Summary: EASTER (A) - Race to the Easter tomb and discover the tomb is empty and Scripture is fulfilled.
RACE TO THE EASTER TOMB!
John 20:1-9 - April 11, 2004
1Early 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. 2So 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!"
3So Peter and the other disciple started for the tomb. 4Both were running, but the other disciple outran Peter and reached the tomb first. 5He bent over and looked in at the strips of linen lying there but did not go in. 6Then Simon Peter, who was behind him, arrived and went into the tomb. He saw the strips of linen lying there, 7as well as the burial cloth that had been around Jesus’ head. The cloth was folded up by itself, separate from the linen. 8Finally 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.)
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Dearest Fellow-Redeemed and Saints in the Lord:
On this Easter Sunday our focus is fine-tuned, isn’t it? You and I gather together realizing that as we come and visit the Easter tomb we find it the same as we have every year--the Easter tomb is empty. It is easy to have a fine-tuned focus on a day like today. But what about our fined-tuned focus the rest of the year? What about the week that is yet to come and the rest of the month? Sometimes we forget that fine-tuned focus on the empty tomb. Sometimes we get caught up in all of the things of this life so that this fine-tuned focused joy of Easter is snatched away from us, not completely, but just a bit.
It is this morning that we are reminded of racing to that Easter tomb. Our focus is not just for today, but also for every day and every week of every month of every year. The Lord reminds us in Scripture: "Therefore, since we are surrounded by such a great cloud of witnesses, let us throw off everything that hinders and the sin that so easily entangles, and let us run with perseverance the race marked out for us" (HEBREWS 12:1). Christ reminds us to keep our focus on this empty Easter tomb. That is our theme this morning as we RACE TO THE EASTER TOMB, and discover
I. Jesus’ tomb is empty
II. Scripture is fulfilled
I. Jesus’ tomb is empty
We notice in our text this morning how intent the followers of Jesus are. They had been there on Good Friday, just a few hours short of three days and had seen Jesus breathe His last. They were there to take Jesus’ body down from the cross and hastily prepare Him so that He might be placed in the tomb before the Sabbath. Now, it is Easter Sunday. 1Early on the first day of the week, while it was still dark, Mary Magdalene went to the tomb. She couldn’t wait until it was light, but went while it was still dark arriving at the tomb when it became light. Mary was ready to follow Jesus suffering, to see Him die and now to make sure that He was prepared to lie in state in that tomb. So Mary races to that Easter tomb.
What do we find out and discover? Mary went to the tomb and saw that the stone had been removed from the entrance. In the other Gospel account of Mark that was a concern of the women. As they went to that tomb they wondered who would roll away that large stone that was in front of the tomb. As you may also remember, the enemies of Jesus went to Pilate and said, "We need to make that tomb secure because His followers might come and steal that body out of that grave." So they rolled a heavy stone in front of it, sealed it, and posted a guard. The women were wondering how and who was going to roll away that stone. But as Mary arrives at the tomb the stone had been rolled away. We are also told this fact Luke. The other women came and found the stone was rolled away.
2So Mary came running to Simon Peter and the other disciple, the one Jesus loved. We are not given a name here of the other disciple. In the Gospel of John and other portions of Scripture we are told that Jesus loved John. This is John -- the other disciple as he calls himself, the one Jesus loved. John does not refer to himself by his given name. The disciples here are Peter and John. 2So 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!" Mary had come with spices. She had come to prepare that body. It was a shock to her that that Jesus’ body was not there. The tomb was empty. Even though the angel told them what happened, it still was hard for her and the women to comprehend that Jesus had risen. They could only assume that His body was stolen. It wasn’t there so someone must have taken Him.