Text: John 20:11-18 (NKJV)
11 But Mary stood outside by the tomb weeping, and as she wept she stooped down and looked into the tomb. 12 And she saw two angels in white sitting, one at the head and the other at the feet, where the body of Jesus had lain. 13 Then they said to her, “Woman, why are you weeping?” She said to them, “Because they have taken away my Lord, and I do not know where they have laid Him.” 14 Now when she had said this, she turned around and saw Jesus standing there, and did not know that it was Jesus. 15 Jesus said to her, “Woman, why are you weeping? Whom are you seeking?” She, supposing Him to be the gardener, said to Him, “Sir, if you have carried Him away, tell me where you have laid Him, and I will take Him away.” 16 Jesus said to her, “Mary!” She turned and said to Him, “Rabboni!” (which is to say, Teacher). 17 Jesus said to her, “Do not cling to Me, for I have not yet ascended to My Father; but go to My brethren and say to them, ‘I am ascending to My Father and your Father, and to My God and your God.’ ” 18 Mary Magdalene came and told the disciples that she had seen the Lord, and that He had spoken these things to her.”
3 For I delivered to you first of all that which I also received: that Christ died for our sins according to the Scriptures, 4 and that He was buried, and that He rose again the third day according to the Scriptures” 1 Corinthians 15:3-4 (NKJV)
Illustration: Easter & Laughter
Let's celebrate Easter with the rite of laughter.
Christ died and rose and lives.
Laugh like a woman who holds her first baby.
Our enemy death will soon be destroyed.
Laugh like a man who finds he doesn't have cancer, or he does, but now there's a cure.
Christ opened wide the door of heaven.
Laugh like children at Disneyland's gates.
This world is owned by God, and he'll return to rule.
Laugh like a man who walks away uninjured from a wreck in which his car was totaled.
Laugh as if all the people in the whole world were invited to a picnic and then invite them.
Joseph Bayly, Psalms of My Life
Intro: Every work that God has done, is doing now, or ever will do, can be correctly arranged (classified) under one of two main categories, namely, His work in creation and His work in redemption! Furthermore, God has chosen two special days of the week to serve as a reminder concerning these all important accomplishments.
- Saturday, celebrating His first great work, that of Creation.
- Sunday, celebrating His second great work, that of redemption. This is why the resurrection occurred on Sunday, and why the early Christians observed the first day of the week as their official day of worship.
Application: Get off the Cross and out of the Tomb!
He’s not there! Following His resurrection, Jesus would appear on ten separate occasions. Five of these appearances transpired on the first Easter Sunday, and final five during the remaining 39 days before His ascension, To whom He also presented Himself alive after His suffering by many infallible proofs, being seen by them during forty days and speaking of the things pertaining to the kingdom of God. Acts 1:3 (NKJV)
I thought as I was preparing this I would present 10 points with these appearances but then I got to thinking I might scare all of you! Because I love you and want you to continue to love me I will narrow these appearances down to three with a personality for each:
Personality Appearance #1: Couldn’t recognize vs. 11-14
11 But Mary stood outside by the tomb weeping, and as she wept she stooped down and looked into the tomb. 12 And she saw two angels in white sitting, one at the head and the other at the feet, where the body of Jesus had lain. 13 Then they said to her, “Woman, why are you weeping?” She said to them, “Because they have taken away my Lord, and I do not know where they have laid Him.” 14 Now when she had said this, she turned around and saw Jesus standing there, and did not know that it was Jesus.
If you keep your eyes on the cross and the empty tomb you might just miss Him! This was undoubtedly one of the two most dramatic recognition meetings in the entire bible. The first involved Joseph revealing himself to his brothers in Egypt. It was a Samaritan woman to whom Christ first revealed his messiahship. It is now to another woman, Mary Magdalene that Christ first appears in His resurrection body. Both were formerly women of questionable moral background.
Mary wasn’t the only woman at the tomb, as a matter of fact the second appearance was “certain others” bringing spices. But it is Mary’s personality I want to focus on.
Why did Mary fail to recognize Jesus? Probably for several reasons:
- Her eyes were blinded with tears.
- The early morning light was still too dim.
- She was not expecting to see Him.
- Maybe she wasn’t a morning person.
I must note that there were two others (disciples) enroute to Emmaus. “Now behold, two of them were traveling that same day to a village called Emmaus, which was seven miles from Jerusalem. 14 And they talked together of all these things which had happened. 15 So it was, while they conversed and reasoned, that Jesus Himself drew near and went with them. 16 But their eyes were restrained, so that they did not know Him.” Luke 24:13-16 (NKJV)
I am sure we could go on and on, but there were probably several good reasons, what’s yours? Mary’s see’s have you or is there still a personality issue with you?
Get off the Cross and out of the Tomb! He’s not there!
Personality Appearance #2: Go to my brethren vs. 17
17 Jesus said to her, “Do not cling to Me, for I have not yet ascended to My Father; but go to My brethren and say to them, ‘I am ascending to My Father and your Father, and to My God and your God.”
Got to love Mary! There were surely defining moments in her life but her response her personality was that of love and boldness to run and tell. Things haven’t changed too much have they? Women still have to hear or no what’s going on and then go and tell the men!
My personality of interest hear is Peter, we all know someone who acts just like Peter. Think of all the things he was willing to do for his Lord. “But Peter arose and ran to the tomb; and stooping down, he saw the linen cloths lying by themselves; and he departed, marveling to himself at what had happened.” Luke 24:12 (NKJV)
What a meeting this must have been. The last time these two saw each other; the one was bitterly cursing and denying the other. As modern wordage would put it: Peter was a mess! And after the day of Pentecost Peter cleaned his acted up and became one of the greatest evangelist ever documented in Scripture. Peter came to Christ and went and told. “But you shall receive power when the Holy Spirit has come upon you; and you shall be witnesses to Me in Jerusalem, and in all Judea and Samaria, and to the end of the earth." Acts 1:8 (NKJV)
I think it is important to mention that Jesus did mention or show Himself to a few more and they too told: After that He was seen by over five hundred brethren at once’ 1 Corinthians 15:6 (NKJV)
16 Then the eleven disciples went away into Galilee, to the mountain which Jesus had appointed for them. 17 When they saw Him, they worshiped Him; but some doubted. 18 And Jesus came and spoke to them, saying, "All authority has been given to Me in heaven and on earth. 19 Go therefore and make disciples of all the nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, 20 teaching them to observe all things that I have commanded you; and lo, I am with you always, even to the end of the age." Amen!” Matthew 28:16-20 (NKJV)
These disciples: Got off the Cross and out of the Tomb! He’s not there!
Personality Appearance #3: You have believed John 20:24-28
24 Now Thomas, called the Twin, one of the twelve, was not with them when Jesus came. 25 The other disciples therefore said to him, "We have seen the Lord." So he said to them, "Unless I see in His hands the print of the nails, and put my finger into the print of the nails, and put my hand into His side, I will not believe." 26 And after eight days His disciples were again inside, and Thomas with them. Jesus came, the doors being shut, and stood in the midst, and said, "Peace to you!" 27 Then He said to Thomas, "Reach your finger here, and look at My hands; and reach your hand here, and put it into My side. Do not be unbelieving, but believing." 28 And Thomas answered and said to Him, "My Lord and my God!" 29 Jesus said to him, "Thomas, because you have seen Me, you have believed. Blessed are those who have not seen and yet have believed." John 20:24-28 (NKJV)
Before the eleven apostles in the Upper Room we see Thomas, do we have any Thomas’s in the world today?
- The reluctance of Thomas.
- The revelation to Thomas.
Unless I see in His hands the print of the nails, and put my finger into the print of the nails, and put my hand into His side, I will not believe.
“Now faith is the substance of things hoped for, the evidence of things not seen!” Hebrews 11:1 (NKJV)
Who are you seeking?
Get off the Cross and out of the Tomb! He’s not there!
He is off the Cross, out of the tomb, He is Alive! Do you see, have you told and is the revelation real for you? “For I delivered to you first of all that which I also received: that Christ died for our sins according to the Scriptures, 4 and that He was buried, and that He rose again the third day according to the Scriptures.”
Illustration: The Experiment
Science says if there is any such thing as infallible proof, it is the repetition of the same experiment. Jesus rose from the dead and Mary Magdalene encountered him—experiment one. The women encountered him—experiment two. The disciples encountered him—experiment three. The apostles encountered him—experiment four. Five hundred people saw him after the Resurrection—experiment five. Each one of these is the repetition of the same experiment. They all encountered the same phenomenon. What was it? He was alive! That's what changed the history of the world.
Let's celebrate Easter with the rite of laughter. Christ died and rose and lives. Laugh as if all the people in the whole world were invited to a picnic and then invite them!
In : Sermon
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