Summary: John gives clear evidence and witness that Jesus arose from the dead.
7 24 2016 “Jesus Arose from the Dead” John 20:1-18
Today we begin to examine John’s account of Jesus’ Resurrection and His interaction with the disciples after He arose from the dead. Collectively, the four gospels share accounts of several resurrection appearances; along with Acts 1:3-8 and 1 Corinthians 15:5-8, there are twelve appearances. The first six are in Jerusalem, four in Galilee and one on the Mount of Olives, and one on the road to Damascus.
Again, the four Gospels differ in some of the details, but that is not to say that they contradict each other in any way. The fact that the individual writers include different details tells us that they did not contrive together in order to write exactly the same story, but each compliments the other in adding some details while all four gospels are firm in their witness and testimony that JESUS INDEED AROSE FROM THE DEAD. Their individual accounts leave no doubt concerning this truth concerning Jesus death and burial: Jesus did not remain in the grave but was victorious OVER DEATH and the GRAVE by the Power of God.
The significance of Jesus’ resurrection affects the whole of Christianity, as Paul later stated in 1 Corinthians 15:17-19: ”And if Christ is not risen, your faith is futile; you are still in your sins! 18 Then also those who have fallen asleep in Christ have perished. 19 If in this life only we have hope in Christ, we are of all men the most pitiable.” Christ’s Resurrection is the very basis of a living faith, and so we examine John’s account in John 20.
John’s Resurrection account in chapter 20
“Now on the first day of the week Mary Magdalene went to the tomb early, while it was still dark, and saw that the stone had been taken away from the tomb. 2 Then she ran and came to Simon Peter, and to the other disciple, whom Jesus loved, and said to them, "They have taken away the Lord out of the tomb, and we do not know where they have laid Him." 3 Peter therefore went out, and the other disciple, and were going to the tomb. 4 So they both ran together, and the other disciple (John is speaking about himself here.) outran Peter and came to the tomb first. 5 And he, stooping down and looking in, saw the linen cloths lying there; yet he did not go in. 6 Then Simon Peter came, following him, and went into the tomb; and he saw the linen cloths lying there, 7 and the handkerchief that had been around His head, not lying with the linen cloths, but folded together in a place by itself. 8 Then the other disciple, (John) who came to the tomb first, went in also; and he saw and believed. 9 For as yet they did not know the Scripture, that He must rise again from the dead. 10 Then the disciples went away again to their own homes.”
John provides evidence that Jesus is risen from the dead.
In verses 1-10 of chapter 20, John provides testimony and evidence that Jesus is indeed risen from the dead! According to the other gospels, the women were well aware of the place of Jesus’ burial, and these facts are assumed in John’s gospel. Mary Magdalene is the first to notice very early in the morning (at dawn) that the stone been removed and that their Lord was gone. This is very important circumstantial evidence. In our courts of law, circumstantial evidence is utilized often in order to make a legal point, and in this case, an empty tomb and Jesus’ abandoned grave clothes testify to a very important truth: Jesus is no longer in the tomb but He has risen.
Again, Matthew, Mark and Luke mention “WOMEN” coming to the tomb, and John only mentions Mary Magdalene, but he does NOT emphatically state that Mary Magdalene ALONE came to the tomb. He mentions Mary Magdalene because in his narrative, it is Mary Magdalene who informs the other disciples and it is Mary Magdalene to whom Jesus will speak in verses 11- 18.
The abandoned grave clothes are important evidence! If the disciples would have planned to steal Jesus’ body in order to contrive a fake story concerning Jesus’s resurrection, why would they first fastidiously remove the grave clothes? That would be preposterous; ”grave robbers” would have simply snatched the body and ran. They would not have unwrapped the body and neatly folded up the handkerchief that had been around His head and placed it apart from the other grave clothes.
The abandoned clothes also negate the generosity of both Joseph of Arimathea and Nicodemus. Their generosity was to provide Jesus with a permanent resting place, but we see that their acts of kindness did not keep Jesus in the grave. The abandoned grave and embalming methodology did not keep Jesus in the grave. He arose in spite of the human efforts to provide Him a permanent resting place; His grave was only intended by God to be a temporary place. That is also the case for every believer: Death has no power over the Risen Lord, nor those who place their hope and trust in Him!