The website, Museumofhoaxes.com, maintains a list of the Top 100 April Fools Day Hoaxes of all time. Among the more humorous ones are: (8) Burger King’s Left-Handed Whopper Sandwich where all the ingredients were shifted 180 degrees to better accommodate left-handed people (1998) ; (4) The Taco Bell Corporation announced it has purchased the Liberty Bell and was renaming it the Taco Liberty Bell in an attempt to help lower the national debt (1996); (2) The April 1985 edition of Sports Illustrated contained a story about a new rookie pitcher for the NY Mets who could throw a baseball 168 mph with pinpoint accuracy; (1) On 1 April 1957, the respected BBC news show Panorama announced that thanks to a very mild winter and the virtual elimination of the dreaded spaghetti weevil, Swiss farmers were enjoying a bumper spaghetti crop. It accompanied this announcement with footage of Swiss peasants pulling strands of spaghetti down from trees.
While countless people were taken in by these pranks, there are others who are reluctant to believe that Jesus rose from the dead on Easter morning. If we are so gullible to believe a compelling lie, why are we so skeptical of the truth?
If you find yourself among those who have a hard time believing in the resurrection of Jesus Christ, you are in good company. Luke 24:1-12 explains that even Jesus’ disciples had a hard time believing. But the passage also demonstrates that the truth of the resurrection transforms skeptics into passionate witnesses.
The passage opens on Easter morning with several female disciples heading for the tomb where Jesus was buried (1). Rather than checking to see if the resurrection had taken place, they were there to properly bury the body. When they found the stone covering the entrance absent (2) and the body missing (3), they didn’t know what to make of the situation (4a).
To their surprise, two angelic messengers (4b) roused their attention with the shocking question, “Why do you seek the living among the dead? He is not here; but has risen!” (5). They went on to remind the women of what Jesus had taught them during the past three years (6). He would suffer and die and come back to life three days later (7). You could see the light bulbs go on in their heads as they recalled Jesus’ teaching (8).
The women left the tomb and raced back into Jerusalem to tell the other disciples (9-10). Jesus’ closest friends and followers were not convinced. In fact, they concluded that the women were delusion and out of their minds (11).
The fact that women were the first witnesses of the resurrection demonstrates the uniqueness of the gospel. In the culture of the day, women were considered unreliable. You would never build a case on the testimony of women. And yet, the gospel records that they were the first ones to believe the message that Jesus had risen from the dead.
Peter, at least, goes to investigate the report firsthand (12). Rather than be convinced by the empty grave clothes, he goes home even more perplexed.
- Read the Scriptures. 14 Old Testament prophecies were fulfilled on Good Friday alone.
- Examine the evidence. Read the source material firsthand. Study the proofs of the resurrection.
- Believe the testimony. Read the stories of those whose lives were transformed by the gospel.
- Tell the story. Once you are convinced the story is true, share the message of hope with another person.
Christ is not dead; He is risen indeed!
This is the synopsis of a message preached at First Central Baptist Church on April 20, 2014. It is part of a collection of messages on Easter & Palm Sunday. Please click on the link to download a copy of the sermon notes.