Gospel of John [20:1-10]. Christ's Resurrection, part 2.

Class Outline:

Title: Gospel of John [20:1-10]. Christ's Resurrection, part 2.


Announcements/opening prayer:



The greatest objection to the resurrection is its miraculous character. Many first refute the possibility of miracles and so reject the direct work of God in the world and then and only then set out to determine the history of the world, and within that, the history of Jesus, the disciples, and the church.


Theories over the centuries for the explanation of the empty tomb and the vanished body abound. The authorities moved the body, the disciples stole the body, the women went to the wrong tomb, Joseph of Arimathea took the body, God destroyed the body, the disciples thought they saw Jesus again but it was just someone who looked like Him, a case of mistaken identity, or that a spiritual apparition of Jesus appeared to them and so they never bothered to visit the tomb at all. Of course there are the claims that the gospels are not credible or that miracles can't happen and that there is always a scientific explanation. Some cite the difficulties in harmonizing the gospels as a cause of discrediting the accounts and recently the liberal interpretation of the gospels has led many so-called theologians to postulate that Christ rose in a spiritual body and the disciples desired Him to be physically alive so badly that their imaginations got the best of them. Satan thinks up all kinds of possible explanations and the ones that mankind likes or latches on to become popular and are taught in schools, universities, and sadly, seminaries.  


There is no other explanation for what happened, the accounts of the gospel writers and writers of the NT, the explosion of the church in the Roman Empire when it was at its height in strength and glory, the change in the disciples themselves, and all of them being martyred for their beliefs.


It is impossible that every one of them would defend the truth of the resurrection in the midst of execution if it was a lie.


Most people would deny something that they saw to be true when presented with execution and all of these men and many women could not deny His resurrection because they saw Him, they touched Him, they heard Him, and they witnessed Him eat and drink and breathe.


And so we come to resurrection morning. In a past message I harmonized all the appearances of Christ and the events given as best as can be done from the brief accounts. Not enough details are given in order to harmonize with 100% certainty all of the events of His resurrection and the time leading up to His ascension. So I'm going to stick with our gospel of John and fill in where I think it necessary. My goal here is not to give all the details of every event but to increase our understanding of the message that God desires for us from His word about our Lord's victory over death.


JOH 20:1 Now on the first day of the week Mary Magdalene came early to the tomb, while it was still dark, and saw the stone already taken away from the tomb.


JOH 20:2 And so she ran and came to Simon Peter, and to the other disciple whom Jesus loved, and said to them, "They have taken away the Lord out of the tomb, and we do not know where they have laid Him."


John only mentions Mary but the other gospel writers include Mary the mother of James and Salome. In John's account, when Mary Magdalene spoke to Peter and John she says, "we do not know where they have laid Him," indicating that the other women were with them.


It is amazing that no mention of the angel sighting is mentioned. It's hard to believe that they wouldn't have stated it unless she didn't recognize them as angels.


MAT 28:2 And behold, a severe earthquake had occurred, for an angel of the Lord descended from heaven and came and rolled away the stone and sat upon it.


MAT 28:3 And his appearance was like lightning, and his garment as white as snow;


MAT 28:4 and the guards shook for fear of him, and became like dead men.


MAT 28:5 And the angel answered and said to the women, "Do not be afraid; for I know that you are looking for Jesus who has been crucified.


The Greek verb apokrinomai means to answer or begin to say and always in response to something, but that response can be to an action. So either the woman asked something of the angel(s) of the angel is responding to their obvious body language.


Yet, astoundingly, there is no mention of the angels in their recorded reports to the disciples and so it is likely that they were startled by them but didn't know they were angels.  


Mary Magdalene and the other women left in fear and astonishment and said nothing to anyone until they reached the disciples.


/MAR 16:8

And they went out and fled from the tomb, for trembling and astonishment had gripped them; and they said nothing to anyone, for they were afraid. \


JOH 20:1 Now on the first day of the week Mary Magdalene came early to the tomb, while it was still dark, and saw the stone already taken away from the tomb.


JOH 20:2 And so she ran and came to Simon Peter, and to the other disciple whom Jesus loved, and said to them, "They have taken away the Lord out of the tomb, and we do not know where they have laid Him."


We cannot tell if Peter and John were separate and they came to each of them in turn, whether they were together, or whether they were with the others. The traditional account is that after seeing the stone rolled away and the angel announced His resurrection to them that they went and told the others, including Peter and John, and then returned to the tomb. It seems that Mary Magdalene went ahead of the other two women.


Luke states that there were two angels at the tomb while Matthew and Mark mention one.


There was an earthquake when the angels appeared and they rolled away the stone and the guards shook from fear and the women were terrified at the sight of them.


There is no record of the women witnessing the stone being rolled away, but we can surely conclude that the guards saw it, for no Roman guard would sleep on his watch, by penalty of death.


The Roman seal was broken by the angels and the guards could do nothing to stop it. There is no witness of the Lord walking out in the sight of the guards or the women so we can say that the angels were not needed to open the tomb, but were sent by God to do so, so that mankind could see inside, seeing nothing but the folded clothes.


LUK 24:5-6

"Why do you seek the living One among the dead? "He is not here, but He has risen.


MAT 28:5-6

"Do not be afraid; for I know that you are looking for Jesus who has been crucified. "He is not here, for He has risen, just as He said. Come, see the place where He was lying.


Luke states that they reported this to the eleven and to all the rest, but we have to understand that that doesn't necessarily mean all at the same time. Facts are given but an historical timeline is not.


After being told, Peter and John run to the tomb. John believes in the resurrection of Jesus when he sees the tomb and the death clothes.


We cannot tell if Peter believed at this time. For this reason, coupled with the fact that John ran ahead and made it to the tomb first, all kinds of theories have arisen which attempt to make types out of John and Peter, none of which mean anything and are dangerous because they can lead to false doctrines.


JOH 20:2 And so she ran and came to Simon Peter, and to the other disciple whom Jesus loved, and said to them, "They have taken away the Lord out of the tomb, and we do not know where they have laid Him."


Like most people who do not understand what they have seen and have a great emotional attachment to those involved, jumps to erroneous conclusions, that they have taken away His body.


Mary Magdalene has a great emotional attachment and does not understand what she sees so she concludes and says more than she can prove.


While we have the opportunity we should look into Mary Magdalene as much as we can since many misconceptions about her have been held as true.


Jesus cast seven demons out of Mary M. and she along with other women freed from possession and sicknesses followed Jesus and supported Him. She is not the woman of Luk 7.


LUK 8:1 And it came about soon afterwards, that He began going about from one city and village to another, proclaiming and preaching the kingdom of God; and the twelve were with Him,


LUK 8:2 and also some women who had been healed of evil spirits and sicknesses: Mary who was called Magdalene, from whom seven demons had gone out,


LUK 8:3 and Joanna the wife of Chuza, Herod's steward, and Susanna, and many others who were contributing to their support out of their private means.


Seven demons would mean that she had exceptionally acute mental disease and for how long we don't know. Jesus, likely because of seeing her faith, released her from her enormous burden and so she had a tremendous love for Him.


When we recognize through spiritual growth how much of a burden that Jesus has really released us from then we will develop tremendous love for Him.


Ask yourself how many things the Lord has released you from. I don't mean from sin and death only, though they are not to be overlooked, but I mean specific things; things that you feared, things that made you anxious and worried, things that made you angry, things that made you weep bitterly, etc.


In Mary Magdalene and the other women this love resulted in service of Him, support of Him, and ministering to Him and the twelve.


MAR 15:41

And when He was in Galilee, they used to follow Him and minister to Him; and there were many other women who had come up with Him to Jerusalem.


Mary Magdalene followed Him to the cross when the other disciples fled, she likely cared for His mother, she followed His body to the tomb, and she was among the first to come to the tomb on Sunday. That she was the first to see the resurrected Christ is indicative of the honor that the Lord gave her for her love and dedication to Him.


History has painted this Mary as a prostitute or a woman of bad character but that is only because she has been confused with the woman in LUK 7:37, described as a "sinner," who entered the Pharisee's house where Jesus was dining and washed His feet with her tears. This is not the same woman and so we have no knowledge of Mary's past other than she was possessed by seven demons, which certainly would have made her an outcast from common society and given her incredible mental and probably physical discomfort.  


JOH 20:3 Peter therefore went forth, and the other disciple, and they were going to the tomb.


JOH 20:4 And the two were running together; and the other disciple ran ahead faster than Peter, and came to the tomb first;


JOH 20:5 and stooping and looking in, he saw the linen wrappings lying there; but he did not go in.


Until Peter caught up with him, John contented himself with peeping into the tomb from the outside (which is what the verb parakypto means).


John could see the grave clothes lying unoccupied, which suggested that it was not just a simple removal of the body.


JOH 20:6 Simon Peter therefore also came, following him, and entered the tomb; and he beheld the linen wrappings lying there,


JOH 20:7 and the face-cloth, which had been on His head, not lying with the linen wrappings, but rolled up in a place by itself.


With characteristic impetuosity Peter went right into the tomb. He noticed the grave clothes but also the napkin which had been around the Lord's head. The napkin was separated from the other wrappings probably from where the neck had been and likely indicates that the resurrected Lord passed through the winding sheets as He later did through doors.


However, being wrapped or rolled up indicates that the head napkin had been laid aside or folded tidily. All things in God's timing, no haste, and attention to detail.


God always gives us time to accomplish our work unto Him, both spiritual work and secular work. There is a difference between being lazy and being at ease in your soul, not in haste, taking your time, and doing things right with attention to detail. Haste or rushing usually coincides with stress which doesn't make anyone work faster and results in mistakes, making things actually take longer. We can labor diligently while laboring in tranquility and laboring methodically and joyously.


[Today, one of the greatest dangers to our country is the idea that success is being able to do the least amount of work and not having to progress through low pay, unskilled jobs in order to learn skills and steadily climb the economic ladder. It is a disaster to give an unskilled laborer /hour when their work can only produce /hour of revenue to the business. To force this upon a business they will have to either fire employees or drastically increase prices. If the price of a burger is higher than the market is willing to pay for it, less burgers will be purchased, demand will decrease, and more people will lose jobs and businesses will go out of business. People don't look at the consequences, but only the here and now and politicians, who might even know the consequences, only care for getting elected in order to stay in power and wealth - they don't purchase fast food anyway.]


JOH 20:8 So the other disciple who had first come to the tomb entered then also, and he saw and believed.


John first came to believe in the bodily resurrection by seeing the empty tomb containing the grave clothes.


This is John's own account, who obviously knows his own mind, and the context of this statement, being the corporal resurrection of Jesus Christ, is what he placed his faith in.