Summary: The resurrection is not hoax or an April Fool's Day joke, Jesus is alive. There is power in an eyewitness. This is especially true with Mary Magdalene in what she saw and heard at Jesus' tomb.
1. No one knows the origin of April Fool’s Day but it has been around for centuries. Some of the most famous April Fool’s Day Pranks are:
• The Great Moon Hoax is the first big media trick. The New York Sun prints an article in 1835 claiming that astronomers have discovered life on the moon. More articles appear over the next few weeks, and the country is gripped by moon fever.
• In 1938, Orson Welles's radio broadcast of War of the Worlds convinces millions of listeners that earth is under attack by aliens. Many flee their homes, pray in houses of worship, and, eventually, curse Welles's name.
• In 1957 a BBC News documentary about the Swiss Spaghetti Harvest depicts farmers pulling strands of spaghetti from trees. The network is deluged with callers asking where they can buy a spaghetti tree.
2. To many the resurrection of Jesus is a fictitious claim.
• He didn’t die
• The disciples stole the body
3. The power of eyewitnesses
What is the most crucial testimony in a court of law? Actually there are three: One is a picture or video taken of a person committing a crime. But, depending on the quality of the picture, that can be ruled inaccessible. Another is an eyewitness that testifies they saw a person doing something. Again, depending on how reliable that one person is, his or her testimony can also be thrown out.
But the most powerful testimony of all is having two or more eyewitnesses, giving the same condemning testimony. Almost nothing can defeat those testimonies.
4. John 20.11-18
11 But Mary stood weeping outside the tomb, and as she wept she stooped to look into the tomb. 12 And she saw two angels in white, sitting where the body of Jesus had lain, one at the head and one at the feet. 13 They said to her, “Woman, why are you weeping?” She said to them, “They have taken away my Lord, and I do not know where they have laid him.” 14 Having said this, she turned around and saw Jesus standing, but she did not know that it was Jesus. 15 Jesus said to her, “Woman, why are you weeping? Whom are you seeking?” Supposing him to be the gardener, she said to him, “Sir, if you have carried him away, tell me where you have laid him, and I will take him away.” 16 Jesus said to her, “Mary.” She turned and said to him in Aramaic, “Rabboni!” (which means Teacher). 17 Jesus said to her, “Do not cling to me, for I have not yet ascended to the Father; but go to my brothers and say to them, ‘I am ascending to my Father and your Father, to my God and your God.’” 18 Mary Magdalene went and announced to the disciples, “I have seen the Lord”—and that he had said these things to her.
I. What Mary Saw at the Tomb
A. Two Angels (vv.12-13)
1. A Description of the Mercy Seat on the Ark of the Covenant
a. Placed in the Most Holy Place
b. Only the High Priest could enter
2. Messengers of God
B. Resurrected Jesus
1. Gardener (?) – Not sure why she didn’t recognize him immediately as disciples on road to Emmaus – distraction with grief? Confused over the events?
2. Adam was the first gardener; Jesus was the second Adam/Gardener
II. What Mary Heard at the Tomb
A. The Voice of Jesus with the Definition of a New Relationship
1. Personal; Intimate; “Mary” (Miriam)
2. Shepherds name their sheep John 10.3b-4
The sheep hear his voice, and he calls his own sheep by name and leads them out. 4 When he has brought out all his own, he goes before them, and the sheep follow him, for they know his voice.
3. The Spiritual over the Physical
4. Better for us – John 16.7
Nevertheless, I tell you the truth: it is to your advantage that I go away, for if I do not go away, the Helper will not come to you. But if I go, I will send him to you.
B. The Voice of Jesus with the Declaration of New Relatives – My Brothers (v. 17b)
. . . go to my brothers and say to them, ‘I am ascending to my Father and your Father, to my God and your God.’”
1. Disciples had been “servants” and “friends” in John 15.15
2. Now – “Brothers” – Matthew 12.49-50
49 And stretching out his hand toward his disciples, he said, “Here are my mother and my brothers! 50 For whoever does the will of my Father in heaven is my brother and sister and mother.”
3. Good News – WE can be Family to Jesus
Romans 8.15-17 15 For you did not receive the spirit of slavery to fall back into fear, but you have received the Spirit of adoption as sons, by whom we cry, “Abba! Father!” 16 The Spirit himself bears witness with our spirit that we are children of God, 17 and if children, then heirs—heirs of God and fellow heirs with Christ, provided we suffer with him in order that we may also be glorified with him.