It was early on a Sunday morning while it was still dark. In my imagination, Mary Magdalene traumatized by the day before, couldn’t sleep. I know if I had witnessed all of Jesus’ suffering, I couldn’t sleep either.
She found herself at the tomb and saw the stone had been rolled away. She ran to find Peter and John to tell them she thought Jesus’ body had been taken away. The guys both ran, John out running Peter. John looked inside to see for himself, but didn’t want to go in. Peter, being Peter, let himself in and saw that the cloth that had been wrapped around Jesus’ head was separated from the other wrappings (signaling something in their culture that the master of the table is coming back).
John then went inside and it all became clear to him and He understood from the Scriptures that Jesus must rise from the dead. They went home and Mary stayed there weeping. When she looked in she saw 2 angels asking her why she was crying. She explained she didn’t know where Jesus was. When she turned to leave she saw someone standing there but thought He was the gardener. He asked her “Why are you crying?” Then He said her name and when He did she knew!
He told her He had not yet ascended to the Father but He was going to find His brothers and tell them, “I am ascending to my Father and your Father, to my God and your God.” John 20:17
I love that! Find and tell! There’s a word in that for us who are learning to testify today.
Mary then went to find them and tell them the message herself! This reminds me of the woman at the well who couldn’t wait to spread the good news. They were meeting behind locked doors because they were afraid of the Jewish leaders.
All of the sudden Jesus was there, bodily in their midst. He defied the laws of physics and didn’t have to come through the door. He showed them the wounds in His hands and His side.
“Peace be with you. As the Father has sent me so am I sending you.” John 20:21. Then, reminiscent of God breathing life into Adam in Genesis, “Jesus breathed on them and said, “Receive the Holy Spirit. If you forgive anyone’s sins they are forgiven. If you do not forgive them, they are not forgiven.” John 20:22-23
Thomas was not with them and doubted their account. He wouldn’t believe it until he saw it. Eight days later they were meeting together again and this time Thomas was with them. Jesus once again defied physics and showed Thomas the wounds. “Don’t be faithless any longer. Believe!” he said to Thomas. John 20:27
“My Lord and my God!” Thomas exclaimed. John 20:28
Jesus then told him, “You believe because you have seen me. Blessed are those who believe without seeing me.” John 20:29 That’s us!
Then John gives us the purpose of his book:
The Purpose of This Book
“Now Jesus did many other signs in the presence of the disciples, which are not written in this book; but these are written so that you may believe that Jesus is the Christ, the Son of God, and that by believing you may have life in his name.” John 20:31-31
This is quite a story to digest. A man who dies a traumatic death witnessed by many, buried by repentant Pharisees, an empty tomb discovered by his friends, a resurrected Jesus alive and well meeting face to face with Mary followed by defying the laws of physics to find an tell His brothers He’s alive! Then breathing the Holy Spirit on them, He commissions them to go and forgive as Jesus forgave.
Like Thomas, we can not physically see these things, but if we’ve believed without seeing Jesus says we are blessed.
So much to ponder today,