Have you ever pulled a prank on someone? A prank is a type of joke where you trick your friends into thinking one thing’s happening, even though something else funny is happening instead. When they realize what’s really going on, everyone laughs.
Did you know that Jesus pulled a prank once? This is the story of Jesus, right after his resurrection, roping two of his friends into a hilarious joke.
The same day that Jesus rose back to life, two of his friends were walking home. They were very sad—after all, they had seen Jesus killed just a few days before. They had thought he was the Savior and the King, but now he was dead and all their dreams were crushed. Plus, they had lost their friend. No wonder they were so sad.
So Jesus decided to surprise them (“Ta da! I’m not dead anymore!”), but to do it in a sneaky, funny way. He could have just showed himself right away (which is what he did with the other disciples), but he decided to have some fun with these two friends. So as they were walking along the road, Jesus came up to them, but they didn’t recognize him. Maybe he was in disguise, or maybe he used his power to keep them from recognizing him.
Either way, however he did it, he walked up in disguise and said, “Hi guys, what’s up? Why are you so sad?”
They looked at each other, surprised. Who was this guy? Didn’t everybody know what had just happened? So they told him all about their friend Jesus, how they had hoped he was the king, but that he was dead now. They hung their heads, sad all over again.
Jesus was probably smiling at this point. His joke was going perfectly. “Come on, dummies!” Jesus said gently (of course, he was smiling as he said this, because he wasn’t being mean—this was all part of the joke). “Haven’t you read your Bibles? Don’t you realize that this is exactly what the Bible said would happen: that the King would suffer and die and then come back to life!”
His two friends were still confused. (If you’ve ever been on the receiving end of a prank, you were probably confused at first too). So Jesus started a little Bible study with them, right there as they walked down the road. He began explaining how all the stories and prophecies in the Old Testament all pointed forward to him. And as he talked, a deep, quiet joy started to grow in his friends’ hearts, warming them up from the inside out. They started to understand; they began, for the first time, to see—really see, with the eyes of their heart— what kind of Savior Jesus was. And their hearts, filling up with happiness, soon were overflowing. Their tears were gone; now they were excited. (One thing to notice about Jesus’ prank: the point of the joke was to make them feel better in the end).
As they approached their home, Jesus’ joke continued. He pretended that he was going to keep going on his way, but the two friends (who still didn’t recognize him) insisted that he stay for dinner (which was what Jesus really planned to do). At dinner, Jesus picked up the bread and broke it and thanked God for it, which is exactly what he always did at every meal. And at that moment—maybe it was the way he broke the bread, or maybe he took off his disguise, or maybe he just let them see him for real—the friends recognized him. “Jesus!” they cried out with happiness. Jesus winked… and vanished.
His friends sat there, stunned for a moment, and then excitedly jumped up. “Did you see that!” “I somehow knew it was him—he’s the only person who can make us feel that happy!” “We’ve got to go tell everyone else!” And even though it was late, they ran all the way back to Jerusalem to spread the word that Jesus was alive.
Best. prank. ever.