Reframing Sunday | John 20:1-18
April 21, 2019 Speaker: Christopher Rich Series: REFRAMING JESUS | Portraits of Glory from John's Gospel
Topic: Gospel Passage: John 20:1–20:18
Introduction | Significant Days
Good Morning Welcome to Damascus Road where we are Saved by Jesus Work,Changed by Jesus’ Grace, and Living on Jesus’s Mission. Today we are continuing our series REFRAMING JESUS: Portraits of Glory from John’s Gospel. In Reframing Jesus, our desire isn’t to reinvent Jesus into someone He is not or make Jesus into an image we are more comfortable with. Instead, we seek to have our portrait of Jesus reframed by John’s Gospel to see Him as accurately and glorious as possible.
What is your most significant day? What is that moment when you look back it there was life before and life after. Life before was different and won’t be like that any longer. Life after has changed so dramatically it is the “New Normal.” These are days that are so significant they have changed our expectations of and engagement with every other day since. Some of these are really good days…. I didn’t know what flourishing life was like until that day!!! You celebrate those days, wedding anniversaries, when a child was born, a new career started, or when something painful ended, you got out of debt, broke an addiction, or were healed.
Some of these are bad… I haven’t truly known joyful life since. Things in life seem stable, even good, until tragedy stuck, a love one died, your life was impacted by sin, parents divorced (or you did), you lost your job, you fell into addiction, or rather than feeling safe and secure you have suffering and shame? These could be either individual or communal. 9/11 or the shooting at MP. Both types of days are significant… and foundational to who we are now, how we see others, the world, even God. What day for you has tangibly defined your life today the most? Mine is Feb 8, 2004 the first time I laid eyes on my bride Tara. GAME OVER!
As Christians, we see the world in terms of significant days. We believe God created the world and made it all good. We believe there was a day when humanity rejected God and sin and death entered the world separating us from God, (life/purpose), each other (broken relationship/war), and ourselves (shame/fear). Where man acted in sin, God answered with a promise, a day would come when a savior-king would arrive to save God’s people, live with perfect obedience, set captive sinners free, sacrifice for us and raise again victorious, all pointing to a final day where there is no more sin, suffering, or tears. That day of arrival is celebrated at Christmas, the birth of Jesus (God-Man, Sacrifice and Savior) the Christ. This week is holy (set apart) to remember, reflect and reorient our lives around Jesus work in our place on the Cross.
Friday - Death, loss, burial, hopelessness (Hint of promise – Jesus said he’d rise on the third day) Jesus has suffered on the cross in our place for our sin… there is sadness but there is substitution. We don’t get the joy of the resurrection without the sorrow of the cross. Conversely Friday is Good because Jesus is on the cross and you’re not, but Friday can’t be good if there isn’t something else that comes from it. Day defined by death.
Saturday- Hebrew Sabbath. An intentional day of rest, even recovery after a long week of intense Passover observance. But instead it was marked by tension, anxiousness, uncertainty, reanalyzing everything for those who followed Jesus. It’s a day defined by things being unresolved.
Sunday – First day of the week back to work. Story over, close the book and move on and forget about Jesus. But we remember not a dark story ending but a new hopeful chapter opening as we are Reframing Sunday.
PART I | Empty Tomb |John 20:1-10
John 20:1-10 | Now on the first day of the week Mary Magdalene came to the tomb early, while it was still dark, and saw that the stone had been taken away from the tomb. 2 So she ran and went to Simon Peter and the other disciple, the one whom Jesus loved, and said to them, “They have taken the Lord out of the tomb, and we do not know where they have laid him.” 3 So Peter went out with the other disciple, and they were going toward the tomb. 4 Both of them were running together, but the other disciple outran Peter and reached the tomb first. 5 And stooping to look in, he saw the linen cloths lying there, but he did not go in. 6 Then Simon Peter came, following him, and went into the tomb. He saw the linen cloths lying there, 7and
the face cloth, which had been on Jesus' head, not lying with the linen cloths but folded up in a place by itself. 8 Then the other disciple, who had reached the tomb first, also went in, and he saw and believed; 9 for as yet they did not understand the Scripture, that he must rise from the dead. 10 Then the disciples went back to their homes
First day of the week. Rest over, Jesus died, move on without him. In early morning darkness, a women, Mary is at the tomb with a scary and disorientating experience. She is preparing to encounter dead Jesus. She likely came with some other women (WE don’t know where the body is) She’s not avoiding grief. She is a dedicated mourner… She’s was also a faithful follower. In the previous day’s betrayal and trial of Jesus, while men all around her are crumbling under the stress and pressure of what is happening to Jesus, with Jesus, she was ever present and steadfast. She remained at the cross to the bitter end. Now she’s first to the tomb at the beginning of a new week to serve and be near where she believes Jesus body is.
Not she with traitorous kiss her Master stung, Not she denied Him with unfaithful tongue; She, when Apostles fled, could dangers brave, Last at the Cross, and earliest at the grave. – Poet Unknown
Why is she so dedicated?Because of how her life has been impacted by Jesus. She’s had been changed by and transformed by Jesus. She had been in great spiritual, emotional, physical oppression and bondage. Luke 8 tells us she (and some other women) were met in a terrible state and where cured of disease and spiritual attack/oppression. It says she had 7 demons come out of her. So life before was bondage without Jesus then with Jesus life since she has been free. She has affection for and allegiance to Jesus because of the compassion she’s experienced from Jesus. So she goes to the tomb, but what she and the women find there now is disorienting. They run back and find two of Jesus’ closest disciples, Peter and the other disciple (John) and tell them the news. Not good news, but what she tells them is actually bad news, the body’s been taken and is missing. It elicits an urgent respond from these men. They both take of running for the tomb to see what Mary’s seen and investigate. John makes it to the tomb first and tells us twice!
John waits outside, Peter is second but rushes past John at the door to get all in the tomb. Then we get specific details about burial clothes and linens, where they’re placed, etc. What is the point? John is letting us know the other explanations we might hear or be tempted to believe “Like grave robbers” or even enemies of Jesus stealing the body are not plausible. Grave robbers would have taken the linen and spices (that’s what they were usually taking) This is a rich man’s tomb (We know there were Roman soldiers charged with the consequences of death to make sure no one got in or out) Jesus said numerous times “I will die, and on the third day rise.” There was intentional care to make sure Jesus disciples didn’t try to take the body to pull off a hoax and that Jesus enemies couldn’t steal the body to desecrate it. The OT prophesies talked about a risen savior who would not be held by death. Jesus is gone and His facial covering was neatly folded them as if to say “I’m not going to be needing this any longer.”How did they each respond?
John saw and believed. I don’t need to see the risen Jesus to know He’s risen. Seeing the empty tomb and folded linens is enough. Later Jesus says “Blessed are those who don’t see and yet believe” (John 20:29)
Peter Marveled (Luke 24)- Marveled is pondering, considering. Peter is “in process”. What about Mary?
PART II | Full Hearts | John 20:11-16
John 20:11-16 | 11 But Mary stood weeping outside the tomb, and as she wept she stooped to look into the tomb. 12 And she saw two angels in white, sitting where the body of Jesus had lain, one at the head and one at the feet. 13 They said to her, “Woman, why are you weeping?” She said to them, “They have taken away my Lord, and I do not know where they have laid him.”14 Having said this, she turned around and saw Jesus standing, but she did not know that it was Jesus. 15 Jesus said to her, “Woman, why are you weeping? Whom are you seeking?” Supposing him to be the gardener, she 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 in Aramaic, “Rabboni!” (which means Teacher).
The men have moved on, but Mary is still wrecked. Mary can’t imagine life without Jesus. But she also can’t believe Jesus is alive. She doesn’t have a life without Jesus. Peter was a fisherman before meeting Jesus and we know he actually went back to fishing for a while. John was of wealthy background, his dad had multiple fishing boats and hired servants. Mary was diseased and demon possessed a few months ago and has experienced a new life with Jesus. She was in great need and Jesus met her need with freedom. She might not have anywhere to go. She was with Jesus as he breathed His last on Friday at the cross and she was the first to the tomb, revealing a mystery but now she’s alone still grieving. Disorientation has been moved to full despair as she’s stuck weeping at the tomb. In her pain, she is visited with hope and correction.
She encounters two angels who ask her “Why are you weeping? They’re not asking about her feelings, it’s a mild admonishment. Mourning should be over, sadness should be moved to Joy and action. But she’s still stuck worried Jesus is dead and the body is gone. There is a pretty clear sign of God working in this situation, you’ve got two angels who’ve show up. (I’ve never even seen one) Clearly there has been some divine intervention in the case of the missing body of Jesus. But her anguish and sadness is so deep she’s not even shaken out of it by the presence of Angels. She is still believing the enemies of Jesus are working and winning “They have taken the body.” Panic/doubt has locked her into a hopeless narrative. Jesus body is missing and it’s not because of resurrection but desecration. He’s not alive. That means He’s not present. We cannot trust His promises, He’s not powerful. She she’s been in bondage before, maybe she’s thinking this has been a nice run of being free from oppression, but now there is nothing stopping it from coming back. Maybe you’ve decided Jesus is dead too. Dead Jesus doesn’t break chains. Dead Jesus is just a good example to try to live up to, not a one who empowers us to live a new life. If Jesus is dead and gone than His direct influence is over, we’re alone, and maybe the transformation she’s experienced could end too.
She’s been met by Jesus, set free by Jesus, transformed by Jesus, she’s been faithful to Jesus but now she’s become hopeless. Jesus meets her, in her in her place of greatest hopelessness, to give her Joy and commission her for mission. Why doesn’t she recognize him? Likely her eyes are filled with tears and its’ early in the morning she’s standing near the tomb and maybe Jesus is back lit, maybe there is a spiritual or mental block she doesn’t expect Jesus to be present. Regardless, He doesn’t start with saying “Mary it’s me Jesus!” He engages her at a heart level asking her two deep questions: Why are you crying? – Death sin, fear, pain, grief, bondage, loss. Jesus is dead and God’s promises, presence, and power are not active in our lives.
What are you looking for? - She’s looking for a dead Jesus she can serve. She wants to process grief and have closure. What she needs is a resurrected Jesus who has conquered death who has served us by dying for our sin, shame and separation from God and has giving us new life with Him now and forever.
I want you to ask yourself the same questions Jesus asks her:Why are you weeping?What is causing you the most pain? Where you the most hopeless? What are you looking for? What are you hoping is going to fix what is wrong, fill what is lacking, break what is binding, give you provision, protection, and purpose?
She thought He was the Gardner – In doubt, we underestimate the risen Jesus. She has great doubt and distress. What she needs is great expectations of a Jesus who is risen from death. What she is longing for is too little (a dead body of a martyr) what she’s presented with is so much more (a risen living savior!) What she truly needs is a renewal of the promise of God in Jesus that there is more life than we have now and there is a greater Kingdom of God thriving than we can see. That evil, sin, death doesn’t get the last word, but there is a God who has answered what makes us weep with life in Jesus that brings us Joy. Sometimes when you think you see a situation so clearly and you’ve locked in “I know what all this is” you cannot conceive of it being anything else so when something that clearly contradicts what you believe is even presented in front of your face, you cannot even recognize it. You’re blind. It’s right in front you…. The truth is near. She’s still fixated and concerned with a dead Jesus when the live Jesus is right in front of her. Even if you can’t recognize or even fathom Jesus being near and present in your life doesn’t mean He’s dead or distant.Jesus can meet you in a place of hopelessness and despair to show you Life and Joy with Him.
The turn for her is when he calls her by name. There is recognition and relationship. WAIT! I know that voice!
Theologian DA Carson says: Anguish and despair are instantly swallowed up by astonishment and delight.
Mary’s grief and mourning has been transformed to joy knowing Jesus is alive and Jesus knows her personally. Jesus being resurrected has universal implications because it means Jesus who He says He is, Jesus is God (and Savior-King of God’s People) So you can believe it or not but it doesn’t make it more or less true based on your respond. But there is an individual/personal implication for those who have their ultimate faith and trust in Jesus as their savior King. They are called and known by God. Relationship is real, His victory is real.I don’t know your name. But Jesus does and He’s calling you to believe and follow Him.
PART III | Jesus Sends |John 20:17-18
John 20:17-18 |17 Jesus said to her, “Do not cling to me, for I have not yet ascended to the Father; but go to my brothers and say to them, ‘I am ascending to my Father and your Father, to my God and your God.” 18 Mary Magdalene went and announced to the disciples, “I have seen the Lord”—and that he had said these things to her.
Mary has move from wallowing in grief to beholding the Glory of Jesus. This is her turning point, she thought it was when she was freed from spiritual/emotional bondage. This is the moment that will define her life, she never wants this moment to end. When we’ve been met by Jesus, and believe in Him, our first inclination is to want to say where we are… with Jesus.
We don’t stay at the tomb. Even on Sunday, our life with Jesus is not one where we’re stuck just outside of the tomb clinging to Jesus, holding on for dear life hoping He never leaves, or worried that we’ll be without Him. No! Later we’re told by Jesus “behold, I am with you always to the end of the age.” in the Holy Spirit empowered to live a new life. We don’t have to tremble in fear of losing Jesus if we don’t hold on tight enough. We walk in boldness with purpose, comforted knowing we’re held by Jesus.
We don’t stay stuck at the turning point we move on and move outward. Mary is the first evangelist… Go tell ….. She doesn’t stay there and then Jesus doesn’t say take bunch of people and have them meet at the empty tomb or on top of a mountain or come to one special place. Don’t even think Jesus is yours to keep to yourself. But to go and tell “I have seen the Lord” and “In Christ” we are God’s children.
Jesus is telling her (and us) the nature of who He is and who we are. We are distinct, it’s not our Father/God, but mine, and yours. Jesus is God’s Son that is who He is by nature. We call God our Father through adoption. Having our faith in the resurrected Jesus is our adoption day where we’re are welcomed into a new family. Not defined by our sin and death, but by His sacrifice and resurrected life. Because Jesus is alive we can trust Him for eternal life because He has shown He is who He says He is (Christ, Savior-King, Son of God) and He can do what He has said he can do (forgive sin that leads to death and give us life everlasting) because Has conquered death. He’s alive, He’s ruling in Heaven right now… He’s coming back and He’s told us to tell everyone…. Joy of resurrected Jesus moves us away from a place of death to a purposeful life… Purposeful not perfect life… Following Jesus…Our lives now need to be encourage by the truth of the resurrection, and empowered by the Holy Spirit. We don’t have Jesus physically present:
1 Peter 1:8-9 | 8 Though you have not seen him, you love him. Though you do not now see him, you believe in him and rejoice with joy that is inexpressible and filled with glory, 9 obtaining the outcome of your faith, the salvation of your souls.
Who are you in this story? Or when are you in the story?
WE remember Friday (every week) because it’s significant (our sin is dealt with and paid for!) but our hope isn’t in a dead Jesus. We sit in tension on a Saturday. Are you in Saturday (of tension, anxiousness, etc.) Are you in a Saturday, thinking hope is over? Know because of the resurrection of Jesus a day of hope isn’t something we have to long for but something that has already happened! We live in a Sunday world of a Jesus who lives and calls us to follow him and be on mission to tell others.
Are you still believing Jesus is dead and there is no hope beyond these days? Are you like Peter, where you know you’ve failed God, but are now confronted with what to do with an empty tomb? Are you John, who believes and needs to continue in faith? Are you a Mary who is in grief and despair needs to be met by Jesus and called by name and be moved from weeping to worship? To gather with God’s people and go on His mission to tell everyone you’ve seen the Lord!
Let today be the day that reframes and reorients your life around our savior-king’s resurrection when you…Trust Jesus.