Easter 2017

It’s all about Jesus

Easter 2017

April 16, 2017

John 14:21-23 “John 14:21-23 (ESV) Whoever has my commandments and keeps them, he it is who loves me. And he who loves me will be loved by my Father, and I will love him and manifest myself to him.” 22 Judas (not Iscariot) said to him, “Lord, how is it that you will manifest yourself to us, and not to the world?” 23 Jesus answered him, “If anyone loves me, he will keep my word, and my Father will love him, and we will come to him and make our home with him.”

In this passage, Jesus has made a glorious promise. But Jesus has been crucified, so what of this promise?

In John 18, Peter has failed at the most vital point, so what does his future look like? Can Peter be restored?

If Jesus is just dead then he was nothing more than a miracle-working prophet empowered by God for a time at best. At worse, if Jesus is just dead, he was a liar and deceiver and Peter is left to wallow in the curse and the consequences of his failure.

But what does John’s testimony tell us?

Last week we did a survey of John 1-19 that helped us to see John’s stated purpose for writing the gospel of John. John states that purpose in John 20:30-31 “(ESV) Now Jesus did many other signs in the presence of the disciples, which are not written in this book; 31 but these are written so that you may believe that Jesus is the Christ, the Son of God, and that by believing you may have life in his name.”

So, what does John’s testimony tell us that brings his purpose for writing home?

Jesus is not dead. He is alive!

“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. 8:34). One day He shall return as Judge (Acts 17:30–31).”[1]

What do we see? What does it mean?

The witness of John and Peter 20:1-10

“When John wrote this account, he used three different Greek words for seeing. In John 20:5, the verb simply means “to glance in, to look in.” In John 20:6, the word means “to look carefully, to observe.” The word “saw” in John 20:8 means “to perceive with intelligent comprehension.” Their Resurrection faith was now dawning!”[2]

These disciples get to the tomb and apply their reason to the situation at hand and, as John records in verse 8, he believed.

The witness of Mary Magdalene 20:11-18

Mary’s frantic search for Jesus likely leads her to not recognize the heavenly visitors who speak to her and likely leads her to not pay much attention to Jesus, who she thinks is the gardener.

Mary is looking for a corpse. So, she’s not paying attention to live men standing around.

It could be that Jesus has kept himself from being recognized, like in Luke 24 with the two disciples on the road. But what we do know from John 10 is that he sheep hear his voice and know him. So when he calls Mary’s name, she hears and knows.

Jesus calling Mary’s name and her recognition that it’s Jesus, likely became the most relieving sigh of relief ever. You know that feeling when you’ve lost something vital and you can’t find it. Like your keys you are holding in your hand. You frantically look and you even overlook the obvious because you are so frantic. Then suddenly, you see them in your hand, and that flood of emotional and physical relief creates a joy and peace and giddy that is just glorious.

I imagine that’s Mary right here.

Do you remember that moment when the Lord Jesus called you by name and brought you into his kingdom…brought you from death to life…brought you from blindness to sight?

The Lord has just called Mary by name, she has witnessed his resurrection and she will never be the same.

Only the resurrected King, Jesus can do that.

The witness of the disciples (the full number not just those who would be appointed “apostles”) minus Thomas 20:19-23

I wish John had given some running commentary of who did what when this scene took place.

Who fell off of what stool?

Jesus does something quite different with the disciples than with Mary.

Jesus gives these guys a mission to do and to guard. They are “sent”.

Then Jesus, with his words and actions, lets them know what is to be the power in which they are to function. This power is the power of Acts 1:8, the Holy Spirit, who he will send at the appointed time.

See footnote on verse 23.[3]

The witness of Thomas 24-29

I love that the Lord had personal interest in meeting Thomas where he was.

Thomas was courageous (John 11:6 he was ready to go die with Jesus). Thomas is spiritually inquisitive (John 14:5 he was willing to ask what everybody wanted to know…how to get to where Jesus was going). Thomas seems to have some intellectual barriers that are keeping him from believing the continual testimony of the group.

We know Thomas as “doubting Thomas”. However, Jesus does not rebuke Thomas for doubting. Thomas’ problem is that he does not believe.

Jesus, being good, kind and just, meets Thomas where he’s at, overcomes his unbelief, and Thomas replies with “My Lord and my God!”

The restoration of Peter 21

Once again, Jesus reveals himself to his disciples and meets their needs as Lord and God.

There is no doubt that Peter believes. Peter just needs to experience Jesus’ firsthand restoration, and Jesus does just that by providing breakfast, some probing questions, a growing ministry and a challenge about how it will all end for Jesus’ glory.

In the end the issue for Peter is the issue for all of us…John 21:19, 22… “Follow me.”

Concluding Observations and Ways to Obey

  1. Jesus meets each one as they need to be met

Peter and John are shown the resurrected Jesus in one way. Mary is shown another way.

The whole group gets a command to obey.

Thomas gets to feel the Lord’s wounds.

Peter gets a prophetic growth of ministry and a look at what is to come that still won’t deter his faith in Jesus.

Jesus will give each one just what they need to be brought into the kingdom.

  1. The good news of Jesus’ and his kingdom is powerful to rescue men and women, boys and girls from the curse of sin.
  1. Jesus can restore from the deepest of offenses.
  1. Hear Jesus calling today and follow him either from death to life or from life to greater life in him through repentance for unbelief in God’s promises, bitterness, not forgiving as Jesus requires, not loving your enemy…

[1] Warren W. Wiersbe, The Bible Exposition Commentary, vol. 1 (Wheaton, IL: Victor Books, 1996), 387.

[2] Ibid. p. 388

[3] Jesus does not teach here that the disciples had the power to give out forgiveness or withhold it. The save verb tense is used here as in Matthew 16:18 and 18:18. The verb tense is that of “perfect”, the voice is passive and the mood is indicative. The ESV and NIV both translate this construction poorly, in my opinion, as it should read “…if you forgive the sins of any, they have already been forgiven…” etc. This means that they were to proclaim forgiveness of sins on the basis of the gospel.

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