Summary: John 20 gives us a picture of the different ways that people can respond to the Resurrection
Reacting To The Risen Lord
I have been amazed at the continuing reporting of the assassination of President JFK. And the remarkable diversity that is present in the various eyewitness accounts. Discrepancy over the number of shots that were fired to the locations from which they were fired to how many people were involved.
We have all experienced the phenomena of reacting differently to the same event. (Give a personal example of how you have been in a situation that when discussed later as perceived differently by various people present.)
We all know the difference in looking at things from a different perspective: Is the glass half full? Or is it half empty?
(Have the congregation write down these letters - GODISNOWHERE.) What do you see?
KEY STATEMENT: On that first Easter, Christ broke forth from the tomb. This event was witnessed by a number of different people. John, in the first nine verses of chapter 20, records for us a number of the reactions to the empty tomb. Their eyes all viewed the same thing, but each saw something quite different.
1 MAY SAW ONLY THE WORST (vs. 1-2)
Mary same to the tomb. The other gospels tell us it was to make the final burial preparations. She arrived at the tomb and notices the stone is rolled away, and assumes the body has been stolen.
Why didn’t Mary see beyond the body being gone to the miracle of the resurrection. She was not looking for a miracle.
Often we miss the miracle of God’s work because we are not looking for God to work in mighty, powerful and surprising ways.
You know this kind of person. They are the people who can give you 100 reasons why something can not be done, followed up with 1001 ways it will go wrong.
Christ even speaks to her (vs. 15), but she fails to recognize that familiar voice. She thinks it is the gardner.
Because of their negative outlook, they miss the miracle of God.
2 PETER SAW ONLY THE FACTS
Dragnet had the officer Joe Friday, who always repeated that now famous line, "Just the facts, ma’am, just the facts." That is what we could perceive of Peter as he arrives at the tomb.
He arrives after John, but is the first to enter the tomb. It says, "He saw the strips of linen lying there, as well as the burial cloth that had been around Jesus’ head." Peter saw these things lying there but he did not understand what the facts had to say.
Perhaps we could capture Peter’s response in the statement: Prove it!
We live in a scientific age. This is an age that some believe that science is suppose to have the answers to everything. But even now the scientific community is admitting that there are just somethings that happen without explanation.
Elisha’s servant as he looked out over the hillside could only see the marching Syrian armies coming to capture his master. But after Elisha prayed he saw the hillside surrounded by angels on chariots of fire.
We often are like Peter as well. We often tend to deny the miracle of the resurrected Jesus as a reality in another person’s life until they prove it with the facts. We stand back sceptically thinking, "He couldn’t change. I knew him …"
But to those who rely on the basis of give me the facts, the words to Thomas (vs. 29) ring strong and true. "Blessed are those who have not seen and yet have believed."
3 JOHN SAW A RISEN LORD (vs. 8)
John saw the very same tomb as Peter. They both viewed the very same burial clothes. But John saw something that the others had missed.
John was able to fit the pieces together, even though he did not understand that the resurrection was prophecied in Scripture.
You know John. He is the one who is always looking for God’s miracles to be performed in mighty new ways.
Josh McDowell states, "It was the resurrection that brought him to the foot of the cross."
It was the resurrection that caused Frank Morrison to write The Proof of the Resurrection, instead of his original intention The Myth of the Resurrection.
Michael Green in Man Alive!: Christianity does not hold resurrection to be one among many tenants of faith. Without faith in the resurrection there would be no Christianity at all. The Christian church would never have begun. The Jesus movement would have fizzled out like a damp squib with the crucifixion. Christianity stands of falls with the truth of the resurrection. Once disprove it, and you have disposed of it."
Are you able to see through the pages of scripture.
Read John 20:28ff