Jesus was a Jester: A Sermon for Easter Day / April Fool’s Day 2018

Sermon for Easter on April Fool’s Day

For the message about 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)

And what is resurrection, but “a laugh freed for ever and ever.”[i]


Jesus was a jester

Since the day he come to earth

A king born in a stable

With shepherds at his birth.

As he grew, he grew in wisdom

Though he never towed the line

He was well-known for his party tricks

And once turned water into wine.


The Devil didn’t like Jesus

He couldn’t look him in the eyes

He tempted him in the desert

But Jesus didn’t buy his lies.

The Devil was a card-sharper,

The Devil was a hack.

Jesus was an upstart

He was the joker in the pack.


Jesus was a riddler

He travelled across the land

He had a ragged band of followers

Who tried hard to understand.

Jesus was a teacher

Jesus was a clown

He was a topsy-turvy preacher

Of a world turned upside-down.


Jesus was a jester,

he liked to play the fool

He upset those in power

When he stretched and bent the rules:

He would work on the sabbath,

Healing with a touch;

He kept company with sinners

And he loved them all too much.


Jesus was a truth-teller

Though he always told it slant

He told the tallest tales

Just like the way a farmer plants.

His words were seeds of the Kingdom

Sown in human soil

Scattered in his hearer’s hearts

Nourished by his toil.


Jesus was a comic

He road a donkey into town

People laughed ho, ho, hosanna

Jesus you’re such a clown!

Jesus was a Jester

Though sometimes he wore a frown

He was angry with the temple men

Said he would tear the temple down.


The Devil was a trickster

He wanted to see Jesus crash

He was looking for a betrayer

And Judas took the cash.

The Devil was a conman

He caught Judas in his scam.

The Devil shrieked with laughter

And he didn’t give a damn.


Jesus was a stand up

He knew how to work a crowd

A response to every heckler

He could make them laugh out loud.

But when the crowd turned nasty

And shouted out in rage

Before their violence he was silent

And he died a death on stage.


Jesus was the fall-guy

He was made to walk the plank

The butt of every bitter joke

The victim of the prank.

Jesus was a scarecrow

Discarded on a hill

Mocked and shamed and laughed at

Beaten up and killed.


Jesus was a loser

And now the game was lost

The Devil was the victor

His master-stroke the cross.

But Jesus was a jester

He knew all the wisest-cracks

A trick to play on the Devil

That would stop him in his tracks.


Jesus’ friends were grieving

The women went alone

To the place where he was buried

But who would roll away the stone?

In the empty tomb an angel

“He is not here” was all they heard

They ran away in terror

And they did not say a word.


But Jesus was alive again

A laugh with every breath

For goodness is stronger than evil

And love is stronger than death.

When everything was over

And every hope seemed gone,

Jesus had the last laugh

And still the laughter echoes on.


So, sing ha, ha, hallelujah!

Come and sing along with me

Join in the Easter laughter

Jesus the fool will set you free.



(c) Copyright P.G. Babington 1st April 2018

[i] Stephen Pattison, quoting Patrick Kavanagh’s Lough Derg, in the chapter ‘Laughter and Pastoral Care’, in A Critique of Pastoral Care, (London: SCM Press, 1993 (2nd Ed.), p.192)