From Friday when Jesus died to Sunday, people waited. People wondered. I would guess people felt betrayed, lost, lied to maybe. “Jesus left us. How could He? He raised his friend from the dead yet He couldn’t raise Himself.” Reread John 11 for a refresher. So many questions swimming around in their heads.
Then Sunday came.
Go ahead and read John 20:1-10.
QUESTION: What did Mary find when she went to Jesus’ tomb; see verse 1? What did she immediately do; see verse 2?
What an amazing time for Jesus’ followers! One way that this is amazing is the fact that the very first person to discover Christ’s resurrection was a woman! I want every woman to grasp this truth, Jesus liberates women! We are important to God! He values us the same way as He does men! He calls us like He calls men. We are vital in growing His Kingdom.
Take note in Mary’s response to the open tomb. She went to tell someone about what she discovered! This is our calling. When we discover Christ, we are to share it!
QUESTION: Peter and the other disciple were excited with this news. How did they respond; look at verses 3-5?
QUESTION: When someone shares with you about Jesus, do you react the same way as Mary, Peter and the other disciple?
We need to see for ourselves. We need to seek and know on our own.
QUESTION: What did Peter see inside the tomb; see verses 6-7? What happened to the second disciple when he went in; see verses 8-9?
This proves how vital it is to know Truth, to know the scriptures. For when we are filled with God’s Word, then the Holy Spirit can transform our hearts and help us to believe.
Verse 10 says the boys went home. I would imagine ecstatic with their hearts pounding with joy!
Jesus is alive! He has risen just as He has said He would!
Now, read verses 11-29. Jesus just didn’t leave them cold turkey. He appeared to many people in those first days after His resurrection. Look at 1 Corinthians 15:3-9 to see how many people saw Him.
Jesus first appears to Mary. As Peter and the other guy went home. Mary stayed back weeping. Notice how God ministered to her. She was met with two angels who lovingly asked her why she was crying. She responded.
QUESTION: What happened next, see verses 14-15?
At first she did not recognize her Savior until He spoke her name. Instantly, she knew! My dear friends, God walks with us in this same manner; personal and intimate. He knows us by name. Whatever mental or emotional state we find ourselves in, when we seek Jesus, we will be found by Him!
QUESTION: What did He say to Mary in verse 17?
While I would have wanted to give Jesus a bear hug, like Mary wanted to, Jesus said no to clinging to Him. Commentary says that it was probably that a new relationship was going to take affect when He ascended up to His Father. Remember, people were following the Old Testament ways of following God. Jesus was the new way, the New Testament way. He was ushering in a personal relationship with His followers.
Mary found her friends and she told them, “I have seen the Lord!” Then she gave the disciples the message from Jesus. How simple is it to share your faith! We can share my friends. We can be sharers of the Good News! We can tell others that we have seen God and then share what He is teaching us!
We would be come world changers!
Now, Jesus appears to His disciples. Mary’s encounter happened in the morning. The disciples encounter was that evening.
QUESTION: What were the disciples doing and why; see verse 19? What did Jesus do?
Don’t you love this? Jesus met Mary in her sadness. Jesus meets His friends in their fear.
QUESTION: What does Jesus give them while they are fearful?
QUESTION: According to verse 20-23, what does Jesus do to help them know of His presence? Did they remain fearful? He repeats, “Peace be with you.” then He gives them their mission. What was it? To accomplish their mission, what did Jesus do? And He gave a command. What was it?
This is how we are to live out the mission that God has called us to.
Finally, Jesus appears to Thomas. He wasn’t in the room with the rest of the disciples. His fellow believers told him that they saw Jesus but Thomas doubted.
QUESTION: Do you doubt God? How about the Bible?
A week went by and all the disciples were together in a locked room. I think this time it wasn’t out of fear for the Jewish leaders but to show doubting Thomas how real Jesus is.
QUESTION: What did Jesus do and say to Thomas; see verses 26-27? How did Thomas respond in verse 28?
We are blessed when we believe by faith and not sight. Jesus helped Thomas. He will help us to overcome any unbelief we have.
Why do we need to know God’s Word? John 20 ends with the answer. “These are written so that you may continue to believe that Jesus is the Messiah, the Son of God, and that by believing in Him you will have life by the power of His name.”
Are you sad, fearful or doubt? Praise God! He will meet you and help you. We serve a living God who sees us and hears us. In Christ, we are transformed and renewed with His breath now living in our lungs! Amen!