We’ve all had the experience of losing someone close to us— an inner earthquake that upends the world so there’s no going back to the way things were before.
On the Saturday between Good Friday and Easter, the sky had come crashing down for the family and friends of Jesus. Surely nothing could ever be right again. They groped, forsaken and numb, through that Sabbath, with memories that were vivid and nightmarish.
Just when things were looking up for the world, when it seemed that God had finally come to dwell among men, when a wise and loving Master was healing the sick and speaking words of comfort and hope — just then, everything had gone horribly wrong.
Angry men with torches, shouting and swearing — Jesus arrested — the disciples scattering — Judas hanging himself — Peter denying his Lord, Pilate washing his hands of the whole mess.
Demons danced. Satan must have been rubbing his hands together in glee. "What a fool! He let himself be captured. This is too easy!" After a battle spanning thousands of years, Satan had won!
For the disciples, it seemed things couldn’t get any worse. But then came Sunday, when the really crazy stuff started happening.
A missing body — stolen? But who? How?
One of the women, obviously delusional, babbling about seeing Jesus?
A couple of guys walking a country road and breaking bread with a disappearing rabbi?
And then, everybody loses it. An apparition comes right through the wall — apparitions can do that — and greets the disciples.
But this is no apparition, no ghost. It’s Jesus. Alive! Impossible — but true.
Satan reaches for his key ring, the keys to death, hell, and the grave. "GONE!" He searches frantically. "NO!!! This wasn't supposed to happen! He tricked me. No, no, no!"
* * * * *
One Easter weekend long ago, when my children were small, my oldest son presented me with a crayon drawing. It was a Crucifixion scene — appropriate because it was Good Friday. At the bottom, he had written something like “Mom, your chair has disappeared. . . .April Fool!" Which was appropriate because it was also April Fool’s Day.
Somehow, the juxtaposition of the Crucifixion and “April Fool’s” struck my crazy brain as totally awesome. I love it that this year Easter falls on April Fool’s.
April Fool’s, Satan! Your calculations were just a little off. You honestly thought you won? Think again. The Life of the Son of God was stronger than Death.
And it still is today.
And it still is today.
Jesus carrying the cross: Public Domain
Crucifixion, Gustave Dore: Public Domain
Easter Morning, Friedrich Overbeck, Public Domain
Resurrection of Christ, Giovanni Bellini, Public Domain
The Risen Christ, Public Domain