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John 20:1-18 Understanding Misunderstanding

Easter Sunday 2014

There is a common saying that says: If it seems too good to be true, it robab!y is"# $e !i%e in such an age of e&aggerated c!aims and outright dece tion, that any thin'ing erson shou!d be natura!!y s'e tica!" I fre(uent!y recei%e emai!s )ith incredib!e stories that ha%e made such an im act on their readers that they send them off to their friends" *ut a (uic' %isit to sno es"com )i!! !et me 'no) if the story is true, most!y true, or utter ba!derdash" Today is Easter Sunday, the day in )hich )e ce!ebrate the resurrection of +esus ,hrist and our forgi%eness and sa!%ation as a resu!t of his singu!ar act of sacrifice" -ea!!y. /ne man0s !ife is ab!e to do a!! of that. It seems too good to be true" $hy shou!d anyone be!ie%e something !i'e that. 1nd in our ost2En!ightenment, ost2,hristian, ost2Modern )or!d, some of the most inte!!igent minds in the )or!d ha%e decided that this is 3ust ancient su erstition, an im robab!e myth designed to bring comfort to easi!y ersuaded rubes" $e!!, the *ib!e 'no)s ho) hard this is to be!ie%e, too" 1nd if you ha%e your doubts you are in good com any )ith 4eter, Mary Magda!ene, and Thomas" 5o one )as e& ecting the resurrection" This )as one mirac!e that )as going to ta'e a )hi!e to sin' in" 6et0s !oo' again at +ohn0s account of Easter morning" Mary Magda!ene is on her )ay to the gra%esite )here +esus has been buried" 7e )as ut to death on a cross on 8riday and then (uic'!y remo%ed and !aced in a donated stone tomb" It is sti!! dar'" She sees the !arge stone that )as used as the door to the tomb ro!!ed a)ay" She uts t)o and t)o together 9)ithout doing any in%estigating )hatsoe%er: and runs to 4eter and +ohn saying: They ha%e ta'en the 6ord out of the tomb and )e do not 'no) )here they ha%e !aid him"# ;ery strange" The -oman guards )ho )ere su osed to 'ee )atch are no)here in sight and it a ears that the body of +esus has been sto!en" *ut Mary is on!y going on first im ressions from a distance< there is some misunderstanding here So 4eter and +ohn race to the tomb" 9+ohn seems a !itt!e roud that he made it to the tomb first, so he )rites this do)n" +ohn eers inside and sees the buria! !inens !ying there but does not go in" Is there a body sti!! inside the !inens. =ood o!d im u!si%e 4eter barre!s ast the hesitant +ohn and sees that not on!y are the gra%e c!oths there, but they are neat!y ro!!ed u " 5o thie%es )ou!d ta'e the time to remo%e these )ra ings and fo!d them neat!y u " Un!ess, of course, they )ere women thieves. 9that0s 3ust me thin'ing out !oud no)>: +ohn comes in and a!so sees this ama?ing sight" 1nd then they !ea%e to te!! the other disci !es the ne)s" 5ah" They 3ust go home" So far )e ha%e nothing much to go on here and no rea! )ay to describe )hat0s 3ust ha ened" They are not e& ecting a resurrection, so they misunderstand )hat0s right before their eyes" Mary stands crying outside of the tomb" She !oo's into the tomb and sees t)o ange!s in )hite )ho as', $oman, )hy are you )ee ing.# Mary re eats her c!aim that someone has ta'en a)ay the 6ord and she doesn0t 'no) )here they ha%e !aid him" She is sti!! crying because she has no idea )here to find the dead body of +esus" The ange!s don0t say anything, )hich is not a good sign, since ange!s are su osed to be messengers from =od" *ut there0s a good reason for their si!ence< the !i%ing +esus is standing right beside Mary"

1nd +esus re eats the same (uestion the ange!s as'ed Mary, $oman, )hy are you )ee ing. $hom are you !oo'ing for.# Mary is !oo'ing for a dead body, so this !i%ing erson can0t be +esus" The cor se )ou!d be na'ed as a 3aybird" This is )earing a robe< he must be the cemetery gardener" Sir, te!! me )here you0%e ta'en the body so that I can gi%e it a ro er buria!"# +esus then says her name: Mary"# 5o) she sees +esus face to face again" She )ants to ho!d him, but he )i!! not !et her" She needs to get bac' to the disci !es and share the good ne)s 9ob%ious!y you can0t trust 4eter and +ohn to do that:" So Mary returns and te!!s them more of the Easter story" It0s more than an em ty tomb" It0s more than %isions of ange!s" It0s +esus a!i%e and )e!! and romising to ascend to hea%en and to see them again" The rest of +ohn0s gos e! )i!! sim !y be fi!!ed )ith other accounts of +esus a earing before the disci !es" *et)een a earance stories +ohn )i!! add this statement of ur ose: 5o) +esus did many other signs in the resence of his disci !es, )hich are not )ritten in this boo'" *ut these are )ritten so that you may come to be!ie%e that +esus is the Messiah, the Son of =od, and that through be!ie%ing you may ha%e !ife in his name"# 9+ohn 20:@02@1: $hi!e I a reciate the *ib!e and the )ay in )hich these stories ha%e mo%ed eo !e to faith in +esus ,hrist, )e need to admit that it is easy to misunderstand +esus and to misre resent )ho 7e is" 5o matter ho) much I study, reach, and teach about =od0s !o%e in +esus, I )i!! ne%er 'no) com !ete!y )ho 7e is" $hen he )a!'ed on earth, +esus )as human and more than human" 1nd +esus )as =od and !ess than =od" Thousands of boo's and mi!!ions of sermons ha%e been )ritten to )itness to our faith and they sti!! fa!! short of con%incing the s'e tica! about the !o%e of =od" This on!y comes )hen you are the one )ho sees +esus" 1nd +esus has a )ay to come into your !ife that )i!! be uni(ue!y 7is and yours a!one" Sue and I recent!y sa) the fi!m 7ea%en Is 8or -ea!# about ,o!ton *ur o, a four2year2o!d boy )ho had detai!ed %isions of hea%en )hi!e undergoing surgery for a burst a endi&" The mo%ie is s)eet and sincere, but there0s a !ot of good theo!ogy in the mo%ie ne%erthe!ess" *ut it is not my %ision of hea%en and +esus< it0s not your %ision of hea%en and +esus" It0s one boy0s %ision of hea%en and +esus" 8or ,o!ton *ur o, it is enough" It shou!d not be enough for you" The on!y com e!!ing reason that I can thin' of for be!ie%ing in +esus is to ha%e a re!ationshi )ith +esus" This comes through seeing +esus in others and through in%iting +esus into your heart" If that0s not rea!, I am not sur rised that you )ou!dn0t be!ie%e" It rea!!y is too good to be true" *ut it0s sti!! true" 7erb 6uec'e0s funera! is tomorro)" 7erb died at the age of AB" 7e attended our Men0s 4rayer *rea'fast for many years and sat at the head tab!e" 7is roommate at -i%er%ie) 7ea!thcare )as Mar%in Sand)isch, one of our members" 7ere is a !ine from 7erb0s obituary: /n his !ast day, )hen daughter 4at as'ed if he )as scared, 7erb said, CThere is nothing to be afraid of"0# 7erb0s faith in +esus )as secure< and erfect !o%e casts out fear" The )or!d doesn0t need any more e& !anations about )hy eo !e need to be!ie%e in +esus< the )or!d needs eo !e )ho be!ie%e in +esus enough to !o%e !i'e +esus and to forgi%e !i'e +esus and to care !i'e +esus" $e must be )i!!ing to !et +esus !i%e in us and a!so ha%e faith that =od can use us D and the church D to reach the )or!d" I 'no) of no one )ho has come to be!ie%e in +esus )ithout first seeing +esus in others" So 6ord, o en our eyes this Easter morning, to see you face to face" / en our hearts to !et you !i%e in us" 1nd o en our !i%es to sho) your !o%e to ersons o%er and o%er again, atient!y )aiting, be!ie%ing that the day )i!! come )hen misunderstanding )i!! be re !aced )ith a !o%e so great and )onderfu! that )e can s end the rest of our !ife see'ing to understand it"

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