At our church Easter egg hunt one of my little Awana buddies found an empty egg. When he opened it up and saw that it was empty, he said “Hey, who’s making jokes?” I knelt down and told him how when we did Easter egg hunts for our kids we always left one of the eggs empty. I explained that the empty egg symbolizes the fact that Jesus had risen from the dead and was no longer in the tomb. Through all of this, he listens as politely as a five year old needing a candy fix can possibly listen and then looked at me and said, “I still think someone’s making jokes.” So, laughing, I did the only thing I could – I gave him some candy!
As cute as that little guy’s response was, it wasn’t that much different from that of the first visitors to Jesus’ tomb. Even though Jesus had told them repeatedly that he was going to raise from the dead, they were apparently expecting to find a dead man in that tomb. As Mary arrived to find the empty tomb and then ran to find Peter and John, their collective actions reveal not belief but fear. I can just imagine them looking in, shaking their heads, and saying “who’s making jokes?” Even for those who had been closest to Jesus, it was too hard to believe that he had truly risen from the dead – at least at first.
It wasn’t until they saw him that they truly believed. That personal encounter with Jesus made all the difference for them. Rather than condemn their doubt Jesus commended their belief. He also commended all of those who would never see him physically but would choose to believe in him anyway. That includes you and I. For any of us who choose to believe, the resurrection is no joke. It isn’t a hoax. It isn’t a delusion. It is the promise of forgiveness. It is the promise of a savior. It is hope, joy, and peace. It is the key to life eternal and to abundant life right now. If you do not know him, then believe in him today. If you believe in him then live for him today. Because Easter is no joke – in fact it makes all the difference in the world.
photo by Zirguezi (Own work) [Public domain or Public domain], via Wikimedia Commons