeared first to the faithful women, and then He appeared to His friends, and then to hundreds more before He ascended into heaven. And, He cooked an amazing breakfast up on the shores of Galilee before He left too. Just so there’d be no mistake, this was a very real Jesus. No joke. No trick. This single, shocking event has changed the course of history.

The story of Jesus spread like wildfire. People left everything they had and often faced death in order to spread the “Good News” of Jesus. Two thousand years later, there are an estimated 2.2 billion people who claim Jesus as their Savior. Not bad for someone who didn’t build anything, who didn’t write a sentence, and who didn’t conquer any territory.

Do you find this strange? Unbelievable? The truth is… so did I. But each of us at Peninsula don’t just believe a story we read in a really old book. We’ve experienced the undeniable presence of God, and it’s changed our lives.

We know He can change yours, too.

And that’s what this Resurrection Sunday morning is all about. Jesus is alive. No joke. No prank on April Fools’ Day. What we celebrate today is actually very, very real. The story has been told and proven to be true for over 2,000 years. The evidence, actually, is more overwhelming for the resurrection of Jesus Christ than the existence of Julius Caesar. Let us shower you with some love this morning. Some joy. And most of all…some hope.

What we remember today is nothing but April hope. Let’s celebrate April Hope Day.