The Resurrection, April Fool’s Day and Easter

Published 9:18 pm Monday, April 2, 2018

By Myrtle Virginia Thompson

This year, Easter, the day we traditionally celebrate Christ’s resurrection, also fell on April Fool’s Day, traditionally when we play jokes. The joke is on all those who did not and do not believe in the resurrection of Jesus Christ. Here is the story as John in the Gospels tells it.

Six days before the crucifixion, Jesus was in a little place called Bethany. He had just raised Lazarus from the dead. Behind the scenes, another major event was taking place. The chief priests and Pharisees were in a council meeting, trying to decide what should be done with Jesus. They did not believe He was the Messiah. Their conspiracy ended with the plan to get Him killed. The words of the high priest Caiphas were the greatest words he would ever say, but he himself did not understand their truth. He rebuked the others, saying, “It is expedient that one man should die for the people and not that the whole nation perish.” He had no understanding they were prophetic words. All he wanted was to get rid of Jesus, because people were believing in Him. He knew the chief priests and Pharisees would lose power if Jesus continued winning popularity. It was a headline which resounds like today’s power play. Tensions were high because people had been gathering to celebrate the Jewish Feast of Dedication.

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While Caiphas’ chicanery was taking place, a great crowd was gathering outside the home of Mary and Martha and Lazarus. Jesus was in the house, having supper with them, but it was not Jesus they wanted to see. It was Lazarus who was reclining at the table where Martha was busy serving the meal. They had heard he was alive, that Jesus had raised him from the dead. Mary was in a different frame of mind. She had listened and believed, had seen behind the veil. With her godly woman’s intuition, she seemed to know Jesus was going to die. She took a pound of pure spikenard perfume and anointed both the head and feet of Jesus, wiping his feet with her hair. Judas was one of those in the house with the others who were rebuking Mary. They considered what she did wasteful, but Judas’ motive was greed. Nard was costly. It came from a plant found in the Himalayan Mountains and was thought to have medicinal value. Jesus tells them to let her alone. He said she was keeping the custom of anointing in preparation for burial. Did anyone else understand Mary’s act?

His own disciples were blindsided until they remembered the words of their own Scriptures. Isaiah had plainly written “His visage was marred more than any man.” God the Father “allowed Him to be given as a guilt offering to bear our sins; despised, forsaken of men, a man of sorrows, acquainted with grief, pierced for our transgressions…” (chs. 52, 53.) This is the Resurrection story Christians believe.

The story our culture celebrates with the Easter bunny and the Easter eggs comes from the ancient and pre-Christian celebration of the Teutonic goddess of light and Spring which took place at the Vernal Equinox, March 20/21. It just so happened that the Jewish Feast of Dedication was taking place at that same time of year when Jesus was crucified.

This year, Resurrection Day and Easter converged on April 1, but it is no joke. Not to believe the Resurrection story calls into account our human reasoning.

Myrtle Virginia Thompson is a Suffolk resident and former missionary. Email her at mvtgrt@gmail.com.