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John Chapter 20:1-15

Memory verses for this week: Psa 37:37  Mark the perfect man, and behold the upright: for the end of that man is peace. 

Introduction:   In our last study, we saw Christ die a horrible death on Mount Calvary.   It was hard for the disciples and Christ’s family, but it was probably the hardest for God Himself when He had to turn His back on Christ when all the sin of the world was placed upon Jesus.  God can not look upon sin, and this sacrifice had to be made that you and I might have the ability to approach God by accepting Jesus as our Personal Savior.  Because of His imputed righteousness, we can come before God and be justified today.  This week we see the resurrection of Jesus Christ.   

I.                    The Empty Tomb 

John 20:1  The first day of the week cometh Mary Magdalene early, when it was yet dark, unto the sepulchre, and seeth the stone taken away from the sepulchre.

John 20:2  Then she runneth, and cometh to Simon Peter, and to the other disciple, whom Jesus loved, and saith unto them, They have taken away the Lord out of the sepulchre, and we know not where they have laid him. 

We see Mary coming to the tomb early on Sunday morning as the new day of the week was about to begin.  We talked last week that Jesus was crucified on Wednesday, the day before the “High Sabbath Day.”   For three days and three nights, Jesus’ body lay in the tomb.  Soon after that time was up, Jesus arose victorious over the grave and death. 

1 Cor 15:55  O death, where is thy sting? O grave, where is thy victory?

1 Cor 15:56  The sting of death is sin; and the strength of sin is the law.

1 Cor 15:57  But thanks be to God, which giveth us the victory through our Lord Jesus Christ. 

It says Mary came early while it was still dark and found the stone already rolled away.  You know Christ meant so much to Mary Magdalene because it was she from whom the Lord cast the seven demons.   When Christ changes your heart, you are never the same.   And it seems that year by year my love for the Lord grows as I begin to understand Him more and know what He did for me. While the body of Christ was gone, the linen clothes that he was buried in were still there.   After she left and ran back, she came to Peter and John (the disciple whom the Lord loved) and told them that some one had taken the body.   It seems like they would have remembered that Jesus was going to rise from the grave after three days and three nights.   But apparently, Christ’s death had defeated much of their faith, and they were only living by sight rather than by faith at this time.

Each of us need to realize that Jesus loves you and I like He did those early disciples.   We didn’t get to walk side by side in the early days with Christ, but I believe if it had just been one of us who needed a Savior, Christ would have come and died for just us.  In Jude 21, the bibles says: 

Jude 1:21  Keep yourselves in the love of God, looking for the mercy of our Lord Jesus Christ unto eternal life.

Jude 1:22  And of some have compassion, making a difference: 

John 20:3  Peter therefore went forth, and that other disciple, and came to the sepulchre.

John 20:4  So they ran both together: and the other disciple did outrun Peter, and came first to the sepulchre.

John 20:5  And he stooping down, and looking in, saw the linen clothes lying; yet went he not in.

John 20:6  Then cometh Simon Peter following him, and went into the sepulchre, and seeth the linen clothes lie,

John 20:7  And the napkin, that was about his head, not lying with the linen clothes, but wrapped together in a place by itself. 

Did Peter and John go to see the Lord resurrected?  Probably not.  You normally don’t go to a grave yard to seek the living.   The truth of what had happened had not yet sunk in.   We see that Peter and John came and found the tomb just as Mary had said.   It may have been that the other disciples had turned their backs on Peter because of his denial of Christ.  If so, John had taken him in.   One other reason to consider this was due to the instructions to go and tell the disciples and Peter that the Lord had risen.  

Mark 16:1  And when the sabbath was past, Mary Magdalene, and Mary the mother of James, and Salome, had bought sweet spices, that they might come and anoint him.

Mark 16:2  And very early in the morning the first day of the week, they came unto the sepulchre at the rising of the sun.

Mark 16:3  And they said among themselves, Who shall roll us away the stone from the door of the sepulchre?

Mark 16:4  And when they looked, they saw that the stone was rolled away: for it was very great.

Mark 16:5  And entering into the sepulchre, they saw a young man sitting on the right side, clothed in a long white garment; and they were affrighted.

Mark 16:6  And he saith unto them, Be not affrighted: Ye seek Jesus of Nazareth, which was crucified: he is risen; he is not here: behold the place where they laid him.

Mark 16:7  But go your way, tell his disciples and Peter that he goeth before you into Galilee: there shall ye see him, as he said unto you. 

Do you remember when Jesus raised Lazarus?  When he came forth from the grave he was all wrapped in grave clothes and the Lord told them to loose Lazarus.  Lazarus came out in his old body wrapped in grave clothes.  The body of Lazarus would have to die again.  When Jesus Christ came out of the grave, he came forth in a glorified body which shall never see death.  This is the Resurrection!     When they entered the tomb, they saw the linen clothes lying in one place with the napkin that was about his head in another spot.    We have heard in recent years reports that people have found this “Shroud of Christ” since the linen lights up.   Whether that napkin is real or not, the truth is that Jesus rose from that grave.  We should just believe God and the Bible, and not look to worldly things to prove Christ was who He claimed.  But if you go out and study just the worldly records, you would still have to conclude that Jesus was the true and only Begotten son of God. 

1 Cor 15:12  Now if Christ be preached that he rose from the dead, how say some among you that there is no resurrection of the dead?

1 Cor 15:13  But if there be no resurrection of the dead, then is Christ not risen:

1 Cor 15:14  And if Christ be not risen, then is our preaching vain, and your faith is also vain.

1 Cor 15:15  Yea, and we are found false witnesses of God; because we have testified of God that he raised up Christ: whom he raised not up, if so be that the dead rise not.

1 Cor 15:16  For if the dead rise not, then is not Christ raised:

1 Cor 15:17  And if Christ be not raised, your faith is vain; ye are yet in your sins.

1 Cor 15:18  Then they also which are fallen asleep in Christ are perished.

1 Cor 15:19  If in this life only we have hope in Christ, we are of all men most miserable.

1 Cor 15:20  But now is Christ risen from the dead, and become the firstfruits of them that slept.

1 Cor 15:21  For since by man came death, by man came also the resurrection of the dead.

1 Cor 15:22  For as in Adam all die, even so in Christ shall all be made alive.

1 Cor 15:23  But every man in his own order: Christ the firstfruits; afterward they that are Christ's at his coming. 

John 20:8  Then went in also that other disciple, which came first to the sepulchre, and he saw, and believed.

John 20:9  For as yet they knew not the scripture, that he must rise again from the dead.

John 20:10  Then the disciples went away again unto their own home. 

J. Vernon McGee said in his commentary that “Jesus Christ came up out of that tomb like a seed comes out of the soil.  Remember He had said that a grain of corn falls to the ground and remains alone unless it dies.  Then new corn will grow out of it.  But the old shell of the seed is still in the ground.  That is what was left in the tomb—just the old shell that He had been in.  He was no longer in that shell… He was alive.” 

We see that when John saw the empty tomb, he believed.  I can’t understand how that they did not know that he would rise again, since Jesus had taught them many times about his death and resurrection.   The disciples had hard times with many of Jesus’ teachings, and Christ had told them that when the Holy Spirit came upon them, He would bring many of the teachings back to their minds and they would understand.

Rom 4:24  But for us also, to whom it shall be imputed, if we believe on him that raised up Jesus our Lord from the dead;

Rom 4:25  Who was delivered for our offences, and was raised again for our justification. 


II.  The Appearing of Christ to Mary Magdalene 

John 20:11  But Mary stood without at the sepulchre weeping: and as she wept, she stooped down, and looked into the sepulchre,

John 20:12  And seeth two angels in white sitting, the one at the head, and the other at the feet, where the body of Jesus had lain.

John 20:13  And they say unto her, Woman, why weepest thou? She saith unto them, Because they have taken away my Lord, and I know not where they have laid him. 

Mary truly loved Jesus.  As we mentioned earlier, Mary Magdalene was the one that Jesus had cast seven demons.  Many times Christ had blessed this woman, and she comes looking for the body.   The two angels are on the place where the body had lain, one at the foot and one at the head.  It says they were Angels clothed in white, and ask here,  “Why weepest thou?”  They knew that there was nothing to fear, but great joy to be known for Jesus had risen.    

John Calvin pointed out that the angels in white were a sign of heavenly glory, as we find that Christ was clothed in “white” when He was transfigured on the mountain and showed his glorious majesty to the three apostles.  (Matt: 17:2)   Luke tells us that the angel who appeared to Cornelius was “In shining clothes.”  (Acts 10:30)  I do not deny that linen clothes were common in the East, but in the angels’ dress God was pointing out something remarkable and uncommon, marking them out, as it were, to distinguish them from ordinary people.  Besides, Matthew 28:3 compares the appearance of the angel who talked to the women to “lightning.  “ 

Mat 28:3  His countenance was like lightning, and his raiment white as snow:

John 20:14  And when she had thus said, she turned herself back, and saw Jesus standing, and knew not that it was Jesus.

John 20:15  Jesus saith unto her, Woman, why weepest thou? whom seekest thou? She, supposing him to be the gardener, saith unto him, Sir, if thou have borne him hence, tell me where thou hast laid him, and I will take him away.

John 20:16  Jesus saith unto her, Mary. She turned herself, and saith unto him, Rabboni; which is to say, Master. 

When Mary turned back, she actually sees Christ, but mistakes him for the gardener.  Why did Mary not know this was Jesus?  I think it was unbelief.  Mary believed Jesus was dead, not alive.   It takes a lot of faith to believe a person can rise from the dead.   Jesus asks here the same question that the angels had asked “Why weepest thou?”    Mary asks where that the gardener might have taken the body.   Jesus calls her by her name, and for the first time, Mary realizes that this is Jesus, and most importantly, He is not dead.   Jesus knows his every sheep, and we know our Master’s voice when he calls.  

John 10:2  But he that entereth in by the door is the shepherd of the sheep.

John 10:3  To him the porter openeth; and the sheep hear his voice: and he calleth his own sheep by name, and leadeth them out.

John 10:4  And when he putteth forth his own sheep, he goeth before them, and the sheep follow him: for they know his voice.

John 10:5  And a stranger will they not follow, but will flee from him: for they know not the voice of strangers. 

 Mary calls him “Rabboni” which means Master.  As I was putting this together, I wonder how many people the Holy Spirit bids to come and be saved, and that person either does not realize who it is that is calling, or just flatly rejects the call.  I praise God that He does seek after us.   Our hearts and imaginations are so far from God.   But yet he loves us, and seeks us out.   As the song says, Jesus is tenderly calling and speaking to us if we will but hear.


Luke 24:1  Now upon the first day of the week, very early in the morning, they came unto the sepulchre, bringing the spices which they had prepared, and certain others with them.

Luke 24:2  And they found the stone rolled away from the sepulchre.

Luke 24:3  And they entered in, and found not the body of the Lord Jesus.

Luke 24:4  And it came to pass, as they were much perplexed thereabout, behold, two men stood by them in shining garments:

Luke 24:5  And as they were afraid, and bowed down their faces to the earth, they said unto them, Why seek ye the living among the dead?

Luke 24:6  He is not here, but is risen: remember how he spake unto you when he was yet in Galilee,

Luke 24:7  Saying, The Son of man must be delivered into the hands of sinful men, and be crucified, and the third day rise again.

Luke 24:8  And they remembered his words,

Luke 24:9  And returned from the sepulchre, and told all these things unto the eleven, and to all the rest.

Luke 24:10  It was Mary Magdalene, and Joanna, and Mary the mother of James, and other women that were with them, which told these things unto the apostles.

Luke 24:11  And their words seemed to them as idle tales, and they believed them not.

Luke 24:12  Then arose Peter, and ran unto the sepulchre; and stooping down, he beheld the linen clothes laid by themselves, and departed, wondering in himself at that which was come to pass.



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Prov 4:18  But the path of the just is as the shining light, that shineth more and more unto the perfect day.


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