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Summary: First words from the Risen Christ

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First Words of the Risen Christ – John 20:1-18

Gladstone Baptist Church – 8/4/07 am

Introduction

Happy Easter – Christ is Risen. That is a fact of history that can not be denied and I pray this morning that it is as real to you as it was to those who witnessed Jesus in the flesh. Over the last month or so we have been leading up to Easter with a series on the last seven words of Jesus from the Cross. This morning, I thought it would be good to continue this theme and to look at the first words of Jesus after his resurrection.

A Sunday School teacher had just finished telling her third graders about how Jesus was crucified and placed in a tomb with a great stone sealing the opening. She wanted to share the excitement of the resurrection with them and so she asked: "And what do you think were Jesus’ first words when He came bursting out of that tomb alive?" A hand shot up into the air from the rear of the classroom. Attached to it was the arm of a little girl. Leaping out of her chair she shouted out excitedly "I know, I know!" "Good" said the teacher, "Tell us, what were Jesus first words." And Extending her arms high into the air she said: "TA-DA!"

I don’t know whether she got the answer right – but it would have been something incredible to behold wouldn’t it.

If you’ve got your bibles there, turn with me to John 20 as we read the account of the resurrection. This morning I want to divide this story up into 5 parts – I see here first a shocking discovery, followed by a sensible question. Then comes a sensitive reassurance, a strange command and a serious commission. See if you can see these elements as I read out the account – John 20:1

20 Early on the first day of the week, while it was still dark, Mary Magdalene went to the tomb and saw that the stone had been removed from the entrance. 2 So she came running to Simon Peter and the other disciple, the one Jesus loved, and said, “They have taken the Lord out of the tomb, and we don’t know where they have put him!”

3 So Peter and the other disciple started for the tomb. 4 Both were running, but the other disciple outran Peter and reached the tomb first. 5 He bent over and looked in at the strips of linen lying there but did not go in. 6 Then Simon Peter, who was behind him, arrived and went into the tomb. He saw the strips of linen lying there, 7 as well as the burial cloth that had been around Jesus’ head. The cloth was folded up by itself, separate from the linen. 8 Finally the other disciple, who had reached the tomb first, also went inside. He saw and believed. 9 (They still did not understand from Scripture that Jesus had to rise from the dead.)

10 Then the disciples went back to their homes, 11 but Mary stood outside the tomb crying. As she wept, she bent over to look into the tomb 12 and saw two angels in white, seated where Jesus’ body had been, one at the head and the other at the foot.

13 They asked her, “Woman, why are you crying?”

“They have taken my Lord away,” she said, “and I don’t know where they have put him.” 14 At this, she turned around and saw Jesus standing there, but she did not realize that it was Jesus.

15 “Woman,” he said, “why are you crying? Who is it you are looking for?”

Thinking he was the gardener, she said, “Sir, if you have carried him away, tell me where you have put him, and I will get him.”

16 Jesus said to her, “Mary.”

She turned toward him and cried out in Aramaic, “Rabboni!” (which means Teacher).

17 Jesus said, “Do not hold on to me, for I have not yet returned to the Father. Go instead to my brothers and tell them, ‘I am returning to my Father and your Father, to my God and your God.’”

18 Mary Magdalene went to the disciples with the news: “I have seen the Lord!” And she told them that he had said these things to her.

A Shocking Discovery

Jesus was crucified on a Friday and on Sunday morning, after the Saturday Sabbath, some women went down to the tomb to prepare Jesus’ body for burial (we are told by Mark that they included Mary, Jesus’ mother, Mary Magdalene and Salome). It was a bit of a rushed job on Friday to get Jesus’ body into the tomb by sunset. They didn’t have time to complete their preparations and so came back on Sunday morning to continue the work. Preparation for burial involved wrapping the body in fine linen and putting various spices and ointments in the folds. It was not embalming as the Egyptians knew it, but it was still something that ought to have been done.

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