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178 Easter 2018; John 20:11-18

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Intro

If you have a Bible, open to ’d like to take you back to that first Easter morning.
The darkness of early morning isn’t the only darkness lingering in the air. Jesus of Nazareth was put to death publically.
Several women visit the tomb that morning. Mary had been there and ran to tell the others. Peter and John came but they left. Now Mary Magdalene stands alone.
John draws the attention to her.
From Migdal. Wealthy. Devoted.
Death is no respecter of persons. Death and trouble don’t care if you’re rich or poor, young or old. At some point, we all find ourselves in a similar position.
Mary simply is doing the next thing.

Text

John 20:11–12 CSB
11 But Mary stood outside the tomb, crying. As she was crying, she stooped to look into the tomb. 12 She saw two angels in white sitting where Jesus’s body had been lying, one at the head and the other at the feet.
Show pics of 1st century tomb.
Mary stoops to look in. What she sees is loaded with imagery. It’s designed to make her and us think.
She sees two angels in white. Odd attire for a funeral.
Mercy Seat.
John 20:13 CSB
13 They said to her, “Woman, why are you crying?” “Because they’ve taken away my Lord,” she told them, “and I don’t know where they’ve put him.”
A pastoral question:
Woman, why are you crying? They aren’t chiding her. They are compassionate.
They’ve taken away my Lord. You can feel the pain in her voice.
Then the oddest thing happens. Mary turns around. Why?
John 20:14–15 CSB
14 Having said this, she turned around and saw Jesus standing there, but she did not know it was Jesus. 15 “Woman,” Jesus said to her, “why are you crying? Who is it that you’re seeking?” Supposing he was the gardener, she replied, “Sir, if you’ve carried him away, tell me where you’ve put him, and I will take him away.”
I’ve heard people try to explain why Mary didn’t recognize, by saying it was dark or her eyes were swollen from tears. I think it’s much simpler than that; she saw him. Why would Jesus be speaking to her!
Jesus asks, “Why are you crying?” And then a more penetrating question, “Who is it that you’re seeking?”
Who is it you’re looking for Mary? The question seems to be deeper than expected. What sort of Messiah are you looking for? The same question could be asked of us; who is it you are looking for? A warrior Messiah, a Messiah who will fix the government, or someone who will fix your finances and marriage? Or, are you looking for the real Jesus?
She thinks he’s the gardener! She still doesn’t know!
While the men ran and the women cried, while the Pharisees thought they were rid of Jesus, while Satan was rejoicing; God was counting to three! On that third morning:
Jesus walked out of that tomb
The veil was torn in two
Death was defeated
Hope was restored
God’s promises were fulfilled
Sin was forgiven
A way to Heaven was secured
Our hope of being reunited with loved-ones was provided.
Easter happened! Christ is RISEN!
John 20:16 CSB
16 Jesus said to her, “Mary.” Turning around, she said to him in Aramaic, “Rabboni!”—which means “Teacher.”
“Marriam” says Jesus. The Good Shepherd—Jesus said my sheep know my voice.
One of the things God has been showing me over and over and over, is that he is actively calling and providing people opportunities to repent and come to a saving faith. If you hear his voice today...
Teacher! Hope has been restored.
Between the two of them there are only six syllables spoken and yet it’s possibly the most powerful sermon in Scripture!
Is there another encounter in all of Scripture (all of literature), more dramatic or powerful?
Can you imagine the
In these intense few minutes, the world seems to tilt on its axis, B.C. turns to A.D. Hopelessness turns to joy. Death bows the knee to its master. Easter changes everything.
John 20:17–18 CSB
17 “Don’t cling to me,” Jesus told her, “since I have not yet ascended to the Father. But go to my brothers and tell them that I am ascending to my Father and your Father, to my God and your God.” 18 Mary Magdalene went and announced to the disciples, “I have seen the Lord!” And she told them what he had said to her.
John 20:17-
Don’t cling to me. The old translations said; don’t touch me. I think, don’t cling to me, better gets at the idea.
Benefits of the ascension.
Easter has ushered believers into a new era. My Father and your Father, to my God and your God. Jesus is saying, our relationship with God is like his.
Mary became the apostle to the Apostles.

Five Easter Thoughts:

When you know Jesus as Lord, these are realities to hold precious. These are realities that change the way we live. If you don’t know Jesus as Lord, these can be yours today, by faith.
Easter Proves God is Faithful.
It had been thousands of years since God made the promise to Adam and Eve. Thousands of years, and yet his word stands. When people didn’t see what he was doing, his promise never changed. He doesn’t forget and he doesn’t get tired. That’s so important when you struggle to see God’s promises fulfilled in your life right now. Scripture says; In Christ Jesus, all of God’s promises are yes and amen. Just make sure you’re counting on the things God has promised!
Easter Proves God is Powerful.
People are capable of some pretty amazing things, but we can’t undo death. Only God has that sort of authority and power. On that first Easter morning, Jesus stood up and walked out of a tomb. The angel didn’t roll the stone away so Jesus could get out, the stone was rolled away so we could see in! We need to be reminded of that today. Easter proves God is powerful. We can trust our lives in his strong hands. We can trust our loved-ones in his strong hands.
Easter Reveals God is Loving.
Why would God go to such incredible lengths to save people like you and me? He does so, because he is love. (quote ). This is so important to remember. God doesn’t love you because he looks inside of your mess and sees potential. He doesn’t love who you might be in the right circumstance. He loves you now, because of of who he is. God is love. Easter proves it.
Easter Guarantees Eternity.
No matter how boring or difficult your life may be, in Christ Jesus it is marching to a glorious conclusion. There will be a moment when God delivers you and me from the brokenness of this world and our failing bodies into a paradise where sin and suffering are no more.
Easter Guarantees Delivery.
No matter how hopeless and weak you think you are, you’ve been provided with all the grace you need to make it to the end. Future grace always carries with it the promise of grace for right now. God will provide you everything you need until the day when you see him face to face.
Do you know this Jesus? If you do, celebrate Easter today. If you do not, come to know him today.
Pray
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