Valley View Church

John 20:1-18 | Robbery or Resurrection?

March 25, 2024 Valley View Church
Valley View Church
John 20:1-18 | Robbery or Resurrection?
Show Notes Transcript

Sunday morning | March 24, 2024 | Colby Flowers | Louisville, KY

Guest Speaker, Youth Pastor Colby Flowers, continues the John series with the story of Mary Magdalene's visit to the empty tomb on that first Easter morning.

At Valley View Church we are currently studying through the entire gospel of John, verse by verse. You can join us on Sunday mornings at 11 AM for worship. We are located at 8911 3rd Street Road, Louisville KY 40272.

Good morning, Church. How are we doing? Well, it's good to be with you this morning. If you would turn in your scriptures. If you have them with you this morning, turn in. John Chapter 20, We're be looking through verses one through 18. We have Easter coming next week. We're so excited. I certainly want to make a plug for our Easter service. Don't be afraid to invite somebody to Easter. In fact, Easter is the most attended service for those who don't know Jesus, bring someone, bring a friend, bring a coworker, bring a neighbor, bring them to Easter service. And we're so excited to share with you for these next two weeks this morning and the next about the resurrection of Christ. And so this morning we're being John chapter 20 verses one through 18. But I want to ask before we jump in here, have you ever lost something that you were almost positive that you left it in a certain place? Anybody done that? You might say the phrase I don't I didn't want I didn't lose it. I just don't know where I left it right. Well, I tend to do this a lot. And my wife finds a lot of enjoyment in finding it for me, even though it's staring me right in the face. Right. We sometimes I'll sometimes do this with my sunglasses. Well, they're sitting right on top of my head. I'll say, Where's my keys? And they'll be in my hand. I'll be looking for my phone and it be right in my pocket. I don't know if you've ever done this, but I think sometimes I do this. I think sometimes we do this is be is we become so fixated on where something should be instead of where it is. And so we're going to see this idea played out this morning with the disciples and a person named Mary Magdalene. And this is the point I want us to see this morning throughout the scriptures that we're going to see is that when we become blindly fixated on what seems obvious, we can miss out on the miraculous. I see that again for us when we become blindly fixated. That's important. On what seems obvious now, we can actually miss out on the miraculous. We turn something that God is done into, something that may and has done, and we see it maybe from a surface level perspective. And so we're going to see this played out with the disciples in Mary Magdalene. But before we jump in, Mary Magdalene herself, as as we're going to see, is a main part of this story. But she's sometimes mis identified. So before we jump into her text, I want to explain to who Mary Magdalene is that and who she's not really. So Mary Magdalene was a follower of Jesus and she is not the person in Luke seven who the prostitute in Luke seven, who gets down on her knees and washes the feet of Jesus with her tears and ointment. That's not Mary Magdalene. And we've read in this this gospel series so far in the Gospel of John about Mary and Martha, who are the sisters of Lazarus. This also was not the same Mary. That's Mary of Bethany. So this is Mary Magdalene. In fact, she was likely born in from a city called Magdala near Galilee. And look at this here. I got some scripture for us so we can understand a little bit more. But look at this, Luke two and also some women who had been healed of evil spirits and infirmities. But here she is, Mary called Magdalene, from whom Seven Demons had gone out. This gives us a little idea of who she is. She experienced this miraculous salvation experience. Jesus casts out seven demons just kind of displaying how great of a salvation this was. And she begins following Jesus. What's interesting, as we're going to see in the text this morning in John John story here is that Mary Magdalene was likely a source for John. John would ask other people, Hey, what did you see in the life of Jesus? What did you see here? What did you see there? It I believe the passage that we're going to see this morning is a testimony from Mary Magdalene that John records by God, spirit. And so we have the opportunity to hear from the person who saw Jesus first raised from the dead. So we're going to be here, John, Chapter 20, verse one. And this is what it says. Now, on the first day of the week, Mary Magdalene came to the tomb early while it was still dark and saw that the stone had been taken away from the tomb. So Mary goes At the first day of the week, this detail is actually recorded in every gospel by Matthew, Mark, Luke and John all say that the resurrection of Jesus and this account happened on the first day of the week. Now for the Jews, that was Sunday. So Saturday was their Sabbath Sundays, the first day of the week. And this culminated and completed the Passover Festival for for Israel. And so we also learn from the other gospels that Mary wasn't the only person that went. In fact, four of the women likely went with Mary to the tomb because they wanted to prepare the body of Jesus for burial. They couldn't do it the day before because of the Sabbath. They didn't want to break the Sabbath. So instead they go on Sunday after Jesus had been buried to go and prepare the body of Jesus for burial with ointments and with oils. But it's important that we ask this question Why does John not mention the four? Why does he only mention Mary Magdalene here? This is an important point, I believe, because each gospel approaches the same facts from a different point of view. Matthew, Mark, Luke and John are written by four different people who have the same facts in front of them, but they like to go at it from a different angle to give us a different perspective. Just like you and I, looking at it at a picture, we look at it differently and so we don't get the the four women that go to the tomb. We just get Mary Magdalene. And this is important, I think, too, because John's gospel is going to focus on Mary Magdalene, the other gospels focus on the other women. And so we're going to get the eyewitness testimony and account of Mary Magdalene. And you see this played out in verse two. Look at this. So when Mary saw the saw the stone rolled away, she didn't go to the tomb and go in, did she? It says that she ran. So the other gospels stick with this story. They stick with the women at the tomb who encounter the angels. But they but John says Mary Magdalene ran and this is going to be the important. Later she runs and goes and went to Simon, Peter and the other disciple, the one whom Jesus loved. This is John the apostle. John refers to himself elsewhere in the Gospel like this. And this is what she says to them. They have taken the Lord out of the tomb and we do not know where they have laid him. This is interesting here. So she goes and has this theory already. Peter, John, Jesus has been robbed and stolen from the tomb and the day here is kind of implied. This is she likely means these are the religious leaders. These are the people who crucified Jesus in the first place. And so she goes and says, listen, the religious leaders, the enemies of Christ listen, they came and stole the body and I don't know where they have put them. So she already has this in her mind that this was a work of man and not a work of God. Do you see that it is easy to assume the obvious without considering the miraculous, to look at something and begin to look at it through man's point of view instead of for something that maybe God did? Do you see that this is important to see this morning that we can miss out on a work of God because we view it instead as a work of man. And I'm not just talking about the empty tomb. I'm talking about your daily life. As worries as we're going to talk in just a minute, it could be the small details in your life that you see as a work of man, but really, it was a work of God. So it goes on here in the passage verse three. So Peter hears this. He went out with the other disciples, that's John. And they were going toward the tomb. Both of them were running together. But the other disciple outran Peter and reached the tomb first, so we could probably, you know, estimate that John and Peter were likely teenagers because even getting to the tomb was a competition, right? John brags a little bit about him getting here first. Now, I say that kind of funny. I don't think that's why John brings this up. Instead, I think John includes this detail because he wanted the people to know that he was there first. He looked with his own eyes and look what verse five says. It says that he's stooped and stooping to look, and he saw the linen clause lying there, but he did not go in. So John gets there first. Stoops looks down inside the garden tomb. The stones been thrown away. He sees the linens and then backs up and doesn't go into the tomb. Yet. This is interesting. I, I think maybe he does this because maybe Peter's the de facto leader of the disciples and he wanted Peter to go in first, possibly. But I think there might be a better reason. See, according to Jewish law, for you to establish a fact, you need how many witnesses to. And I think John, out of safety, did not want to go in and possibly contaminate or or maybe ruin the moment and ruin a built opportunity for two people to see the empty tomb instead of just one. So John hesitates and waits for Peter to come in behind him, which is what we get in verse six. Look at this. Then SIMON Peter came following him, and he went into the tomb. He saw the linen clause lying there. So Peter here sees exactly what John sees, sees the linen clause there, but he goes into the tomb, sees what John sees, but then look over seven says and the face cloth, which had been on Jesus's head, not lying with the linen clause, but folded up in a place by itself. Now, this little detail we can very easily overlook because we want to get to what happens when we see Jesus for the first time resurrect it. But this piece of evidence right here is so crucial. So I want you to think about it. Why were these linen claws thrown off in this face? Cloth was lying folded in, placed? You see, I think the reason why is because God's trying to send a little message. Jesus is trying to communicate a message to the disciples. If only they would see and look. See. The evidence from the tomb, I think suggests that this process was not rushed or hurried, but deliberate and intentional. Do you hear me? I don't think Jesus bodies somehow not being in the tomb, that that was hurried and rushed, but intentional and deliberate and specifically placed for a specific reason. Because if you think about it, if Jesus was robbed from the tomb, why would they remove the linens and carry around a naked body? And if Jesus was robbed from the tomb, why would they take the face cloth off, fold it up neatly and place it separate from the linen cloths? See, I don't think this is by accident, but this is deliberate and intentional because I think what Jesus is trying to communicate is this is not by accident. This is not was not rushed or hurried. This is here for a reason for you to see, you know, what else. I think it also proves that men can do laundry right now. Y'all better go home and do a couple loads. Now. But do we kind of treat our bedrooms this way? Do we not? You know, we may not make our bed every day or pick up and fold up all of our clothes and place it on our bed every day. Unless someone comes over, right, Someone comes over. It changes the perspective. Now, I got to get the room ready because if they come in and see this mess, it's not good. But I want them to see that this was deliberate and intentional. And I'm telling you, Jesus folded up this linen cloth and threw out these all these other clause in this face cloth. He all this is put together so that the disciples would see and believe. So listen to me this morning. God is intentional and deliberate with the details of your life. Your life is by accident. In fact, God is not surprised. God is sovereign. God doesn't work accidentally. He works providentially God knows what's going on in your life and not only knows it, he's working it out for your good. If you would only see it in these little details God likes to put into her life so that He can show us and that we would believe you've probably heard the phrase The devil's in the details. You know, the devil may be in the details, but God ultimately sovereign over all of them. Amen. The devil may be focused on the particular details of our life, but God is sovereign over both. So we can always lean on the fact that God's in control and he's intentional, deliberate, he's not removed. He's revealed. So this morning know that God can establish and strengthen our faith in the details. If we would look, and I think we're often become so blindly fixated on what's what seems obvious that we miss out on God doing the miraculous, even in the details. So look what this says in verse eight and the other disciple, Peter walks in the tomb, John comes in behind him. It says, Who had reached the tomb first. He also went in and he saw and believed two things John experiences here. He sees it with his physical eyes, but believes it in his heart that Jesus has been raised from the dead. Now, we're going to get to a moment here in just a second that this faith is lacking, but it's still genuine. In fact, Peter had some type of similar reaction in Luke 24. But listen me this morning, Faith in Jesus does not require seeing a resurrected Jesus. Do you hear me? The disciples would later see the resurrected Jesus, but John saw the empty tomb and believed Jesus was raised from the dead without ever setting his physical eyes on him, which is a blessing for us today, because the likelihood we're not going to see the resurrected Jesus in our lifetime. But we can have faith and believe and know that Jesus has been raised because the evidence suggests that. And we have faith that we have a God who overcame the great faith in Jesus does not require seeing a resurrected Jesus. It requires faith, belief or a heart transformation. So here's verse nine, because this is where it gets interesting, because then it says right after this John saw and he believed. But now John shares a little bit of a confession with us. He shows a little bit of a weakness of faith because he says for as yet, they did not understand the scripture that he must rise from the dead. Now, why would John put this here? Why would John include this? John saw and you believe. But then he pauses and adds this comment and says, The disciples witnessed this, and yet they did not fully understand the scriptures yet. And there's a perfect example for the disciples. In Mark Chapter eight, Jesus asked the disciples, Who do the people say that I am? Will say the Prophet Jesus. They say this, they say that. Then He says, Jesus asked, Who do you say that I am? You know a Peter, I got this one. Jesus, you're the Christ, the Son of God. I'm in faith. But then Jesus says, I've got to go die. I've got to go be hung on a cross, die and be raised again. And then Peter says, Paul, now, Jesus, let me rebuke you real quick, because it's not supposed to work out that way. Jesus, I believe you're the Christ, but you're not supposed to die. I can imagine Jesus thinking in his head, Have you read the Bible. Because Peter, if he knew the Old Testament and understood the Scriptures, it has been prophesied step by step that a Christ would come and He would need to die in place for our sins and be raised on the third day. It's been said already, but Peter didn't understand it. So understand John is making a point here that the reason that we lack faith is because we lack an understanding of Scripture. I'm not trying to step on toes. Most of my toes have already been stepped on. Mother's preparing for this message, but this is a this is a reminder, a challenge to us that John had the same struggle we do as well. But it is a challenge for us to say, if I like faith, I need to get in his word. If I'm lacking faith in this area in my life, I need to get into scriptures because the scriptures will help inform my faith that what I see is not just man made, it's God made. God can do this work. It's not just surface level faith. It is a deep, abiding faith that our Scripture, the God's Word and Scriptures can inform our faith to see and belief. But look what happens to the disciples. Verse ten. Then the disciples, when they do, went back to their homes. I want to be careful because I attended. I started to lean towards this understanding of it. But I don't think this is true. What I think it means is, is that they were a little scared and perplexed. They were afraid. I don't think this verse says, Well, John and Peter and the disciples, they didn't believe, they just went back to their life. What I think it is, is as we're going to see next week, Pastor John is going to cover this is they go back to their homes and lock the door because they're scared. The religious leaders at this point, they're looking for whatever happened to the body of Jesus because they don't want this conspiracy going around. They don't want a conspiracy going around that this man died and was raised from the dead. And everything that he said is true. We got to figure this out. Let's go get his followers. They assumed that they were going to be hunted down. So what did they do? We got to go back home. So don't take this as a contradiction of their faith, but take it as their human side. They were scared. But here's my first big point for us this morning. Don't be blindly fixated on what seems obvious, but look for God in the details. Look for God and his hand in the details. When my wife and I moved back to Kentucky, I was looking for a ministry position and through that process, God really worked out all the details in my life. I found myself in Valley View, and the way I got here was really incredible. And when I arrived, I heard this name Carrie Jones. I've never met Carrie Jones before, but talking to one of my mentors, his name is Bill Ellis, he informed me that he was disciple by Carrie Jones. So Bill Ellis, this man who is disciple by Carrie Jones, ends up coming to my home church and pastoring. He's one of the pastors there, and he played a huge role in discipling me early on in my ministry as a pastor, as a follower of Jesus. And so I could very easily miss this detail. But to look at how God worked all this Valley view made an impact on my life before I even knew what it was. Because you know why God is in the details. And the same is true for your life. God is in the details of your life. But do you know it? So there's two ways I think we can do this this morning. Two ways Look for God and His written word and your life. Look for God in the details of the written word and your life. God is actively working in your life, but it begins first in His word, do not settle for mediocre box checking, devotional time, but instead get in the word and investigate and uncover and mine the gold that is in it. Spend time in God's Word and see what he's saying to you today and you will find faith and find God in the details. But also look in your life. God has been working, He has worked, and he's going to work. So maybe we need to pause and slow down and consider God strengthen and establish my faith. Where are you working? How have you worked? Revealed to me. I will give you some scripture to kind of encourage you this morning. Matthew 1021 or sorry, 29 to 31 says are not two sparrows sold for a penny and one of them will fall to the ground apart from your father. But even the hairs of your head are all numbered. Students don't make a joke. But even the hairs of your head are all numbered. But fear not. Therefore, why you are of more value than sparrows with this shows is is that God is in the details. He cares about every little detail of your life because that is the God that He is. And we need to consider that God values us way more than sparrows. God reveals himself in the details and the details of your life so that we would believe. Do you believe that this morning? Do you have faith in that? This morning it's going into verse 11 here in John 20. Mary Magdalene's come back in the picture here. It says, But Mary stood weeping outside the tomb. Remember, Mary, all that she's seen so far is the stone rolled away, right? She has not gone in the tomb. She has not encountered any angel. All that she has seen is the stone rolled away. And so she goes back at some point and is weeping outside the tomb. And as she as she wept, she stooped to look into the tomb and she saw two angels in white sitting where the body of Jesus had lain one at the head and one at the feet. This is an incredible picture here. Notice God doesn't send angels to Peter and John, does he? He sends angels to Mary Magdalene, the four women. And part of this, I think it's it's God trying to shame a little bit with with Peter and John because they were still lacking faith because although he would reveal himself later, but in this moment, he chose to reveal angels to Mary Magdalene. And soon he's going to reveal himself to Mary Magdalene first. And I want to make this point because I think we need to be reminded this that God chooses to reveal himself to those who are often overlooked. Mary Magdalene was with someone who had been healed of seven demons, but outside of her following Jesus, we really don't know a lot. And likely because she was a woman, she didn't have a strong reputation outside of following Jesus. But here's what we do know is that God chose to reveal himself first to Mary Magdalene. So I want to say this this morning, I don't care where you grew up, what type of family you come from. If you're coming from addiction for coming from a broken home, if you're if you're coming from a troubled life, God chooses to reveal himself to those who are overlooked and often outcast. And the beautiful picture is it doesn't matter. You come from God can use you and reveal himself to you no matter what. So it goes on. In verse 13, they said to her, the angel speaking out to Mary. They said to her woman, Why are you weeping? She said to them, They have taken away my Lord, and I do not know where they have laid him. She's got her same theory, doesn't she? She still believes in her mind that Jesus has been stolen and robbed from the grave. And so her response is, I don't know where they laid them. But then things change. In verse 14. Having said this, she turned around and saw Jesus standing. But get this, she did not know that it was Jesus. This is so interesting, Mary, looking for the body of Jesus. And now Jesus is standing right in front of her alive. She sees Him but doesn't know it's him. And this happens throughout the gospel. In fact, next week we're going to see this with the disciples. They see Jesus, but they don't know it's Jesus. And he's standing right in front of her because her eyes see him, but her heart doesn't really perceive that is Jesus. Look at this next verse. Jesus said to her, Now he speaks. Woman Why are you weeping? Whom are you seeking? And it's kind of ironic because the person she's seeking is talking to her. This is the sunglasses on your head and you're looking for your sunglasses. This is the keys in your hand and you're looking for your keys. She is blindly fixated on what seems obvious, but the miraculous is standing right in front of her and she's missing it. So look what she says when she actually makes a little note here to supposing him to be the gardener. She said to him, Sir, if you have carried him, then she's talking about Jesus. If you've carried him away, tell me where you have laid him and I will take him away. Isn't this ironic? I want to say this morning with our eyes we may see, but it is our hearts that perceive two big differences here seeing something and perceiving something. Right? Because here's a really good example of it. All of us could look at a painting and see something completely different, right? We may pick up on certain details or things that other people won't, so we may see the same thing, but we perceive it differently. Right. Another example is modern examples. Our phones, when we're scrolling on our phone and we're looking at images and pictures and words and ideas, we may see something, but we're not really actually paying attention to it because our brains filtering all the stuff out we don't really want to see, right? We'll stop when we catch something we do want to see because our brain and our heart say, I want to look at this and I believe this is what's happening to Mary right here. She's seeing Jesus, but in our heart she's fixated on this idea that Jesus had to have been stolen, had to have been robbed. This there's no way this is Jesus in our heart. So, listen, this morning we will perceive what our hearts allow us to perceive the psychological term on here Motivated perception. I'll probably go to Miss Debbie ads over here, and she can probably give us a lesson on this. But this idea is that I will perceive what I want to perceive. I will see in my heart what I want to see. And this is Mary right here. So I want to take a moment. I can't go into detail about all this, but listen, God hardens and softens our hearts to see or not to see. At this moment, Mary is blindly fixated on something that should be obvious to her. So she is choosing to do it. But at the same time, God is sovereign over all of this. I can't explain you. All that stuff works out. But here's the truth. God is sovereign and Mary's making this choice here, and this is in the scriptures. Look at we'll look at John 21 next week. But Luke 2416, Jesus is walking on the road to amaze. He's with two disciples and it says Jesus kept them from knowing it was him. It wasn't that Jesus was shapeshifting, it was that they didn't know who was Jesus. Look at this in Isaiah six nine, this is God talking to Isaiah and he's saying that Isaiah say this to the people of Israel. And he said, Go and say this to the people. Keep on hearing, but do not understand, keep on seeing, but do not perceive in your heart. He says, make the heart of this people. Dole and their eyes heavy and blind their eyes, lest they see with their eyes and hear with their ears and understand with their hearts and turn and be healed. It's not just that God has the ability to do it, but we have a choice in the matter as well that Mary's looking at Jesus right in front of her and she doesn't see the miraculous resurrected Christ. And I'm wondering to tell you today I bring all this up. Are you staring at a situation in your life and you're in you're looking at it with man's eyes and fixated on what seems obvious, but you don't see God in it. Look what happened to verse 16. Jesus says one word. Mary. Jesus says Mary in at that one word notice. It says She turned and said to him in Aramaic Rabbani, which means teacher Rabbi, when word opened the eyes of her heart so that she cannot just see Jesus with her physical eyes, but that she could see him with her heart. And notice she believed before she saw him without her eyes, didn't she? Look what it says. She turned and said she believed turns and looks and sees Jesus for the first time. So I want to say this God's word can open our eyes to see and believe with our hearts, which is why I value you were so focused on getting in the word. You do that in your life groups, in your groups. We pray that you're doing it at home with your families. But God reveals himself and can open your heart to see things that you wouldn't have otherwise seen. And it goes on here in verse 17, Jesus said to her, Do not cling to me, for I have not yet ascended to the father, but but go to my brothers and say to them, I'm ascending to my father and your father to my guide and your God. So Jesus is not denying her affection. You can imagine Mary just coming up and just bear hugging him. Right. And so Jesus is not trying to deny her affection, but he's trying to give her a purpose. Now, he says, I've got to go to be with the father. That's where I'm headed. But, Mary, I need you to go and tell the disciples I need you. Go and tell them what you have seen and what I'm telling you. Now. In verse 18, she does look at this Mary Magdalene obeys, She said. It says, Mary Magdalene went and announced to the disciples, I have seen the Lord, and that he had said these things to her. So it's interesting. The passage begins with Mary seeing the stone roll away. It begins with her seeing the stone melt away, and she has her own theory that Jesus, her body has been rot from the grave. But look here in verse 18, it ends with Mary seeing the resurrected Christ and confessing and announcing that she has seen the resurrected Christ. This is transformation right here. And it took one word, I believe this morning. Some of you are sitting in this place and all it takes is a one word from God to transform your life. I believe it. I believe that for your life, because he's done it in Man, you are one word of God away from having your life transformed. Amen. And today could be it because Mary received this one word. And from there, she had genuine faith. So here's my point for all of us. Do not be blindly fixated on what seems obvious, but pray for eyes to see by faith. We need to pray for it. God give me eyes to see and to hear. I want to see you in my life. I want to see you in your word. And I want to believe in all that you're doing and have done. Look at this Ephesians 118, having the eyes of your hearts enlightened that you may know what is the hope to which he has called you. What are the riches of this glorious inheritance in the saints, the eyes of your heart. It's metaphorical, your heart to believe in Christ, praying God, open my heart, enlighten my heart so that I can see you in your word and in my life. I remember growing up and if I shared the story, forgive me. I remember growing up. There was a time when we had a house fire and we lost half our house. And I remember going into the rubble of what was left in the kitchen, smelling of a campfire with ash and dust all over the place. And I remember pausing and thinking, why do you ever had that? Why? QUESTION That may be never answered for us, but I'm asking why, God, Why did this happen? And God moved me from a posture of doubt to a posture of faith, because I just felt the sense to pray. SA pause and said, God, I don't understand why I don't understand what you're doing or why this happened, but I pray that this would be used for your glory. Amen. So then I leave for life goes on. And God used that season in my family's life to restore a hunger and thirst for him. My parents were back in church. Their faith was restored. They back in community, and all of it took something horrible to happen. But at the end of the day, it was God using it in a miraculous way for His glory and our good. And I believe God could be doing that right now in your life. Maybe he's done that already. Maybe he's about to do it. Maybe he's doing it right now. But listen, Faith does not need physical eyes, but enlighten eyes of the heart for us to believe in Jesus. We don't need physical eyes to see Jesus. We need a heart that believes. And so my question for you this morning, do you believe do you believe like Mary Magdalene believe? Do you believe like John believe? Yes. They lost faith. They were imperfect. I'm imperfect. But what it asks when I'm asking, do you believe in the resurrected Jesus? So here's your challenge this morning. Are you blindly fixated on what seems obvious, or are you looking with eyes of faith? Because I can promise you, if you look for God in the details and you pray for eyes to see God, He will answer and He will give you faith. He will help you see. Let's pray,