John 20:15–23, 26–29 comment (0)
February 13, 2014
By Dale Younce
Related Scripture: John 20:15–23, 26–29
Explore the Bible
Professor of Christian Ministries, University of Mobile
Live in Resurrection Power
John 20:15–23, 26–29
Many who are not Christians wrestle with the fact of Jesus’ resurrection. This reality may be an obstacle to their becoming believers. Believers have already accepted the reality of Jesus’ resurrection but have trouble believing they can live in victory over sin and without fear of death. They need to grow in their confidence that the Lord can and will transform their lives by the power He displayed when Jesus was resurrected. Some Christians have trouble believing something else: that they can trust God to help them fulfill the mission of telling others about Jesus. Yet if Christians believe God raised Jesus from the dead and will also raise them, they can trust God to help them witness.
From Grief to Joyful Testimony (15–18)
In the darkness of early Sunday morning before daylight, Mary Magdalene and several other women came to Jesus’ tomb with spices to anoint the body of Jesus. It was customary for friends and relatives of the deceased to anoint the body the next day after burial. This is what these women planned to do. But “shock of all shocks,” they found the tomb empty and the stone removed from the tomb’s entryway. Mary Magdalene ran quickly to report to Peter and John that Jesus’ body was missing. She was thinking that someone had moved the body. Both Peter and John ran to the tomb with John arriving at the tomb, moments before Peter. As he peered to the tomb, John saw a remarkable sight: the grave clothes of Jesus lay wrapped together as if a body were still present, but it was not. The arrangement of the grave clothes convinced both Peter and John that Jesus was resurrected. Mary returned to the tomb. There, when Jesus spoke her name, she immediately recognized Him and embraced Him. Jesus insisted that Mary not cling to Him: she would see Him again because He had not yet ascended to the Father. He had a 40-day ministry to His men before His ascension. Furthermore Mary was to go tell the disciples that the ascension was the next event in God’s plan for Jesus.
From Fear to Bold Mission (19–23)
The risen Lord Jesus, that evening, appeared to the disciples as they were hiding in fear. He gave them His peace and then showed the evidences of His crucifixion — His wounded hands and side — that also were the evidences of His resurrection. The One who was crucified was the same One who was resurrected. As the mood of the disciples changed from fear to joy, Jesus breathed on them imparting to them the Holy Spirit. This unique ministry of God’s Spirit was to benefit the disciples during His 40-day ministry prior to His ascension. Jesus then commissioned them to proclaim the message of God’s forgiveness.
From Doubt to Confident Faith (26–29)
Thomas was not present when Jesus first met with the disciples. A week later Jesus appeared again to His men with Thomas present. Again the Lord entered the room in a miraculous manner and again He greeted them with “Peace to you.” Jesus dealt graciously and patiently with His faithless follower, Thomas. He encouraged Thomas to prove the genuineness of His resurrection by putting his finger in the wounds in His hands and his hand into the spear wound in His side. Thomas was instantly convinced. Whether he touched the wounds, the Scripture does not say, but his words reveal his profound conviction, “My Lord and My God.” He acknowledged Jesus’ deity (that he did not see) on the basis of the wounds (that he did see). Yet Thomas’ faith was not the kind that is most pleasing to God because it was based on sight. Those who have not seen and yet who have believed are blessed more than Thomas.
Notice that Jesus accepted worship as God. If He was merely a man, He should have clearly refused it. But He did not; He is God. Because of the genuineness of Jesus’ resurrection we can live with confident faith in Jesus even though we do not presently see Him face to face.