Summary: Resurrection changes how the church understands life and purpose.


John 20:1-9; 19-23

Big Idea: Resurrection changes how the church understands life and purpose.

NOTE: This service concluded with baptisms.

1 Early 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. 2 So 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!”

3 So Peter and the other disciple started for the tomb. 4 Both were running, but the other disciple outran Peter and reached the tomb first. 5 He bent over and looked in at the strips of linen lying there but did not go in. 6 Then Simon Peter, who was behind him, arrived and went into the tomb. He saw the strips of linen lying there, 7 as well as the burial cloth that had been around Jesus’ head. The cloth was folded up by itself, separate from the linen. 8 Finally 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.)


19 On the evening of that first day of the week, when the disciples were together, with the doors locked for fear of the Jews, Jesus came and stood among them and said, “Peace be with you!” 20 After he said this, he showed them his hands and side. The disciples were overjoyed when they saw the Lord.

21 Again Jesus said, “Peace be with you! As the Father has sent me, I am sending you.” 22 And with that he breathed on them and said, “Receive the Holy Spirit. 23 If you forgive anyone his sins, they are forgiven; if you do not forgive them, they are not forgiven.”


Christ has risen! {He has risen indeed}

And the resurrection changes … {EVERYTHING!}

I just love reading the resurrection stories in the Gospels. Every time I do my faith is reaffirmed and I glean new insights.

Last year I began to discover some interesting elements to the resurrection story that I am that still, one year later, “unpacking.” John’s resurrection account is particularly intriguing to me. He seems to be doing something very interesting in these narratives. It centers on his use of the days of the week. As you probably know, he chronicles the Sunday through Sunday of Palm Sunday to Easter; in fact, chapter 12 onward focuses on the final week of Jesus’ life. I see some connections between this history-changing week and the creation story of Genesis. I think it becomes more obvious as we approach Friday.

Allow me to try & explain.


In Genesis, after five full days of creation, God declares His work finished (Genesis 2:1-2) and rests on Saturday. Saturday is declared as “Sabbath;” day of rest. It is to assumed that life and work begin anew for his creation (us) on Sunday – the first day of the week.

In 33 A.D., Jesus, God in flesh, experiences five full days of activity that, also work towards a crescendo. This crescendo plays out in the crucifixion – where God’s Son says “it is finished.” This means, among other things, that the work of atonement and the mission of Jesus have found fulfillment, accomplishment, completion. “Finished” was what you wrote on a bill when it had been settled: ‘Paid’ in full!

Just as God the creator completed his work on the sixth day, Jesus completes the work of redeeming the world on day six of John’s Gospel account. With his shameful, chaotic, horrible death he has gone to the very bottom, to the darkest and deepest place of ruin, and has planted there a sign that says “Rescued.”

Day 6 … Friday … Good Friday is the point at which God comes into our chaos, to be there with us in the middle of it and to bring us his new creation.


Genesis’ creation story tells us of God’s rest on day seven without any detail of any kind. We are not told what happens on day seven by John either; all we are told is that Jesus is in the grave. The day looms with heaviness stillness and silence … but the pain remains. In the Gospel record, Holy Saturday brings sorrow, stillness, and an absence of activity. It is known in many Christian circles are “Silent Saturday.”

Holy Saturday is a Sabbath of sorts from the completion of redemption’s task. It serves as a pause for us to ponder the implication of God’s act and death.

A poem has been written that describes the mission of “Silent Saturday”:

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