After the blackness of the night, morning dawned on Easter Sunday. The new day still looked black to the disciples, but this very day, in the middle of such untold despair, is the day of joy. The impossible has happened: Jesus is alive! Gloriously alive! It is in the darkness that the light shines brightest, and even when our senses seem to say the opposite, the darkness has never extinguished the light. (John 1:5)
Have you ever been in a situation where you have tried to give wonderful news to someone, only to have it discounted because it seems too good to be true? How often is bad news more readily acceptable than good!
When the women arrived at the tomb at dawn, they found the imprisoning stone of death rolled away, and the tomb empty. The women were confused by what they found, and only believed because angels bore testimony and awakened their recollection of Jesus’ words that he would “on the third day rise” (verse 7). Then, writes Luke, they remembered. How fitting that if it was angels who announced the incarnation of Jesus, angels should announce his resurrection.
Bringing their stunning news to the eleven and all the rest, they were disbelieved, and no wonder. Jesus was dead and buried. When Jesus died, hope died. It was over. Their senses and understanding of life made real resurrection seem impossible, even if they believed in it doctrinally, unless Jesus was involved and, in this case, that was a nonsense. It seemed to them an idle tale (Lk 24:11). How frustrated must the women have felt. Carrying the greatest message ever known to mankind, they were rebuffed by the closest followers of Jesus who needed to hear it most. How typical of the Lord that it’s the women, not the men, who are entrusted with the first witness of his resurrection.
Later that day they were all visited by those who had encountered Jesus on the road to Emmaus and who had rushed back to tell the others with joy. As if that wasn’t enough, Jesus himself appeared to them all (Verse 36) and they went through the gamut of fear, doubt, confusion. No wonder Jesus said: “Peace to you”. Showing them his hands and feet, he invited them to touch him. Shared food with them. This was Jesus alive and he was with them again. Now it was personal. Now they believed. Faith, hope and love awoke.
Do you remember where you were when you first encountered the living Jesus Christ? You may have heard or read about the gospel from others, but suddenly you knew it to be true. And the joy that filled your heart? That was Easter Joy, and it wasn’t supposed to be a Sundays only, once in a year or once in a lifetime experience. That joy is supposed to be our daily bread. It’s a gift from God. It transforms our life. And hope: Jesus has opened heaven for us and we too shall rise and be with him. Could you become an Easter joy person? Someone who asks the Holy Spirit to fill them with the joy of his resurrection every day. Then why not start right now. You might pray:
“Heavenly Father, thank you for such love and mercy towards me. I believe in the resurrection of the Lord Jesus. Holy Spirit, I ask you to fill me with resurrection joy for every day of my life, until I too am raised and see him face to face. Amen.”