Thursday, December 18, 2014

John 20:1-31

Peter and John sat together the day after Passover Sabbath, quietly pondering what they would do now that Jesus was gone. They had both watched the horrible scene unfold before their very eyes. John respected Peter for his boldness in the garden, but Peter bore the shame of a three-fold denial. Instantly, the door burst open, and Mary Magdalene rushed into the room.
Between gasps of air and sobs, she formed the words, “They have taken His body.” Their minds swirled as they rushed down the road to the sepulcher. Would the religious leaders desecrate His body? What else could they want with it? Wasn’t it enough to kill Jesus, why this too? What would His mother think when she found this out? John arrived at the entrance of the tomb and looked in to see something unexpected. The grave clothes were still there. John makes a special note that at this point, he believed. He doesn’t explain what he believed, perhaps it was simply that the tomb was empty, but that point basically goes without saying, what rather seems to be the indication is that John realized that Jesus had risen from the grave.
Two days earlier, Jesus had hung on the cross, but now He was raised from the dead. This was the greatest thing that John could have imagined. As John and Peter departed, Mary stayed behind and wept at the perceived loss of Jesus. In the midst of her tears, she was interrupted by the questioning of two angels from inside the sepulcher. “Why are you crying?” they asked. As she answered them, “Because they moved the body of Jesus and I don’t know where they took it;” turning, she saw a man that she did not recognize. Immediately, He asked her the same question, “Why are you crying?”
Her answer to Him was similar, “If you have moved His body, please tell me where, so I can see Him.” She never expected the response that she received, “Mary.” Turning quickly, she looked up at His face. “Rabboni!” In excitement, Mary’s tears of sorrow turned to sobs of joy. Jesus was standing directly in front of her. After He explained that He would visit with His disciples, He departed. An elated Mary sprinted back to the disciples to tell them that she had just spoken to Jesus in the garden and that He was risen. The disciples hurriedly gathered together to discuss the news of Jesus as Mary had shared.
Gathered in a room for the first time since His execution, the disciples discussed what had happened. Because they could all be arrested and imprisoned if they were caught by the Jewish leaders, the door was bolted shut. Immediately, Jesus appeared standing in the middle of the group. Jesus had risen, and now He was with them again. All of the disciples had gathered, except Thomas. Even as the other disciples tracked Him down and explained, Thomas refused to acknowledge the possibility. That is, he doubted until a week later when Jesus came and showed Himself to Thomas.
Lest we read this incredible story and miss the point, John stalls and explains His purpose for writing the entire Gospel account. “These are written, that ye might believe that Jesus is the Christ, the Son of God.” The evidence had been lain out clearly, now, John had given the last piece of evidence pointing towards the Deity of Jesus, He had risen from the dead. All of the other miracles were evidence enough. This by itself was evidence enough. John knew that the case had been made. The need for any more proof was completely gone. Any skeptic reading the account, denying the facts would do so not because of a lack of clarity or because of evidence to the contrary, rather they would simply refuse because they did not want to believe what was plainly in front of them.

Food For Thought: In what order did Jesus reveal Himself to His disciples following His resurrection?