It’s true they had heard Mary say she had seen the risen Lord. It’s true Peter and John had inspected Jesus’ tomb and found it empty. But as the disciples gathered on that first Easter evening, their mood was fearful not festive: “On the evening of that first day of the week . . .the disciples were together, with the doors locked for fear of the Jewish leaders. . . ” (John 20:19).
Even though Jesus had risen early that morning, there were no handshakes and high-fives that evening. No celebrations. No party mood.
It all changed when Jesus appeared to them: “On the evening of that first day of the week. . . Jesus came and stood among them and said, ‘Peace be with you!’ After he said this, he showed them his hands and side. The disciples were overjoyed when they saw the Lord” (John 20:19-20).
On the first Easter, joy didn’t rise until after sundown. Joy came in the evening when it finally dawned on the disciples that Jesus was truly alive again.
Easter isn’t automatically a cause for joy just because it’s true. Easter becomes a cause for joy when the truth of the resurrection is believed. Joy comes to us when the historical reality of Christ’s resurrection becomes part of our personal reality—when we believe in the resurrected Christ (John 20:30-31).
So here’s a question each of us can ask: “Has the reality that the Son has risen really dawned on me?”