Summary: This is a sunrise service message which focuses on what we can learn from Mary Magdalene about how to recognize the voice of Christ through the clouds of confusion.

Sunrise Service

When Confusion Clouds

March 31, 2002

John 20:1-18


A. [Christ’s Alive and at Church Today, Citation: Peggy Key, Portage, MI. Today’s Christian Woman, "Heart to Heart."]

While driving to church on Easter Sunday two years ago, I told my children the Easter story.

"This is the day we celebrate Jesus coming back to life," I explained.

Right away, my 3-year-old son, Kevin, piped up from the back seat, "Will He be in church today?"

1. I believe Christ has risen from the dead!

2. I believe Christ is alive!

3. And I believe that Christ will come to church today if we invite Him and make Him feel welcome!

B. [Prayer to ask Christ’s presence in our services today; that we will look for Him; that we might see Him in a specific way.]

C. Today on this resurrection morning, I want us to turn our thoughts to Mary Magdalene at that first sunrise service on Resurrection morning.

1. Jesus conducted that sunrise service Himself.

2. Mary was not expecting to see Jesus that morning and nearly missed Him.

3. Lets read through John 20 and see if we can learn anything about how to see and recognize Jesus…

I. Mary saw confusing things.

John 20:1-9, Early on the first day of the week, while it was still dark, Mary Magdalene went to the tomb and saw that the stone had been removed from the entrance. 2 So she came running to Simon Peter and the other disciple, the one Jesus loved, and said, "They have taken the Lord out of the tomb, and we don’t know where they have put him!" 3 So Peter and the other disciple started for the tomb. 4 Both were running, but the other disciple outran Peter and reached the tomb first. 5 He bent over and looked in at the strips of linen lying there but did not go in. 6 Then Simon Peter, who was behind him, arrived and went into the tomb. He saw the strips of linen lying there, 7 as well as the burial cloth that had been around Jesus’ head. The cloth was folded up by itself, separate from the linen. 8 Finally the other disciple, who had reached the tomb first, also went inside. He saw and believed. 9 (They still did not understand from Scripture that Jesus had to rise from the dead.)

A. Early on that first resurrection morning (probably earlier than our 8:30 AM service), Mary went to the tomb.

1. Mary was a Godly follower of Christ.

2. She loved the Lord for Jesus had freed her from the torment of seven demons.

3. The Lord had truly changed her life.

4. She had traveled with Jesus during His last days of ministry.

5. Matthew 27 and Mark 15 tell us that Mary was present for the crucifixion as well as the preparation and the burial that was done by Joseph and Nicodemus.

B. Why did Mary go to the tomb?

1. Mark 16:1 tells us that Mary and two other women were there to bring spices for the body.

2. They were going to the tomb early that morning to anoint the dead body of Jesus with spices.

3. Mary assumed He was dead. Mary had witnessed His burial.

4. It was done in a hurry and perhaps they were going to finish the job after the Sabbath that the two men didn’t have time to finish before the Sabbath.

C. But when Mary and the others arrived, they found the stone had been rolled away from the entrance.

1. This was probably pretty confusing for Mary.

2. She wasn’t expecting the tomb to be open.

3. She was expecting to go open the tomb and embalm the body of Jesus.

4. But when she got there the tomb was already open and this very much surprised and confused her.

5. So verse 2 tells us that she ran back and told Peter and John what she had seen.

6. Peter and John raced each other to the tomb and Mary followed them.

7. This just tells about the race that Peter and John had, but verse 11 tells us that Mary is back at the tomb again.

8. Peter and John race to the tomb, go inside and see the empty burial clothes while Mary stood outside the tomb weeping.

9. Mary saw some very confusing things, and…

II. Mary thought confusing things.

John 20:10-13, Then the disciples went back to their homes, 11 but Mary stood outside the tomb crying. As she wept, she bent over to look into the tomb 12 and saw two angels in white, seated where Jesus’ body had been, one at the head and the other at the foot. 13 They asked her, "Woman, why are you crying?" "They have taken my Lord away," she said, "and I don’t know where they have put him."

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