John – God Speaks!
Let’s try to put ourselves in that place and time and imagine the grief, anxiety, fear and wondering of the first disciples and followers of Jesus in the first few hours after his death. What just happened?, they must be thinking and saying to each other.
Crowds gathered around, throwing their palms and garments on the ground, with singing songs of praise as Jesus came into Jerusalem just days before. Then, what only seemed like hours later, their Master Teacher was arrested, beaten down, mocked in humiliating ways and then nailed to a cross. What just happened?! Their minds are reeling, their stomachs are turning over, and fear sets in. Irrational thoughts creep in.
The disciples and followers “circle the wagons” and hide out in a locked upper room. That’s what we humans do in crisis. We gather and cling to each other when we don’t know what is going to happen next. Our bodies default to a condition of shock and disbelief that what happened really did happen.
Did anyone in the locked room think about what Jesus had taught them? Did anyone say, “Wait, let’s go back over what He said to us as we shared Passover meal one last time.” “What did He say…exactly?” Peter is still regrettably thinking about that look Jesus gave him after Peter shouted his third denial that he even knew Him.
Then there were the women, Mary Magdalene, in particular who had to get up and DO what was expected when someone dies…take care of the body. She got up before everyone else and probably walked mournfully slow to the tomb. She thought about the horrific cruelty that her Lord had gone through. She must be still in shock because when the Lord appears to her, she does not recognize Him…until He speaks.
Can you imagine the shock Mary is still in, the deep sorrow in losing the one she loved with all her heart, while uncontrollable tears of mourning flow from her face? So many tears. Mary, eyes swollen, is crying so much that she cannot see Jesus right in front of her. She can only think fo the task she must do.
Twice Mary was asked why she is crying. She is probably thinking why wouldn’t I, I just lost my best Friend, Teacher and Lord! But being in mournful shock she can only think of why she came…to care for the body of Christ. Her only thought in the moment is where is He?
Where is Jesus, indeed? He has risen just as he said! He is standing right in front of Mary, calling her name. The eyes of her mind and soul finally focus through her tears upon Jesus Christ, Son of God, her Teacher and now her Savior!
“Teacher” she breathlessly, affectionately and reverently says to Him. She must have run to Him, as anyone would who sees their loved one come through a horrible trauma, throwing herself at Him, with wrapping her arms around Him. But wait, I saw you die on the cross and be place in the tomb, her practical mind must be shouting inside her confused thoughts. But here You are, three days later…just as you said.
Her task to care for a deceased body has changed to “Go and tell” by her Lord.
The first gospel message was blurted out, “I have seen the Lord!”
John 20, New Living Translation
Early on Sunday morning, while it was still dark, Mary Magdalene came to the tomb and found that the stone had been rolled away from the entrance. 2 She ran and found Simon Peter and the other disciple, the one whom Jesus loved. She said, “They have taken the Lord’s body out of the tomb, and we don’t know where they have put him!”
3 Peter and the other disciple started out for the tomb. 4 They were both running, but the other disciple outran Peter and reached the tomb first. 5 He stooped and looked in and saw the linen wrappings lying there, but he didn’t go in. 6 Then Simon Peter arrived and went inside. He also noticed the linen wrappings lying there, 7 while the cloth that had covered Jesus’ head was folded up and lying apart from the other wrappings. 8 Then the disciple who had reached the tomb first also went in, and he saw and believed— 9 for until then they still hadn’t understood the Scriptures that said Jesus must rise from the dead. 10 Then they went home.
Jesus Appears to Mary Magdalene
11 Mary was standing outside the tomb crying, and as she wept, she stooped and looked in. 12 She saw two white-robed angels, one sitting at the head and the other at the foot of the place where the body of Jesus had been lying. 13 “Dear woman, why are you crying?” the angels asked her.
“Because they have taken away my Lord,” she replied, “and I don’t know where they have put him.”
14 She turned to leave and saw someone standing there. It was Jesus, but she didn’t recognize him. 15 “Dear woman, why are you crying?” Jesus asked her. “Who are you looking for?”
She thought he was the gardener. “Sir,” she said, “if you have taken him away, tell me where you have put him, and I will go and get him.”
16 “Mary!” Jesus said.
She turned to him and cried out, “Rabboni!” (which is Hebrew for “Teacher”).
17 “Don’t cling to me,” Jesus said, “for I haven’t yet ascended to the Father. But go find my brothers and tell them, ‘I am ascending to my Father and your Father, to my God and your God.’”
18 Mary Magdalene found the disciples and told them, “I have seen the Lord!” Then she gave them his message.
Jesus Appears to His Disciples
19 That Sunday evening the disciples were meeting behind locked doors because they were afraid of the Jewish leaders. Suddenly, Jesus was standing there among them! “Peace be with you,” he said. 20 As he spoke, he showed them the wounds in his hands and his side. They were filled with joy when they saw the Lord! 21 Again he said, “Peace be with you. As the Father has sent me, so I am sending you.” 22 Then he breathed on them and said, “Receive the Holy Spirit. 23 If you forgive anyone’s sins, they are forgiven. If you do not forgive them, they are not forgiven.”
Jesus Appears to Thomas
24 One of the twelve disciples, Thomas (nicknamed the Twin), was not with the others when Jesus came. 25 They told him, “We have seen the Lord!”
But he replied, “I won’t believe it unless I see the nail wounds in his hands, put my fingers into them, and place my hand into the wound in his side.”
26 Eight days later the disciples were together again, and this time Thomas was with them. The doors were locked; but suddenly, as before, Jesus was standing among them. “Peace be with you,” he said. 27 Then he said to Thomas, “Put your finger here, and look at my hands. Put your hand into the wound in my side. Don’t be faithless any longer. Believe!”
28 “My Lord and my God!” Thomas exclaimed.
29 Then Jesus told him, “You believe because you have seen me. Blessed are those who believe without seeing me.”
Purpose of the Book
30 The disciples saw Jesus do many other miraculous signs in addition to the ones recorded in this book. 31 But these are written so that you may continue to believe that Jesus is the Messiah, the Son of God, and that by believing in him you will have life by the power of his name.
Jesus is alive today! He is standing there wanting for us to acknowledge Him. Through our tears, He is calling our name just as lovingly as He called Mary’s name.
I have seen the Lord’s glory and power in my life. I have said yes to Jesus, Lord and Savior. I believe that He died on a cross for my sin, defeated death by going to hell and back for me and all who believe in Him. I believe Jesus rose again with the same Power that held him to the cross.
God was/is/and will forever be at work and in control of all because He created all. I believe God sent His Son to save us and reconcile our relationship with Him. I believe that His Holy Spirit is a gift from God to help us stay focused on Him and all the goodness He has to offer us. We pray. God works. He is God and we are not. But we now have the privilege to know God because of his Son, Jesus Christ.
I have seen the Lord! He is always with me.
To God be the glory!
AND I believe He is coming back! I must also go and tell.
In Jesus Name and by His power to rise from death, I believe.
And I’m singing…Because He Lives…