Summary: For a life transforming view of the resurrection, don't just peek at it; ponder it; perceive it; and proclaim it.
Ken Davis is one of my favorite comedians, who tells the story of a dead pet rabbit. Take a look… (show video of Dead Rabbit)
A woman looked out the window of her home and was horrified to see her German Shepherd shaking the life out of the neighbor’s pet rabbit. Her family had been quarreling with these neighbors; this was certainly going to make matters worse.
She grabbed a broom and ran outside, pummeling the pooch until he dropped the rabbit now covered with dog-spit—and extremely dead.
What was she going to do?
The woman lifted the rabbit with the end of the broom and brought it into the house. She dumped its lifeless body into the bathtub and turned on the shower. When the water running off the rabbit was clean, she rolled him over and rinsed the other side.
Now she had a plan. She found her hair-dryer and blew the rabbit dry. Using an old comb, she groomed the rabbit until he looked pretty good. Then, when the neighbor wasn’t looking, she hopped over the fence, sneaked across the back yard, and propped him up in his cage. No way was she taking the blame for this thing!
About an hour later, she heard screams coming from the neighbor’s yard. She ran outside, pretending she didn’t know what was going on. Her neighbor came running to the fence. All the blood had drained from her face. “Our rabbit, our rabbit!” she blubbered. “He died two weeks ago, we buried him, and now he’s back!”
Resurrections, supposed or real, have a way of shaking people up. So it is with the resurrection of Jesus Christ. It will literally turn your life upside down if you let it. At first, it might seem a little scary, but the resurrected Christ can give you a whole new life.
It all depends on your point of view. If you have your Bibles, I invite you to turn with me to John 20, John 20, where we have three views of the resurrection of Christ, only one of which is life-transforming.
John 20:1-5 Now on the first day of the week Mary Magdalene came to the tomb early, while it was still dark, and saw that the stone had been taken away from the tomb. So she ran and went to Simon Peter and the other disciple, the one whom Jesus loved, and said to them, “They have taken the Lord out of the tomb, and we do not know where they have laid him.” So Peter went out with the other disciple, and they were going toward the tomb. Both of them were running together, but the other disciple outran Peter and reached the tomb first. And stooping to look in, he saw the linen cloths lying there, but he did not go in. (ESV)
This “other disciple” is John, the author of this gospel, and it says here in verse five, “He SAW the linen cloths…” That is to say he noticed them lying there. The Greek word used for “saw” here (βλέπει) simply describes a person’s ability to see physical objects. No particular insight is implied, just that he sighted something unusual – grave clothes with no body in them.
It’s like the way some people watched the Final Four NCAA Basketball Championship games last evening. They were flipping through the channels looking for some cooking show, and they happened to catch the Kentucky – Wisconsin game for a few seconds. That’s when they saw 10 young men chasing after an orange ball, 2 old men in black striped pajamas blowing whistles all the time, and 1 orange hoop with a net underneath at each end of the court. They (quote) “saw” a basketball game, but they had no idea what was going on, so they flipped the channel to the Food Network and watch another episode of “Chopped.”
I think that’s the way some people “see” the resurrection of Christ. They “see” pictures of a cross and an empty tomb, but it doesn’t mean anything to them. They don’t really understand it, so they move onto something else.
Perhaps, that’s where some of you are at this morning. You came to church at the invitation of a friend or family member, but none of it makes any sense to you. I urge you…
DON’T JUST PEEK AT THE RESURRECTION this morning.
Don’t just notice its pageantry and symbols and move onto something else this afternoon. Instead…
PONDER THE RESURRECTION OF CHRIST.
Think about it. Consider it more deeply like Peter does here.
John 20:6 Then Simon Peter came, following him, and went into the tomb. He saw the linen cloths lying there…
It’s the same English words used of John, the other disciple, in verse 5, but the Greek text uses a different word for “saw” here in verse 6. Here, it’s the word “theorei” (θεωρεῖ), from which we get our word “theorize”.