Summary: The Easter story as seen through the eyes of three biblical characters.
What Do You See?
Griffith Baptist Church – 3/23/08
Text: John 20:1-10
It is reported that at the close of the Battle of Waterloo, upon the issue of which hung the destinies of Europe, the English people were anxiously awaiting news of the result. Their only means of communication was a system of signal lights flashed across the English Channel. The fog became so dense that only a part of the message was made out. It read, "Wellington defeated." Gloom settled upon the English. But imagine their joy when the fog lifted and they received the whole message, "Wellington defeated the enemy."
When Christ was crucified, His disciples were so enshrouded by the fogs of doubt that they saw but one meaning to the sad event, "Christ defeated." All hope was gone; Christ was dead. But Easter morning brought the glorious fact of the risen Lord, and the message read, "Christ defeated the devil." How glorious! By dying, Christ conquered the grave; by ascending, Christ made possible our ascension even to heaven. Hallelujah! "O death, where is thy sting? O grave, where is thy victory?" "Thanks be to God, which giveth us the victory through our Lord Jesus Christ."
It is said that the best news the world has ever had came from a graveyard near Jerusalem.
Imagine yourself back in that day going to a tomb, expecting to see it guarded and closed with a dead body enclosed, only to find it open and empty
What would be your thoughts?
Transition Statement: The three followers of Christ are seen in this passage and it is interesting that they saw something, but not the deeper thing they needed to see. We come first to Mary Magdalene and it seems that what she saw was a vacant crypt.
1. Mary Magdalene Saw A Vacant Crypt (1-2)
A. She saw a heavy stone moved
B. She saw no body in the tomb
C. It was a surprise to her, for she had wanted to anoint the body of Christ as was traditional three days after death.
D. She did not see beyond the darkness of the tomb
E. She only knew Jesus body was not in it and someone had taken it
F. CONCLUSION: JESUS BODY HAD BEEN STOLEN
Transition Statement: Now that we know what Mary saw, John is next. As he peeks in the tomb, he sees empty clothing.
2. John Saw Empty Clothing (5)
A. Mary Magdalene’s report is confirmed and Jesus is missing
B. John and Peter have a footrace to the tomb and Peter wins
C. John bends down and looks in and instead of seeing Jesus, he sees only the linens Jesus had been wrapped in.
D. He didn’t enter either because he was being reverent or this was the place where a dead body had been
E. This discounts the view of His body being stolen. Who would have taken the time to strip the clothes off and leave them in a place alone?
F. CONCLUSION: THE PERPLEXITY OF WHAT HAD HAPPENED TO JESUS BODY
Transition Statement: Not far behind is Peter. Peering in, he sees not only the clothes but the napkin that covered the face of the Lord.
3. Peter Saw A Folded Covering (6-7)
A. He not only notices the linens but also the head napkin
B. This was a separate piece of cloth used to wrap the head
C. It was neatly folded and away from the rest of the linens
D. This was significant; Jesus had risen and left evidence that it was not a hasty exit but well thought out and unhurried.
E. CONCLUSION: A MYSTERY THAT DIDN’T SINK IN (see verse 9)
Transition Statement: As far as we can see, they missed the entire point. The most awesome and pivotal moment in history and they didn’t get it. This is comparable to when the World Trade Center was attacked on 9/11 and an onlooker only notices that some windows have been broken out on some of the top floors. What should they have seen?
4. What Should They Have Seen?
A. A Promise Kept
i. Jesus predicted it - John 2:19-21 – 19Jesus answered and said unto them, Destroy this temple, and in three days I will raise it up. 20Then said the Jews, Forty and six years was this temple in building, and wilt thou rear it up in three days? 21But he spake of the temple of his body.
ii. It happened as He predicted - 1 Corinthians 15:3-4 - 3For I delivered unto you first of all that which I also received, how that Christ died for our sins according to the scriptures; 4And that he was buried, and that he rose again the third day according to the scriptures: