Summary: We need to have a personal encounter with the risen Jesus.

Keeping Up Appearances

Text: John 20:1-29


1. Illustration Bruce Larson said, “The events of Easter cannot be reduced to a creed or philosophy. We are not asked to believe the doctrine of the resurrection. We are asked to meet this person raised from the dead. In faith, we move from belief in a doctrine to a knowledge of a person. Ultimate truth is a person. We met him. He is alive-“

2. The historical fact of the resurrection of Jesus is not something that is based on mere conjecture. It is based upon eyewitness accounts from people who saw, touched, and ate with Him after His resurrection.

3. On the days following the resurrection there were:

a. Appearances of Demonstration

b. Appearances of Devotion

c. Appearances of Decision

d. Appearances of Doubt

4. Read John 20:1-29

Proposition: We need to have a personal encounter with the risen Jesus.

Transition: First, there is an...

I. Appearance of Demonstration (1-10)

A. He Saw and Believed

1. The first two appearances on the Resurrection morning involved a very unlikely person, Mary Magdalene.

a. She held no position of significance among Christ’s followers.

b. Her only claim to fame was that she was one of those who served Jesus.

c. Why her? She is not one of the twelve, and she is a woman.

d. It just goes to show that God is not a respecter of persons.

e. His priorities are not ours!

2. 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. Jesus burial happened just a short time before the beginning of the Sabbath and so preparations for His burial were rushed.

b. Proper burial was something very important in their culture, and Mary wanted to see that the Lord’s body was properly prepared.

c. The fact that she came early in the morning while it was still dark is evidence of her concern for the Lord.

3. However, when she got there she saw that the stone had already been rolled away so "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. It had not dawned on her yet that Jesus was raised from the dead, just as He said He would do.

b. Her only thought was that someone, in this case the "they" she refers to are the Jewish religious leaders, had taken His body and done something with it.

c. So she goes to Peter and John for help.

4. When Peter and John heard the news, they sprinted for the tomb to see for themselves. John out ran Peter to the tomb, but out of respect for Peter waited for him before entering the tomb.

a. Though John’s youthful legs carried him more swiftly to the grave, once he was there he stooped and looked in, but he waited for Peter’s arrival before entering the cave.

b. He looked in and saw the linen wrappings lying there, but no mention is made yet about the head cloth.

5. Notice what happens when Peter gets there. He goes right inside, and he "noticed the linen wrappings lying there, while the cloth that had covered Jesus’ head was folded up and lying apart from the other wrappings."

a. If someone would have stolen Jesus body, they would not have taken the time to unwrap the body, and even if they had taken off the wrappings they would have left they in disarray.

b. Whoever left them, left them there neatly.

c. The face cloth separate from the linen and is “folded up”, which could be an indication of neatness, or that it was still rolled the way it had been when it was wrapped around Jesus’ head—that his body had risen straight out of the wrappings and cloth.—(Bible Background Commentary)

d. This is just one of many proofs of the reliability of the resurrection.

6. Then John went in, "and he saw and believed—for until then they still hadn’t understood the Scriptures that said Jesus must rise from the dead.

a. This disciple is the one who demonstrates faith not simply in what he sees, but in Jesus and God’s power at work in him.

b. Elsewhere in the Gospel any absolute use of the verb "to believe" indicates a robust, complete faith in Christ (Burge, NIV Application Commentary, New Testament: John, 554).

B. Face to Face

1. Illustration: Sometimes we have to come face to face with the truth. I heard about a little boy sitting on his front steps with his face cradled in his hands, looking so forlorn. His dad came home just then & asked him what was wrong. The little boy looked up & said, "Well, just between us, Dad, I’m having trouble getting along with your wife, too!"

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