Summary: 3 groups of disciples failed to recognize the resurrected Lord. Why? They'd walked with Him for 3 years. This sermon explains how grief, work and busyness can keep us so distracted that we fail to see the Lord in our life—and what to do about it.
Jesus Enlightens Some Dim-sighted Disciples
Sermon #2 in After-Easter Series: Close Encounters with the Risen Lord
April 15, 2018
NOTE: A PowerPoint presentation is available for this sermon by request at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Today we’re continuing our series titled Close Encounters with the Risen Lord, which examines some of the post-resurrection appearances of Jesus. Last week we examined Peter’s close encounter with the Risen Lord where we saw how Jesus forgave Peter for his denial of Jesus and restored him to the Lord’s service again. Today we’ll look at three separate close encounters with the risen Lord, because there is a common thread that goes through each of them.
Illus. – To introduce that thread, I want to tell you a story about when I was raising missionary support in churches. Susan wasn’t able to go with me on one trip because our second son was sick, so I took our oldest, Chris, with me because he always liked to travel alone with Daddy.
I presented our missionary plans to the church in the adult Sunday School class and preached in the morning service, and afterwards, Chris, who was about 8 years-old at the time, came back from Children’s Church. In the back of the church at my missionary table, I was met by a number of people interested in our mission work, so Chris, knowing how long this could take, without telling me, went to a nearby pew and fell sound asleep.
Afterwards, I met the pastor at a prearranged restaurant and when I saw his party, I sat down, and the pastor asked, “Where’s your son, Chris?”
Suddenly, I freaked out! — I had no IDEA where he was because I had seen him come into the sanctuary, but not seen where he laid down. He called around to some people in the church, and no one had seen him. So I asked the pastor for the church keys and frantically raced back to the church and eventually found him…still sweetly cutting z’s in La-la Land.
What had caused this?—I had gotten so distracted in answering people’s questions about missions that I missed a more important duty—to know where my son was. Well, you can judge me if you want, but if you have kids, I bet you’ve done something similar at one time or the other!
Yes, I was distracted from something that was very important, but we all face the temptation daily to turn our attention from what should matter the most to us. Today, I want us to see three instances in which people were distracted so that they failed to see the most important Person in their lives when he was standing right before their eyes. Let’s look at these stories and see how distractions can keep us from seeing Jesus.
I. THE FIRST INSTANCE WAS MARY MAGDELENE IN JOHN 20:11-18.
Earlier in John 20, Luke tells us that Mary had been to the tomb already once that morning with some other women. They rushed back to tell the disciples that the tomb was empty and that two angels had told them that Jesus was alive! Peter and John raced to the tomb and Mary Magdalene too returned, but was not able to keep up with Peter and John. Once they had seen that the body was gone, Peter and John, but quickly left.
That’s where we pick up the story in John 20:11-18– “But Mary stood without [outside] at the sepulchre weeping: and as she wept, she stooped down, and looked into the sepulchre, 12 And seeth two angels in white sitting, the one at the head, and the other at the feet, where the body of Jesus had lain. 13 And they say unto her, Woman, why weepest thou? She saith unto them, Because they have taken away my Lord, and I know not where they have laid him. 14 And when she had thus said, she turned herself back, and saw Jesus standing, and knew not that it was Jesus. 15 Jesus saith unto her, Woman, why weepest thou? whom seekest thou? She, supposing him to be the gardener, saith unto him, Sir, if thou have borne him hence [taken Him away], tell me where thou hast laid him, and I will take him away. 16 Jesus saith unto her, Mary. She turned herself, and saith unto him, Rabboni; which is to say, Master
After talking with these two angels, Mary turns around and is confronted by Jesus…but she doesn’t recognize Him yet. She assumes it’s the gardener. Jesus asks her why she’s crying and she replies, “Sir, if you have carried him away, tell me where you have laid him, and I will get him.” But then Jesus speaks her name, “Mary,” and suddenly she realizes that it IS Jesus—alive and very well—and all her disappointments and loss turned to joy again.