Summary: We see the need for the spread of the gospel as we are introduced to "a chain of witnesses" after Jesus' resurrection.
Jesus, the God-man: Gospel of John
“A Chain of Witnesses”
Introduction: “A chain is only as strong as its weakest link.” A game show even used that concept as contestants competed to discover “The Weakest Link”. In a group of people the one that performs his or her role the least is considered a weak link.
After Peter and John discover the empty tomb and John determines that Jesus is alive they return home but the drama continues at the tomb. Other events begin to take place which sets in motion the need for the spread of the gospel as we begin the creation of “a chain of witnesses”.
1. The angels testified of the resurrection.
Peter and John run home leaving Mary alone crying.
That which caused her to weep should have been a cause for rejoicing. The tomb is empty because Jesus is alive and not because His body has been stolen!
She glances into the tomb by stooping over like John did.
She is looking in the wrong direction. She is looking down!
Unto You I lift up my eyes, O You who dwell in the heavens.
I will lift up my eyes to the hills—From whence comes my help?
My help comes from the LORD, Who made heaven and earth.
She glances into the tomb and sees two angels seated where Jesus’ body and laid –one at the head and one at the foot. This is a picture the Ark of the Covenant covering! Two is also the number of witnesses required by the law. They are seated signifying rest and peace.
Why did Peter and John not see these angels? They were invisible.
v. 13 – “Why are you weeping?” They know the reason but for what cause? This is not a time to weep!
Good question for us to consider. What causes you to weep or be downcast? What causes you pain? That can all be changed by recognition of the resurrection!
Illustration: Martin Luther once spent three days in a black depression over something that had gone wrong. On the third day his wife came downstairs dressed in mourning clothes. "Who's dead?" he asked her. "God," she replied. Luther rebuked her, saying, "What do you mean, God is dead? God cannot die." "Well," she replied, "the way you've been acting I was sure He had!"
Where is your focus? Mary’s is still on grave robbers!
This next part I think is comical:
Angel: “Woman, why are you crying?”
Mary: “Grave robbers!” and not, “WOW! ANGELS! I’ve never seen angels before!”
Her encounter with the supernatural is clouded by her grief and unbelief!
The very absence of the body which made her weep was a token for good, and a cause of joy for herself and all mankind. –J.C. Ryle (1816-1900), Expository Thoughts on John
The psalmist when in a difficult time had asked Himself the same question and arrived at a similar answer as this:
Why are you cast down, O my soul? And why are you disquieted within me? Hope in God; for I shall yet praise Him, the help of my countenance and my God. Psalm 43:5
The angels testified of the resurrection without a word. Their simple presence speaks volumes!