ODJ: April Fool

April 1, 2016 

READ: John 20:1-31 

She thought he was the gardener. “Sir,” she said, “if you have taken him away, tell me where you have put him, and I will go and get him” (v.15).

April Fool’s Day began in the late 16th century when the Gregorian calendar moved New Year’s Day from April 1 to January 1. Those who kept the old tradition were called fools, which began a new tradition of pulling pranks. A recent prank I’m aware of was the releasing of three pigs into a school building (but not before numbering them 1, 2, and 4). What a surprise for those looking for pig number 3!

April Fool’s Day often falls around Easter. This is fitting, because the Easter story contains the best and most shocking surprise of all time. Imagine the happy laughter when Mary Magdalene told her story to John:

So I’m outside the tomb, having a conversation with two men. They must have been angels, though my tears made it hard to see. I tell them I’m looking for the body of Jesus, and since He’s not there, I turn to leave. That’s when I see who I think is the gardener. He asks me why I’m crying and who I’m looking for. I ask him if he’s taken the body away. Just tell me, and I’ll go get Him. Then He says, “Mary!” It was Jesus! Alive! I hugged Him and cried “Teacher, it’s You!” Can you believe it? I’ve seen the Lord! (John 20:11—18 paraphrased).

The Easter story includes this happy event—one that is truly no joke. There was an empty tomb. God, by His amazing power, made the resurrection of Jesus something not only possible, but a reality. As Peter wrote, “All praise to God, the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ. It is by his great mercy that we have been born again, because God raised Jesus Christ from the dead. Now we live with great expectation” (1 Peter 1:3).

As we believe by faith the miracle that changed everything—Jesus’ resurrection—we too can laugh with joy!

—Mike Wittmer

365-day-plan: 1 Samuel 25:1-42

Read 1 Corinthians 15:12—34 to learn why the resurrection of Jesus is absolutely necessary. 
Are you feeling sad today? How does the resurrection free you to experience the joy found in Jesus?