Summary: God took what man cannot overcome, sin and death, and showed man that He could overcome it! What is in your life that you have not been able to conquer? Allow God to show you His power!
PREPARING FOR THE TOMB.
Tell the story of John 20:1-18.
I. At the tomb Mary experienced fear. (1-2a)
The fear of losing her Lord. She knew that she had lost Him, but the tomb represented His life. To lose His body would mean she would lose everything that would remind her of who He was.
How many of us operate under the fear of losing something valuable to us?
How many times do we allow the fear of losing Christ affect our lives, decisions, how we perceive people? How many times have we said, “Well if they were really saved, they wouldn’t have done that?” The message here is that Christ died once for all. He doesn’t need to be crucified again. The message is in spite of Mary’s fear, Christ still prevailed! The message is fear is a reality of life. You can’t take courage if you don’t have fear, you don’t need faith if fear is not affecting you. God allows us to experience fear so that we will draw closer to Him, so that we will use our faith to experience Him!
II. At the tomb Mary experienced grief. (11)
She experienced total loss. The bible describes her as standing outside and weeping, and then stooping down because of her weeping. I believe that we can all identify with Mary here. At some point we have experienced that pain of loss.
Notice what Mary does. Mary somehow finds the
courage to face her fears. She finds the strength to look in the tomb. She is searching for something, a
sign, and an answer. And she finds much more!
Notice how God responds! The bible teaches to
seek and you shall find, to knock and it shall be opened, to ask and you shall receive. The bible teaches, “If any of you lacks wisdom, let him ask of God, who gives to all liberally and without reproach, and it will be given to him.” James 1:4. God answers by sending two angels to minister and direct Mary! She doesn’t recognize them as angels. How do I know? Look at how she talks to them. Then He answers by sending His Son! Mary doesn’t recognize Jesus either! Folks, we are no different! When we are grief stricken, we somehow get enough faith to face our fears, grief, and we look into that empty cave. We cry out to the Father, He hears and answers by sending His Holy Spirit. All to often we miss our blessings by not recognizing Him. Folks, it is this simple, when we have the faith to face our empty tombs, God responds by sending us His spirit!
III. At the tomb Mary experienced frustration.
(1, 9) It was dark. (1) To me represents their way of thinking as much as the time of day. It is supported by verse 9. “They did not know the scripture”. Think about that. How many times are we frustrated with God? How many misunderstandings do we have about God? All because we do not know the scriptures! God will never do anything that contradicts His written word. The bible is God’s contract to us! Our problems all stems from our lack of knowledge of our contract!
IV. At the tomb Mary experienced death.
“And as it is appointed for men to die once, but after this the judgment”. Heb. 9:27. Paul said, I die to myself daily. Jesus said, that if you wanted to be His disciple, you must deny self, and take up your cross, and follow Him. There is a physical death that we all must experience, and then there is another death that we all must have.
Mary looked in the tomb, and nothing was there. He was gone. The one who had forgiven, cleansed, and healed her. The one who had provided eternal life with His words. The one who had given her hope is gone!
At some point in our lives we experience the loss of a loved one. Someone that God uses in a special way to give us hope, new direction, forgiveness, or some miracle that we need to get us through our predicaments. Often it is our mother, or father, our mate, our mentor. It doesn’t matter the name, the pain is just the same.
Just as she experiences the lowest part of the valley, the worst disaster, she experiences something that she had never dreamed!
V. At the tomb Mary experienced Life! (16)
Christ calls her by name! Isn’t that how He does it. Just when you are at your worst, He calls you by name. He does this to remind you that you are His, and He hasn’t forgotten you!
Can you imagine how/what she felt!
The tomb represents what man cannot overcome. Man cannot overcome sin or death. Yet with God, all things are possible! The cave is God’s way of showing man that He will take the impossible situation, and glorify His name. So what is it in your life that is impossible? Where do you need a miracle? Allow God to show you His resurrection power. Take it to Him, and watch Him do His miraculous work!