What We learned Together Sunday April 9, 2023 Resurrection Sunday
INTRODUCTION “He is Risen, He is Risen Indeed” We are here today because Jesus is risen from the dead. A great statement of Christian truth is “that if you confess with your mouth Jesus as Lord, and believe in your heart that God raised Him from the dead, you will be saved” [Romans 10:9-10]. It is our Christian testimony based on the authority of the Word of God. The Apostle Paul wrote, “that Christ died for our sins according to the Scriptures, and that He was buried, and that He was raised on the third day according to the Scriptures [1 Corinthians 15:3-4]. This morning for our special Resurrection Sunday we are teaching from the Gospel of John again. This morning John chapter 20 where we are seeing the message of the Apostle John as the eyewitness of these events. This morning believing Jesus has risen from the dead as we study John chapter 20 together. Different Perspectives of the Empty Tomb [Matthew 28; Mark 16; Luke 24] John has already clearly stated the burial confirms the reality of His death [Cf. 19:35, 38-42]. In this Gospel narrative “John writes with exceptional detail and great vividness throughout.” What he saw and believed & wants us to see and believe throughout the narrative. Three different Greek words used in this chapter for the English word saw: observing 20:2, 5 [1:14, 29, 38; 11:45], seeing 20:6 [1:34], and understanding 20:8, 18-29 [John 1:39, 46, 50-51; 4:29, 45; 19:35]. Four sections to this chapter: Seeing The Stone Taken Away from the Tomb of Jesus, Seeing The Burial Clothes Lying in The Tomb of Jesus, Seeing The Lord Jesus Physically Resurrected from the Dead, and Seeing The Lord Jesus Personally Alive Before Them All. There is hope for today and hope for tomorrow believing Jesus has risen from the dead.First, Seeing The Stone Taken Away from the Tomb of Jesus [20:1-2]. Arriving at the Tomb Where Jesus’ Body Was Buried [20:1a]. John details the first day of the week . . . It Is Sunday! And as Mary Magdalene arrives she “saw the stone taken away from the tomb.” cf. 19:41-42 Throughout John gives repetition of the phrase “the tomb” [cf. John 19:41; 20:1,2,3,4,6,8]. Here is the history of the empty tomb. Then Announcing to the Disciples that Jesus’ Body Was Gone [20:2]. What was Mary Magdalene’s conclusion? Cf. 20:11-13 She was thinking only what man had done not what God truly did. The same word taken away used in both verse one and verse two. The great number of emotions on that day for her with sadness and loss compounded by unexpected circumstances seeming more intense and dark with his body now gone. She wanted to remember Him and go to where His body had been placed but now even that desire is obstructed. This is where the skeptics stops with someone took His body and that explains the empty tomb but there is so much more to the truth of these matters. What she didn’t know and couldn’t understand apart from Jesus revealing Himself to her.
Second, Seeing The Burial Clothes Lying in The Tomb of Jesus [20:3-10]. From the history of this event to their testimony about these events. What they saw there in the empty tomb is placed before the reader by the eyewitness testimony of the Apostle John. Arriving at the Tomb Where Jesus’ Body Was Supposed To Be [20:3-5]. John gives us the details showing the real situation and real action by both Peter and John. Why such details included here not found in the other Gospel accounts? John understands that the readers have these other accounts so his emphasis here is on how they acted and reacted. They were not planning but running. They were not strategizing but reacting. Then Approaching the Tomb Where Jesus’ Body Was No Longer [20:6-10]. The presence of linen wrappings but the absence of the body. Peter sees the burial clothes with the emphasis on “the body, he saw plainly, was gone. But there was something in the whole appearance of things which he could not understand.” Notice the emphasis upon Peter saw what was left in the tomb. The narrative connects these verses with the repeated conjunction “and . . . and . . . and . . .” The face cloth rolled up all by itself is significant. Remembering the same clothes used on Lazarus in John chapter 11 and those burial clothes needed to be removed by others. Here the burial clothes are left behind by Jesus in the tomb contradicting the theory of grave robbers stealing the body. As one commentator said the burials clothes lying in the empty tomb, “by the one who no longer had any use for them.” These same burial clothes mentioned in John 19:40 when the body of Jesus was buried. Then notice the statements by John in verse eight, “he saw and believed.” Without actually seeing Jesus resurrected John here states that he believed by the evidence presented to him at the empty tomb. And therefore he presents to the reader calling upon each one to see and believe. Here again is brought into focus believing Jesus has risen from the dead. Jesus conquered death is the plain statement of the narrative. Also verse nine and ten remind us that the authority of Scripture is the basis for belief in the resurrection of Jesus. This was in the proclaiming of Jesus’ Words in the Gospel of John [Cf. John 2:22; 10:17-18; 11:25].
Third, Seeing The Lord Jesus Physically Resurrected from the Dead [20:11-18]. Now Mary returns to the tomb of Jesus. And John continues the narrative “ . . . the tomb . . . where the body of Jesus had been lying . . .” Here Mary is weeping and sees the angels. Her words about Jesus “ . . . my Lord . . . the Lord . . .” What a special relationship Mary had with Jesus because of His grace, His forgiveness, and His salvation in her life. [Cf. John 20:20, 25, 28] Jesus reveals himself to her in the deep state of despair while weeping. It calls upon us to recognize and see the great comfort and care the resurrected Lord provides for His own disciples who He loves, and they love him. Jesus is not detached from the sorrow and grief of His disciples. How different she left the tomb after seeing Jesus from when she arrived at the tomb according to verse one. “[She] came announcing to the disciples, I have seen the Lord . . .” A message from the Lord Jesus in obedience to His words. Here the emphasis is Jesus is Lord. Not only Jesus conquered death but also Jesus is Lord. This is what we believe and teach in the resurrection of Jesus. He is Lord! By her own testimony “I have seen the Lord!” It is one of the great declarations as His disciples that Jesus is risen from the dead and therefore Jesus is Lord. Proclaiming who He is and what He has done testifying this believing Jesus has risen from the dead. The one who had been weeping is now witnessing! Having shown us the history by providing us the testimony, John here now shows His authority as the resurrected Lord.
Fourth, Seeing The Lord Jesus Personally Alive Before Them All [20:19-29]. Jesus presented Himself alive to His disciples. Here the emphasis is Jesus Is Alive. Read verse 19 “Jesus came and stood in their midst and said to them . . .” Peace Jesus gives to His disciples. His very presence with them. Read verse 20 “disciples rejoiced when they saw the Lord.” Read verse 25 “we have seen the Lord!” And yet Thomas was unwilling and unbelieving as if there was a lack of evidence and eyewitness accounts. Such a great reminder that there might be one like Thomas here today. May the evidence, testimony, and words of Jesus minister to you this day so that you would understand and believe. There is plenty of evidence and by the authority of the Word of God believing Jesus has risen from the dead. So that we can trust Him wholeheartedly. The devil wants to play with your emotions and your heart in these matters. And again eight days later Jesus appears to His disciples. Read verse 29 “because you have seen me, have you believed?” Read verse 29 “Blessed are they who did not see, and yet believed.” Jesus mentioned this back in His High Priestly prayer. John recorded His words, “I am not asking on behalf of these alone, but also for those who believe in Me through their word” [John 17:20]. Is that you Jesus is speaking about in these words to Thomas? Is Jesus talking about you as a believer? And finally John concludes this chapter and this section of the Gospel narrative with his theme of believing. That is what is means to be a believer. I believe Jesus has risen from the dead. Maybe you are here today and the words for Thomas are Jesus’ words for you dear friend, “do not be unbelieving, but believing.” [20:27] And Thomas said to Jesus, “My Lord and My God!” One of the highest confessions and professions of any man of Jesus on the earth! This is what the resurrection of Jesus does in the rising of our thoughts about Him that we would also declare My Lord and My God. Not only Jesus conquered death and Jesus is Lord, and therefore Jesus is alive. So I therefore ought to obey Him, serve Him, love Him, and worship Him. The reality of His resurrection. To believe that Jesus has risen from the dead is to believe the words of Jesus! To believe that Jesus has risen from the dead is to believe the testimony of the Word of God! See and believe that Jesus would be your Lord and your God. This needs to be our testimony that we say Jesus is “My Lord and My God!” In these final verses of this chapter John writes, “So then, many other signs Jesus also performed in the presence of the disciples, which are not written in this book; but these have been written so that you may believe that Jesus is the Christ, the Son of God; and that by believing you may have life in His name.” [John 20:30-31]
“He is Risen, He is Risen Indeed!” Seeing and believing! Believing Jesus has risen from the dead. What we have seen in this chapter: Seeing The Stone Taken Away from the Tomb of Jesus, Seeing The Burial Clothes Lying in The Tomb of Jesus, Seeing The Lord Jesus Physically Resurrected from the Dead, and Seeing The Lord Jesus Personally Alive Before Them All. There is hope for today and hope for tomorrow believing Jesus has risen from the dead. Here John gives his readers evidences, testimonies, and appearances so that we would also believe! Do you believe? Jesus conquered death. Jesus is Lord. Jesus is Alive. There are several points of application for us believing Jesus has risen from the dead. The resurrection of Jesus from the dead means He lives and therefore intercedes on our behalf [cf. Romans 5:10;6:4;Ephesians 1:19-20;Hebrews 7:25]. The resurrection of Jesus is a historical fact & biblical truth which intersects in the lives of real people in real situations—His Help, Our Hope, The Home. The resurrection of Jesus means each of us should live as those believing Jesus has risen from the dead with our testimony being “my Lord and My God.” The resurrection of Jesus means that we announce to others the Gospel message believing Jesus has risen from the dead. Are you believing Jesus has risen from the dead?
Pastor Timothy J. Atkins
Husband, Father, Grandfather, Pastor, Teacher, Discipler, and Follower of Jesus.