3 Review Faith and Trust in God’s Trustworthiness Based on multiple pieces of evidenceReviewed healing of man blind from birthWe are part of today’s evidence for GodWe “show” God to the worldLiterary Structure of John 20Five sectionsRepetitionMotifs, phrases, words, references back
4 Repetition of Motifs Unbelief Setting Evidence Questions and Doubts More evidenceUnderstandingBeliefCommissionWitness4
5 Key Message Second (and Subsequent) Generations John 20:31 “…These are 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.” (ESV)5
6 Sermon Series Part 1: Eyes of Faith Part 2: Open Tomb Part 3: Locked DoorPart 4: Signs, Sight, Faith6
7 Mary, Peter, JohnNow on the first day of the week Mary Magdalene came to the tomb early, while it was still dark, and saw that the stone had been taken away from the tomb. So she ran and went to Simon Peter and the other disciple, the one whom Jesus loved, and said to them, “They have taken the Lord out of the tomb, and we do not know where they have laid him.”John 20:1-2 (ESV)As far as all of Jesus’ followers are concerned, when Jesus died, that was it. Resurrection was far beyond even their remotest thoughts. (Unbelief)“While it was still dark, and saw that the stone had been taken away.” – Still too dark to see inside the tomb. What other possible explanation could Mary have thought? (Setting and Evidence) Dark and light have spiritual significance in the gospel. Dark signifies unbelief, light signifies belief. Mary sees the tomb, but it is still dark to her.Note that it was Mary who is the first witness (in John’s account, Synoptics include other women – but note the “we” in John’s text) to what had happened and she is the one to go tell the disciples about it.Mary’s statement expresses question and doubt. (Question/Doubt)
8 Mary, Peter, JohnSo Peter went out with the other disciple, and they were going toward the tomb. Both of them were running together, but the other disciple outran Peter and reached the tomb first. And stooping to look in, he saw the linen cloths lying there, but he did not go in.John 20:3-5 (ESV)Peter and John go out to see for themselves. John gets to the tomb first. The morning light is now brighter and allows him to see inside. He stoops to look in and sees the burial cloths lying in the tomb. But he doesn’t go in. (More evidence)The stone rolled away was for the benefit of the disciples. Jesus didn’t need the tomb physically opened. The disciples, however, needed to see that Jesus was no longer in a tomb.
9 Mary, Peter, JohnThen Simon Peter came, following him, and went into the tomb. He saw the linen cloths lying there, and the face cloth, which had been on Jesus’ head, not lying with the linen cloths but folded up in a place by itself. Then the other disciple, who had reached the tomb first, also went in, and he saw and believed…;John 20:6-8 (ESV)Peter comes and he goes in. He too, sees the cloth and now the face cloth, folded up. If Jesus’ body was moved for whatever reason, why would anyone have gone to the trouble to remove the burial cloths and fold up the face cloth? In fact, it’s been speculated that “linen cloths lying there” has the connotation that Jesus’ resurrected body simply slid through the cloths and that the cloths were lying there exactly where they were on Friday evening. (More evidence)John now goes in, sees for himself and seeing the strangeness of the scene, believes. Believes what? Reading what follows, he probably believes that Jesus is the Christ, the Son of God. Beyond that, however, he does not seem to comprehend. (Limited Understanding and Belief)Did Peter believe? The text leaves Peter’s situation ambiguous. This is the first mention of Peter since his denial of Jesus. Peter’s story isn’t fully resolved until the next chapter, the epilogue.
10 Mary, Peter, John… For as yet they did not understand the Scripture, that he must rise from the dead. Then the disciples went back to their homes.John 20:9-10 (ESV)This doesn’t say whether or not they Peter and John believed that Jesus has bodily risen from the dead. Putting the previous verse and these verses together, my thought is that John, and perhaps Peter, obviously saw that God was at work, but probably didn’t realize that Jesus had risen.Peter and John, even if they believed that Jesus was the Messiah, the Son of God, they hadn’t yet experienced the power of the resurrection. So they just return home. There is no excitement. There is no witness. (Lack of witness)
11 Mary, Angels, JesusBut Mary stood weeping outside the tomb, and as she wept she stooped to look into the tomb. And she saw two angels in white, sitting where the body of Jesus had lain, one at the head and one at the feet. They said to her, “Woman, why are you weeping?” She said to them, “They have taken away my Lord, and I do not know where they have laid him.”John 20:11-13 (ESV)Mary stays around. (Setting) She hasn’t yet comprehended the evidence and put it together with Jesus’ earlier words. (Unbelief) Mary now stoops to look in, just as John did earlier. She sees the angels. (Evidence)“I do not know where they have laid him.” Mary is still looking for the dead Jesus. She still expects to find Jesus in a tomb. (Doubt)
12 Mary, Angels, JesusHaving said this, she turned around and saw Jesus standing, but she did not know that it was Jesus. Jesus said to her, “Woman, why are you weeping? Whom are you seeking?” Supposing him to be the gardener, she said to him, “Sir, if you have carried him away, tell me where you have laid him, and I will take him away.”John 20:14-15 (ESV)Mary turns around and sees Jesus. (More evidence) As mentioned last week, even the physical presence of Jesus goes unrecognized.Jesus asks the same question the angels asked. But he adds a different question, “Whom are you seeking?” The first recorded speech of Jesus in John was, “What are you seeking?” Jesus asks, “Whom are you seeking?” of the mob that came to arrest him. “What are you seeking?” and “Whom are you seeking?” are the critical questions of life. These are questions of purpose and identity.Mary’s purpose and identity are in Jesus. But it is in the dead Jesus, as far as she knows. Mary has a small vision of who Jesus is. She loved Jesus, but to her, Jesus was really no more than a human prophet. To Mary, Jesus is now no more than a body that can be taken from one place to another, a body that can be placed in a tomb, taken out, and moved.
13 Mary, Angels, JesusJesus said to her, “Mary.” She turned and said to him in Aramaic, “Rabboni!” (which means Teacher). Jesus said to her, “Do not cling to me, for I have not yet ascended to the Father; but go to my brothers and say to them, ‘I am ascending to my Father and your Father, to my God and your God.’”John 20:16-17 (ESV)In John’s account, it is Jesus himself, and only Jesus, that speaks to Mary. In the Synoptics, it is one of the angels who tells her that Jesus has risen and is no longer to be found among the dead, and that she is to go and tell the other disciples about it. (More evidence) Comparing all the accounts, the best way to harmonize what happened might go something like this – The women came to the tomb, saw the stone rolled away, went to tell Peter and John. After Peter and John leave, the women stay behind and they look in and see the angels. One of them speaks to the women, but they are seized with fear and don’t understand what the angel said until Jesus himself speaks to them.When Jesus speaks, the women (or in John’s account, just Mary) finally understand what has happened and believe. (Understanding and Belief)Mary wants to cling to Jesus. She doesn’t want him to disappear again. She doesn’t want to lose him again. She doesn’t want to risk letting others have a chance to approach Jesus. But now Jesus has to remind her of his purpose and desire, and of the implied promise of the Holy Spirit tied to Jesus’ return to the Father. He must go away because the gospel isn’t just for Mary, but for the whole world. The gospel is to be spread by the Holy Spirit working through human agents. Here is the first post-resurrection commissioning, and Mary becomes the first apostle – an apostle to the apostles.Servants/disciples friends brothers
14 Mary, Angels, JesusMary Magdalene went and announced to the disciples, “I have seen the Lord”—and that he had said these things to her.John 20:18 (ESV)Mary’s new found understanding leads to belief, which leads to commissioning, which leads to witness.The result of this first witness, according to the Synoptics, was not that great. The disciples didn’t really believe Mary (or the other women) because, well, they’re women and their words are not trustworthy. This also supports the idea that neither John or Peter, who also saw the evidence of the tomb, believed that Jesus was bodily resurrected until they saw Him with their own eyes.The two vignettes centered around the open tomb began with Mary running to tell the disciples of the open tomb wondering what happened to Jesus’ body, and ends with Mary running to the disciples announcing that the tomb is empty because Jesus is alive. Mary is the focus of the first half of chapter 20. Peter and John are “foils” to Mary. Peter and John ought to have realized what had happened, because after all, they had been with Jesus since the beginning and had seen and heard all that Jesus did and said. But the disciples, as evidenced by hiding out in a locked room, are more concerned about themselves than about Jesus. It is Mary who presses on to try to figure out what really happened to Jesus. Her persistence is rewarded. She becomes the first to witness the resurrected Jesus. She becomes an apostle to the apostles. She is the first to be able to say, “I have seen the Lord.”The open tomb, the empty tomb, and the Jesus who is alive – these are very important to John, because his account makes sure that these details are not missed. Compared to the Synoptics, John uses about double the space describing the scenes involving the tomb.A big reason is to show to the second generation the reality of Jesus’ resurrection. By relating all these details, John is probably trying to show the unlikeliness of other theories about what happened to Jesus’ body.
15 Replacement ThemesWater (disappointment/tears) The Temple Physical birth Worship in form Traditions Physical water and bread Physical sight Physical Jesus Families ties by blood Death UnbeliefWine (joy) Jesus Spiritual birth Worship in Spirit True worship Living Water and Bread Spiritual Sight Holy Spirit Family in Christ Life Belief*I think that John has another purpose in relating these two accounts at the tomb. I wonder if it doesn’t have something to do with the replacement themes the permeate John’s gospel account. The tomb represents death while Jesus represents life.*Left are those things left in the tomb; right are those things that became reality because Jesus lives.*Jesus is no longer reliably found in things on the left; Jesus is always found in the right.
16 Whom Are You Seeking? What kind of God are you seeking? A predictable God?A God who we can control?A God who stays put?A God in a box?The real God is (with our limited view)Faithful, but not predictableAlways present, but not always recognizableEveryone seeks a god. What is a god? Anything or anyone in which a person places his or her trust and hope. It might be themselves, it might be another person, it might be an ideology, it might be religion, it might be God but one that can be placed into a box, or it might be God as he really is.The biggest danger is that we make God too small. We place God inside a box – a tomb – one of our own making. We place God there so that we can pull him out whenever it’s convenient or necessary. We want a God that we can control. We shouldn’t be too surprised when we find that the real God can’t be found in a box. We shouldn’t be too surprised when we fail to recognize God when he’s outside the box. The disciples and Mary were surprised when God disappeared and reappeared in ways they didn’t expect.
17 Read Prince Caspian, p. 142-144, First Harper Trophy Edition, 1994.
18 Not In a TombChristianity is not about memorializing and living in the past. It is about living in the present, living with power through the Holy Spirit, living to make the world around us a little closer to the ideal God desires for the world.The only way we can do this if we have encountered the resurrected and living Christ. We cannot do that by trying to find Jesus in a box. Setting up memorials and churches to Christ isn’t the answer. No, we must go out into the world to where Jesus is already working through the Holy Spirit he has sent into the world. The Holy Spirit is already working in all places and all peoples, preparing the way for Christ’s disciples.Tomb of Jesus in the Church of the Holy SepulchreTaken with Nikon D100, Jerusalem 03/2005 by Wayne McLean
19 Jesus Is AliveThe mission Jesus has given us is to go into the world and point people to the living God. We can do that by living a life that demonstrates the power and hope of the resurrection. Our lives ought to prompt the question, “Why do you live with such joy and hope?” Our response can be, “Because we have seen the Lord, and He lives today.”