RESURRECTION TEXT MESSAGES
Intro: How do you think God feels about Easter Sunday? We know that human emotions come from God. We are made in His image. We have feelings because He has feelings. Does God look forward to this day every year? It’s a long weekend. His churches are full. People celebrate the occasion. What does He think about it all? I think God loves it. In His providence, some of His wayward children come home for a day. Unbelievers attend to consider the claims of the Christian faith. Easter Sunday is a day of destiny for many. It is a day for many in darkness to see a great light. Concerning Jesus’ Resurrection, God has some text messages for us.
To the mainstays (vv.1-10)
“EMPTY TOMB = A RESURRECTION”
Mary Magdalene’s grief was so severe, she tossed and turned all Saturday night, and when she could stand it no longer, went to Jesus’ tomb to finish any burial customs left undone. Imagine her dismay when she discovered the stone being rolled away.
She ran back to Peter’s house to tell him and John that “they” had moved Jesus’ body somewhere unknown.
Immediately, Peter & John race to the tomb to see for themselves. John, being younger, outran the older Peter. He saw the linen grave clothes but did not enter the tomb directly.
Peter arrived 2nd but went right in. He noticed the strange sight of the grave clothes lying where Jesus’ body should have been, and the head-dressings folded neatly in place.
John got up the nerve to finally go inside to investigate, and what he saw created faith in his heart. “He saw and believed” (v.8).
John 20:9 For as yet they did not know the Scripture, that He must rise again from the dead.
Evidence for a risen Savior from the laundry:
(1) body was not stolen – graverobbers do not tidy up, they ransack (imperial decree of capital punishment)
(2) two men saw the grave clothes – fulfills the Jewish requirements for valid testimony (Deut 19:15)
(3) unoccupied grave clothes meant they had been forsaken forever (ex. Lazarus – still attached to this present darkness)
The tomb is empty. Something marvelous has happened! Jesus is no longer dead!
To the wounded daughters (vv.11-18)
“HEAR JESUS SPEAK TO YOU”
Mary stayed at the grave site weeping. When she peered into the tomb, it was not the grave clothes that she noticed. Instead, she saw two angels – one standing at the head and the other at what would have been the feet of Jesus if His body had still been there.
They ask why she is crying. She answers that her Lord missing, and she does not know where to look to find Him.
John 20:14 Now when she had said this, she turned around and saw Jesus standing there, and did not know that it was Jesus.
John 20:15 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.”
John 20:16 Jesus said to her, “Mary!” She turned and said to Him, “Rabboni!” (which is to say, Teacher).
Grief can often be disorienting. Mary was looking for a corpse when she should have been seeking a person.
(1) Mary Magdalene – out of whom He had cast seven demons (Luke 8:2).
John 20:16 Jesus said to her, “Mary!”
Have you noticed that in the deepest experiences of life, particularly in those long-awaited reunions of those who have meant so much to us, that words are usually few? The embrace typically says more than the words ever could.
R.V.G. Tasker – Never was there a one-word utterance more charged with emotion than this.
John 10:3 …the sheep hear his voice; and he calls his own sheep by name and leads them out.
The life that the Good Shepherd has laid down for the sheep has been laid down for each separate sheep; and His resurrection life is now available for every single believer.
(2) woman at the well – He knew her troubling secrets and her mixed ancestry, yet she was the first He told that He was Messiah
John 4:26 Jesus said to her, “I who speak to you am He.”
(3) woman caught in adultery – even though there was no question about her guilt, He took away her shame
John 8:11 And Jesus said to her, “Neither do I condemn you; go and sin no more.”
(4) notoriously immoral woman – everyone knew her reputation, but Jesus received her worship anyway and gave her grace
Luke 7:48 Then He said to her, “Your sins are forgiven.”
(5) impoverished bleeding woman – at first, they tried to help; then they abandoned her, but Jesus healed her and received her
Luke 8:48 And He said to her, “Daughter, be of good cheer; your faith has made you well. Go in peace.”
(6) woman crippled by a demon – for 18 years she could not raise herself; Jesus delivered her on allegedly the wrong day
Luke 13:12 But when Jesus saw her, He called her to Him and said to her, “Woman, you are loosed from your infirmity.”
(7) Mary, His mother – which daughter could possibly be more wounded? She felt helpless watching her child be mistreated. Yet, Jesus arranged for her life and care as He was crucified
John 19:26 When Jesus therefore saw His mother, and the disciple whom He loved standing by, He said to His mother, “Woman, behold your son!”
How many wounded daughters of Jesus came to church today?
Mary Magdalene went to the tomb that Sunday morning because she owed so much to her Master during His earthly life. Most of all, she needed to be reassured at the earliest possible moment that death could not put an end to all His promises.
To the church (vv.19-23)
“GO SAVE SOULS IN THE POWER OF THE SPIRIT”
John 20:21 So Jesus said to them again, “Peace to you! As the Father has sent Me, I also send you.”
John 20:22 And when He had said this, He breathed on them, and said to them, “Receive the Holy Spirit.”
Principle of Jewish authorization: “One who is sent is as he who sends him.” (In the person of the Son, the Father is present; in the missionary church, the Son is present – “and lo, I am with you always”)
Christ Jesus breathes on them to impart to them the indwelling Holy Spirit, without whom their mission would be impossible.
Who can effectively minister to others when you are dead inside? The Spirit in God’s people means life.
Gen 2:7 And the Lord God formed man of the dust of the ground, and breathed into his nostrils the breath of life; and man became a living being.
1 Cor 15:45 And so it is written, “The first man Adam became a living being.” The last Adam became a life-giving spirit.
Now that they have received peace infused by the Spirit of their Lord, the disciples can now become the apostles of Jesus, as He had been the Apostle to His Father. They can now help others be reconciled to God.
To the absent member of the community (vv.24-29)
“LEAVE UNBELIEF BEHIND”
John 20:24 Now Thomas, called the Twin, one of the twelve, was not with them when Jesus came.
Jesus’ first resurrection appearance to those who would become apostles, begins by noting that Thomas was absent. He missed the meeting. At one of the most important moments for his faith community, he was not there.
Where was he? Did he go fishing since it the weather was so lovely? Did he sleep in? Did is wife guilt him into staying home since he had been gone so often? Was he tired? Did one of the 12 say something to offend him? Did they ask for money one too many times?
He chose to be elsewhere and missed the presence of Jesus.
John 20:25 The other disciples therefore said to him, “We have seen the Lord.” So he said to them, “Unless I see in His hands the print of the nails, and put my finger into the print of the nails, and put my hand into His side, I will not believe.”
For the women who attended Jesus’ crucifixion and to the 10 apostles who were present at His first resurrection appearance, the evidence of sight was enough. They saw the risen Jesus and believed.
But Thomas demanded not only the evidence of sight, but also the evidence of touch.
Absence from the faith community brings an even greater skepticism.
No one’s faith grows when they are away from the body of Christ.
You cannot get closer to God nor can you remain with God without the fellowship found in the assembly of the saints.
Had Thomas been weak and unsteady up to this point? Was this his normal character? No!
He has already been presented in John’s gospel as loyal and even courageous. Thomas was no stranger to spiritual victory. He had some wins in his past.
John 11:16 Then Thomas, who is called the Twin, said to his fellow disciples, “Let us also go, that we may die with Him.”
And yet, Thomas’ absence at the first appearance of Christ to the apostles exposed his growing unbelief, not his struggling faith.
So, Jesus makes a second appearance especially with Thomas in mind.
John 20:26 And after eight days His disciples were again inside, and Thomas with them. Jesus came, the doors being shut, and stood in the midst, and said, “Peace to you!”
John 20:27 Then He said to Thomas, “Reach your finger here, and look at My hands; and reach your hand here, and put it into My side. Do not be unbelieving, but believing.”
God loves differently than we love.
Even our best relationships have performance expectations. And when those expectations are broken, we recoil. We extend our arms and push away from those who hurt us.
Not Jesus. When His children fail Him, He reaches out for an even more caring embrace.
Christ is called the king of glory, the Lord of glory, the brightness of the glory of His Father, the head over all things, the prince of life, the creator of all things, the upholder of all things, the disposer of all things, and the only beloved of His Father.
Those whom He loves are called transgressors, sinners, enemies, dust and ashes, fleas, worms, shadows, vapors, vile, filthy, unclean, ungodly, fools and madmen. Is it not curious that He has set His heart upon us?
With outstretched arms, Jesus makes a special return trip to reach out to the lone unbelieving would-be apostle. The Lord’s care extends to His people at all times.
He adds a comment that is half-rebuke and half appeal: “Stop being unbelieving, and show yourself a believer!”
John 20:28 And Thomas answered and said to Him, “My Lord and my God!”
It just so happens that the most outrageous doubter of the Resurrection of Jesus utters the greatest confession of the Lord.
The personal pronouns tell the story – “my Lord and my God” – Thomas confesses to the risen Lord that he belongs to Christ as His willing subject.
This leads to what has been called Jesus’ last and greatest beatitude.
John 20:29 Jesus said to him, “Thomas, because you have seen Me, you have believed. Blessed are those who have not seen and yet have believed.”
Rabbi Simeon ben Laquish – The proselyte is dearer to God than all the Israelites who stood by Mt. Sinai. For if all the Israelites had not seen the thunder, and the flames, and the lightnings, and the quaking mountain, and the sound of the trumpet, they would not have accepted the Law and taken upon themselves the kingdom of God. Yet this man has seen none of all these things, yet comes and gives himself to God. Is there any who is dearer than this man?
Happy are they who, without having had Thomas’ experience, share Thomas’ faith!
“You can see Him with your heart, if you’ll stop looking with your eyes.” – Julie Miller
If you have ever missed church for weeks or months only to return and feel left out and far behind everyone else, it is because it is true to a certain extent. Like Thomas, you have missed important spiritual moments from God.
It is in that moment that the enemy will whisper to your spirit, “You can never catch up. You have missed out on too much. It is hopeless. Do not re-engage. Do not fully return to the Lord and His church.”
But God’s grace restores immediately! Like the prodigal son’s father, God has been looking out at the horizon every day, longing for you to return.
To the whole world (vv.30-31)
“BELIEVE IN JESUS FOR ETERNAL LIFE”
John 20:30 And truly Jesus did many other signs in the presence of His disciples, which are not written in this book;
John 20:31 but these are written that you may believe that Jesus is the Christ, the Son of God, and that believing you may have life in His name.
The Christian faith in its essence rests on the conviction that Jesus is crucified-and-risen.
Rom 1:4 …and declared to be the Son of God with power according to the Spirit of holiness, by the resurrection from the dead.
Have you believed that Jesus is the Son of God? Have you been given eternal life? Are you sure? Can any witnesses testify on your behalf?