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*The Dawning of a New Day*
John 20
May 24, 2009
| *In John, chapter nineteen and verse 30, we read,*/When Jesus had received the sour wine, He said, “It is finished!”
Then bowing His head, He gave up His spirit/Henry Blackaby then says, God always finishes what He begins (Phil.
God never speaks a word without ensuring that it comes to pass (Isa.
Christ is both the Alpha and the Omega, the beginning and the end (Rev.
1:8, 17).
Christ is as much at the /end /of His work as He is at its /beginning./Jesus
was given an enormous mandate.
He was to live a sinless life, remaining absolutely obedient to His Father.
Even the manner of His death was to fulfill numerous prophecies that had been foretold in Scripture (Matt.
26:24, 31, 54, 56; 27:9, 35, 46; John 19:28, 36–37).
Yet, despite the extremely complex assignment Jesus received from His Father, He could shout triumphantly from the cross, “It is finished!”Christ
now resides within each believer.
His assignment today is to complete God's will in each Christian.
He is just as determined to do this in us as He was to complete God's will for Himself.
You will have to resist Christ in order to remain out of the will of God.
What is it God wants to do in you?
Have you allowed Him to complete what He has begun?
He will not /force /you to receive all that He has for your life.
If God's work has not been brought to fruition in you, it is not that Christ has not been diligently working toward that end.
Rather, you may need to release areas of your life to Him and be as determined to see God's work in you completed as Christ is.
Review the things God has said to you over this last year.
Are there promises God has made to you that you have refused to allow Him to complete?
If so, commit to yield your will to God today.If the Gospel of John were an ordinary biography, there would be no chapter 20.
I am an incurable reader of biographies, and I notice that almost all of them conclude with the death and burial of the subject.
I have yet to read one that describes the subject’s resurrection from the dead!
The fact that John continued his account and shared the excitement of the Resurrection miracle is proof that Jesus Christ is not like any other man.
He is, indeed, the Son of God.
The Resurrection is an essential part of the Gospel message (1 Cor.
15:1-8) and a key doctrine in the Christian faith.
It proves that Jesus Christ is the Son of God (Acts 2:32-36; Rom.
1:4) and that His atoning work on the cross has been completed and is effective (Rom.
The empty cross and the empty tomb are God’s “receipts” telling us that the debt has been paid.
Jesus Christ is not only the Savior, but He is also the Sanctifier (Rom.
6:4-10) and the Intercessor (Rom.
One day He shall return as Judge (Acts 17:30-31).
From the very beginning, the enemies of the Lord tried to deny the historic fact of the Resurrection.
The Jewish leaders claimed that the Lord’s body had been stolen from the tomb.
This statement is absurd, for if the body was stolen by His followers, how did they do it?
The tomb was guarded by Roman soldiers and the stone sealed by an official Roman seal.
Furthermore, His disciples /did/ /not/ /believe/ that He was to be raised from the dead; it was His enemies who remembered His words (Matt.
/They/ certainly would not have taken the body!
The last thing they wanted was anyone believing that Jesus had indeed risen from the dead.
If His friends/ could/ /not/ steal the body, and His enemies /would/ /not,/ then who took it?
Perhaps the disciples had “visions” of the risen Lord and interpreted them as evidences for the Resurrection.
But they did not /expect/ to see Him, and that is not the kind of psychological preparation from which hallucinations are made.
And how could more than 500 people have the same hallucination at the same time?
(1 Cor.
15:6) Did the followers of our Lord perhaps go to the wrong tomb?
Not likely.
They carefully watched where He was buried (Matt.
27:61; Mark 15:47; Luke 23:55).
They loved the Master and were not likely to get confused about His resting place.
In fact, as the women approached the tomb, they were worried about who would roll back the heavy stone (Mark 16:1-3); so they were acquainted with the situation.
As to the foolish argument that Jesus did not die, but only swooned and was later revived, little need be said.
It was proved by many witnesses that Jesus was dead when His body was taken from the cross.
Later, He was seen alive by dependable witnesses.
The only logical conclusion is that He kept His promise and arose from the dead.
But the glorious truth of the Resurrection was not understood immediately by even His closest followers.
It gradually dawned on these grieving people that their Master was not dead, but alive!
And what a difference it made when the full realization of His resurrection took hold of them!
For Mary Magdalene it meant moving from tears to joy (John 20:1-18); for the ten disciples it meant going from fear to courage (John 20:19-23); and for Thomas it meant moving from doubt to assurance (John 20:24-31).
With Mary, the emphasis is on love; with the ten, the emphasis is on hope; and with Thomas, the emphasis is on faith.
As we consider Mary Magdalene’s experience that Lord’s Day morning, we can see three stages in her comprehension of the truth of the Resurrection.
Peter and John are also a part of this experience.
Mary Magdalene and several other women agreed to go to the tomb early on the first day of the week, so that they might show their love for Christ in completing the burial preparations.
Joseph of Arimathea and Nicodemus had been forced by circumstances to prepare His body hastily, and the women wanted to finish the task.
Their great concern was how to get into the tomb.
Perhaps the Roman soldiers would take pity on them and give them a hand.
What they did not know was that an earthquake had occurred and the stone had been rolled back by an angel!
It seems that Mary Magdalene went ahead of the other women and got to the tomb first.
When she saw the stone rolled away from the door of the tomb, she concluded that somebody had broken into the tomb and stolen the body of her Lord.
We may criticize Mary for jumping to conclusions; but when you consider the circumstances, it is difficult to see how she would have reached any other conclusion.
It was still dark, she was alone, and, like the other followers of Jesus, she did not believe that He would return from the dead.
She ran to give the news to Peter and John, who must have been living together at a place known to the other believers.
Perhaps it was the Upper Room where they had met with Jesus.
Mary’s use of the pronoun “we” is interesting, for it included the other women who at that moment were discovering that Jesus was alive!
(see Mark 16:1-8 and Luke 24:1-8) The women left the tomb and carried the angels’ message to the other disciples.
These Christian women had a greater message than that of the Law, for they knew that their Savior was alive.
Mary’s faith was not extinguished; it was only eclipsed.
The light was still there, but it was covered.
Peter and John were in the same spiritual condition, but soon all three of them would move out of the shadows and into the light.
John 20:3 suggests that Peter started off first to run to the tomb, but John 20:4 reports that John got there first.
Perhaps John was a younger man in better physical condition, or perhaps John was just a better runner.
It is tempting to “spiritualize” this footrace and relate it to Isaiah 40:31 and Hebrews 12:1-2.
When a believer is out of fellowship with the Lord, it is difficult to run the race of faith.
However, both men deserve credit for having the courage to run into enemy territory, not knowing what lay before them.
The whole thing could have been a clever trap to catch the disciples.
When John arrived at the tomb, he cautiously remained outside and looked in.
Perhaps he wanted Peter to be with him when he went into the burial chamber.
What did John see?
The graveclothes lying on the stone shelf without any evidence of violence or crime.
/But/ /the/ /graveclothes/ /were/ /empty/!
They lay there like an empty cocoon, still retaining the shape of Jesus’ body.
Peter arrived and impulsively went into the tomb, just as we would expect him to do.
He also saw the linen clothes lying there empty and the cloth for the head carefully rolled and lying by itself.
Grave robbers do not carefully unwrap the corpse and then leave the graveclothes neatly behind.
In fact, with the presence of the spices in the folds of the clothes, it would be almost impossible to unwrap a corpse without damaging the wrappings.
The only way those linen clothes could be left in that condition would be if Jesus /passed/ /through/ /them/ as He arose from the dead.
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