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He is Risen! Now What?

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16 For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life.

At Easter we say, “he is risen!” Now here it is a week later. He is risen! Now what?
John’s Gospel, a Gospel of belief. So many examples of people encountering Jesus and believing.
The woman at the well where many Samaritans believed in him because of her testimony
The royal official whose son was sick in Capernaum. Jesus told him his son would live and the man took him at his word and John comments that he and his whole household believed.
When the Jews heard Jesus say his flesh was real food and his blood real drink the Jews grumbled and some of the disciples thought that was a hard teaching. When Jesus turned to his inner circle and asked if they wanted to leave to, Simon Peter answered: Lord, to whom shall we go? You have the words of eternal life. 69 We have come to believe and to know that you are the Holy One of God.
In ch. 8 in a discussion with the Jews about where he was from and who is father was John comments that even as he spoke many believed in him.
The New International Version. (2011). (). Grand Rapids, MI: Zondervan.
In ch. 9 a man born blind is healed by Jesus. Of course this irritates the Jewish leaders and they throw him from their presence.

35 Jesus heard that they had thrown him out, and when he found him, he said, “Do you believe in the Son of Man?”

36 “Who is he, sir?” the man asked. “Tell me so that I may believe in him.”

37 Jesus said, “You have now seen him; in fact, he is the one speaking with you.”

38 Then the man said, “Lord, I believe,” and he worshiped him.

Belief. People confronted with the miraculous, with stories from others, with Jesus himself, choosing faith, choosing belief. At the end of the Gospel in ch. 20 and 21 John says twice that Jesus did other things as well that weren’t written down. How many dozens or hundred other lepers were there, how many dead people raised, poor people encouraged, Jewish leaders challenged, how many people disenfranchised and at the margins did Jesus touch? What are the stories we don’t know about? In 21 John sounds like a guy that plopped down on your couch. He says there’s so much to recount that that world wouldn’t have room for all the books that would be written about what Jesus did. In 20 he says that he chose those certain stories so that you dear reader, may believe.
Our post-Easter task is to believe.
John 20:19–31 NIV
On the evening of that first day of the week, when the disciples were together, with the doors locked for fear of the Jewish leaders, Jesus came and stood among them and said, “Peace be with you!” After he said this, he showed them his hands and side. The disciples were overjoyed when they saw the Lord. Again Jesus said, “Peace be with you! As the Father has sent me, I am sending you.” And with that he breathed on them and said, “Receive the Holy Spirit. If you forgive anyone’s sins, their sins are forgiven; if you do not forgive them, they are not forgiven.” Now Thomas (also known as Didymus), one of the Twelve, was not with the disciples when Jesus came. So the other disciples told him, “We have seen the Lord!” But he said to them, “Unless I see the nail marks in his hands and put my finger where the nails were, and put my hand into his side, I will not believe.” A week later his disciples were in the house again, and Thomas was with them. Though the doors were locked, Jesus came and stood among them and said, “Peace be with you!” Then he said to Thomas, “Put your finger here; see my hands. Reach out your hand and put it into my side. Stop doubting and believe.” Thomas said to him, “My Lord and my God!” Then Jesus told him, “Because you have seen me, you have believed; blessed are those who have not seen and yet have believed.” Jesus performed many other signs in the presence of his disciples, which are not recorded in this book. But these are written that you may believe that Jesus is the Messiah, the Son of God, and that by believing you may have life in his name.
John 19
Ineffable: too great or extreme to be expressed or described in words.

19 On the evening of that first day of the week, when the disciples were together, with the doors locked for fear of the Jewish leaders, Jesus came and stood among them and said, “Peace be with you!” 20 After he said this, he showed them his hands and side. The disciples were overjoyed when they saw the Lord.

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

24 Now Thomas (also known as Didymus), one of the Twelve, was not with the disciples when Jesus came. 25 So the other disciples told him, “We have seen the Lord!”

But he said to them, “Unless I see the nail marks in his hands and put my finger where the nails were, and put my hand into his side, I will not believe.”

26 A week later his disciples were in the house again, and Thomas was with them. Though the doors were locked, Jesus came and stood among them and said, “Peace be with you!” 27 Then he said to Thomas, “Put your finger here; see my hands. Reach out your hand and put it into my side. Stop doubting and believe.”

28 Thomas said to him, “My Lord and my God!”

29 Then Jesus told him, “Because you have seen me, you have believed; blessed are those who have not seen and yet have believed.”

John 19 NIV
Then Pilate took Jesus and had him flogged. The soldiers twisted together a crown of thorns and put it on his head. They clothed him in a purple robe and went up to him again and again, saying, “Hail, king of the Jews!” And they slapped him in the face. Once more Pilate came out and said to the Jews gathered there, “Look, I am bringing him out to you to let you know that I find no basis for a charge against him.” When Jesus came out wearing the crown of thorns and the purple robe, Pilate said to them, “Here is the man!” As soon as the chief priests and their officials saw him, they shouted, “Crucify! Crucify!” But Pilate answered, “You take him and crucify him. As for me, I find no basis for a charge against him.” The Jewish leaders insisted, “We have a law, and according to that law he must die, because he claimed to be the Son of God.” When Pilate heard this, he was even more afraid, and he went back inside the palace. “Where do you come from?” he asked Jesus, but Jesus gave him no answer. “Do you refuse to speak to me?” Pilate said. “Don’t you realize I have power either to free you or to crucify you?” Jesus answered, “You would have no power over me if it were not given to you from above. Therefore the one who handed me over to you is guilty of a greater sin.” From then on, Pilate tried to set Jesus free, but the Jewish leaders kept shouting, “If you let this man go, you are no friend of Caesar. Anyone who claims to be a king opposes Caesar.” When Pilate heard this, he brought Jesus out and sat down on the judge’s seat at a place known as the Stone Pavement (which in Aramaic is Gabbatha). It was the day of Preparation of the Passover; it was about noon. “Here is your king,” Pilate said to the Jews. But they shouted, “Take him away! Take him away! Crucify him!” “Shall I crucify your king?” Pilate asked. “We have no king but Caesar,” the chief priests answered. Finally Pilate handed him over to them to be crucified. So the soldiers took charge of Jesus. Carrying his own cross, he went out to the place of the Skull (which in Aramaic is called Golgotha). There they crucified him, and with him two others—one on each side and Jesus in the middle. Pilate had a notice prepared and fastened to the cross. It read: jesus of nazareth, the king of the jews. Many of the Jews read this sign, for the place where Jesus was crucified was near the city, and the sign was written in Aramaic, Latin and Greek. The chief priests of the Jews protested to Pilate, “Do not write ‘The King of the Jews,’ but that this man claimed to be king of the Jews.” Pilate answered, “What I have written, I have written.” When the soldiers crucified Jesus, they took his clothes, dividing them into four shares, one for each of them, with the undergarment remaining. This garment was seamless, woven in one piece from top to bottom. “Let’s not tear it,” they said to one another. “Let’s decide by lot who will get it.” This happened that the scripture might be fulfilled that said, “They divided my clothes among them and cast lots for my garment.” So this is what the soldiers did. Near the cross of Jesus stood his mother, his mother’s sister, Mary the wife of Clopas, and Mary Magdalene. When Jesus saw his mother there, and the disciple whom he loved standing nearby, he said to her, “Woman, here is your son,” and to the disciple, “Here is your mother.” From that time on, this disciple took her into his home. Later, knowing that everything had now been finished, and so that Scripture would be fulfilled, Jesus said, “I am thirsty.” A jar of wine vinegar was there, so they soaked a sponge in it, put the sponge on a stalk of the hyssop plant, and lifted it to Jesus’ lips. When he had received the drink, Jesus said, “It is finished.” With that, he bowed his head and gave up his spirit. Now it was the day of Preparation, and the next day was to be a special Sabbath. Because the Jewish leaders did not want the bodies left on the crosses during the Sabbath, they asked Pilate to have the legs broken and the bodies taken down. The soldiers therefore came and broke the legs of the first man who had been crucified with Jesus, and then those of the other. But when they came to Jesus and found that he was already dead, they did not break his legs. Instead, one of the soldiers pierced Jesus’ side with a spear, bringing a sudden flow of blood and water. The man who saw it has given testimony, and his testimony is true. He knows that he tells the truth, and he testifies so that you also may believe. These things happened so that the scripture would be fulfilled: “Not one of his bones will be broken,” and, as another scripture says, “They will look on the one they have pierced.” Later, Joseph of Arimathea asked Pilate for the body of Jesus. Now Joseph was a disciple of Jesus, but secretly because he feared the Jewish leaders. With Pilate’s permission, he came and took the body away. He was accompanied by Nicodemus, the man who earlier had visited Jesus at night. Nicodemus brought a mixture of myrrh and aloes, about seventy-five pounds. Taking Jesus’ body, the two of them wrapped it, with the spices, in strips of linen. This was in accordance with Jewish burial customs. At the place where Jesus was crucified, there was a garden, and in the garden a new tomb, in which no one had ever been laid. Because it was the Jewish day of Preparation and since the tomb was nearby, they laid Jesus there.
Revised Common Lectionary Second Sunday of Easter

19 On the evening of that first day of the week, when the disciples were together, with the doors locked for fear of the Jewish leaders, Jesus came and stood among them and said, “Peace be with you!” 20 After he said this, he showed them his hands and side. The disciples were overjoyed when they saw the Lord.

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

24 Now Thomas (also known as Didymus), one of the Twelve, was not with the disciples when Jesus came. 25 So the other disciples told him, “We have seen the Lord!”

But he said to them, “Unless I see the nail marks in his hands and put my finger where the nails were, and put my hand into his side, I will not believe.”

26 A week later his disciples were in the house again, and Thomas was with them. Though the doors were locked, Jesus came and stood among them and said, “Peace be with you!” 27 Then he said to Thomas, “Put your finger here; see my hands. Reach out your hand and put it into my side. Stop doubting and believe.”

28 Thomas said to him, “My Lord and my God!”

29 Then Jesus told him, “Because you have seen me, you have believed; blessed are those who have not seen and yet have believed.”

30 Jesus performed many other signs in the presence of his disciples, which are not recorded in this book. 31 But these are written that you may believe  that Jesus is the Messiah, the Son of God, and that by believing you may have life in his name.

That first post Easter days and nights, the reason the doors were locked was their fear of the Jews: the authorities had seen to it that their leader was executed, so it would have been relatively easy for them to find his followers. But the function of the locked doors in John’s narrative, both here and in v. 26, is to stress the miraculous nature of Jesus’ appearance amongst his followers. (DA Carson). The doors were locked and Jesus appears out of nowhere and pronounces a blessing.
That first post Easter days and nights, the reason the doors were locked was their fear of the Jews: the authorities had seen to it that their leader was executed, so it would have been relatively easy for them to find his followers. But the function of the locked doors in John’s narrative, both here and in v. 26, is to stress the miraculous nature of Jesus’ appearance amongst his followers. (DA Carson). The doors were locked and Jesus appears out of nowhere and pronounces a blessing.
2x (v. 21 and v. 26) “Peace be with you” recalls and where Jesus says he will give “my peace” and that “in him” we may have peace. He says he doesn’t give like the world gives. He has overcome the world.
John 16:20–22 NIV
Very truly I tell you, you will weep and mourn while the world rejoices. You will grieve, but your grief will turn to joy. A woman giving birth to a child has pain because her time has come; but when her baby is born she forgets the anguish because of her joy that a child is born into the world. So with you: Now is your time of grief, but I will see you again and you will rejoice, and no one will take away your joy.
2x (v. 21 and v. 26) “Peace be with you” recalls and where Jesus says he will give “my peace” and that “in him” we may have peace. He says he doesn’t give like the world gives. He has overcome the world.
Showed them hands and “side.” and everyone is overjoyed. Jesus had told them in he how this all was going to happen:
Disciples were “overjoyed.”
John 16:20–22 NIV
Very truly I tell you, you will weep and mourn while the world rejoices. You will grieve, but your grief will turn to joy. A woman giving birth to a child has pain because her time has come; but when her baby is born she forgets the anguish because of her joy that a child is born into the world. So with you: Now is your time of grief, but I will see you again and you will rejoice, and no one will take away your joy.
“The World” (in John all those people and powers that stand opposed to God) is going to feel like “mission accomplished.” Similar to when the “Two Witnesses” are killed.

10 The inhabitants of the earth will gloat over them and will celebrate by sending each other gifts, because these two prophets had tormented those who live on the earth.

Jesus had tormented the rulers too. He was a burr under their saddle and they got rid of him and rejoiced. The disciples went home as the losers. Remember Peter said one time: “we have left everything to follow you”! But Jesus said soon their grief will turn to joy and no one will be able to take that joy away. Ever.
So here in the scene after the resurrection behind the locked doors, their bewilderment, shock, grief and fear are replaced by joy. Jesus gives them a commission and breathes on them to receive the HS.
Jesus gives them a commission and breathes on them to receive the HS.
Now Thomas wasn’t around but everyone tells him that they’ve seen the Lord. Thomas is skeptical. We have similar phrases today: “you gotta see it to believe it.” “I wouldn’t have believed it if I hadn’t seen it with my own eyes.”
Once again, through locked doors, Jesus appears. Goes right to Thomas. Shows his hands and his side (both times hand and side, not feet)
That’s an important point for John.
John 19:33–35 NIV
But when they came to Jesus and found that he was already dead, they did not break his legs. Instead, one of the soldiers pierced Jesus’ side with a spear, bringing a sudden flow of blood and water. The man who saw it has given testimony, and his testimony is true. He knows that he tells the truth, and he testifies so that you also may believe.
I’ll let the medical folks argue over exactly what is going on here. Some say the sword pierced the sac around the heart that contains fluid, others talk about the pleura membrane surrounding the chest cavity as being damaged and releasing fluid. John’s point is two fold: 1) Jesus was a man. A real man; 2) Jesus was dead. Really dead.
Many people during the time of Jesus and John thought the body consisted of blood and water, and the release of these two precious liquids confirmed what the soldiers already realized about Jesus. He was already dead.
There was already a thought floating around during the time of John’s writing that Jesus was some sort of apparition, that he only “seemed” to be a man and that he only “seemed” to die. Because in human logic what we’re talking about is ridiculous.
Charles Dickens makes the same point in “A Christmas Carol.”
Disciples were “overjoyed.”
Marley was dead: to begin with. There is no doubt whatever about that. The register of his burial was signed by the clergyman, the clerk, the undertaker, and the chief mourner. Scrooge signed it: Old Marley was as dead as a door-nail.
Marley was dead: to begin with. There is no doubt whatever about that. The register of his burial was signed by the clergyman, the clerk, the undertaker, and the chief mourner. Scrooge signed it: Old Marley was as dead as a door-nail.
John 16:20–22 NIV
Very truly I tell you, you will weep and mourn while the world rejoices. You will grieve, but your grief will turn to joy. A woman giving birth to a child has pain because her time has come; but when her baby is born she forgets the anguish because of her joy that a child is born into the world. So with you: Now is your time of grief, but I will see you again and you will rejoice, and no one will take away your joy.
Mind! I don't mean to say that I know, of my own knowledge, what there is particularly dead about a door-nail. I might have been inclined, myself, to regard a coffin-nail as the deadest piece of ironmongery in the trade. But the wisdom of our ancestors is in the simile; and my unhallowed hands shall not disturb it, or the Country's done for. You will therefore permit me to repeat, emphatically, that Marley was as dead as a door-nail.
Scrooge knew he was dead? Of course he did. How could it be otherwise? Scrooge and he were partners for I don't know how many years. Scrooge was his sole executor, his sole administrator, his sole assign, his sole friend and sole mourner. And even Scrooge was not so dreadfully cut up by the sad event, but that he was an excellent man of business on the very day of the funeral, and solemnised it with an undoubted bargain.
The mention of Marley's funeral brings me back to the point I started from. There is no doubt that Marley was dead. This must be distinctly understood, or nothing wonderful can come of the story I am going to relate.
So John slows down that narrative and takes 7 verses to explain the details of his death. And what is the reason for all the detail?

35 The man who saw it has given testimony, and his testimony is true. He knows that he tells the truth, and he testifies so that you also may believe.

9 When they came back from the tomb, they told all these things to the Eleven and to all the others. 10 It was Mary Magdalene, Joanna, Mary the mother of James, and the others with them who told this to the apostles. 11 But they did not believe the women, because their words seemed to them like nonsense. 12 Peter, however, got up and ran to the tomb. Bending over, he saw the strips of linen lying by themselves, and he went away, wondering to himself what had happened.

Words seemed like nonsense.
Isaac Newton first published his laws on gravity in 1686. Every point mass attracts every single other point mass by a force pointing along the line intersecting both points. So basically big things attract little things. So when you’re sitting under an apple tree and an apple falls on your head, that sort of verifies that the big thing (Earth) is pulling the little thing (apple) toward it. So that’s the thinking for a couple hundred years.
Then in the early 1900’s Einstein explains Theory of relativity: Einstein showed that matter and spacetime mutually interact to mimic Newton’s idea that masses attract each other. Gravity, said Einstein, actually moved matter along the curving pathways embodied in spacetime — paths imprinted by mass and energy themselves. Gravity is a distortion of space (or more precisely, spacetime) caused by the presence of matter or energy. A massive object generates a gravitational field by warping the geometry of the surrounding spacetime. So when Newton sits under an apple tree and an apple falls on his head. The earth isn’t some sort of giant magnet that sucked the apple down. Einstein said the earth actually warps the space around it causing the apple to follow the trajectory of that distorted space.
Huh? Did he get that right? Is that true? Does Einsten know what he’s talking about? I don’t think that sounds right.
When you believe a simple idea for a long time (apple falling=big thing has force which pulls little thing). Easy, understood. Jesus is dead. Dead “as a doornail.” Now there is a new theory with strange, hard to grasp concepts: “empty tomb” “seen the Lord.” Huh? Nonsense!
So what do you think? Nonsense or truth?
Interesting that the guards / chief priests / elders believed:
Matt 28

11 While the women were on their way, some of the guards went into the city and reported to the chief priests everything that had happened. 12 When the chief priests had met with the elders and devised a plan, they gave the soldiers a large sum of money, 13 telling them, “You are to say, ‘His disciples came during the night and stole him away while we were asleep.’

Right after that, the disciples are portrayed once again as unbelieving:

16 Then the eleven disciples went to Galilee, to the mountain where Jesus had told them to go. 17 When they saw him, they worshiped him; but some doubted.

“Faith and Doubt” go hand in hand. “I believe in doubt.”

18 I pray that the eyes of your heart may be enlightened in order that you may know the hope to which he has called you, the riches of his glorious inheritance in his holy people, 19 and his incomparably great power for us who believe. That power is the same as the mighty strength 20 he exerted when he raised Christ from the dead and seated him at his right hand in the heavenly realms, 21 far above all rule and authority, power and dominion, and every name that is invoked, not only in the present age but also in the one to come. 22 And God placed all things under his feet and appointed him to be head over everything for the church, 23 which is his body, the fullness of him who fills everything in every way.

This isn’t the kind of belief where

10 But if Christ is in you, then even though your body is subject to death because of sin, the Spirit gives life because of righteousness. 11 And if the Spirit of him who raised Jesus from the dead is living in you, he who raised Christ from the dead will also give life to your mortal bodies because of his Spirit who lives in you.

Eph 1

18 I pray that the eyes of your heart may be enlightened in order that you may know the hope to which he has called you, the riches of his glorious inheritance in his holy people, 19 and his incomparably great power for us who believe. That power is the same as the mighty strength 20 he exerted when he raised Christ from the dead and seated him at his right hand in the heavenly realms, 21 far above all rule and authority, power and dominion, and every name that is invoked, not only in the present age but also in the one to come.

I want to know Christ—yes, to know the power of his resurrection and participation in his sufferings, becoming like him in his death, 11 and so, somehow, attaining to the resurrection from the dead.

For you so loved the unlovable That you gave the ineffable That who so believes the unbelievable Will gain the unattainable
The post post Easter task, those of us “who haven’t seen” and are living many hundreds of years later. Our task still is to believe. In the middle of our stress filled, busy, distracted lives with all it’s pain and frustration. Do we believe that the resurrection power-Eph says “that power is the same” is at work in us. What’s dead in our life? What isn’t working? What do we supposedly know so firmly like the disciples that dead=dead (as a doornail)? Is there something in our life that isn’t working? Is it possible to believe that even that can receive the resurrection power of God?

18 I pray that the eyes of your heart may be enlightened in order that you may know the hope to which he has called you, the riches of his glorious inheritance in his holy people, 19 and his incomparably great power for us who believe. That power is the same as the mighty strength 20 he exerted when he raised Christ from the dead and seated him at his right hand in the heavenly realms, 21 far above all rule and authority, power and dominion, and every name that is invoked, not only in the present age but also in the one to come. 22 And God placed all things under his feet and appointed him to be head over everything for the church, 23 which is his body, the fullness of him who fills everything in every way.

I want to know Christ—yes, to know the power of his resurrection and participation in his sufferings, becoming like him in his death, 11 and so, somehow, attaining to the resurrection from the dead.

The post post Easter task, those of us “who haven’t seen” and are living many hundreds of years later. Our task still is to believe. In the middle of our stress filled, busy, distracted lives with all it’s pain and frustration. Do we believe that the resurrection power-Eph says “that power is the same” is at work in us. What’s dead in our life? What isn’t working? What do we supposedly know so firmly like the disciples that dead=dead (as a doornail)? Is there something in our life that isn’t working? Is it possible to believe that even that can receive the resurrection power of God?
For you so loved the unlovable That you gave the ineffable That who so believes the unbelievable Will gain the unattainable
For you so loved the unlovable That you gave the ineffable That who so believes the unbelievable Will gain the unattainable
Stephen Hawkins

I want to know Christ—yes, to know the power of his resurrection and participation in his sufferings, becoming like him in his death, 11 and so, somehow, attaining to the resurrection from the dead.

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