The Empty Tomb - Part 2
Topic: Resurrection Passage: John 20:1–20:18
All four gospel writers recorded the unexpected and unimaginable event that took place after the burial of Jesus. Here in verses 1-18, John shared his own personal eyewitness testimony as the first person to believe in Jesus’ resurrection along with the testimony of the first person to behold Jesus after His resurrection.
1. The first now to BELIEVE in the resurrected Lord (vv. 1-10)
Mary Magdalene was one of several other women who were eyewitnesses to Jesus’ death and among the first to witness His resurrection (Matthew 28:1). Mary arrived at the tomb while it was still dark and was therefore the first among them to see the tomb empty. God made the tomb open not to enable Jesus to escape the tomb, but to allow HIs followers to enter and witness. The fact that Jesus’ burial linens were left behind and face-cloth purposely folded, led John to the inescapable conclusion that the body of Jesus was not stolen and that He was indeed alive. This was in fulfillment of the scriptures (Psalm 16:10; Luke 24:25, 44).
2. The first one to BEHOLD the resurrected Lord (vv. 11-18)
Mary was also the first to witness the resurrected Jesus (Mark 16:9). As she attempted to explain what she had seen to Jesus’ disciples, they found it hard to believe. But for those whose eyes have been opened and who believe in the resurrection, the ability to believe is given by the power and grace of God. Jesus, while physically in Mary’s presence for a little while longer, commanded Mary not to continue clinging to Him, but rather to leave Him so that she could spread the good news of His resurrection to His disciples. The privilege of being the first to share this wonderful news was quite an honor for Mary. It should be no less an honor for us as we share the same good news of salvation with the lost (Luke 24:44).
Praise God for adopting you as one of His children by faith in the finished work of Christ (cf. John 1:12; Romans 8:14-17; Galatians 3:26; 4:4-7; Hebrews 2:10-13). Thank Him for granting you the privilege of telling others that Christ is risen (cf. Matthew 28:16-20; Luke 24:48). Ask Him to help you joyfully and courageously persevere in sharing the gospel even when people refuse to believe it and consider it nonsense.