Life was designed to be lived in community.

04/04/10 What were they Thinking?

Posted by Pastor Steve on Sunday, April 4, 2010 Under: Sermon

Easter 2010

Text: John 20:1-31


The news that Jesus was alive began to spread among His followers, at first with hesitation, but then with enthusiasm. Even His disciples did not believe the first reports, and Thomas demanded proof. But wherever people were confronted with the reality of His resurrection, their lives were transformed. In fact, that same transforming experience can be yours today. As you see in John the changes that took place in the lives of people, ask yourself, “Have I personally met the risen Christ? Has He changed my life?”

There were several interesting thoughts that must have been going on in the minds of those who were there; it is interesting the responses. I wonder how we would of responded it we were there that Easter Sunday!  So what were they thinking?

1. First one there: Mary came first: why Mary? She was a woman. You ever wonder if there were interviews for this great honor of being the first to see the empty tomb. I wonder if that was a conversation that Mary referred to amongst certain people in her social world (I was first to the tomb) but of coarse you had to know Mary in order to really appreciate why God chose her and in His divine providence He knew what He was doing!

Mary revealed an unquestioning love: "They have taken away the Lord." Mary is a supreme example of one who loves and believes, although she did not understand. She was one of the last to leave Jesus at the cross; one of the first to attend the tomb; and one who still called Him "Lord." Her belief was a belief of love—not a belief based upon intellect or understanding. She knew what Jesus had done for her, and she loved Him for it. Jesus was her Lord, dead or alive!

"And thou shalt love the LORD thy God with all thine heart, and with all thy soul, and with all thy might." Deuteronomy 6:5 (KJV)  Mary did!

2. Shocking Discovery: Peter and John's shocking discovery. They discovered the empty tomb and the linen clothes. They "went forth" to the tomb. John outran Peter. When John arrived at the tomb, he just glanced in and noticed the linen clothes. Peter actually entered the tomb. He, too, noticed the linen clothes. They both knew the significance. If the body had been removed by the authorities or stolen by someone, the linen clothes would have been taken with the body or left in a disheveled mess, thrown someplace on the floor. From the description and the impact of the event upon the two disciples, neither one discussed his thoughts with the other, not while standing there at that time. If a man wishes to discover the empty tomb, he must get up and "go forth" to look at it. He must investigate, and then he will see. Getting up and "going forth" is the only way a man can ever discover the risen Lord. Resting in the comforts and lethargy of this world will never help a man find Jesus.

A loving God wants love - a heart full of love. He wants a person to simply believe that God is (exists) and that God is a rewarder of them that love Him.

Vs. 8 “The other disciple, who had reached the tomb first, then entered the tomb, saw, and believed.” The shocking Discovery led them to believe!

"But without faith it is impossible to please him: for he that cometh to God must believe that he is, and that he is a rewarder of them that diligently seek him" Hebrews 11:6.

I have to end this thought by wondering if the disciples had to see for themselves if what Mary had seen is true.

3. Doubt: Our churches are full of Christians who share the common sin of doubt! What was Thomas thinking or maybe what wasn’t thinking? What has to take place in a persons mind before they can truly give themselves over to Christ?

Vs. 25 “So the other disciples kept telling him, “We have seen the Lord!” But he said to them, “If I don’t see the mark of the nails in His hands, put my finger into the mark of the nails, and put my hand into His side, I will never believe!”

Thomas' frustrated, reactionary spirit. Thomas had not been with the disciples when Jesus first appeared to them. Like so many today, he staunchly refused to believe that Jesus had actually risen from the dead. The disciples testified and bore witness to the glorious truth. The Greek means they "kept on telling him," but Thomas became stiff-necked and obstinate in his unbelief. He even argued against their testimony, and he argued with deep intensity. He was deeply aggravated and frustrated, feeling great disappointment and guilt. The depth of his aggravation and guilt is seen in his repulsive shout, "Except I shall see...put my finger...[and] thrust my hand into his wounds, I will not believe."

What was it that frustrated Thomas so much and caused him to sense such intense guilt and react the way he did? 

•  Thomas had forsaken the Lord, and that was enough to frustrate any man's spirit.

•  Thomas had also withdrawn from the disciples; consequently he was not present when the Lord first appeared. He missed another opportunity to be identified with Christ.

Of course, this caused Thomas to become aggravated with guilt all over again. He became critical of the body of believers. It was his own fault, but as human nature so often reacts, he blamed others through his aggravated spirit. He argued against their experience with the resurrected Lord. Having taken all he could bear, in utter frustration he shouted out, "Except I shall see..put my finger...[and] thrust my hand into his wounds, I will not believe". It was eight days more before the Lord ever appeared to Thomas. What a loss he experienced!

•  Persistent doubt always delays the blessings.

Vs. 27-28 “Then He said to Thomas, “Put your finger here and observe My hands. Reach out your hand and put it into My side. Don’t be an unbeliever, but a believer.”  28 Thomas responded to Him, “My Lord and my God!”

Have you said “My Lord and my God!”

Even through all the doubt Jesus still offers Peace!

Conclusion:  God wants us to see what they are thinking so “What are you thinking? Is it worth any conscience effort to make adjustments in your life? Do you have a love for the Lord like Mary?  Has there been a shocking discovery in your life that would encourage you to run to Christ or are you the doubter? What’s it going to take? The sign from God that you might be waiting for may never happen. It is very possible that God has already shown you a sign! 

Vs. 31 “But these are written so that you may believe Jesus is the Messiah, the Son of God, and by believing you may have life in His name.”

In : Sermon 

Tags: easter 
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