John 20:1-18 The Resurrection and Mary

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1 Parkdale Grace Fellowship Easter Sunday, April 5, 2015 (Originally preached on Easter 2004 & 2008) John 20:1-18 The Resurrection and Mary Yesterday as I was in the Foothills Hospital visiting some patients I noticed the hallways decorated with bunny rabbits and carrots, and I was struck by the pointless, shallow meaninglessness of this holiday for those who do not believe. Without faith in Jesus Christ you have nothing to celebrate today. But for us who believe, today we celebrate the greatest event in the history of mankind we celebrate the supremely most important event that has forever changed our lives and gives joyful purpose and meaning to our existence today and gives us assurance of an everlasting and fulfilling future. We celebrate the resurrection of Jesus Christ who sacrificially gave up His life to die in our place, paying the penalty for our sin. But He rose again as proof that His sacrifice was effective and accepted by God it worked! Because He conquered the power of sin and death He can give eternal life to all who will by faith follow Him. Can you live without Jesus? If Jesus had not risen could you carry on with your life? John 20:1 2, "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. " Mary has incredible love for Jesus but she is lacking faith. She saw the stone rolled away and the body missing from the tomb and she panicked, assumed someone had stolen His body, the idea that He was now alive never even crossed her mind. So she ran off to find Peter and John they might know what to do. John 20:3 7, "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."

2 2 The head cloth is said to be folded together in a place by itself. In the original language the wording is not folded up but rolled up and the implication is that these linen grave clothes which were long strips of cloth wrapped around the body (mummy style), were untouched, still in their original position as they had been when they were tightly wrapped around Jesus dead body. The Amplified Bible says the head cloth was still rolled up (wrapped round and round) in a place by itself. The grave cloths had not been unwound from Jesus body. When Lazarus was raised from the dead they had to unwrap him to let him go. But Jesus had apparently passed right through those grave clothes leaving them, perhaps collapsed, but undisturbed like an empty cocoon. Only the head piece was set aside to reveal that the grave clothes were indeed empty. John 20:8, "Then the other disciple, who came to the tomb first, went in also; and he saw and believed." It was obvious that Jesus body had not been taken out of these cloths by any grave robber nor any other natural means. Nothing short of a supernatural miracle could explain what these men saw. John could come to only one conclusion: Jesus resurrected body had passed right through these grave clothes in the same way that He later would pass right through the walls of the locked house they were meeting in. John 20:19 20, "Then, the same day at evening, being the first day of the week, when the doors were shut where the disciples were assembled, for fear of the Jews, Jesus came and stood in the midst, and said to them, Peace be with you. 20 When He had said this, He showed them His hands and His side. Then the disciples were glad when they saw the Lord." Jesus resurrected body was a physical body but it was radically changed. So will our bodies be changed one day at the Rapture of the Church when the trumpet sounds and the dead in Christ are raised. (1 Cor. 15:50-53) 1 Corinthians 15:51 53, 57 "But let me reveal to you a wonderful secret God has revealed to us. Not all of us will die, but we will all be transformed! 52 It will happen in a moment, in the blink of an eye, when the last trumpet is blown. For when the trumpet sounds, the Christians who have died will be raised with transformed bodies. And then we who are living will also be transformed so that we will never die.

3 3 53 For our perishable earthly bodies must be transformed into heavenly bodies that will never die 57 How we thank God, who gives us victory over sin and death through our Lord Jesus Christ!" John 20:9 11a, "For 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. 11 But Mary stood outside by the tomb weeping..." Mary Magdalene had an incredibly deep love and devotion to her Lord. She had been the first to the tomb, in her eagerness not even waiting for the sun to rise, she so longed to express her love and devotion to her Lord. Now she is distraught and beside herself with anguish at the thought that someone has stolen Jesus body. Mary was an example of what Jesus meant when he said, those who have been forgiven much, love much. But those who have been forgiven little love little. Prior to meeting Jesus, Mary Magdalene had lived a miserable life. The Bible tells us that Jesus had cast 7 demons out of Mary. I can t imagine the torment and torture of being demon possessed. But Mary knew it firsthand. Her life had been one of misery and hopelessness. But when she met Jesus her life was forever changed. Jesus drove out the darkness and brought Mary into the light and gave her freedom. In response, Mary had given her life completely to Jesus and had accompanied Him and His disciples everywhere they went through-out His ministry. Even in death, Mary was there at the cross; she was there when they buried him in the tomb, and now she is still there, seeking his body. John 20:11 12, "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." What Mary sees inside this tomb is very significant.

4 4 Like the veil in the temple that kept people out of the most Holy place where the ark of the covenant was kept (the ark of the covenant represented the throne of God the very presence of God). The ark in the holy place of the Temple was a gold box with images of two golden angels, one at each end of the box. So, in comparison, the stone sealing the opening of the tomb kept people away from this most holy place. And as the veil in the temple was torn in two at Jesus death, removing the barrier separating man from God, so this stone is rolled away at His resurrection. The stone was not rolled away to let Jesus out, but to let people in. Mary, who longs to be with her Lord, walks into this Holy of Holies and sees not lifeless carved golden angels, but she sees two live cherubim. And she didn t see the golden mercy seat between these angels where the sacrificial blood of bulls and goats was sprinkled She saw the rock slab where the sacrificial Lamb of God had been laid. For this woman who longed to be close to her Lord the way had been opened up through His sacrificial death and resurrection for her to enter into the very Holy of Holies. John 20:13 14, "Then they said to her, Woman, why are you weeping? She said to them, Because 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." Mary turned away from these angels. Mary s heart and focus was so singly centered on Jesus that not even this vision of angels could take her mind off of her longing for Jesus. These same angels had so frightened the soldiers guarding the tomb that the soldiers fell to the ground like dead men. But Mary turned away from these angels, apparently unimpressed. When your heart longs for the Lord, even angels won t do. There is no substitute for Jesus. Ps. 73:25 describes the attitude of Mary s heart toward the Lord, Whom have I in heaven but you? And being with you, I desire nothing on earth. If Jesus was the greatest desire of our hearts none of the things of this world that so easily distract us would have any hold on us.

5 5 We are so easily distracted from any serious pursuit of God by trivial things like Facebook, TV, shopping malls, sports and our accumulation of material possessions. But Mary was not distracted from her pursuit of Jesus, not even by the supernatural manifestation of angels. Mary longed for Jesus. She did not have a life to return to without Him. Perhaps she feared the demons would return now that Jesus was gone. She desperately needed her Lord. Notice the contrast Peter and John, Jesus closest friends went back to their homes. But Mary remained, seeking Jesus. Peter would even try to go back to his fishing career. But Mary would not leave until she had found her Lord. Can you carry on with your life without Jesus? Or is He absolutely crucial to your existence? The Lord says in Pr. 8:17, I love those who love me, and those who seek me diligently will find me. Mary s love and devotion kept her at the tomb while Peter and John returned home. Mary then saw the Angels, but Peter and John missed out. But best of all, as we are about to see, because of her great devotion to Christ, Mary was the first to see Jesus risen from the dead and the first to hear Him speak. Let us learn from Mary s example. John 20:14 16, "Now when 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)." In Jn. 10, Jesus said that He calls His own sheep by name and He said, My sheep listen to my voice. O the indescribable joy that must have flooded Mary s heart when she recognized her Lord call out her name. Imagine the thrill that rushed through her soul when she realized that HE IS ALIVE! Do you sense some of that thrill of excitement today as we reflect on the fact that He is risen from the dead?

6 6 Because He lives Mary could face tomorrow without fear all her fear about the future is gone. And so too is ours because He lives we who love Him today have joy and assurance of a glorious future. John 20:17, "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. " This is the first time Jesus referred to His disciples as His brothers. Jesus death, burial and resurrection has changed our relationship with God. Our sin had once separated us, but now because of Jesus death, burial and resurrection, [to] as many as received Him, to them He gave the right to become children of God, to those who believe in His name. This morning let me ask you, Do you believe in the resurrection of Jesus Christ? Do you believe that He is alive today and that He lives forever? Will you confess Him as your Lord and your God? The Bible says, That if you confess with your mouth the Lord Jesus and believe in your heart that God has raised Him from the dead, you will be saved. 10 For with the heart one believes unto righteousness, and with the mouth confession is made unto salvation. Romans 10:9-10 Like Mary, you too can put your faith in Jesus to transform your life and give you eternal life. You can experience Jesus resurrection life today by simply calling out to Him with a heart that believes. Copyright 2015 by Parkdale Grace Fellowship Permission: You are permitted to reproduce and distribute this material in any format, provided that you do not alter the wording in any way and do not charge a fee beyond the cost of reproduction. Unless otherwise noted, Scripture taken from the New King James Version. Copyright 1979, 1980, 1982 by Thomas Nelson, Inc. Used by permission. All rights reserved.

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