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Summary: Jesus came to reveal God to us. He was gentle and kind, and yet there were some things that really set Him off! At the same time, He loved a good party and was constantly looking to bring healing to lives of people. He is the revealer, the confronter,

The Case For Christ: His Life

Rev. Brian Bill

4/1/01

It’s still early but has anyone already been a victim of an April Fool’s joke? Some of you have been if you forgot to turn your clocks ahead last night!

The history of April Fool’s Day is fascinating. In the 16th Century, the New Year was celebrated on April 1st. When the calendar was revised, New Year’s Day was moved to January 1st but many people did not receive the news for several years (that was before email!). Still others, even though they heard about the change, refused to accept the new calendar and continued to celebrate the New Year on the 1st of April. The general populace labeled these backward folk “fools”. They were made fun of and people began to play pranks on them.

April Fool’s Day has developed into an international funfest. The French fool people by taping a paper fish to their friends’ backs as they yell out, “April Fish!” In England, if a joke is played on you, you’re called a “noodle.” In Portugal, the traditional trick is to throw flour at your friends. I love what Mark Twain said about April Fool’s Day: “The first of April is the day we remember what we are the other 364 days of the year.”

Here are some of the more popular pranks that kids like to play in our country:

• Fill the sugar bowl with salt. Then wait until your brother eats his cereal!

• Put a fake mouse on the floor.

• Pour the shampoo out of the bottle and replace it with honey!

• Put a fake ice cube with a fake fly in your dad’s coke.

• Go to the bathroom and hide all the toilet paper.

• Put fake bugs in your mom’s bed.

This morning we’re beginning a new series called, “A Case For Christ.” It’s my prayer that we’ll see Jesus in a fresh way this Easter season. Each of us have a portrait in our mind of what He looked like and how He lived His life.

A new documentary will be aired this week in England called, “Jesus: The Complete Story.” It will run here in the States on Easter Sunday. From what I’ve read, it will contain liberal and incorrect information but I was fascinated by their depiction of what Jesus may have looked like. By analyzing excavated skulls of 1st century Jews and 6th century images of Christ, they put together this computer reconstruction:

Friends, no matter what Jesus really looked like, the picture many of us have of Him is anemic and inadequate. Although the name of Jesus is familiar to everyone -- so familiar that it has become a casually used expletive -- Jesus Himself remains a cloudy figure. I know some of you think of Him as just a frail, gentle kind of man who did some neat things and provided some good teaching.

This morning we’re going to focus on two images of Jesus from John 2 that will help us form a composite picture of who He really is. If you want a more complete picture, you’ll need to read the eyewitness accounts contained in the 4 Gospels. Even then, there’s more to say about Him. John recognizes this in John 21:25: “Jesus did many other things as well. If every one of them were written down, I suppose that even the whole world would not have room for the books that would be written.”

The Joyful Jesus

My guess is that if you’ve been going to church for a while, you don’t really think of Jesus as someone who liked to have a good time. The picture in many of our minds is of someone who avoided such normal human pleasures as social activities and parties. That’s exactly what the religious people thought 2000 years ago.

When we read through the gospels, we discover that Jesus loved to go to banquets, parties, and receptions -- He was a much sought-after dinner guest. Even the religious leaders disdainfully referred to Jesus as an overeater and a lover of wine. Matthew 11:19 says, “The son of man came eating and drinking…” Jesus always chose to spend time with ordinary people rather than mixing it up with the religious crowd.

Our reporter John writes about an event that happened when Jesus and His disciples were guests at a wedding in John 2:1-11. Here’s some important background information:

1. Weddings were a big deal in the Jewish culture and a certain protocol was followed. If the bride was a virgin, the wedding would be on Wednesday. If the bride was a widow, the wedding started on Thursday.

2. In our culture the bride is the main attraction. In Eastern weddings, the groom is the “man in the middle.” The bride merely shows up.

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