I am not sure I remember Easter falling on April Fools’ Day in my lifetime. Oh, not that it hasn’t happened, it’s more that I don’t remember it if it has. That is definitely a problem of growing old (just one of many, but that list is too long to recount here). In Mark 16, we have an account of the Resurrection and Ascension of Jesus. In verses 1-8, we have Mary Magdalene, Mary the mother of James and Salome going to the tomb to anoint Jesus. They were wondering how they were going to roll the stone away because it was quite large. But, when they arrived, the stone had already been moved. When they entered, there was a young man dressed in white that told them not to be amazed. He told them, “You are looking for Jesus the Nazarene, who has been crucified. He has risen; He is not here; behold, here is the place where they laid Him.” Then they were told to go and tell the disciples and Peter that He was going to Galilee and that He would see them there, just as He had told them. But when they left the tomb fear had gripped them and they told no one.
Then, in verses 9-13, we have an account of Jesus appearing to Mary Magdalene and she went and reported to those that were with Him, while they were weeping and mourning. “And when they heard that He was alive, and had been seen by her, they refused to believe it.” He then appeared to two of them while they were walking on their way to the country. They went away and reported it to the others, but they did not believe them either.
Then He appeared to the eleven and reproached them for their unbelief and hardness of heart, because they had not believed those who had seen Him after He had risen. He then gave them the Great Commission which is “Go into all the world and preach the gospel to all creation.” When Jesus had spoken to them, He was received up into heaven, and sat down at the right hand of God.
After reading this account and thinking again of Easter falling on the first of April this year, I couldn’t help but place myself in the shoes (sandals) of His disciples. Would I have readily believed that He was risen, that He was alive or would I have thought that this was a cruel joke to play on us. After all, I saw Him die. I witnessed Him being placed in the tomb. Oh, I wouldn’t have been standing near Him, I would be hanging well back, fearful of being recognized, fearful of punishment, fearful of my own death. The only way I could possibly believe that He was risen is if I saw Him with my own eyes, heard Him with my own ears, and touched Him with my own hands. And then, it happened! HE IS RISEN. HE IS RISEN INDEED!