Seeing or Recognizing ? [Evangelism Lesson]
John 20:1-18 March 31 2013
From the very beginning the church has set aside Sunday, the first day of the week, and commemorated the resurrection of Jesus (Acts 20:7 ).
Jesus had passed through the linen strips. They probably still held their shape, because of the sticky myrrh and aloes wrapped with them.
John entered after Peter’s discovery, looked, and believed. Only later did any of the disciples understand the Scripture. Today too faith precedes understanding.
Her first reaction, “Who took His body?” continues to show the psychological state of Jesus’ followers. None of them expected a resurrection, despite what Jesus had earlier said. Two words for “see” are found in v. 14 . Mary “observed” a figure near the tomb, then she “perceived” it was Jesus.
Today many see the Jesus of history, but too few recognize Him. Jesus didn’t refuse to let Mary touch Him. He told her not to detain Him.
Before Jesus always spoke of “My” Father. This post-resurrection appearance is the first time He adds “and your Father.” Only by His death and resurrection could Jesus bring those who believed in Him into God’s family.
1.The sepulchre found to be empty. (John 20:1-10)
John 20:1 Now the first day of the week Mary Magdalene went to the tomb early, while it was still dark, and saw that the stone had been taken away from the tomb. 2 Then she ran and came to Simon Peter, and to the other disciple, whom Jesus loved, and said to them, “They have taken away the Lord out of the tomb, and we do not know where they have laid Him.”3 Peter therefore went out, and the other disciple, and were going to the tomb. 4 So they both ran together, and the other disciple outran Peter and came to the tomb first. 5 And he, stooping down and looking in, saw the linen cloths lying there; yet he did not go in. 6 Then Simon Peter came, following him, and went into the tomb; and he saw the linen cloths lying there, 7 and the handkerchief that had been around His head, not lying with the linen cloths, but folded together in a place by itself. 8 Then the other disciple, who came to the tomb first, went in also; and he saw and believed. 9 or as yet they did not know the Scripture, that He must rise again from the dead. 10 Then the disciples went away again to their own homes.
If Christ gave his life a ransom, and had not taken it again, it would not have appeared that his giving it was accepted as satisfaction. It was a great trial to Mary, that the body was gone. Weak believers often make that the matter of complaint, which is really just ground of hope, and matter of joy. It is well when those more honoured than others with the privileges of disciples, are more active than others in the duty of disciples; more willing to take pains, and run hazards, in a good work. We must do our best, and neither envy those who can do better, nor despise those who do as well as they can, though they come behind. The disciple whom Jesus loved in a special manner, and who therefore in a special manner loved Jesus, was foremost. The love of Christ will make us to abound in every duty more than any thing else. He that was behind was Peter, who had denied Christ. A sense of guilt hinders us in the service of God. As yet the disciples knew not the Scripture; they Christ must rise again from the dead.
2. Christ appears to Mary. (John 20:11-18)
John 20:11 But Mary stood outside by the tomb weeping, and as she wept she stooped down and looked into the tomb. 12 And she saw two angels in white sitting, one at the head and the other at the feet, where the body of Jesus had lain. 13 Then they said to her, “Woman, why are you weeping?”She said to them, “Because e they have taken away my Lord, and I do not know where they have laid Him.”14 Now when she had said this, she turned around and saw Jesus standing there, and did not know that it was Jesus. 15 Jesus said to her, “Woman, why are you weeping? Whom are you seeking?”She, supposing Him to be the gardener, said to Him, “Sir, if You have carried Him away, tell me where You have laid Him, and I will take Him away.”16 Jesus said to her, “Mary!”She turned and said to Him, “Rabboni!” (which is to say, Teacher).17 Jesus said to her, “Do not cling to Me, for I have not yet ascended to My Father; but go to My brethren and say to them, ‘I am ascending to My Father and your Father, and to My God and your God.’”18Mary Magdalene came and told the disciples that she had seen the Lord, and that He had spoken these things to her.
We are likely to seek and find, when we seek with affection, and seek in tears. But many believers complain of the clouds and darkness they are under, which are methods of grace for humbling their souls, mortifying their sins, and endearing Christ to them. A sight of angels and their smiles, will not suffice, without a sight of Jesus, and God’s smiles in him. None know, but those who have tasted it, the sorrows of a deserted soul, which has had comfortable evidences of the love of God in Christ, and hopes of heaven, but has now lost them, and walks in darkness; such a wounded spirit who can bear? Christ, in manifesting himself to those that seek him, often outdoes their expectations. See how Mary’s heart was in earnest to find Jesus. Christ’s way of making himself known to his people is by his word; his word applied to their souls, speaking to them in particular. It might be read, Is it my Master? See with what pleasure those who love Jesus speak of his authority over them. He forbids her to expect that his bodily presence look further, than the present state of things. Observe the relation to God, from union with Christ. We, partaking of a Divine nature, Christ’s Father is our Father; and he, partaking of the human nature, our God is his God. Christ’s ascension into heaven, there to plead for us, is likewise an unspeakable comfort. Let them not think this earth is to be their home and rest; their eye and aim, and earnest desires, must be upon another world, and this ever upon their hearts, I ascend, therefore I must seek the things which are above. And let those who know the word of Christ, endeavour that others should get good from their knowledge.
Several different followers went to Jesus’ grave and discovered the empty tomb on the first day of the new week (20:1-3; see also Resurrection Events chart ). Again John adds eyewitness details: He tells of seeing the empty strips of linen in which Jesus’ body had been wrapped . And he shares the story of other witnesses. Mary Magdalene is the first to see Jesus alive again . Jesus appears inside a locked room to speak to all His disciples but Thomas . Later Jesus returns when Thomas is present, and the disciple who earlier earned the nickname “Doubting” immediately fell to his knees in adoration and worship .
Then, stepping back, John shares the focus and purpose of his book. He has recorded a true account of Jesus’ miracles and His teachings, His death and rising to life again, “that you may believe that Jesus is the Christ, the Son of God, and that by believing you may have life through His name” .
Robert G OHaver