Sunday, April 24, 2011

John 20:1-23 - The Provision of the Resurrection

Contextual Notes:
It had been an bewildering weekend for the followers of Jesus. From a sweet, intimate fellowship around the Passover meal, they found themselves on the Mount of Olives facing swords, torches, and the Temple Guard with an arrest warrant and one of their own, Judas standing with them. Then night of trials and accusations, of fear and denials, of corruption and illegalities, of beatings and scourges. Then Calvary, the mocking, the nailing, the screaming, the dread wait for death. Then the darkness, the gambling, the staring, the slow asphyxiation, the quick death. Then the burial, the deadly silent day of Sabbath. How could they rest on Sabbath when their minds were running wild? That brings us to John chapter 20. Let’s read it.

Key Truth: John wrote John 20:1-23 to show invite others to see that Jesus Christ is the Risen Lord and that the Resurrection provides us the defeat of death, a relationship with the Lord, and peace for the future.
Key Application: Today I want to show you what God’s Word says about the Resurrection.
Pray and Read:  John 20:1-23

Sermon Points:
1.   The Resurrection provides the defeat of death (John 20:1-9)
2.   The Resurrection provides a relationship with the Lord (John 20:10-18)
3.   The Resurrection provides peace for the future (John 20:19-23)

Exposition:   Note well,

a.   20:5-8: Grave robbers would not leave behind expensive linen wrappings or spices. The condition of the linen wrappings indicates the body had not been moved. The burial clothes were a shroud around the body and a head-cloth (cf. John 11:44). John’s painstaking detail of their undisturbed location, especially of the position separately of the still folded head cloth, possibly passing the strip under the chin and tied on top of the head to keep the mouth from falling open (20:7) tells us that Yeshua’s body was miraculously loosed from the burial clothes so that they collapsed in place. In resurrection, Jesus’ body was reinvigorated and it put on the immortal and left from within the linen strips, leaving them collapsed flat just as they had been wrapped. This is why John saw and believed (20:8). On the testimony of two or three witnesses, this testimony was admissible in court.
b.   20:8 – We have the explicit testimony of John that he saw and believed. Here John uses a different verb for saw. The first (20:6) is blepo, simply to see, look at. The second (20:8) is to see meaning to gain insight. It was the instant and instinctive conviction of his whole being that the Lord was really risen from the dead.
c.   20:9: The OT teaches that Messiah must rise from the dead at Isaiah 53:9-12; Psalm 16:10 (cited at Acts 2:24-32).
d.   APPLICATION: The Resurrection literally happened with a bodily resurrection. The evidence is here in the meticulous details John gives us. And in his resurrection, Jesus defeated death for us in order for us to have eternal life. Do you have eternal life? Have you appropriated for your life the power of the Resurrection to defeat death in your life?
a.   20:11: This verse is the supreme evidence of the divinity and Messiahship of Christ. First is the unexpected nature of the encounter. They are astonished and seem not to have the faintest dream of a literal, bodily resurrection. Mary Magdalene was so unprepared that she did not even recognize the Lord until he called her very name. We also have explicit details of persons, places and minute details: an open door, linen clothes, burial cloth around his head wrapped and laid by itself. All these details point judicially to the question of evidence. 20:8: We have the explicit testimony of John that he saw and believed. Most conclusive of all is Mary’s testimony made stronger by her perplexity at first and her disappointment at not finding the body, then her delight and surprise by recognizing the Lord Himself and throwing herself at his feet (which she had perhaps earlier anointed), pouring out the fullness of her confidence and joy in crying out, Rabboni! (my great one! Or my teacher!) (20:16).
b.   20:15: Gardening is the oldest profession. Adam was a gardener (Gen 2:15). Here Jesus the second Adam (1 Corinthians 15:45; Rom 5:12-21) is perceived as a gardener. Christ redeemed us from all of the old.
                i.    The Creator (whom Colossians tells us was just as much Jesus as the other two of the Trinity) finished his first work of creation on the sixth day when he made man and breathed life into him. Our Lord finished his New Creation and final work of redemption on the sixth day when the perfect God-Man breathed his last on the cross saying, “It is finished.”
              ii.    The Creator in his first work rested on the seventh day. So did the Messiah in his second work of redemption.
            iii.    The Creator placed the first man Adam in a Garden. In the New Creation, the Messiah is resurrected in a Garden as well. “Now in the place where he was crucified there was a garden, and in the garden a new tomb in which no one had yet been laid. . . . (John 19:41).
c.   20:17: Stop holding on to me (not as KJV, “do not touch me”) Christ had work to do and could not be kept from it even by Mary’s joy.
d.   APPLICATION: The Resurrection gives us the opportunity for a relationship with the Lord. It opens a way where there was no way to give us a relationship with him, restored from the time of Eden when Adam and Eve broke that relationship. Now the Messiah has restored that avenue of relationship through the Resurrection. Do you have a relationship with the Lord Jesus Christ? Is he ‘your’ Father and ‘your’ God? If not, why not? The only alternative is eternal punishment and separation from the Lord and those you love who have a relationship with the Lord. Let me encourage you now to receive Christ. Ask forgiveness of your sin. Submit yourself to the Lord Jesus Christ. Make him your Lord, your boss, your supervisory oversight, your provider, your redeemer. Won’t you do that today?
a.   20:19 – Jesus miraculously appears and greets them in the usual way, “Shalom aleikhem!” Jesus combines the supernatural with the ordinary in a way that makes it normal. This is the humor of Jesus. In the midst of an incredibly supernatural experience – a resurrection body appearing in the middle of a locked room full of his disciples, Jesus says the equivalent of, “What’s up, guys?”
b.   20:21 – I am sending you – with my message of Good News. The Great Commission in John. He is a missionary God.
c.   20:22 – Receive the Holy Spirit: How does this fit with Acts 2 and Pentecost? John Calvin said it was a partial giving of power, like a sprinkling and not a saturation. Others say Jesus was predicting the Holy Spirit’s coming so they would know the Holy Spirit was from the Risen Lord. “He breathed on them” is an Aramaic idiomatic expression still used today meaning simply that He encouraged them. If so, then Jesus was promising them the Holy Spirit. The Spirit is Jesus’ gift to the church.
d.   20:23 – If you forgive: the literal translation reads in the Greek NT, “those whose sins you forgive have already been forgiven; those whose sins you do not forgive have not been forgiven.” [1]
e.   APPLICATION: The Prince of Peace stands ready to secure your peace. He has peace for your present and peace for your future. Do you have His peace that passes understanding? Do you have that contentment in the midst of the storms of this life? Does the peace of Christ reign mightily in your heart?
You now stand at the empty tomb of Jesus. Can you see anything? To see, you have to look. To look, you have to think. And to think, you have to decide. Jesus’s tomb is the only one once occupied and now empty. So what will you decide — will you believe what your eyes, your mind, and your heart tell you, or will you turn away?

[1] J.R. Mantey, “The Mistranslation of the Perfect Tense in John 20:23; Matthew 16:19; and 18:18.” Journal of Biblical Literature 58 (1939), quoted in Richards, 273.