Monday, April 25, 2011

What They Saw

John records the events of the Resurrection Sunday in chapter 20 of his Gospel. Eight times he says someone saw something. Let's reflect on What They Saw.

Mary saw that the stone had been removed from the entrance (verse 1).

She assumed the worst -- that Jesus' body had been stolen by His enemies. It was lost to his followers. She (others are implied in her report to Peter and John "we") could not complete His honorable burial. Not only had they crushed her hopes and killed her Teacher, they now desecrated His resting place!

didn't investigate the situation any further. She ran in panic. Her only desire was to find Jesus and give Him a proper burial.

What she saw was not enough.

John "looked in at the strips of linen" (Verse 5).

He awaited the others --
He and Peter had started running to the tomb together. John arrived first. He stopped at the entrance and only looked in. This meant he saw just a part of what was inside to be seen. Was he afraid of the places of the dead? Was he fearful that someone might be waiting in ambush for Christ-followers? Was he just catching his breathe from the run?

He went farther than Mary had gone. But he hesitated at the door and
didn't enter the situation fully. He remained outside. He paused for Peter. His caution limited what he saw.

What he saw was not enough.

Peter saw the strips of linen lying there as well as the burial cloth (Verse 6).

He acknowledged the obvious
-- the body was not there. He went inside the tomb and looked around. All he saw were grave clothes, but nobody -- no body. Other than strips of linen the tomb was empty. There was nothing else to see.

Peter went farther than Mary and John had gone. But he
didn't interpret the scene's meaning. He only viewed it for evidence that the body was gone. He saw nothing more.

What he saw was not enough.

John saw and believed (Verse 8).

He affirmed the miracle -- something amazing had happened. Finally, John joined Peter inside the empty tomb. He, too, saw the strips of linen and the burial cloth "folded up by itself, separate from the linen." Something about the neat arrangement of the grave clothes hinted that more than a grave robbery had occurred. Recall, only John's Gospel records the raising of four-day-dead Lazarus. Lazarus had brought his grave clothes out of the tomb with him. The burial linen of Jesus remained, folded neatly as if no longer needed.

John went farther than Peter and Mary. He recognized this was not a grave robbery, not the work of any man. Something more was happening. But he didn't integrate his personal insight with God's written revelation. He specifically states in verse nine that "they still did not understand from Scripture that Jesus had to rise from the dead."

What he saw was not enough.

They saw JESUS! (Verses 18, 19, 24 and 29)

Mary announced the resurrection. The Ten acquired their assignment. Thomas adopted the evidence. Seeing the stone rolled away wasn't enough. Seeing an empty tomb wasn't enough. Seeing something more than human happening wasn't enough. Only an experience of the Resurrected could make the resurrection clear and convincing! Only when these saw (participated with) Jesus alive again could they see (perceive) the resurrection.

Seeing Jesus was enough!

Jesus' own words punctuate the point when He said to Thomas, "Because you
have seen me, you have believed; blessed are those who have not seen and yet have believed.” (verse 29)

Then John sums up our lesson by stating, "
Jesus did many other miraculous signs in the presence of his disciples, which are not recorded in this book. But these are written that you may believe that Jesus is the Christ, the Son of God, and that by believing you may have life in his name."

Have you experienced the Risen Jesus? When you look at this account of the empty tomb, what do you see?

Worshipping the Risen Lord!

Announcement: "He is risen! He is risen indeed!"
Call to Worship: He's Alive by Don Fransisco
Sharing the Good News / Greetings

Community Singing: Nothin' But the Blood Tim Allen arrangement
Mighty to Save by Samson / Morgan

Kidz Choir: Rainbow
The Resurrection Today Lisa Shinn

Community Singing: Amazing Grace (My Chains Are Gone) by Chris Tomlin

Grateful Giving: Then Came the Morning by Christian / Gaither

Morning Prayers, Lord's Prayer

Teaching Time: What They Saw (John 20.1-18, 24-31 NIV)

Response Time: My Chains Are Gone (Chorus)

Dismissal with Blessing