What Resurrection Means for You? | John 20

What Resurrection Means for You?

Presently, the whole world is celebrating the resurrection of our Lord Jesus Christ. Resurrection is the start of something new. Resurrection is the beginning of the new creation which has been made possible by the overcoming of the forces of corruption and decay in the death of Jesus.

That is the real message of Easter morning, as is perhaps clearest in John’s gospel. In John, the resurrection chapter, chapter 20, twice tells us emphatically that it was ‘the first day of the week’. That’s what he says right at the start of the chapter, in the morning when Mary Magdalene found the tomb empty and met the risen Jesus himself, supposing him to be the gardener – the right mistake to make, by the way. Then he says it again in the evening, when the disciples were hiding behind locked doors in the Upper Room, and Jesus came to breathe peace and power and his own Spirit upon them.

Gospel of John

John has framed these scenes, within his gospel which begins by evoking Genesis 1 itself, in such a way as to say: this is the beginning of the new creation in which the divine intention for the original creation is at last fulfilled.

That is why, in one of the greatest Christian poems of all time, Paul writes to the Colossians that Jesus is ‘the beginning; the first-born from the dead; so that in everything he might be Resurrection and the Renewal of Creation (c) 2020 N.T. Wright 8 pre-eminent.’

We will never understand the gospel unless we see it as a great narrative, the narrative which finds its way through the dark night of the soul in the long years of Israel’s desolation and then bursts out with new life on Easter morning. And of course, it doesn’t end there.

New Creation

The new creation is then put to work in the world. That is the primary task of the Holy Spirit: to put into practice what was achieved and launched on Good Friday and at Easter. And we can get a firm handle on what that means if we remember the two key points: creation and justice.

A good world, spoiled by hostile and destructive forces, but now to be remade, to be brought through death and out the other side into a new kind of life which death can no longer touch.

And though the Holy Spirit can and does work in a thousand different ways of which we hear only the rustle of the passing wind, one of the primary ways the Spirit works is of course through humble, prayerful servants of Jesus, whose hearts have been renewed and whose minds have been enlightened by the powerful gospel so that they not only believe in Jesus’ resurrection – and hence in his victory over the dark powers on the cross – but that they become Resurrection People, both signs and agents of the new life which will one day flood the whole of creation. But before we can speak more about this

The Great Message in Romans

Romans 8 is one of the literary glories of the Christian faith. For our purposes, the section which matters most is verses 18 to 30. They are of course rooted in the earlier part of the chapter and the letter, but what we note above all is that they have to do with the rescue and renewal of creation, not its abandonment. God made this world and (as people sometimes say) he didn’t make junk. We have messed up this world – and there are dark forces behind that as well, not just human agency – but God is the judge who will ultimately put everything right.

That is the great message of Romans: the ‘righteousness’ or ‘justice’ of God, apparently challenged beyond hope by the failure of the human race, Israel included, but coming in the person of Jesus to take the force of that ruin on to himself and carve out a way through and on to rescue and renewal. The central message is that God will do for the whole of creation, at the last, what he did for Jesus at Easter – taking the physical reality that had been broken and smashed beyond belief, rescuing it and restoring it so that it wasn’t just in the same state as before but was actually renewed, having gone beyond the reach of corruption and decay altogether.

For us, physical reality seems always vulnerable, destructible, corruptible. But what we are promised in God’s new world is a non-corruptible physicality. We are promised that for our very own bodies (read Romans 6 and see), and we are here promised this for the entire new creation.

Once we realise, and celebrate, the fact that Jesus is already reigning, we can start to learn, in prayer and liturgy, to celebrate his victory in new ways and to invoke it in praise and prayer, bringing genuine signs of new life, of new creation, to birth in the present world.

Christ is Risen | John 20

a. Resurrection is the point of redemption

The whole purpose of God in creating and redeeming His people is to raise them to eternal glory so that they can worship Him forever. That is the point of His redemption, not only for our bodies but also for the nature.

Our resurrection is secured by the power of God. The power of Christ demonstrated in His resurrection. Because He lives, we will live.

b. The resurrection is a validation of Jesus’ offering

Because God was satisfied with the sacrifice Christ offered for the sins of His people, God raised Him from the dead, validating His work on the cross. Jesus said, “It is finished!” God said, “I am satisfied,” raised Him, and He ascended to eternal glory, sat down at the right hand of God to intercede for His people and bring them all into eternal glory spiritually and in resurrected form.

All four gospel writers record the actual history of the resurrection. The composite of all four is the total story of the resurrection.

Evidence of Resurrection:

1. The Empty Tomb

2. The Angelic Testimony

3. The Eye Witnesses’ Testimony

The Old Testament promised the Messiah would rise.

Psalm 16:10

…because you will not abandon me to the realm of the dead, nor will you let your faithful one see decay.

Isaiah 53:11

After he has suffered, he will see the light of life and be satisfied

Jesus promised He would rise.

John 2:19

Jesus answered them, “Destroy this temple, and I will raise it again in three days.”

John 2:20-21

20They replied, “It has taken forty-six years to build this temple, and you are going to raise it in three days?” 21But the temple he had spoken of was his body.

Mark 9:31

He said to them, “The Son of Man is going to be delivered into the hands of men. They will kill him, and after three days he will rise.”

The Apostles preached the Resurrection.

All through the book of Acts the apostles preached the resurrection.

Acts 2:23-24

23This man was handed over to you by God’s deliberate plan and foreknowledge; and you, with the help of wicked men, put him to death by nailing him to the cross. 24But God raised him from the dead, freeing him from the agony of death, because it was impossible for death to keep its hold on him.

John 20:1-8

Early on the first day of the week, while it was still dark, Mary Magdalene went to the tomb and saw that the stone had been removed from the entrance. So she came running to Simon Peter and the other disciple, the one Jesus loved, and said, “They have taken the Lord out of the tomb, and we don’t know where they have put him!”

So Peter and the other disciple started for the tomb. Both were running, but the other disciple outran Peter and reached the tomb first.He bent over and looked in at the strips of linen lying there but did not go in. Then Simon Peter came along behind him and went straight into the tomb. He saw the strips of linen lying there, as well as the cloth that had been wrapped around Jesus’ head. The cloth was still lying in its place, separate from the linen. Finally the other disciple, who had reached the tomb first, also went inside. He saw and believed. (They still did not understand from Scripture that Jesus had to rise from the dead.) 10 Then the disciples went back to where they were staying.

It’s the first day of the week; that would be Sunday. It is so early it is still dark.

Jesus said He would rise on the third day. He had been buried on Friday, He was in the grave a few hours on Friday before sundown and He was there all 24 hours of Saturday. Additionally, He would have been there about 12 hours of Sunday, because the Jewish days went from sunset to sunset rather than sunrise to sunrise.

Mary Magdalene went to the tomb first. She was accompanied by Mary the mother of James and Joses. She’s in a hurry to get there, and she gets there before the other Mary.

The Sabbath is over. They’ve awakened on the morning of the first day.  They actually have in mind, “We’ll go back and pour some more anointing on the body of Jesus.”

So let’s put it together. The tomb is empty. The women testify to an empty tomb. The soldiers testify to an empty tomb. Peter and John testify to an empty tomb. The grave clothes testify to an empty tomb. 

The Sanhedrin testifies to an empty tomb, and comes up with a ridiculous concoction to explain it away. No one ever denied the empty tomb – no one, no one. The women are shocked and terrified. They’re shocked and terrified.

They’ve run into angels in this tomb, and they are “amazed.

Here you then have the second line of testimony. You have the testimony first of the empty tomb, then you have the testimony of heavenly angels.

3. Testimony of the Eye witnesses v 11-29

What the resurrection means to us?

The resurrection then is the greatest event in history. It is the most significant expression of the power of God on behalf of believers. It is the cornerstone of gospel promise.

Because Christ conquered death, because He conquered sin, we will be raised to dwell with Him forever.


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