Message from the Pastor
Luke 24: But on the first day of the week, at early dawn, they came to the tomb, taking the spices that they had prepared. 2 They found the stone rolled away from the tomb, 3 but when they went in, they did not find the body. 4 While they were perplexed about this, suddenly two men in dazzling clothes stood beside them. 5 The women were terrified and bowed their faces to the ground, but the men said to them, “Why do you look for the living among the dead? He is not here, but has risen. 6 Remember how he told you, while he was still in Galilee, 7 that the Son of Man must be handed over to sinners, and be crucified, and on the third day rise again.” 8 Then they remembered his words, 9 and returning from the tomb, they told all this to the eleven and to all the rest. 10 Now it was Mary Magdalene, Joanna, Mary the mother of James, and the other women with them who told this to the apostles. 11 But these words seemed to them an idle tale, and they did not believe them. (NRSV)
I find it incredibly interesting that Easter falls on April 1st this year. It’s bound to happen that way from time-to-time. Of course, we know April 1st to be the day for jokesters. It’s the perfect day to get away with playing some kind of prank on someone else, only to shout out, “April Fools!”
I wonder if the women who went to the tomb of Jesus on that first Easter thought that someone was playing a terrible prank on them. It would have been cruel and tasteless to believe that someone could have come and stolen the body of Jesus during the night, but it must have gone through their minds. Who would do such a thing?
Certainly the apostles upon hearing the words of the women didn’t take them seriously. Not only were they claiming that the body of Jesus was missing, but they also told of their encounter with two men dressed “in dazzling clothes” who explained that Jesus had been raised from the dead and was alive. Who could believe that? The apostles definitely did not. It must be a joke.
Some 2000 plus years, we face the empty tomb again. We encounter those who reported on that day their shock, surprise, and for some, their eventual astonishment as they came face-to-face with the impossible. Jesus, who was tortured, crucified, dead, and was buried is risen from the grave; overpowering dead with the victory of life and offering to those who believe a share in it. Many in this world find this to be simply the hoax of all hoaxes. For those of us who believe, it is the way, the truth, and the life.
Jesus is risen! Hallelujah! And that’ s no joke! - Pastor Joe