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Summary: This is a Sermon that points to the difference between Jesus and everyone who dies and decays and how Jesus lived to bring about new teaching and new life.

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John 20:1-18 (MSG) Resurrection!

20 1-2 Early in the morning on the first day of the week, while it was still dark, Mary Magdalene came to the tomb and saw that the stone was moved away from the entrance. She ran at once to Simon Peter and the other disciple, the one Jesus loved, breathlessly panting, “They took the Master from the tomb. We don’t know where they’ve put him.”

3-10 Peter and the other disciple left immediately for the tomb. They ran, neck and neck. The other disciple got to the tomb first, outrunning Peter. Stooping to look in, he saw the pieces of linen cloth lying there, but he didn’t go in. Simon Peter arrived after him, entered the tomb, observed the linen cloths lying there, and the kerchief used to cover his head not lying with the linen cloths but separate, neatly folded by itself. Then the other disciple, the one who had gotten there first, went into the tomb, took one look at the evidence, and believed. No one yet knew from the Scripture that he had to rise from the dead. The disciples then went back home.

11-13 But Mary stood outside the tomb weeping. As she wept, she knelt to look into the tomb and saw two angels sitting there, dressed in white, one at the head, the other at the foot of where Jesus’ body had been laid. They said to her, “Woman, why do you weep?”

13-14 “They took my Master,” she said, “and I don’t know where they put him.” After she said this, she turned away and saw Jesus standing there. But she didn’t recognize him.

15 Jesus spoke to her, “Woman, why do you weep? Who are you looking for?”

She, thinking that he was the gardener, said, “Mister, if you took him, tell me where you put him so I can care for him.”

16 Jesus said, “Mary.”

Turning to face him, she said in Hebrew, “Rabboni!” meaning “Teacher!”

17 Jesus said, “Don’t cling to me, for I have not yet ascended to the Father. Go to my brothers and tell them, ‘I ascend to my Father and your Father, my God and your God.’”

18 Mary Magdalene went, telling the news to the disciples: “I saw the Master!” And she told them everything he said to her.

Intro:

I don’t mean any disrespect but as folks start to die and die there flesh turns back to dust. And Yes Death Stinks! Most who witnessed Jesus’s crucifixion from a distance have departed. Mary, his mother, and Mary Magdalene are among those who remain.

But as the soldiers now go about the hard physical labor of un-crucifying a man, a Sadducee named Joseph of Arimathea steps forth. This wealthy member of the Sanhedrin and secret disciple of Jesus was one of the few dissenting voices during the illegal trial. Another of those voices was that of Nicodemus the Pharisee, who now stands atop Golgotha with Joseph. They have received permission from Pilate to take the body, as the governor wants to put this execution to rest as soon as possible.

Somewhat shockingly, Joseph and Nicodemus are publicly declaring their allegiance to the teachings of Jesus. Joseph takes Jesus’s body to his own private family tomb, a brand-new man-made cave carved out of the soft Jerusalem rock on a nearby hillside. The Jews believe that a criminal’s presence in a tomb desecrates it. Even worse, for a member of the Sanhedrin to touch a dead body on Passover makes him unclean and disqualifies him from eating the Seder. By the law Joseph Arimathea and Nicodemus will be declared impure by carrying his limp corpse down off Golgotha and then to the nearby tomb. There is no time to perform the ritual washing and anointing of the corpse with oil.

But they do make the extravagant gesture of coating the body in expensive myrrh and aloe, to overwhelm the coming smell of decomposition. Then they wrap the body tightly in linen, making sure to keep it loose around Jesus’s face in case he is not really dead but merely unconscious.

In this way, he will not suffocate. Jewish tradition dictates that all bodies be examined three days after apparent death. Thus the tomb will be reopened and Jesus will be observed on Sunday.

But all this is merely adherence to ritual. For Jesus is clearly dead. The spear rupturing the pericardial sac around his heart left no doubt. Nonetheless, the tomb will be reopened on Sunday.

When death is formally pronounced, his body will rest inside the tomb for a full year. Then the bones will be removed from his decomposed body and placed in a small stone jar known as an ossuary, to be either stored in a niche carved into the tomb wall or removed.

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