25 April 2017

BSF 2016-2017: John 20

Jesus died on Friday. On Sunday morning while it was still dark, Mary Magdalene and other women went to Jesus’ tomb to finish preparing His body for burial. They likely didn’t know that Joseph of Arimathea and Nicodemus had prepared Jesus’ body so well.

When she arrived, Mary saw that the stone was moved from the tomb and Jesus’ body was gone. Her first thought was that Jesus’ body was stolen. She ran and told the disciples.

If someone had stolen Jesus’ body, they would not have unwrapped His body and left the grave clothes behind in the tomb, lain as if a body had been there.

When the disciples heard Mary’s report, Peter and John ran to the tomb. John reached the tomb first and looked inside. Peter ran inside the tomb. John was reserved, and Peter was reactive. Both were reflective; they examined the empty tomb and its contents. John looked and believed. John and Peter left the tomb. Then Mary returned.

Mary was crying and looked in the tomb. She saw two angels, one where Jesus’ head was lying and one where Jesus’ feet were lying. The angels asked why she was crying. She said it was because someone took Jesus away. Then she turned and looked at another man. It was Jesus, though she didn’t recognize Him. He also asked her why she was crying. Mary thought Jesus was the gardener. She asked Him where Jesus’ body was. Jesus spoke her name, and she immediately recognized Him. Jesus’ voice broke through Mary’s tears and sorrow.

Jesus told her not to cling to Him because He had a limited amount of time on earth. He told her to go to the disciples and tell them that He was on earth for only a little while longer. He still needed to prepare them for the work He had called them to do. Mary obeyed.

On Sunday evening, the disciples (minus Thomas) were gathered together in a locked room. Suddenly Jesus appeared among them and said, “Peace be with you.” He showed them His hands and side. The disciples were overjoyed.

Jesus told the disciples He was sending them out for a purpose. We will discuss their commission next week.

Finally, He breathed on them the power of the Holy Spirit. They wouldn’t receive the Holy Spirit until Pentecost (40 days later). But they needed the power and protection of the Holy Spirit now. Jesus gave them the authority to speak the truth of the Good News. He gave them the authority to tell repentant sinners that their sins are forgiven.

Thomas was not with the other disciples when Jesus appeared to them. Later they told him what happened. Thomas said he needed to see Jesus’ nail marks and pierced side before he could believe that Jesus had resurrected.

One week later, the disciples were gathered together again in a locked room. This time Thomas was with them. Jesus suddenly appeared among them. He told Thomas to put his finger in His nail-scarred hands and to put his hand in His pierced side. He commanded Thomas to stop doubting and believe. Through His omnipotence, Jesus used the same words Thomas used to encourage his belief!

Thomas believed and proclaimed Jesus as “my Lord and my God.” Jesus blessed Thomas for his belief upon seeing Jesus. Then He gave a blessing to those who believe without seeing. That is me! Is that you? Are you blessed because you haven’t seen Him but have believed in Him?

Things to Think About
  • The Lord provides evidence to cause us to believe in Jesus’ resurrection. The evidence for John was the unoccupied grave clothes. The evidence for Mary was hearing Jesus speak her name. Which evidence did God use to lead you to believe in Jesus’ resurrection?
  • Jesus sent Mary to tell the disciples about His resurrection. Jesus also calls each believer to tell others about His death and resurrection.
  • Jesus sent the disciples to tell others about the forgiveness of sins. Jesus also calls each believer to tell others about the forgiveness of sins available only through Him.

This Week’s Memory Verse
Then Jesus told him, “Because you have seen me, you have believed; blessed are those who have not seen and yet have believed.” John 20:29 NIV