Summary: Being touched by the risen Lord erases doubt.
Text: John 20:1-18
1. Illustration: Max Lucado, in his book, "Six Hours One Friday," tells the story of a missionary in Brazil who discovered a tribe of Indians in a remote part of the jungle. They lived near a large river. The tribe was in need of medical attention. A contagious disease was ravaging the population. People were dying daily.
A hospital was not too terribly far away — across the river, but the Indians would not cross it because they believed the river was inhabited by evil spirits. And to enter its water would mean certain death.
The missionary explained how he had crossed the river & was unharmed. But they were not impressed. He then took them to the bank & placed his hand in the water. They still wouldn’t go in. He walked into the water up to his waist & splashed water on his face. It didn’t matter. They were still afraid to enter the river.
Finally, he dove into the river, swam beneath the surface until he emerged on the other side. He raised a triumphant fist into the air. He had entered the water & escaped. It was then that the Indians broke into a cheer & followed him across.
Isn’t that what Jesus did? He entered the river of death & came out on the other side so that we might no longer fear death, but find eternal life in Him.
2. People can know all of the evidence about Jesus death and resurrection and still doubt. Sometimes it takes being touched by Jesus to come to a place of saving faith.
3. The resurrection of Jesus shows us...
A. Doubt Causes Panic
B. Seeing Is Believing
C. Touching Is Even Better
4. Let's stand together as we read John 20:1-18
Proposition: Being touched by the risen Lord erases doubt.
Transition: First let's talk about doubt, because...
I. Doubt Brings Panic (1-2).
A. They Have Taken The Lord's Body
1. In order to set the scene let's remember a few details.
A. Jesus had told his disciples and close follower that he would have to be turned over to the religious authorities, be crucified, but that he would rise again on the third day.
B. Even though he told them this over and over they couldn't grasp it.
C. When the officials came and arrested him they all ran and hid, except Peter who followed behind him but denied three times that he even knew Jesus.
D. Then Jesus was crucified and they all lost hope.
2. Now let's see what happened on that third day. John tells us, "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."
A. Mary Magdalene came to the tomb very early on the first day of the week, for John tells us that it was "still dark."
B. That it was still dark will perhaps explain why Mary did not see the things Peter and John saw later.
C. However, she does not appear to have paused for long enough to see much, whatever the state of the light.
D. Her early arrival is evidence of a determination to get on with the task at the soonest possible moment.
E. It is not clear why John does not mention any woman other than Mary when all the other Gospels tell us that she was not alone.
F. It may be that he knew that she was the first to see the risen Jesus and that he was not concerned accordingly with the others who did not see Jesus at the same time as did Mary.
G. John proceeds to tell us that Mary saw that the stone had been taken away from the tomb.
H. The women had been anxious about this, since they knew that they could not roll it away themselves (Morris, The New International Commentary on the New Testament – The Gospel According to John, 733).
3. After seeing the stone rolled away Mary expects the worst. "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!”
A. Mary's immediate reaction was to tell the disciples. She ran off to Simon Peter (who appears still to have been recognized as the leading apostle, despite the denials), and to the "the other disciple" , "the one Jesus loved".
B. She had seen that the tomb was empty and concluded that the body had been stolen (what else?).
C. Apparently the thought of a resurrection did not enter her mind.
D. So she told the two men that the body had been taken away. Her "they" is not defined, but it can scarcely mean "people in general."