20 1-2 Early in the morning on the first day of the week, while it was still dark, Mary Magdalene came to the tomb and saw that the stone was moved away from the entrance. She ran at once to Simon Peter and the other disciple, the one Jesus loved, gasping for breath. “They took the Master from the tomb. We don’t know where they’ve put him.”
3-10 Peter and the other disciple left immediately for the tomb. They ran, neck and neck. The other disciple got to the tomb first, outrunning Peter. Stooping to look in, he saw the pieces of linen cloth lying there, but he didn’t go in. Simon Peter arrived after him, entered the tomb, observed the linen cloths lying there, and the kerchief used to cover his head not lying with the linen cloths but separate, neatly folded by itself. Then the other disciple, the one who had gotten there first, went into the tomb, took one look at the evidence, and believed. No one yet knew from the Scripture that he had to rise from the dead. The disciples then went back home.
-John 20:1-10 The Message
We are now back in the book of John. To briefly recap, we went into three other versions of the crucifixion of Jesus; the book of Matthew chapter 27, the book of Luke chapter 23, and the book of Mark chapter 15. Studying the crucifixion from another point of view shows the generosity of Jesus. I believe that the crucifixion is the foundation of Christ’s genuine love of us and the opportunity to get to know him without intimidating others about Jesus. To develop a relationship with others:
- Be a better listener.
- Ask the right questions.
- Pay attention to the whole person.
- Remember things that are important to others.
- Be open to sharing when it is the right time.
- Be humble, genuine, trustworthy, and positive.
These are ways to develop a relationship with people. With Jesus, it is a bit different.
- Recognize your condition.
- Religion and Good Works are not the answer, meaning that our own ideas don’t matter. What matters is the Word. Proverbs 14:12, “There is a way which seems right to a person, but its end is the way of death.” The Word shows us everything from forgiveness from our sins, wrongdoings, and many more. Ephesians 2:8-9, “For by grace you have been saved through faith; and this is not of yourselves, it is the gift of God; 9 not a result of works, so that no one may boast.”
- The Good News: Jesus provides the way to develop a relationship with him.
- Believe, Repent, and Receive Christ.
It’s essential to listen and receive the Word to understand Jesus. A closed mind will not work.
So we studied the Veil as well when Christ died. That was the barrier that opened up people with access to God without going through Priests. These are the foundation of Jesus’ love for us, and I believe that for any first-timers who want to understand the Bible, Jesus is the first person to know before going anywhere else in the Bible. This is my personal belief. Other people have their ways, but this is my way. So let’s continue in the book of John, where we are studying the resurrection.
The Empty Tomb
20 Verse 1: Now, Mary Magdalene *came early to the tomb on the first day of the week. At the same time, it was still dark, and *saw the stone already removed from the tomb.
Verse 1 study: Note that other women went with Mary Magdalene to the tomb. The other Gospels give names of those women. According to the book of Mark, those other women are the other Mary (not Magdalene) and Salmone. The stone was not rolled away from the entrance to the tomb so Jesus could get out. It is easy for him to have left without moving the stone. It was rolled away so others could get in and see that Jesus was gone. If you are a first-timer in hearing the story of the resurrection, you may need time to grasp the story and how amazing it is. Mary and the disciples have passed through four stages of belief.
- They thought it was not real, impossible to believe (20:2).
- Mary and the disciples checked out the facts but still had a hard time piecing what happened (20:6).
- When they encounter Jesus personally, they can accept the truth of the resurrection (20:16)
- As they commit themselves to serve him, they begin to understand the reality of his presence with them fully (20:28).
Verse 2: So she *ran, and *came to Simon Peter and to the other disciple whom Jesus loved, and *said to them, “They have taken the Lord from the tomb, and we do not know where they have put Him.”
Verse 3: So Peter and the other disciple left, and they were going to the tomb.
Verse 4: The two were running together, and the other disciple ran ahead, faster than Peter, and came to the tomb first.
Verse 5: And he stopped to look in, and *saw the linen wrappings lying there. However, he did not go in.
Verse 6: So Simon Peter also *came, following him, and he entered the tomb; he *looked at the linen wrappings lying there,
Verse 7: and the face-cloth which had been on His head, not lying with the linen wrappings but folded up in a place by itself.
Verse 7 study: The linen wrappings, also the grave clothes, were left as if Jesus passed right through them. The face-cloth still rolled up in the shape of a head and was about the right distance from the wrappings that had enveloped Jesus’s body. Not even a grave robber can take off with Jesus’ body and leave the linens there in the shaped like Jesus’ body.
Verse 8: So the other disciple who had first come to the tomb also entered then, and he saw and believed.
Verse 9: For they did not yet understand the Scripture, that He must rise from the dead.
Verse 10: So the disciples went away again to their own homes.
Verse 9 study: Peter and John were surprised that Jesus was not in the tomb, further proving that the disciples did not fabricate the story. When John saw the wrappings looking like an empty envelope from where Jesus emerged, he believed Jesus had risen. When they saw the tomb, they remembered the Scriptures and what it said, “he would die, but he would rise again.” The resurrection of Jesus is key to the Christian faith. Why is that?
- Jesus rose from the dead. We can be confident that he will accomplish what he promises. If you are not convinced, what’s the point?
- Jesus’ resurrection shows us the living Christ is not a false prophet or imposter. He is the ruler of God’s eternal kingdom.
- We can be sure of our own resurrection because Jesus was resurrected. Therefore, death is not the end but the future.
- The divine power that brought Jesus back to life is now available to us to bring our spiritually dead selves back to life.
- The resurrection is the basis for the church’s witness to the world.
Father, the Word is what matters and not our works. Yes, our works play a role in serving you, but it doesn’t matter if you don’t have the faith or do not believe in Jesus’ resurrected body that he died and rose on the third day. The only way to you is to believe. So I pray today for those passionate about sharing the Word but do lovingly share the Word and not in a way that will discourage others from learning about you first. In Jesus’ name. Amen!