Easter 2011

                                                April 24, 2011

                                                John 20:1-18


The record pauses for the awful day of that great sabbath, and resumes the

marvelous recital when the greatest event in the history of the world is

assumed and asserted to have taken place. Heathen and foes admit the fact

of the death of Jesus; the evidence is overwhelming, multiform, sufficient

to establish itself to the ordinary reason of mankind. It is a matter of

indubitable history. The proof was given to all the world; but it is otherwise

with the fact of the ajna>stasiv - anastasisresurrection of Jesus. That

stupendous event was revealed by “Many infallible proofs” wrought (as

Luke says in Acts 1:3) irresistible conviction as to the reality of the Resurrection.

The Church of Christ was originated by a faith in this new and transcendental

mode of existence. A generation of men passed, scores of communities were

called into being throughout Palestine, Phoenicia, Syria, Lybia, Asia Minor,

(Colosse, which we are studying about now – CY – 2011) Achaia, Macedonia,

Cyprus, Crete, and even in Italy and the capital of the Roman empire, all of them

held together by the life-giving conviction of the reality of a world of spiritual

body, into which the redeemed enter. Of this reality the resurrection-life of

Christ was the type, the proof, the first fruit, and the earnest. This most

astounding fact was preached in Galatia and Macedonia, in Corinth and

Rome, in Babylon and Alexandria, before one word of the Gospels had

been put on parchment. When the preaching of the apostles was reduced to

written form, it was not with the idea of recording a fully detailed or easily

harmonizable account of the Easter Day, or of providing rational, or

juridical, or historic evidence of the method or order of the great events,

but rather to provide five independent series of evidences to the revelations

which the apostles and apostolic company received of the nature and

quality of the new life for humanity which had now begun. Several details

of profound interest occur in the synoptic narrative, concerning which John

is silent — such as:


  • the rolling of a stone to the door of the sepulcher, although, unlike the

      synoptists, he says nothing of the stone that was rolled to the door of

      the sepulcher, (Matthew 28:2; Mark 16:3; Luke 24:2) yet  he refers to

      the fact that (to<n li>qon ton lithon - the stone) was taken up or away. 

      (v. 1)

  • the sealing of the stone by the Roman guard, (Matthew 27:66)
  • the resurrection-appearances of the saints, (Ibid. vs. 52-53)
  • the special preparation made by the women for further

            embalmment on the following days,

  • the great earthquake, (Matthew 27:54)
  • the two companies of women that resorted to the sepulcher

at successive intervals of time, and the different signs and even

appearances by which their timorous hope was quickened into

            an adoring homage and world compelling faith.  Although he says

            nothing of the two groups of women, yet he implies that Mary Magdalene

            was not alone at the sepulcher (oujk oi]damen ouk oidamen we are

            not aware) “We know not where they have laid him.”  (v. 2)

Though John does not recite these well-know narratives, he presupposes some of

them. Thus with far greater particularity than Luke (Luke 24:12), he describes

Peter’s visit to the sepulcher, and gives further details of facts which occurred at

more than one interview between our Lord and His apostles, of which Luke and

Mark had given a more shadowy outline (cf. here vs. 19-25 with Luke 24:36;

Mark 16:14).  But we are not intending here to produce a history or harmony of

these records, but to follow throughout the impressions produced by the Lord’s

self-manifestation upon the mind of the beloved disciple; not passing over the

difficulties which his peculiar experiences have occasioned, when brought side

by side with the synoptic and Pauline narratives. John first of all (vs. 1-10)

describes how he came to believe personally in the resurrection of Jesus;

then (vs. 11-18) the way in which the first manifestation was made to Mary of

Magdala (vs. 19-23); how ten of the apostles, including himself, received a full

 and satisfying assurance of the stupendous fact (vs. 24-29); how once more,

after an interval of eight days, not only Thomas, the most anxious, doubting, and

incredulous of the eleven, but the entire group, came into full persuasion,

not only of Christ’s resurrection, but of His Divine nature and claims, His

Messiahship and Sonship, and of their own personal possession of life



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Mary Magdalene – Different explanations have been given of this name;

but the most natural is that she came from the town of Magdala.  She

appears before us for the first time in Luke 8:2-3, among the women

who ministered unto Him of their substance.” All appear to have

occupied a position of comparative wealth.  With all the chief motive

was that of gratitude for their deliverance from “evil spirits and infirmities.”

Of Mary it is said specially that “seven devils went out of her,” and the

number indicates a possession of more than ordinary malignity.  She was

present during the closing hours of the agony on the cross (19:25).  She

remained by the cross till all was over, and waited till the body was taken

down and placed in the garden sepulcher of Joseph of Arimathaea

(Matthew 27:61; Mark 15:47; Luke 23:55), when she, with Salome

and Mary the mother of James, “bought sweet spices that they might

come and anoint” the body.  (Mark 16:1) – The next morning

accordingly, in the earliest dawn (Matthew 28:1; Mark 16:2), they came

with Mary, the mother of James to the sepulcher.  Mary Magdalene had

been to the tomb and had found it empty, and had seen the “vision of

angels(Matthew 28:5; Mark 16:5).  To her first of all Jesus appeared

after His resurrection (vs. 14-15).  Mary Magdalene has become the

type of a class of repentant sinners.  There is no authority for identifying

her with the “sinner” who anointed the feet of Jesus in Luke 7:36-50;

neither is there any authority for the supposition that she is the same as

Mary, the sister of Lazarus.  Neither of these theories has the slightest

foundation in fact.


A Dictionary of the Bible by William Smith, L.L.D.



Mary Magdalene stood by Jesus at the cross and was riveted to the tomb

because Jesus had forgiven her from her sins.  As stated above,

though the woman who anointed Jesus’ feet is not thought to be Mary

Magdalene, the principle said of her is true with Mary, “Her sins,

which are many, are forgiven; for she loveth much:  but to whom little

is forgiven, the same loveth little.”  (Luke 7:47).


We can also identify with the Psalmist -

after our sin - Ps. 141:7-8      Ps. 110:3


John 5:24-29  


The judgment is over, the books are closed,

the condemnation is no longer possible because

the believer is “in Christ”!


Metamorphoo - where we get metamorphosis.



a transformation - Rom. 12:1-2


The true change will be according to I Cor. 15:52


Phil. 3:20-21


Peter & John were there - notice v. 9 - but in the

next verse they went home?


v. 11 - “but Mary stood”


vs. 11-12 - “she stooped down & looked into the

            sepulchre and seeth two angels in white sitting,

            the one at the head, and the other at the feet,

            where the body of Jesus had lain”


Members of “His hosts; ye ministers of His, that do

His pleasure” - Ps. 103:21


Remember after the temptation the devil left Him

and “behold, angels came and ministered unto Him”

Matt. 4:11


Remember Matt. 26:53 - Twelve legions of angels

would have come to His aid had not it been God’s will

for Him to tread the winepress alone!


The entire teaching of the Bible from end to end reveals

and bears witness to a world ordinarily unseen by human

eyes, but none the less real. 


To some this door to heaven is closed and sealed by

the seven seals of materialism, agnosticism, dogmatism,

scientism, worldliness, indifference and unspirituality.


How men forget that all human life is but a very

temporary, ever-vanishing robe around a permanent

and abiding spirit!  Consider the plight of the astronauts

on Columbia and thousands of others - consider Custer

and his outfit two days later, on and on and on.

The whole of secularist America might have rambled

abut the garden, with trowel and spectacles and would

never have seen an angel or the risen Christ!


Thank God, all eyes are not that dim.  Some there saw

and believed and they have revolutionized the world.


“Without faith it is impossible to please Him, for he

that cometh to God must believe that He is, and that

He is a rewarder of those who diligently seek Him”


v. 14 - “she ....saw Jesus standing, and knew not that

            it was Jesus”


Mark 16:12 - “He appeared in another form unto two

            of them, as they walked, and went into the

            country” - in a different shape!


v. 15 - “Woman, why weepest thou?” - the first words

            Jesus uttered after He arose from the dead

            were intended to console human weeping over

            the most irremediable of human weaknesses

            and sorrows.


This, the beginning of the fulfillment of the Divine

promise to “wipe away tears from all faces”


Isaiah 25:6-9              v. 20 - “then were the disciples

                                       glad when they saw the Lord”

Rev. 21:1-4


vs. 16 - “Mary”


v. 17 - “my brethren - new name dearer than

            slaves, servants, disciples, ministers,

            apostles, friends.


joint heirs with God & with Christ”



Love is rewarded with visions, revelations & employment.


The assurance that His Father is our Father, His God,

our God!


            Something major here that I can’t explain -

            I think I understand somewhat.


“I ascend unto my Father, and your Father; and to

  my God, and your God” - Connect with Rev. 21


v. 19 - The body of Christ after the resurrection was

            profoundly different from what we usally

            gather from the five senses, of which secular

            America, and vain man throughout history

             is/was obsessed.


Apparently, the spiritual body becomes possessed

of additional senses, of which we have no conception

or experience, clothed with properties of matter and

dimensions of space and active forces all of which

are supernatural to us now as we are confined in a

fleshly body.


v. 20  - However, notice “He shewed unto them His

            hands and His side.



The Bible implies that some conception of marks and

vestiges of the earthly life will survive death and pass

into the eternal world.


Christ came forth from the eternal companionship of

the Father through the incarnation, and is taking

humanity up to the Father’s eternal substance!


They heard, they saw, they handled the Word of Life.

            I John 1:1

then were the disciples glad when they saw the Lord”


v. 21 - “Peace” - vs. 19,26


The Great Commission - Matt. 28:18-20


v. 22 - Now He equips them for service.


They are to go among men as Christ’s representatives -

II Cor. 5:19-20


The only qualification was to go in the power of the

Holy Spirit!


* Sympathy with the mind of Christ

* Compassion for the world

* Renunciation of selfish ends in life


“Now if any man have not the Spirit of Christ he is none

            of His” - Rom. 8:9b



v. 22 - The special action of Christ, the gift of

            spiritual insight, the God consciousness,

            the experience of two worlds.


Whoever enters into the sphere of that Divine

breath becomes "alive unto God".


It lies beyond the expertise of science and

cannot find any place in a sensational philosophy,

and is not a universal experience.


"Except a man be born again, he cannot see

the kingdom of God" - "Ye must be born again"

                                    John 3:3, 7b


Nowhere else in the New Testament is this word

used to describe the breathing on them of the

Holy Spirit.


It is used by the LXX (Septuagint) in Genesis 2:7  to describe

the essential distinction between the living soul

of Adam and the living soul of all other animals.


Man's life was no evolution of the life in other

creatures, neither did it come from properties

in the the dust of the ground.


A direct decision of Almighty God conferred upon

humanity - the life of the flesh. 


I Cor. 15:45


Here Christ confers on those He now sends forth

to complete the mission of His grace, the Divine

life which would make them new creatures, and

bestow on them power to generate the same spirit

in others.


the firstborn from the dead” - Colossians 1:18


  • ch. 2:12-13; 3:1-6
  • Romans 8:5-8; 6:1-14
  • I Corinthians 15:13-28
  • Acts 13:30-39
  • I Peter 1:3, 21
  • Revelation 1:5,18
  • John 11:25-26
  • II Corinthians 4:14
  • Romans 8:21; 14:9



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