Seeing is believing

What would it take for you to believe the impossible? Explore the astonishing events of that first Easter morning, where glances became deep understanding and disbelief turned into faith. Discover how a risen Jesus changed everything for Mary Magdalene, Peter, and John, and consider: what do you see in Jesus?

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David Loader


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Well good morning everyone. Is Kim here this morning she was thought she was going to be here Kim our regular oh hello Kim should I make you stand up you're used to being uh in front of everybody give us a wife do you want to give us a wife um Kim understand how to fall and has broken uh broken her wrist or hand or something and is unable to uh to sign and so we're so pleased to have Kate with us today doing the signing so welcome we're so glad to have you and um I always slip in a hard word or say to for for Kim so uh we'll see how we go this morning well happy Easter everybody um the nearest we could find to an angel this morning in the service was potsy to uh roll a stain away and uh so thank you potsy for for doing that um I was wondering what I was wondering myself how should I react how should I respond when the stone was uh was rolled away by Angel potsy um I didn't know whether to give a low cheer because this was um this is what Isa is all about as Jesus who been raised from the dead or just to remain quiet in that sense of being overwhelmed that Jesus the crucified one is risen well we were quiet and um I'm not sure why we were quiet quiet to see poy as an angel or quiet because of that sense that Jesus is risen from the dead so so what happened we uh remember on Friday of course Jesus was crucified on the cross and um at the end of the day he was taken down and the cross is now empty uh he's taken down and uncertain what what was going to happen to his body but there were there were two men two brave men Joseph of Ara and uh Nicodemus who went to the authorities and and bravely asked do you mind or can we have the body of Jesus so we might be able to uh to to put him in a place in an appropriate place when someone dies suddenly like that and unexpectedly well unexpectedly to all the population not to Jesus of course um there's a lot of preparation a lot of things that haven't been prepared a lot of preparation to do and so there is uncertainty about what might happen where Jesus might be buried and and Joseph had been in a prepaid funeral plan or something like that and uh and he had had a tomb all selected for him and he said he said Jesus can be buried in this tomb and so they with uh other people came and did this initial preparation of the body of Jesus wrapping him up as they would and along with some spices and they laid him in the Tomb the chief priests and other authorities were concerned about this about what might happen so they went to pilate and said we remember that Jesus said that on the third day he was going to be raised from the dead and we have this fear that his disciples are going to come along and they're going to steal his body away hide it somewhere and so on the third day there will be an empty tomb and they'll be able to celebrate and say see this is what Jesus said was going to happen I said to Pilot can we please have a guard at least till the third day to ensure that this doesn't happen you see they were wanting a guard for a couple of reasons one is I've just explained that they didn't want anybody to come stealing the body but also they wanted to God because on the fourth day even though the Bible doesn't say this it seems to me that implicit in their in their thinking was on the fourth day they were going to drag out the body of Jesus and going to parade it around and say look see we were right Jesus hasn't been raised from the dead so this God was posted and they actually put a seal on the tomb to make sure that it was not going to be disturbed yet we because we live on this side of the Resurrection are aware of what happened we're not exactly sure how and exact time and things like that but but we are aware that the stone was rolled away that Jesus was released and Jesus had come back to life again what a tremendous time of Celebration that would be and a time which we continue to celebrate it was the first day of the week it was after three days U crucified on the Fridays the 1 Saturday the 2 and now Sunday the third day some people think and we don't know for sure but maybe the crucifixion actually took place on the Thursday but it doesn't matter so much about when it occurred but what does matter the Bible tells us it was on the first day of the week on the Sunday when Jesus was raised from the dead so today on Resurrection Sunday we come together to celebrate and to remember the resurrection of the Lord Jesus let's read that passage to us the earlier from John chapter 20 and if you've got your Bibles there I would encourage you to open up at John 20 whether it's on your device or whether you've got the version whatever because we're going to have a look at some of the key things that happened on that day it it's just been a delight for me in this preparation over the last week or Fortnight just to read the resurrection accounts in all the gospels on several occasions and I've chosen this one for a particular reason there are some key people involved and um and some we're going to look at in Greater detail some we're not going to worry about too much all like the Angels but of course it all centers around the Lord Jesus but there are some other significant people like Mary Magdalene Peter and John are the key characters that are mentioned and a part of the drama as it infolds unfolds in John chapter 20 so let's look at this lady Mary Magdalene um what an interesting person what an interesting woman Mary turns out to be it's interesting that she is the first person to see the Risen Lord Jes Jesus as we read this morning now that just sort of goes against all reason surely because if God really wanted to proclaim the resurrection of the Lord Jesus surely there'd be more fanfair and certainly not through a woman now that sounds a rather sexist comment but you need to understand something of the culture of the day you see it was only a man's testimony which counted and a woman's testimony wasn't really regarded at all and yet Jesus appears to woman not only that we are aware that from elsewhere in the Bible she's mentioned a lot of times in the Bible um a dozen times or so in fact she's mentioned more in the gospels and any other woman and more times most of the disciples as well but we're aware from earlier accounts of her that she was actually had been demon possessed demon possessed had all all sorts of ramifications Outcast couldn't wouldn't be associated with other people looked down on um rejected she was uh she was just this out andout person and yet when she encountered Jesus and Jesus uh delivered her from these demons Force these demons out of her she became one of the really strong supporters of Jesus in his ministry and we read that uh that she's present at the crucifixion when Jesus died on the cross he's there at his burial and now here we read that she is there at his resurrection as well so what happened well you see um they didn't finish the job on the Friday when Jesus was buried Saturday is the uh is the Sabbath so they couldn't do too much there it was the Passover weekend remember that is even more special and so early on the Sunday morning Mary Magdalene says or regards or or thinks that she needs to finish the job which was started on um on Friday afternoon in the burial so she goes along with all these spices and other things that are used in burial and goes along to the tomb to finish the job which was commenced on Friday but has remained incomplete for these last couple of days she is going there looking for a dead Jesus she's looking for a body looking for this body who in the burial senses is incomplete in in the burial process and she is there to finish the job and as she approaches I'm sure there are a couple of things that stand out to her probably probably the first thing she would noted from a distance is there's no soldiers there's no guard where are they well we know what happened to the God because the Bible tells us that when the tomb was opened and uh and and Jesus was released from there they hot footed it back to uh back to the authorities back to the chief priest and said this is what has happened the one who were there to guide is now is now released is now no longer there and and what happens then is simply amazing because if you recall later on in acts when there were some of the apostles who were in prison and then they were released from prison remember what the God was going to do he was going to kill himself because he had failed in his Judy and and I wonder why there wasn't that sense where these guards now hadn't properly guarded their their prisoner so to speak and yet the authorities say we can use these Blakes as uh as as something of a tool for us so so they paid a bribe prayed a bribe and said when anybody asks you what happened you tell them that the that his disciples came and uh and stole a body can you believe that here are the disciples who ran with their tile between the legs scared is anything when Jesus is going through all the trial and crucified and now a couple of days later pluck up the courage these uh deserters as it were to come and overcome a professional guard uh group of people and and to do away with them and to roll away the stone and to steal the body of Jesus would you believe that yet they were paid to say that to to bride because that's what they wanted the story to go out and they did that not only that of course we know later on that if you're going to steal a body you you just go in and grab it and out you go body wrapped and everything yet we know if you look in this tomb here that there are the grave clothes folded Left Behind Jesus has risen from the and left the graves clothed behind so Mary's approaching she sees and there's no guard still wondering about how we're going to get this stain away and then she realizes the stone has been rolled away she knows the disciples haven't taken Jesus and she thinks the authorities have come and taken Jesus and so without much further Ado she runs back to all the disciples with this news they've taken the body of Jesus and we don't know where theyve put him well two disciples well one's named Peter and the other one says the other disciple we believe it was John who was the author of of this so it just says Peter and the other disciple it says that on a few occasions so these two disciples along with Mary they start running towards the tomb and um and they're running there and the Bible gives us this amazing account Peter heads off first John's there John makes this point I outran Peter and I got there ahead of him it's a bit of a byy to buy we've got one grandson who is um he's very competitive he's an elite swimmer actually up in the state level and whatever but but he's just so competitive always has been we'd go for a walk and this grandson won't name him but he always had to be in front I was walking with him one day and uh and he was so competitive that I I just thought it was a bit well a bit um could be a bit U negative bit destructive to him in the long run so I gave him a talk to him grandfather grandson Talk part of grandson you know it doesn't really matter about being first all the time doesn't nah it doesn't matter par he said so it's all right if other people are ahead of you at times doesn't yeah P that's all right yeah I don't have to be first all the time and I just went a bit faster and I said Jim and it doesn't really matter right now that I'm actually walking in front of you does it well he he was in front of me like a shot that's John Peter was there but John outruns him John gets to the tomb and has a look now let's just pause a minute and think of this term look um In this passage that we have read this morning the term look is um actually there in different words in the original language but the the idea of looking is actually there like uh like three times uh nine times rather in um in these verses three different words for look is used and um and even in our own thinking in our own English language we have so many different words for looking so we can glance look perceive we can stare we can um you know you name it we've got maybe half a dozen more different words for looking but there are just three that want us to be thinking about this morning is that there are three ways to look that we can glance that means we just have a cursory look at something something just have a quick look at something but then we can have a look where we might observe something and consider but then there's a deeper word for looking perceive where we might see something and understand the significance of what's going on here there's a comprehension that takes place in what we look and what we see and in a similar sort of a way with these two disciples coming to Jesus or coming to the tomb there are different words which are actually used you see John arrived at the tomb first and the Bible tells us that he just had a glance in just had a glance and then Peter arrived soon after and whether Peter pushed him aside or or what we John stood back and and just started wondering about it but Peter actually had a look stooped and had a look in and whereas John had just had this glance around inside the tomb Peter had this closer look and took in everything that was there um there's nobody and um and not only that but here are the the grave clothes all wrapped up in how they were so it's different word which are being is being used there where Peter has this closer look but then John perhaps pushing Peter aside again goes and has this more detailed look and the word which is used there means that he not only had a look not only just took in all that had happened here all the the things that are there but he understood the significance understood the significance of all that had happened to leave this tomb empty three different words and just to uh just to support my argument there W Vine has written This Magnificent book called The expository dictionary of New Testament words if you're into Greek you'll love it but he says this on um on these on this particular passage he says without his entering in John saw and the it's a common word for S it's blepo he saw at a glance that the Lord was not there in verse six the CL contemplation by Peter is expressed in the word Theo from where we get our word theorized by the way but in verse 8 the grasping by John of the significance of the undisturbed cloths is denoted by the word idon which is u a complete understanding a complete seeing and understanding you see Jesus had spoken and said this was going to happen it should not have taken them by surprise but Mary's still looking for a dead body John's initial glance takes something in Peter has a look at the facts but then John in his second look takes in ah so this is what Jesus meant when you would appear in our head but now we understand it completely Jesus is risen well Mary is still uncertain about this of course because when the other disciples put it back to tell the others Mary's there and Jesus appears to her it's a first appearance to somebody is the ren Lord Jesus she's still thinking that Jesus is dead and and this person speaks to her and she's still hasn't come to terms with that Jesus is raised from the dead and she just thinks that he's the well he's the yard man that he's the gardener tell me sir she said where did you take Jesus where have you laid his body and Jesus speaks those words he says Mary at that time she recognized that this is the Risen Lord Jesus John believed because he saw all the evidence Mary believed because now she has encountered the Risen Lord Jesus face to face this was not the only appearance of Jesus after he came alive again um it didn't need soldiers to parade an empty body a dead body around but rather Jesus the Risen Lord Jesus now comes and starts appearing between his resurrection his Ascension a bit over weeks later but in that time in the Bible there's at least 17 times 17 recorded times when Jesus appeared sometimes it was just to an individual sometimes to a couple of people uh like like the disciples on the road to amus probably husband and wife on the road to amas but other times it was to a large a group but in 1 Corinthians 15 we have this uh this testimony by Paul and he says this about Jesus after his resurrection he was seen by Peter and later by the rest of the 12 after that he was seen by more than 500 more than 500 Christian Brothers at one time most of whom are still alive they some have died by now then James saw him and later all the apostles saw him last of all I saw him too long after the others as though I'd been born almost too late for this um if you want any evidence uh go back this is not just history this is is history but history needs to be applied and and as we understand this there's not only individuals but groups and who have all seen Jesus after he'd been raised from the dead so the question we need to ask ourselves on Resurrection Sunday this year is this what's it mean to you and to me what's really important is this is that Paul wrote in 1 Corinthians 15:17 he said this he said if Christ has not been raised your faith is worthless and Powerless mere delusion you are still in your sins and under the control and penalty of sin understand what Paul is saying there the importance of the Resurrection is this if the the resurrection didn't take place then we are all wasting ing our time here today it's stupid for us to be here if Christ has not been raised and yet today around the world there will be millions and millions of Christians who will celebrate the fact that Jesus has been raised from the dead and if we to go back in history there'd be countless millions of Christians all through history who celebrate that Jesus is alive this morning want to ask you this question so what do you see when you look at Jesus is it just a casual glance maybe you don't even see at all maybe it's a casual glance oh yeah Jesus there maybe it's a closer look maybe it's a closer look and and so yeah Jesus was a historical figure and he's a good man but it's really not for me it's all right for you but not for me but maybe you like John and like Mary so how Jesus has been raised it's so important for living today was Isaac Watts who um who wrote him and some of the words go like this in his hymn Love so amazing this is the true love story that first Easter love so amazing So Divine demands my soul soul my life my all I like that word demand it's not a suggestion it's not a recommendation it's a demand Jesus commands every person everywhere to repent to come into relationship with him so on this Resurrection Sunday I ask you the question what do you see the empty cross the empty tomb Jesus is risen he's risen indeed let's pray we Rejoice today because we worship a Risen Savior and what a delight that is for us what Joy what hope what satisfaction what peace what light what celebration it is for us today to know that a couple of thousand years ago Jesus died died for us taking away the punishment for our sin as we trust in him we have this new life the new life in Jesus just as the Lord Jesus was raised from the dead we know that we who believe in you also receive eternal life to you father Son and Holy Spirit be the glory now and forever more. Amen.