John 20: The Empty Tomb; Jesus Is Alive

In John 19 we saw the death of Jesus. But In John 20 we see him triumph over death when the empty tomb is discovered. The devil thought he’d won, but victory was snatched from his claws.

The death of Jesus was needed to reunite us with God. We broke the connection when we sinned, but Christ is the bridge, that brings us back to him. Hebrews 9:22 says, “Without the shedding of blood there is no forgiveness of sins.

John 20 is the meaning of everything. In this chapter of the Bible, we see the creator rise from the dead. With his resurrection, the power of death and the grave are no more.

On top of that, John 20 is where we can finally reconnect with the creator of the universe and actually live life with him.

If you can’t tell, I’m a little bit excited about this chapter of John.

John 20: The Resurrection Of Jesus

20 Early on Sunday morning, while it was still dark, Mary Magdalene came to the tomb and found that the stone had been rolled away from the entrance. She ran and found Simon Peter and the other disciple, the one whom Jesus loved. She said, “They have taken the Lord’s body out of the tomb, and we don’t know where they have put him!”

Peter and the other disciple started out for the tomb. They were both running, but the other disciple outran Peter and reached the tomb first. He stooped and looked in and saw the linen wrappings lying there, but he didn’t go in. Then Simon Peter arrived and went inside. He also noticed the linen wrappings lying there, 

while the cloth that had covered Jesus’ head was folded up and lying apart from the other wrappings. Then the disciple who had reached the tomb first also went in, and he saw and believed— for until then they still hadn’t understood the Scriptures that said Jesus must rise from the dead. 10 Then they went home.

John 20:1-10

John 20 Peter & John Race To The Empty Tomb

The sadness they felt must have turned into desperation when they saw the empty tomb. Verse 9 encapsulates the pain they must have felt. They didn’t understand yet that he must rise from the dead.

They were scared, lonely, and probably felt deserted. However, they didn’t know that God was about to pull an epic trump card. Jesus had hinted at it for the last 3 years while they did ministry together, but they didn’t understand.

At least not until Jesus came back.

I’m not sure of the significance but I always thought it was weird that Jesus folded the cloth that covered his head, and the body wrappings are just lying there. I’ve never come back to life so I’m not sure about the process he went through, but he made a decision to fold the head wrapping.

Or maybe it was a subtle way to show he was alive.

John 20

John 20: Jesus Appears to Mary Magdalene

11 Mary was standing outside the tomb crying, and as she wept, she stooped and looked in. 12 She saw two white-robed angels, one sitting at the head and the other at the foot of the place where the body of Jesus had been lying. 13 “Dear woman, why are you crying?” the angels asked her.

“Because they have taken away my Lord,” she replied, “and I don’t know where they have put him.”

14 She turned to leave and saw someone standing there. It was Jesus, but she didn’t recognize him. 15 “Dear woman, why are you crying?” Jesus asked her. “Who are you looking for?”

She thought he was the gardener. “Sir,” she said, “if you have taken him away, tell me where you have put him, and I will go and get him.”

16 “Mary!” Jesus said.

John 20: 11-16

Mary Cries Outside The Empty Tomb

Mary must’ve run back with the disciples, and instead of leaving she stayed. She stayed and was able to meet Jesus. It’s amazing that when he came back she was the first one who was able to see him alive.

Think about that, the person who grabbed Jesus’ heart wasn’t one of the great disciples a teacher, or a member of his family. The person who first saw him was crying outside his tomb.

Pain and sorrow are something that can draw us to God. I can’t tell you how many times I’ve cried out to God and he’s answered me during my time of need.

There’s something about a broken heart crying out to God that draws him near. He wants, (I’d almost say needs) to help heal it. His love for us has a lot to do with this, but I also think it’s a desire to see his creation achieve the fullness that he designed it for.

Mary was weeping outside his tomb, and instead of ascending to the father, he went to alleviate her mourning.

He will do the same for you, where ever you are, and whatever you’ve done. Jesus will meet you in the same place. His love is great and his mercy can extend to anything you’ve done.

Don’t wait, let him in.

Why Did Jesus Die?

John 20: Jesus’ Conversation With Mary Continues

She turned to him and cried out, “Rabboni!” (which is Hebrew for “Teacher”).

17 “Don’t cling to me,” Jesus said, “for I haven’t yet ascended to the Father. But go find my brothers and tell them, ‘I am ascending to my Father and your Father, to my God and your God.’”

18 Mary Magdalene found the disciples and told them, “I have seen the Lord!” Then she gave them his message.

John 20:17-18

It’s weird to hear Jesus say don’t cling to me, but he knew that he couldn’t stay. Jesus had to return to the father. We know little of what he did during the next few days in Heaven. But it was something he needed to do so he could prepare the way for us.

In John 20 here, it almost feels like Jesus completed the big thing he had to do, and now he’s tying up loose ends before he comes back to the disciples.

John 20: Jesus Appears to His Disciples

19 That Sunday evening the disciples were meeting behind locked doors because they were afraid of the Jewish leaders. Suddenly, Jesus was standing there among them! “Peace be with you,” he said. 20 As he spoke, he showed them the wounds in his hands and his side. They were filled with joy when they saw the Lord! 

21 Again he said, “Peace be with you. As the Father has sent me, so I am sending you.” 22 Then he breathed on them and said, “Receive the Holy Spirit. 23 If you forgive anyone’s sins, they are forgiven. If you do not forgive them, they are not forgiven.”

John 20:19-23

Receive the Holy Spirit, and then he breathed on them. It’s a peculiar verse since we don’t understand its significance. Many scholars will say one thing or another, I’m not sure. At the very least it seems different than the baptism of the Holy Spirit written about in the Book of Acts.

Maybe this was them receiving the Holy Spirit, and in Acts, they were baptized in the Holy Spirit. The former is receiving and the latter is poured out to the point of overflow.

I don’t really know, maybe it’s semantics, a translation, or a cultural difference.

John 20: Jesus Appears to Thomas

24 One of the twelve disciples, Thomas (nicknamed the Twin), was not with the others when Jesus came. 25 They told him, “We have seen the Lord!”

But he replied, “I won’t believe it unless I see the nail wounds in his hands, put my fingers into them, and place my hand into the wound in his side.”

26 Eight days later the disciples were together again, and this time Thomas was with them. The doors were locked; but suddenly, as before, Jesus was standing among them. “Peace be with you,” he said. 27 Then he said to Thomas, “Put your finger here, and look at my hands. Put your hand into the wound in my side. Don’t be faithless any longer. Believe!”

28 “My Lord and my God!” Thomas exclaimed.

29 Then Jesus told him, “You believe because you have seen me. Blessed are those who believe without seeing me.”

John 20:24-29

John 20 Thomas Goes From Doubter To Believer

Once again we see the return of Ninja Jesus. Somehow he made his way into a room full of people that had locked doors and windows. Everyone was worried about the Pharisees arresting them so they were on high alert.

But he just appears out of nowhere.

I’m not sure how he accomplished it, but I hope he teaches me that someday.

A lot of people look down on Thomas calling him Doubting Thomas, but I don’t think that’s a fair nickname for him. I’m pretty sure I’d be in the same boat. Especially if one of my teachers had died before my eyes and my buddies said he was back.

Have you ever seen anyone come back?

Well let’s stop making fun of Thomas then, he probably thought everyone else had group hysteria. But after he saw the wounds of Jesus, he fell to the floor in disbelief.

That’s the reaction we all will have when seeing him.

John 20

John 20: The Meaning Of The Book Of John

30 The disciples saw Jesus do many other miraculous signs in addition to the ones recorded in this book. 31 But these are written so that you may continue to believe that Jesus is the Messiah, the Son of God, and that by believing in him you will have life by the power of his name.

John 20:30-31

The Meaning And Message of John 20:

The Book of John describes Jesus as the Son Of God, and he came to earth because he loves us. While we were committing sins against him. He came up with a plan that could redeem us all. The one caveat is that we have a choice.

Do we follow God?

Or Do We Deny Him?

That’s the ultimate question, and it’s one we each have to face. When you give your life to Jesus you need to believe the following:

  • Jesus Died On The Cross
  • God Raised Him From The Dead
  • He Is The Son Of God

After that you have a choice, it’s called repentance and not a lot of Pastors talk about this anymore. But once you give your life to him, you’ll need to give up your sinful ways.

Repentance is letting go and turning away from something in this case it’s sin.

Where Do I Start?

Aside from the obvious, a good way to start would be to ask God what you should do. Ask him for help, after all, you’re not on your own anymore. Observe your life and see what makes you feel sick inside.

Sometimes that’s a good indication, but don’t dwell on the sin. Dwell on your new freedom and get to know God. Read the Bible, spend time in prayer, and find a church that teaches Jesus as the Son of God.

That’s the best path to Repentance.

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