John Chapter 20

The Resurrection of Christ:
(Read John 20:1-10)  
The resurrection of Christ is central to Christian faith.  It is not a made-up story or a myth. The testimonies of historians, the character of Christ and the eyewitness account of disciples validate this historical fact. His miracles were never challenged or disputed by anybody. His burial was public and secure.  His tomb was guarded by Roman guards and sealed with a Roman seal. The breaking of the Roman seal will result in capital punishment. The Bible gives convincing evidence of His resurrection. It was predicted in the Old Testament. Jesus himself predicted this numerous times to his disciples. Mary Magdalene was the first to arrive at the tomb.  Peter and John were slow to accept the good news of Christ's resurrection. After resurrection Jesus appeared to His disciples many times. It transformed the fearful disciples into bold witnesses. They were willing to die for their faith in Christ. Still some people want evidence to believe in the resurrection of Christ. They should answer these questions. If Christ is not risen?  Who rolled away the stone from the tomb? Who overcame the Roman soldiers? How was the whole world impacted by the gospel? How did the 500 witnesses lie about it at the same time?  Who gave the disciples power over their doubts, confusion, sadness, and fear? Christ died for our sins. Isaiah the prophet says, "He was wounded for our transgression and was crushed for our iniquities" (Isaiah 53:5, 6). Jesus was delivered up for our trespasses and raised for our justification (Romans 4:25). It was impossible that he should be held to death. What a great Savior!   
 
Resurrection is a historical Fact:
(Read John 20:11-23)
The original witnesses of the resurrection of Christ were women (Mark 16:1). Early in the morning Mary Magdalene went to the tomb with spices to anoint the body of Christ. She was devoted to Christ for casting out seven evil spirits from her.  She ministered Christ out of her means (Luke 8:2-3). She stayed close to the cross where Jesus was crucified. Mary saw where they laid his body. She was the first witness of Christ's resurrection.  Mary was the first messenger of the resurrection to trembling disciples.  She was wondering who would remove the stone from the entrance of the tomb. But nothing could stop her from going to the tomb. How appropriate that she was the first to arrive at the tomb while it was still dark. There is no fear in love. Perfect love drives out fear (1 John 4:18). Mary found that the body was missing. She said to Peter and John that someone had taken the Lord's body out of the tomb. They reached the tomb and Peter entered the tomb.  He saw that the body was missing but was not sure about resurrection (John 20:9). Peter and John were slow to accept the reality of Jesus' resurrection. Mary returned to the tomb after Peter and John left.  She saw someone standing behind her and thought that he was a gardener. But when he called her name, Mary recognized Jesus. Sheep recognizes the shepherd's voice (John 10:4). She was told to go and tell the good news to other disciples. This command given to Mary is given to all of us. Men have tried to honor their heroes by erecting monuments such as pyramids for their dead. But Christ’s tomb remains empty. The resurrection of Christ is the essential part of the gospel message. It is the climax and conclusion of the gospel.  It is the miracle of miracles. It is the proof that Jesus is the Son of God (Romans 1:4). Christianity stands or falls on the doctrine of the resurrection of Jesus Christ. Jesus is the living, Savior. Those who believe in Christ will be saved.
 
Resurrection Transforms Lives:
(Read John 20:25-29)
The resurrection of Christ has changed the fearful and guilt-ridden disciples into bold witnesses of Christ. The original witnesses were women (Mark 16:1). Mary Magdalene went and told John and Peter and said, "They have taken the Lord out of the tomb, and we do not know where they have laid him". They immediately went to the tomb and saw that everything was neat and orderly except that the body was missing.  Their sight now turned to faith. Then Jesus appeared to all the disciples (except Thomas) and gave them the great commission. Jesus' gracious encounter with the fearful disciples gave them courage to preach the gospel. Only the gospel affirms life, hope and immortality.  Christ gave them the authority to proclaim the gospel of the forgiveness of sin to all people.  Jesus promises his peace to all those who receive him. Jesus also appeared to Thomas and showed him His nail prints. Thomas immediately acknowledged Jesus and said, "My Lord and my God" (John 20:28). His doubt has turned to faith and assurance. Jesus said to Thomas "Blessed are those who have not seen and yet have believed”. What a merciful Savior! Seeing does not mean believing. Facts are good but faith is better. Those who do not believe in Christ often get stuck in their prideful doubts.

Resurrection is the greatest Miracle:20:30-31. 
The greatest sign found in the gospel is the sign of the resurrection of Christ. The empty tomb of Jesus was not hard to prove. If there was a body in the tomb, it would have been impossible for the resurrection story to survive. Jews substantiated the fact that the tomb was empty. They said disciples have stolen the body of Christ. It was suicidal for disciples to steal the body. Where could they hide the body?  Women were the first witnesses of this empty tomb. At that time women did not have any voice in the society and were not allowed to bear testimony in a court of law. The Apostolic message was “Jesus is alive”. It is relevant because it answers questions about our past, present, and future. There is forgiveness of sin in Him. Our future is secured because He is alive. Jesus is the reason for our living. Nobody can be neutral to this truth. This Gospel message is that God loves you and cares for you. He forgives sin and gives eternal life to all those who trust Christ. It is the urgent and necessary message sinners need to hear for salvation. Those who believe in the Son of God will be saved and have eternal life. The purpose of John writing his gospel is given in verses John 20:30-31. "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 20:30-31). Signs are miracles Jesus performed to prove His deity.  "Believe" simply means, persuade and trust in Christ. Eternal life is the result of believing in the Son of God.  It is knowing God intimately and experiencing divine life. Christ commissioned apostles to go forth and make disciples of all nations (John 20:21). Jesus gave them authority to preach the gospel of forgiveness in the name of Jesus Christ. What a privilege and awesome responsibility! Jesus said, "As the Father has sent me, so I send you" (John 20:21).  Pray for the millions of people who never heard the gospel of Jesus Christ.  There is no way to have our sins forgiven except through hearing and believing the message of the gospel. Do you share the gospel with those who are not saved?‚Äč