Summary: In this sermon, we look at four appearances of Jesus after the resurrection that John recorded. We see how the resurrection changed everything in the lives of the disciples.
A. Happy Easter to everyone – how wonderful it is for us to celebrate the Resurrection on this Lord’s Day!
B. The story is told of a man who went on vacation to the Holy Land with his wife and his mother-in-law.
1. Sadly, while they were in Israel, suddenly his mother-in-law died from a heart attack.
2. The couple went to a local undertaker, who explained that they could either ship the body home which would cost more than $1500, or they could bury her right there in the Holy Land for only $150.
3. To his wife’s surprise, her husband said, “We’ll pay to ship my mother-in-law home.”
4. The undertaker responded, “Are you sure? That’s an awfully big expense, and we can do a very nice burial here.”
5. The husband said, “Look, 2000 years ago they buried a guy here and three days later He rose from the dead. I just can’t take that chance.”
6. I’m thankful that I have a wonderful mother-in-law, so I can use mother-in-law jokes in good conscience.
C. We, Christians, praise God today and every day, that Jesus arose from the dead.
1. Christianity, literally, stands or falls upon the truthfulness of that one event - the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead.
2. No other religion claims the bodily resurrection of its founder.
a. The tomb of Moses is occupied.
b. The tomb of Mohammad is occupied.
c. The tomb of Confucius is occupied.
d. But the tomb of Jesus is EMPTY!
3. Years ago an unbeliever by the name of Frank Morrison decided to disprove the resurrection of Jesus “once for all” and he was going to write the definitive book disproving the resurrection.
a. Well, Morrison examined every thread of evidence available, but then realized that he could not write a book disproving the resurrection.
b. Instead, Morrison became a believer, and wrote a well-known book defending the resurrection called “Who Moved the Stone?”
D. The evidence for the resurrection of Jesus from the dead is compelling!
1. Our faith is not just in an “idea,” or a “philosophy,” but is founded upon an event of history.
2. God’s son died for our sins on a cross and was raised from the dead by His power!
3. For me, personally, the most compelling evidence for the resurrection of Jesus was the explosion of believers within two months of the resurrection in the very city where the events took place.
4. In Acts 2, the first time the gospel was preached 3000 people were baptized.
5. By Acts 4, the number of Christian men had grown to 5000 – that doesn’t include the number of women.
E. Certainly, there is compelling evidence to believe in the resurrection of Jesus Christ!
1. But the evidence of truth alone does not always move us.
2. We also have to be convinced that the TRUTH has MEANING for our lives.
3. The question is not just “Was Jesus raised from the dead?” but also “What DIFFERENCE does the resurrection of Jesus make in my life?”
4. When Jesus appeared to His disciples following His resurrection, he not only proved the TRUTH of his resurrection, but by His resurrection He gave MEANING to the lives of His disciples, and to us.
5. Today I want us to examine 4 episodes from the Gospel of John that show Jesus meeting with His disciples after His resurrection and I want us to notice the difference the resurrection made on their lives.
6. At the end of our worship service last week, we left Jesus buried in the tomb after His crucifixion and today we will pick up the story right where we left off.
I. The Resurrection of Jesus turns Our GRIEF into JOY! (Jn. 20:1-18)
A. The Bible says: 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. 2 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.” 3 So Peter went out with the other disciple, and they were going toward the tomb. 4 Both of them were running together, but the other disciple outran Peter and reached the tomb first. 5 And stooping to look in, he saw the linen cloths lying there, but he did not go in. 6 Then Simon Peter came, following him, and went into the tomb. He saw the linen cloths lying there, 7 and the face cloth, which had been on Jesus' head, not lying with the linen cloths but folded up in a place by itself. 8 Then the other disciple, who had reached the tomb first, also went in, and he saw and believed; 9 for as yet they did not understand the Scripture, that he must rise from the dead. 10 Then the disciples went back to their homes.