Summary: As we look at Peter and John, we see ourselves in our spiritual journey as they look into the tomb of Jesus.
The Three Views of the Tomb
It was the great race of the century. Peter and John, two of the closest disciples to Jesus, tore off from the house to the tomb. Mary Magdalene and company had just told the disciples something about the stone being rolled away, grave clothes, angels and whatnot. According to Luke’s account, all assembled thought the ladies to be crazy, but thought it worthy to investigate.
Peter, the man who had denied Jesus hours earlier, and John, the one Jesus had entrusted His mother too, the one He loved, took off for the grave. What they would find there would change the course of history!
This morning, I want to take all of us to the tomb. As we journey with these two disciples, we will be faced with three different realities. With each view of the tomb, there will be a reflection of who we are, each one of us.
Let us watch this race unfold. Let us draw close to the graveside of Jesus. Allow God to open your hearts as we see what they saw, and feel what they felt. There are three different views of the tomb to be examined. How are you looking at the tomb today?
1. Stay outside
“He bent over and looked in at the strips of linen lying there but did not go in” - John 20:5
Apparently John was faster than Peter because he arrived at the tomb first. He saw that the stone was rolled away. John drew close to the tomb, but he did not go in. He saw the grave clothes , but did not venture in. Despite winning the race, John saw that Jesus was truly missing. The ladies had been telling the truth, but he didn’t go in.
I believe there are some here this morning just like that. You have come to church for the Easter service. Perhaps you have been coming here for a while. All this time, however, you have been on the outside looking in. For whatever reason, John did not dare enter into the reality of the empty tomb, and neither have you.
There are many different powers at work today that keep people outside the truth of the tomb. Over the last five years, we have seen many attacks against the notion that Jesus was the Son of God. The very belief that He could have died and rose again have been under attack.
It easy to stay outside the tomb. Outside, you are still in control. You can peek in from time to time, but the truth will not have an effect on your life as long as you stay outside of the tomb. It doesn’t matter that your sitting in church. You may the nicest person in the world, but you still distance yourself from the Risen Saviour.
This morning, I want you to know that Jesus died for those outside the tomb. He is calling you to come in and look for yourself. Allow His truth to fill you, and change you.
2. Inside and Doubt
“Then Simon Peter, who was behind him, arrived and went into the tomb. He saw the strips of linen lying there, as well as the burial cloth that had been around Jesus’ head. The cloth was folded up by itself, separate from the linen.” - John 20:6,7
The second view from the tomb is not outside, but inside the tomb. Peter may have lost the race, but he entered first. Once in the tomb, Peter had a personal encounter with his surroundings. Peter saw not only the cloths that had been wrapped around Jesus, as well as the cloth that wrapped His head. Mary Magdalene’s belief that someone had taken the body was now in doubt. Why would someone take the time to unwrap a dead body only to retie the cloths before leaving?
In Luke’s account, Peter was confused. “Bending over, he saw the strips of linen lying by themselves, and went away, wondering to himself what had happened.” - Luke 24:12 Peter just could not to terms with what was going on. He saw the evidence of a something, but did not know what that was. In the heart of the tomb, all Peter had was doubt.
I believe there are some here today who, like Peter, are struggling to make sense of it all. Just like Peter, there is something missing. You have come so close. There have been times that is has been like God was with you every step of the way, but something holds you back from making that commitment.
I have a brother-in-law that is like that. Years ago I bought him the “Knowing Jesus” study bible. As soon as he got it, he read it from cover to cover. My in-laws have invited to their Bible study which he attends faithfully. The leader of the study has offered to take the entire family to church, yet Kevin still hesitates. He told Liss and I the one thing that holds him back is my sister. He doesn’t want to do something that might upset her.