Re:Verse passage –John 20:1-18(day five) One of beautiful things about the scriptures is that they portray people as ”normal” people. Even the heroes. They say and do things just like us. They fail. They argue. They miss the point. They succeed. They are afraid. They have courage. They sin. They celebrate. They worship. Just like us. And what we read in our Re:Verse passage this week, is that the disciples and women followers of Jesus are extremely grief stricken. (Just like we would be) It’s further evidence that Jesus really died and was buried. Some saw it and talked about it. The others sensed it from the way people were speaking and acting. And they were filled with grief, shock, and fear.
We all process and discover events and truth differently. Peter sees the empty tomb and grave clothes and is still in a state of grief. John see the same thing and “believes”. Mary sees the same thing and is overcome with grief and confusion.
Yet, all of these people mentioned will come to the point of believing. The Lord will immediately begin to work and speak in ways to convince, convict, and encourage His followers.
How might He do that with us (His followers today)? Oh Lord, please help us to believe with greater confidence and to follow You with greater clarity and courage!! Show us!! Speak to us!! Come near to us!! Help your people!!
When we look at Jesus’ life, we find that every moment was filled with intention. Nothing was haphazard. Always look for who is around at the turning points in Jesus’ life. When Jesus is born, the angels first bring the news to poor shepherds working in the pasture over night. These men were often looked down upon in society, yet the good news of Jesus’ birth was brought to them first. Give this some thought – why them?
Now, at the resurrection, at the most significant moment in human history – look who’s there. The resurrected Jesus first reveals himself to women. The first person to witness about the resurrected Savior was a woman. Women, too, were treated poorly in society. They weren’t allowed to participate in the synagogues, they didn’t have any social or economic power of their own. And yet, it is to them that Jesus reveals this good news. Why them?
Jesus keeps interesting company. The people around him aren’t who you’d expect. And now, we’re included in that wonderfully weird company that he keeps as well. Why us? Why does he draw near to us? In response, we can follow the example of the shepherd and the women – we can go and tell.
The disciples of Jesus were going to believe in this miracle at the speed of their lifelong experience, which is to say, belief was slow in coming. All their lives, these men and women had seen only a limited number of possible outcomes for any given circumstance. It’s just the way things were. When you can see no possibility for resolution to suffering but a darker future, despair makes sense. In fact, to hope is foolhardy. And when evidence points to something other than that bleak future, you’ll dismiss the evidence. The resurrection reveals, though, that despair is only a habit of thought. God has opened up new possibilities for the human race. If the dead are raised, no other seemingly impossible thing is off the table, no matter what it is.
Re:Verse passage –John 20:1-18 (day tw0) So the disciples went away again to their own homes. But Mary was standing outside the tomb weeping vs. 10-11a
It’s impossible to know what kind of inner turmoil and confusion these three must have been experiencing, but their reactions produced vastly different results. The disciples went home. They gathered together and waited for some direction as to how to move next.
Mary, however, stayed where she knew Jesus had been. She came to care for Jesus, and she wanted to carry out that last act of kindness. She wanted answers. She was rewarded, first by seeing the angels, and then by seeing and speaking to Jesus himself. It was her determination to find Jesus that allowed her to be the one to declare to the disciples:
Mary Magdalene came, announcing to the disciples, “I have seen the Lord,” vs. 18a
We don’t know the motivation of John and Peter in their return home, but we can see how Mary was blessed by her perseverance. Go to where you know Jesus to be. Wait for him, call on him. He will be found.
Join us as Senior Pastor Chris Johnson, Associate Pastor Aaron Hufty, and Associate Pastor Bryan Richardson walk us through John 20:1-18 in our Winter Re:Verse Series: “The Beauty of Restoration” The Final Days of Jesus in the Gospel of John.
Now in the place where He was crucified there was a garden, and in the garden a new tomb in which no one had yet been laid. vs 41
In a garden an Innocent Man was arrested. In a garden an Innocent Man was put to death. In a garden an Innocent Man was laid to rest.
For He was there when it all began, in another garden in another land. He watched as Satan spun a curse on man.
In a garden that curse was lifted. In a garden death was put to death. In a garden death was laid to rest.
For He was the Adam we were supposed to be. It was our sin that put Him on that tree. Yet, He bore it all to prepare a garden for me.
In His garden Eden will be restored. In His garden there will be no more death. In His garden we will all find rest.
Then he showed me a river of the water of life, clear as crystal, coming from the throne of God and of the Lamb,in the middle of its street. On either side of the river was the tree of life. Revelation 22:1-2
This is a remarkable little story of two men coming out of the shadows to honor a man they secretly admired. With much at stake, and not a lot of time before sundown, they tend to the broken body of Jesus. As much as possible they honored Jesus’ body with the sacred traditions that accompanied the dead.
It is in this moment that we most clearly see Jesus’ humanity; a broken body, wrapped, and placed in a rich man’s tomb.
Jesus’ brokenness (in his crucifixion) is not what made him human; he became broken in his body so we could become whole, complete, and incorruptible in ours.
This morning, a longer quote by Gavin Ortlund. Wonderful questions and an amazing truth-True obedience is never wasted . May we all desire to faithfully serve and follow Christ in obedience (like Joseph and Nicodemus)!!
“One wonders: how would the events of Easter weekend look different apart from the courage of Joseph and Nicodemus? Obviously God could have raised Jesus’s body from another location. Or he could have transported it to the tomb by other means. But God honored the loyalty and sacrifice of these men by having them play a critical role in the gospel narrative.
Joseph and Nicodemus didn’t know that. As Saturday was dawning (Luke 23:54), it would have been easy for them to think that their life was over. They had spent their money and lost much of their status. Their future did not look particularly bright in that moment. But through this very act, God prepared the conditions for the turning point of all history. God took what seemed like a dismal ending and turned it into a glorious beginning.
Friend, does the path of obedience feel to you dark and difficult? Are you in the midst of a long Friday night or lonely Saturday of your own?
Remember that the ultimate Sunday morning — the restoration of all things — is still to come. Like Joseph and Nicodemus, we don’t know what God may do tomorrow with our efforts today. True obedience is never wasted. Who knows what glory might still be reverberating on the new earth, a trillion years from now, because of your difficult obedience today?”
Funerals evoke all sorts of emotions. We feel sad as we miss our lost loved one. We might feel angry at ourselves for things left unsaid. We might feel relief that the person is free from pain. We might be fearful as we consider a future without that loved one. We experience these darker emotions at funerals because they remind us of the darkest part of the human experience – death.
But can you imagine what Joseph and Nicodemus felt at this funeral? This surely isn’t how they thought it would go. They would have never thought that their Savior and Messiah would be left alone at his death. They wouldn’t have imagined that they would have to come out of hiding in order to be both pallbearer and undertaker to their King. As they gently took care of Jesus’ body and laid him to rest, I’m sure this felt like the darkest moment in their entire lives. Almost as dark as Genesis 1:2, when “darkness hovered over the surface of the deep.” Thankfully, the Light they knew could not be extinguished. As John says in the beginning of his gospel, “The Light shines in the darkness, and the darkness did not comprehend it” (John 1:5).
“So they took the body of Jesus and bound it in linen wrappings with the spices, as is the burial custom of the Jews.”
Beyond the group of twelve and the group of women who looked after Jesus, this partnership of Joseph and Nicodemus seems to be one of the earliest expressions of what would become a company of those united in their devotion to serving Christ. In one of the most tender accounts in scripture, these two men – careful, deliberative, and deadly serious in their attention to all that Jesus said and did – acted according to their regard for Jesus as one worthy of their reverence. What did they think about the future of Jesus’s teachings? What did they believe about Messiah? These questions aren’t addressed. What John does show is this somber little fellowship doing all they know to do.