- Resurrection Sunday “An Empty Tomb” Verses 1 thru 10
Mary Magdalene’s account covers, John 20:1-2, and John 20:11-18.
John’s gives us his eyewitness in, John 20:3-10, and John 20: 19-29, and Chapter 21
Note: Collectively, in all 4 Gospel accounts, 3 women: Mary Magdalele, Salome and Mary the mother of Joses go to the place where Jesus was entombed. They took more spices to embalm Jesus body because they were not aware that Joseph of Armithaea and Nicodemus has already done so. The men had wrapped Jesus body in a linen shroud which contained 100 pounds of spices comprised of myrrh and aloes.
On the way to Jesus burial site, they wondered who would roll the stone away. If they could get somebody to move the great stone in front of His sealed tomb, once the stone was to be moved, they would complete the work then move Jesus ‘body to a permanent grave.
Make this note: According to many Biblical scholars Joseph’s tomb was only used to comply with the fast approaching Sabbath (Jesus died at the 9th hour 3:00 pm.) and they only had 3 hours to secure release of his body, embalm and enshroud it and have Him buried. It was early on Sunday when the ladies make their way to the tomb.
- It’s still dark but Mary goes to the tomb early Sunday morning and sees the stone rolled away and an empty tomb. (vs. 1) ((A new day began at sunset and would carry to the next sunset)
- Seeing the stone removed from the front of the tomb, according to Luke 24:4-8, the women encounter 2 angels inside the empty tomb.
“They did not find the body of the Lord Jesus. While they were wondering about this, suddenly two men in clothes that gleamed like lightning stood beside them. In their fright the women bowed down with their faces to the ground, but the men said to them, "Why do you look for the living among the dead? He is not here; he has risen! Remember how he told you, while he was still with you in Galilee: 'The Son of Man must be delivered into the hands of sinful men, be crucified and on the third day be raised again.'" Then they remembered his words.
Mary now runs to tell the rest that Jesus arose and would meet them all in Galilee. On the way, she runs back and tell them what the angels said but on the way , the women meet a risen Jesus (Matthew 28:8-10) They then told everybody but according to John, only he and peter came to see if it was true. (vs.2)
John outrun Peter to the tomb. Sees the linen cloth lying there but didn’t go in the tomb.
Question: Why did John go in the first time?
Because he was fully satisfied that the body was not there.
But why did he not seize upon the linen clothes, and keep them as a most precious relic? (A staple of early Roman Catholicism)
Because he had too much “religion” and too much sense; and the time of superstition and nonsense was not yet arrived, in which bits of rotten wood, rags of rotten cloth, decayed bones (to whom originally belonging no one knows) and bramble bushes, should become objects of religious adoration.
Noteworthy: This outlandish behavior and other practices that permeated the Roman Catholic Movement was the reason for the formation of the Protestant Church Movement led by Martin Luther in the 15th century.
Peter after seeing the linen went in the tomb John went in afterwards and the Bible said once he saw the linen and how everything was neatly arrayed,
God operating from His Providence made sure that the grave clothes were left in a way the gave positive proof that Jesus body was not stolen by the disciples. By leaving the grave cloths as they would if a person has simply slipped out of them became the fullest proofs against the lie of the chief priests, that the body had been stolen away by the disciples. If the body had been stolen away, those who took it would not have stopped to strip the clothes from it, and to wrap them up, and lay them by in separate places.
John saw and immediately believed. (But they didn’t understand from the Scriptures that Jesus was to arise from the dead.) (Vs. 4-9)
The Scripture John refers to is Psalms 16:9-10:
“Thou wilt not leave my soul in hell… For thou wilt not abandon my life to the grave, nor suffer thy Holy One to see corruption.
Mary Encounters Jesus (risen) (verses 11-18)
Peter and John now go home but Mary Magdalene remains at the grave crying. As she continues to cry, she stoops down and looks inside the tomb. Inside, she sees 2 angels dressed in white sitting on the horizontal slab where Jesus body had been laid (one on each end)
Noteworthy: The place the 2 angels took up at each end was similar to the position the 2 Cherubims took up at both ends of the Mercy Set on top of the Ark of the Covenant with their wings spreaded, spanning over the Mercy Seat.
They asked her “Woman, why are you weeping? Mary answered, “Because they have taken away my Lord and I don’t know where they have laid Him”. (vs. 11-13)
She now turns around and sees Jesus standing there but could not recognize Him. Jesus then asks her, “Woman why are you weeping? Whom are you seeking? Believing that Jesus was the gardener, she said: Sir, if you have carried Him away, tell me where you have laid Him and I will take Him away.
Jesus said to her: Mary! She responded “Rabboni”? (meaning teacher)
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.'"
Apparently, some of the women held him by the feet and worshipped him. This probably Mary did; and our Lord seems to have spoken to her to this effect:
"Don’t spend too much time with me now: I’m not going immediately to heaven yet and you will have several opportunities to see me again: but for now, go and tell my disciples, that I am, at some point going to ascend to my Father and God, who’s your Father and God also. Therefore, let them take courage."
Mary Magdalene came and told the disciples that she had seen the Lord,* and that He had spoken these things to her.
Concerning the Remaining Disciples: “Their Commission” (Verses 19-22)
“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, came Jesus and stood in the midst, and saith unto them, Peace be unto you”. (vs. 19)
The disciples didn’t know it, but it wasn’t the Jewish leaders desire to bother the disciples. It was apparently because of what Jesus said to them when they came to arrest him in the garden and the way His divine authority came through when He spoke it in John 18:8: “ If it’s Me you seek….let these go away”.
But, as they had proceeded so far as to put Christ to death, coupled with the weakness of faith in the disciples, they were inclined to think they would next. Some scholars think they actually had the doors barricaded.
Nevertheless Jesus came in the sealed room. It is noteworthy to mention here John omitted the appearing of our Lord to the other women who came from the tomb in (Matthew 28:9) and to the two disciples who were going to Emmaus in Luke 24:13, all of which happened in the course of this same day. Now standing in the midst of them…
Jesus said: Peace be unto you. (This was His usual salutation and benediction.) This meant: May every blessing of heaven and earth which you need be granted unto you! “And when he had so said, he shewed unto them his hands and his side. Then were the disciples glad, when they saw the Lord.”(s. 20)
Jesus body bore the marks of the nails and the spear; and these marks were preserved that the disciples might be the more fully convinced of the reality of his resurrection.
Then said Jesus to them again, Peace be unto you: as my Father hath sent me, I also send you. (vs. 21)
As I was sent to proclaim the truth of the Most High, and to convert sinners to God, I send you for the very same purpose, clothed with the very same authority, and influenced by the very same Spirit.
And when he had said this, he breathed on them, and saith unto them Receive ye the Holy Ghost: Whosesoever sins ye remit, they are remitted unto them; and whosesoever sins ye retain, they are retained. (vs. 22-23)
Intimating, by this, that they were to be made new men, in order to be properly qualified for the work to which he had called them; for in this breathing he evidently alluded to the first creation of man, when God breathed into him the breath of lives, and he became a living soul: the breath or Spirit of God being the grand principle and cause of his spiritual and divine life.
Noteworthy: Every word of Christ which is received in the heart by faith comes accompanied by this divine breathing; and, without this, there is neither light nor life. Just as Adam was before God breathed the quickening spirit into him, so is every human soul until it receives this inspiration. Nothing is seen, known, discerned, or felt of God, but through this. To every private Christian this is essentially requisite; and no man ever did or ever can preach the Gospel of God,
The apostles received from the Lord the doctrine of reconciliation, and the doctrine of condemnation. They who believed on the Son of God, in consequence of their preaching, had their sins remitted; and they who would not believe were declared to lie under condemnation. That the power of life and death, and the power of delivering over to Satan, which was granted to the apostles, is here referred to. This was a power which the primitive apostles exclusively possessed.
Thomas: “Seeing Jesus then Believing” (Verses 24-29)
But Thomas, one of the twelve, called Didymus, was not with them when Jesus came. (vs. 24)
The first time Jesus appeared to the disciples in the barricaded room, Thomas was not there and missed out on this precious opportunity of seeing and hearing Christ and receiving the blessing of the Holy Spirit. Jesus had told them before not to forsake being in company with the disciples. Had Thomas been there the first time he would not have had such difficulty believing his brethren and remembering that that Jesus told them that He would rise on the 3rd day. (Sunday)
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." (vs. 25)
Here’s a description of Thomas belligerent behavior upon getting the news that Jesus was alive and had been with the others
1. Utterly unreasonable. Ten of his brethren witnessed that they had seen Christ, but he rejected their testimony.
2. His unbelief became obstinate: Thomas was determined not to believe any evidence that it might please God to give him: he would believe according to his own prejudices, or not at all.
3. His unbelief became presumptuous and insolent: As far as he was concerned seeing Christ will not be sufficient and he refuse to believe that the person he saw was Jesus unless he can put his finger into the holes made by the nails in his Lord's hand, and thrust his hand into the wound made by the spear in his side.
Noteworthy: There is a real danger in leaving the fellowship of fellow believers who are rock solid in the faith. When the Spirit of the Lord shows up in the worship service and a disciple is found out of his place, who should have been there but because of sin and satanic influence chose not to, they are not only not blessed, but their heart becomes hardened and darkened through the deceitfulness of sin. It was through God's mere mercy if that person has another opportunity of being convinced of their error.
8 Days Later…..(the next Sunday)
And after eight days again his disciples were within, and Thomas with them: then came Jesus, the doors being shut, and stood in the midst, and said, Peace be unto you. (vs. 26)
From this you can see that since the resurrection of Jesus and His appearance to the remaining disciples, they started meeting every Sunday. Thomas was not present at the last meeting, but apparently, he was determined not to be absent from this. Jesus came again he has engaged to be among them.
Then saith he to Thomas, “Reach hither thy finger, and behold my hands; and reach hither thy hand, and thrust it into my side: and be not faithless, but believing”.
Thomas , though obstinate was sincere in his belief and did not quit his discipleship. And it is very likely that Thomas did put his hand in both the nail prints of Jesus hands and in the side where Jesus was pierced by a roman sword; because his unbelief was too deeply rooted to be easily convinced.
Thomas’ response: “My Lord and my God.”
Jesus comes in…sees Thomas and addresses him; desiring him to come to him, and put his finger into the print of the nails… Thomas perfectly satisfied of the reality of our Lord's resurrection, says unto him,-My LORD! and My GOD! : "Observe that Thomas calls Jesus his God, and that Jesus does not reprove him for it, though probably it was the first time he was called so.
Jesus Response: “Thomas,* because you have seen Me, you have believed. Blessed are those who have not seen and yet have believed."
Because you have looked upon my body, and seen the proofs that I am the same Savior that was crucified. Jesus here approves the faith of Thomas, but more highly commends the faith of those who should believe without having seen. Happy, or worthy of the divine approbation. The word has here the force of the comparative degree, signifying that they would be in some respects more blessed than Thomas. They would evince higher faith. This applies to those believers in the future who would be convinced by the testimony of the Apostles, Ministers, pastors, etc..and by the influences of the Holy Spirit. They would have stronger faith because they took the message of the Gospel at face value.
Important to Remember: All faith is of things not seen; and God blesses those most who most implicitly rely on God’s word.
Conclusion: “Signs” That you Might Believe in Jesus (Verses 30-31)
“And truly Jesus did many other signs in the presence of His disciples, which are not written in this book”. (vs. 30)
The Apostle John only zeroed in on the signs and miracles that were pertinent to compelling the belief that Jesus Christ is the Son of God, deity, and the fact that through Jesus you can have eternal life in His name. Matthew, Mark and Luke wrote about Jesus from different perspectives, yet all of them connected Him to being God. The Bible is a concise book and all the actual miracles of Jesus could not be contained in one book, however enough were recorded to convince the reader and the believer that Jesus is the Christ, the Son of God and the Promised Messiah. (vs. 30)
“But these are written (the ones John did record) that you may believe that Jesus is the Christ, the Son of God, and that believing you may have life in His name”.
The Holy Spirit used the Apostle John to write about the Deity of Jesus Christ. The purpose and focus of this Gospel is to convey 2 objectives:
- To give conclusive proof that Jesus was the Messiah and the Only Begotten Son of God.
- And anyone who looked at the proof would be convinced and compelled to accept Jesus Christ as their Messiah and have eternal life through Him.
Rev. Dr. William Edward Boddie