Saturday, April 22, 2017

John 20 – Jesus’ Resurrection




Our Christian faith rests on the resurrection of Jesus.  “If Christ has not been raised, your faith is worthless; you are still in your sins.” 1 Cor. 15:17.  That means that Jesus is the only truth and the only way to the Father as Jesus said in John 14:6.  Each of the gospels tell the story a little differently.  Some add things and some leave things out.  That only proves that they are witnesses and witnesses see thing differently.  Their account is not a memorized story.  John explains His account, “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.” John 20:31.

John 20:1-9 – The Empty Tomb

Mary Magdalene went to the tomb where Jesus was laid.  She saw that the stone had been removed from the entrance.  She ran to Peter and the other disciple, the one who Jesus loved (John) and told them that they had taken the Lord away and that she didn’t know where He was. (John 20:1-2).
 
The Jewish leaders feared the disciples would steal Jesus’ body and claim He had risen so they had Pilate secure the tomb by placing a seal around the stone and posting guards.  Matthew 28 tells us that there was a violent earthquake and an angel of the Lord came down and rolled back the stone.  The guards were afraid and became like dead men.  Later they reported this to the chief priests and were given a large sum of money to say that the disciples stole Jesus’ body.


Peter and John ran to the tomb, but John outran Peter and reached the tomb first.  John waited outside the tomb while Peter ran in. They saw the trips of linen and burial cloth lying there.  The cloth was folded separate from the linen.  John went inside and saw and believed although they still didn’t understand Jesus had risen from the dead. (John 20:3-9)

Jewish burials involved wrapping the dead body with strips of linen and spices to offset the smell of the corpse.  The head was wrapped separately.  Robbers would not have taken time to remove the clothes and fold them.  I heard someone say that it is possible that Jesus Himself folded the linen was like a customer in a restaurant who folds his napkin to indicate to the waiter that he would be returning.

At first Mary, Peter, and John didn’t understand or expect Jesus to rise from the dead.  They were all confused.  Peter was impulsive and often acted before thinking.  He rushed ahead of John to the tomb.  John stopped before entering the tomb and pondered it all.  He probably was remembered all that Jesus had told him before he reacted.  They all believed and followed Jesus, but John tells us that he saw and believed.  What does he believe?  He believed that Jesus was raised from the dead to life.   He realized all Jesus had said and that Jesus was truly the Son of God.  The others came to believe this after He appeared to them. 

What does your attitude reveal about you as you study the Bible?  I don’t know about you, but it seems the more I study and learn about Jesus, the more I want to know about Him.  I heard it said, “In the physical we get hungry by not eating.  In the Kingdom we get hungry by eating”.

John said that Jesus “had to” rise from the dead. (John 20:9).  If He had not, then none of us will either.  “He was delivered over to death for our sins and was raised to life for our justification.”Rom. 4:25.  Jesus’ resurrection proved He was really God’s Son.  He had defeated death.  This shows us that death is not the end, but the beginning of a new life with God.

John 20:10-18 – Jesus Appeared to Mary Magdalene

Peter and John went back to their homes, but Mary stood crying outside the tomb.  She saw 2 angels in white seated where Jesus’ body had lain.  They asked her why she was crying.  She told them that they had taken her Lord away.  She turned around and saw Jesus, but didn’t realize who He was.  “Woman, he said, why are you crying?  Who is it you are looking for?” John 20:15. 

She thought he was the gardener and asked Him to tell her where Jesus was.  Then Jesus called her by name.  She turned and cried out “Rabbon!”John  20:16.  “Jesus said, Do not hold on to me, for I have not yet returned to the Father.  Go instead to my brothers and tell them I am returning to my Father and your Father, to my God and your God”.  John 20:17.  Mary went to the disciples and told them she had seen the Lord and all that He had said.

Jesus called Mary by her name and she recognized His voice.  He knows the names of all His sheep.  He knows your name.  If you know Him, you will know His voice.  When He calls you, you need to listen.  He has work for you to do, too.

What work is God calling you to do?

Why did Jesus choose Mary Magdalene to be the first to reveal Himself to?  She was a woman and not an important person.  Women were not considered reliable witnesses.  She had a sinful past.  Jesus had rescued her from her sinful life and cast demons out of her.  This is a ray of hope for all of us who struggle with sin and guilt.  If He can rescue her and let her be the first witness of His resurrection, He can save you and use you to serve Him.

John 20:19-23 – Jesus Appeared to His Disciples

The disciples were together with the doors lock because they were afraid of the Jews.  Jesus came in and said, “Peace be with you!”John 20:19.  He showed them His hands and side.  They were overjoyed to see Him.  Then Jesus told them He was sending them as the Father had sent Him.  He breathed on them and gave them the Holy Spirit and that they had the power to tell others that God forgives sin. (John 20:19-23)

They were hiding out because they were afraid.  Their faith was lacking.  It had been 3 days since Jesus was crucified.  They thought the Jews were looking for them to arrest them, too.  Fear makes people hide.  Remember Joseph of Arimathea was a secret disciple because of fear.  Are you hiding out and afraid to speak of Christ?  If you speak out, it will cause others to follow your example.

Jesus showed up in the room with the disciples.  There was no knock at the door and no one opened the door.  He was just there in their midst.  Jesus showed kindness and desire to build the disciples’ faith by appearing to them before anyone else.  He reassured them by showing them His wounds in His hands and side.  He gave them the Holy Spirit and blessed them.  He also commissioned them to go into the world and tell others about Jesus.  This is the same commission God had given Jesus. 

The first thing He says to them is “Peace be with you”.  He wants them to not be afraid and that everything will be alright.  For them to do the mission He has for them they need to have peace with God.  They need to trust Jesus.  When you trust in Jesus, you enter into a new relationship of peace with God through the blood of Jesus.  We have peace through His constant presence with us.  We have peace with God, the peace of God, and peace with one another so we can carry out His mission.

Jesus breathed on them giving them the Holy Spirit.  These men were receiving this new life.  They were becoming born again and born of the Spirit.  Even though they were following and believing in Jesus, they had not been born again.  Unless you believe that Jesus rose from the dead, you are not born again.  “If you confess with your mouth, Jesus is Lord, and believe in your heart that God raised him from the dead, you will be saved.” Rom. 10:9.   Before the resurrection they had not believed that He had been raised from the dead.  Now they believed.  Now they have the Holy Spirit.

John 20:23 can be confusing.  It sounds like the disciples are given authority to forgive sins, but we know that only God can forgive sins.   They are given the authority to proclaim that someone’s sin is forgiven or not forgiven. 

When we first come to believe that Jesus died and rose again to forgive our sins, we receive the Holy Spirit to live inside us.  Then His Spirit seals us in God’s family.  Then no one can snatch us away.

There are many proofs that Jesus has risen.  Luke 24:40-34, Acts 1:3, and 1 Cor. 15:3-8 tell us that He appeared to the disciples over a 40 day period.  They saw His wounds.  He even ate with them.  He appeared to Mary.  He appeared to Peter.  He appeared to James.  He appeared to over 500 people at the same time.

Do you believe Jesus rose from the dead?

John 20:24-31 – Jesus Appeared to Thomas

For some reason Thomas was not with the other disciples when Jesus appeared to them.  It was a week later when Thomas was with the other disciples.  They told him they had seen the Lord.  But Thomas was skeptic and said, “Unless I see the nail marks in his hands and put my finger where the nails were, and put my hand into his side, I will not believe it.”John 20:25.  Then Jesus appeared again as before.  He showed Thomas His wounds and Thomas placed his fingers into His side.  Jesus said, “Stop doubting and believe.”John 20:27.  Then Thomas believed and said, “My Lord and my God.”John 20:28.  Jesus said, “Because you have seen me, you have believed; blessed are those who have not seen and yet have believed.”John 20:29 

Jesus is telling Thomas that he has seen many miracles and that the testimony of the other disciples should have been enough for him to believe.  He should look at the evidence of all the eyewitnesses. 

How many people have to testify the truth for you to believe that Jesus is the Son of God and that He died and rose again?
How are you like Thomas?
When do you doubt Jesus? 

STOP DOUBTING!

Paul tells us in 1 Cor. 15:6-8 of the other appearance of Jesus.  “After that, he appeared to more than 500 people of the brothers at the same time…” .  You might ask why He didn’t appear to unbelievers so they would come to have faith in Him.  Peter tells us that He appeared only to those chosen by God.  “God raised Him up on the third day and granted that He become visible, not to all the people, but to witnesses who were chosen beforehand by God, that is, to us who ate and drank with Him after He arose from the dead.”Acts. 10:40-41. 

Summary of the evidences of for Jesus’ resurrection:
The stone was rolled away and the tomb was empty.
The grave clothes were folded and left in the tomb.
He appeared to Mary, the disciples many times over a 40 day period and to over 500 people at one time.
The lives of the witnesses were changed.
All Jesus’ claims and predictions were fulfilled.

Principle:  The evidence for Jesus’ resurrection should lead us to believe in Him as Savior and Lord.

John tells us in verse 31, “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.”

Did John accomplish his purpose in writing this Gospel? 
Are you convinced that Jesus is the Christ, the Son of God?

Join me next time for John 21.  Have a blessed day and thanks for visiting my site.  Hope to see you here next time.
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Thursday, April 13, 2017

John 19 Part 2 – Jesus’ Death and Burial






 John 19:28-37 – Jesus’ Death

In our study of John 19 Part 1 we saw that Jesus had been arrested, tried, and put on the cross to be crucified. 

(John 19:28-30)  John doesn’t describe the horrific details of death by crucifixion.  Many died before they were ever crucified due to the brutal scourging that took place.  Victims were forced to carry their own cross.  They were stripped naked and laid out on the ground where their hands were fasted to the cross with large nails.  Then the cross was raised up and fastened upright.  The feet were forced together and nailed with 1 nail.  Sometime it took 2 -3 days of suffering before death.

The Scriptures were fulfilled when Jesus said, “I am thirsty.”John 19:28.    During crucifixion, dehydration is a large factor.  The prisoner struggles to breathe more and more and eventually dies.  The soldiers gave Jesus a sponge soaked with wine vinegar.  Jesus drank it and said, “It is finished.”John 19:30.  Then He bowed His head and gave up His spirit.

Why did Jesus say He was thirsty?  He said this to fulfill the Scriptures. (Psalms 69:21)  It helps us understand and remember that He was fully human.  He knew He had accomplished everything He came to earth to do and now it was over.  The soldiers offered Him cheap wine vinegar because it was also prophesied although the soldiers didn’t know that.  This showed us again that He alone was the promised Messiah and redeemer of the world.

His thirst was not only physical but spiritual as well.  Physically He was dehydrated as His blood and sweat poured from His body.  Spiritually He had been forsaken by His Father under the penalty of sin and He thirsted for the presence of His Father once again.

He thirsts for us.  He wants us all to come to Him.  “Come! Whoever is thirsty, let him come; and whoever wishes, let him take the free give of the water of life.”Rev. 22:17.

Do you thirst for Him?

Jesus’ death on the cross was no accident.  From the very start it was God’s purpose.  John shows this through the fulfillment of the prophecies.  Now with Jesus’ death our sins are paid in full on the cross.

“It is finished” means Jesus’ work is done and our sins our now paid in full.  The work God had given Him to do was now done (John 17:4).  He was to seek and save the lost (Luke 19:10), provide atonement for the sins of all who would ever believe in Him (Rom. 3:23-25), and to reconcile sinful men to a holy God (2 Cor. 5:18-19).

Jesus shouted in triumph, “It is finished”.  This was not a weary sigh of defeat, but joyful words shouted in victory that reached throughout the universe.  All Scripture foretold of His sacrifice for sin.  His life was not taken from Him.  He had complete authority to lay down His life and take it up again.  He now awaited the resurrection to fulfill His Father’s promise.  “because you will not abandon me to the grave, nor will you let your Holy One see decay.” Acts 2:27, Ps. 16:10.

He paid the price for all the sins of everybody in the world, past, present, and future.  Before this the people had to sacrifice an unblemished animal for their sins.  This sacrifice would make them right with God, but then they would sin again, so animal sacrifices had to be made again and again.  Jesus did away with that.  He paid the full price for ALL sins.  He was without sin, our unblemished Lamb.  He is the only sacrificed we need.  We may sin again and again, but He forgives us.  His death saved us. 

He accomplished everything God sent Him to do.  We can do all kinds of good works in His Name, but we cannot add anything to what He did.  The only way to respond to God’s gift of salvation through Christ’s finished work is to receive it by faith alone.

What does the Lord want you to sacrifice for Him?

(John 31-37)  It was the day of Preparation and the next day was a special Sabbath.  The Jews didn’t want the crosses left during the Sabbath so they asked Pilate to have the legs broken and the bodies taken down.  This way if they were not dead, the breaking of the legs would make it difficult to breathe and make them die quickly.  The soldiers broke the legs of the two men on crosses on each side of Jesus, but saw Jesus was already dead so they pierced His side instead.  All these things happened and the Scriptures were again fulfilled.

When they pierced His side, blood and water gushed out.  Blood symbolizes is the cleansing and of God’s forgiveness of sin.  Water symbolizes the new life given to believers. 

Long ago God declared that “The life of a creature is in the blood, and I have given it to you to make atonement for yourselves on the altar; it is the blood that makes atonement for one’s life”Lev. 17:11.  And in Heb 9:22“Without the shedding of blood there is no forgiveness.”  This flowing of the life blood of Jesus, poured for us, symbolizes cleansing from sin (Rom. 3:25).

This water that flowed from His side points to new spiritual life we receive when we receive Jesus into our hearts.  “Whoever believes in me as the scripture has said, streams of living water will flow from with him.  By this he meant the Spirit…”John 7:38-39.  Water symbolizes eternal life. (Rev 21:6; 22:17).

Matthew 27:51 tells us that at the moment Jesus died, the curtain of the temple was torn.  “At that moment the curtain of the temple was torn in two from top to bottom.  The earth shook and the rocks split.” 

What is this curtain?  The temple was divided into 3 sections.  The 1st was the inner court that contained the altar of burnt offering and basin used for ceremonial washing of the priests.  The 2nd was the Holy Place that contained the golden candlestick, the table of consecrated bread, and the altar of incense.  The curtain formed a wall between this Holy Place and the Most Holy Place where only the priest could enter.  Only once a year called the Day of Atonement, a day of sacrificing of a goat, could the high priest enter.  This place represented God’s presence.  This curtain was a barrier between God and humanity.  The torn curtain now was the end of sacrifices and ceremonies.  It signified Christ’s torn flesh on the cross.  Now this barrier between God and man is removed.  We can now enter into the very presence of God because of Jesus’ death on the cross. (Heb. 10:19-22).

“The man who saw it has given testimony, and his testimony is true.  He knows that he tells the truth, and he testifies so that you also may believe.”John 19:35.  John testifies that all this actually happen so you may believe. 

Do you believe?

John 19:38-42 – Jesus’ Burial

Joseph of Arimathea and Nicodemus were secret followers of Jesus.  They wanted to honor Jesus and give Him a proper burial.  They asked Pilate for Jesus’ body.  Pilate agreed.  They wrapped His body in expensive spices and strips of linen.  They took Jesus’ body and put it into a new grave that belonged to Joseph.  The Jewish people would cut out caves in rocks and use them for graves.  I am sure this was hard work and took a lot of time so it was probably very expensive. 

Jesus’ agony is over.  Now His enemies cannot touch Him.  He is forever among friends.

It took courage to Joseph and Nicodemus to ask for Jesus’ body.  They were secret followers, however after His death they didn’t follow in secret anymore.  This may have cost them their reputation and they may have been rejected by the other Jewish leaders.  It costs them here on earth, but they gained eternal acceptance in heaven.  Commitment to Christ will cost you.  You will be rejected by those who do not believe that He is the only way to the Father.  So be prepared to be rejected.

When and how have you been rejected because of your belief in Jesus?
How did you respond?
What has your commitment to Jesus cost you?

Jesus was born rich and He died rich.  Remember He was given gold, frankincense and myrrh at His birth by the Magi.  Joseph and Nicodemus gave Him these gifts of costly spices again at His burial and He was buried in a rich man’s tomb.

When we become believers of Christ we bury our old ways of thinking.  We bury our former wrong emotions and attitudes toward God and others.  Our old habits and actions are gone.  We live in freedom from our past to live a new resurrected life.  “Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation; the old has gone, the new has come!”2 Cor. 5:17.

Do you let Satan make you feel guilty of the past or do you live in freedom?

Fulfilled Prophesies Jesus’ crucifixion, death, and burial:
John 19:24 – soldiers divided His garments (Psalm 22:18)
John 19:36 – Jesus’ bones were not broken, “for these things came to pass to fulfill the Scripture, Not a bone of Him shall be broken.”  (Exodus 12:46, Numbers 9:12 and Psalm 34:20).
John19:29 – soldiers gave Jesus vinegar to drink (Psalm 29:21)
John 19:37 – the soldiers pierced Jesus’ side (Zechariah 12:10, Rev. 1:7, Isaiah 53:3)
John 19:41 - Jesus’ burial – (Isaiah 53:9)

Principles: 
Eternal salvation is free, but costly.
Jesus your King died triumphantly on the cross.
The only way to respond to God’s gift of salvation through Christ’s finished work is to receive it by faith alone.
We live in freedom from our past to live a new resurrected life. 

THANK YOU, JESUS!

God planned every detail of His death, burial and resurrection, which we will look at next time in John 20.  Have a blessed day and thanks for visiting my site.  Hope to see you here next time.
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