JOHN 20:1-29

Now on the first day of the week Mary Magdalene came to the tomb early, while it was still dark, and saw that the stone had been taken away from the tomb. So she ran and went to Simon Peter and the other disciple, the one whom Jesus loved, and said to them, “They have taken the Lord out of the tomb, and we do not know where they have laid him.” So Peter went out with the other disciple, and they were going toward the tomb. Both of them were running together, but the other disciple outran Peter and reached the tomb first. And stooping to look in, he saw the linen cloths lying there, but he did not go in. Then Simon Peter came, following him, and went into the tomb. He saw the linen cloths lying there, and the face cloth, which had been on Jesus' head, not lying with the linen cloths but folded up in a place by itself. Then the other disciple, who had reached the tomb first, also went in, and he saw and believed; for as yet they did not understand the Scripture, that he must rise from the dead. Then the disciples went back to their homes.

But Mary stood weeping outside the tomb, and as she wept she stooped to look into the tomb. And she saw two angels in white, sitting where the body of Jesus had lain, one at the head and one at the feet. They said to her, “Woman, why are you weeping?” She said to them, “They have taken away my Lord, and I do not know where they have laid him.” Having said this, she turned around and saw Jesus standing, but she did not know that it was Jesus. Jesus said to her, “Woman, why are you weeping? Whom are you seeking?” Supposing him to be the gardener, she said to him, “Sir, if you have carried him away, tell me where you have laid him, and I will take him away.” Jesus said to her, “Mary.” She turned and said to him in Aramaic, “Rabboni!” (which means Teacher). Jesus said to her, “Do not cling to me, for I have not yet ascended to the Father; but go to my brothers and say to them, ‘I am ascending to my Father and your Father, to my God and your God.’” Mary Magdalene went and announced to the disciples, “I have seen the Lord”—and that he had said these things to her.

On the evening of that day, the first day of the week, the doors being locked where the disciples were for fear of the Jews, Jesus came and stood among them and said to them, “Peace be with you.” When he had said this, he showed them his hands and his side. Then the disciples were glad when they saw the Lord. Jesus said to them again, “Peace be with you. As the Father has sent me, even so I am sending you.” And when he had said this, he breathed on them and said to them, “Receive the Holy Spirit. If you forgive the sins of any, they are forgiven them; if you withhold forgiveness from any, it is withheld.”

Now Thomas, one of the twelve, called the Twin, was not with them when Jesus came. So the other disciples told him, “We have seen the Lord.” But he said to them, “Unless I see in his hands the mark of the nails, and place my finger into the mark of the nails, and place my hand into his side, I will never believe.”

Eight days later, his disciples were inside again, and Thomas was with them. Although 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, and see my hands; and put out your hand, and place it in my side. Do not disbelieve, but believe.” Thomas answered him, “My Lord and my God!” Jesus said to him, “Have you believed because you have seen me? Blessed are those who have not seen and yet have believed.”


Today we join Christ followers around the world in remembering Jesus’ resurrection from the dead and pondering its implications for us today and in the future. This pinnacle celebration on the Church calendar is not just a day of remembrance; it is a proclamation of our hope for today and for the future. 

As we look at the brokenness of our world and our own lives, we know that things are not the way they are supposed to be. In spite of many pleasures and joys that we experience, we sense that things are flawed and askew. Almost every good thing we can think of has a warped and twisted version. We sense our own propensity for evil. 

Jesus’ resurrection can feel like an abstract spiritual reality that isn’t relevant to our very real human experience. How can one man’s death bring me life? Even if the resurrection actually happened, what difference does it make on my life and this big world? 

I want to focus on humanity today - specifically Jesus’ humanity. The early disciples fully understood Jesus’ humanity - they struggled to see that He was also God. As modern day followers, we have grasped the God aspect of Jesus, but often struggle to understand His humanity. His humanity has eternal realities - especially for us. 

Jesus: Human Forever

Born as a human
Basic orthodox Christianity embraces that Jesus was born on earth as fully God and fully man. There is the divinity of Jesus and the humanity of Jesus; this is why we call Him the God-man. Jesus took on flesh and dwelt among us (John 1:14). Although Jesus has always existed with God from the beginning, Jesus’ incarnation (divine birth) on earth was the beginning of His eternal physical body. Not only did the Son of God have - and still has - a fully human body, but also a fully human mind, heart, and will. 

Resurrected as a human
The New Testament is very clear that Jesus rose as a human being. After the resurrection, Jesus didn’t just appear to be a human being, he was one. In verse 27 Jesus tells Thomas to touch his hands and his side. Luke describes the resurrected Jesus eating a piece of broiled fish in front of the disciples (Luke 24:42).

Ascended as a human
As well, Jesus ascended into heaven as a human being with a physical body. Acts 1:9 describes Jesus ascending to heaven in front of his disciples. It is not as if He disappears or vanishes from their sight – they actually see Him rise up.

Returning as a human
The Bible also makes it clear that Jesus will return from heaven as a human being with a physical body – this really gets to the heart of why His humanity is important for us. For when we are raised from the dead, we will be like him. We will be glorified human beings like He is a glorified human being. Jesus will transform our humanity: Our bodies will be like his body (Philippians 3:20-21). Jesus’ exaltation brings humanity into glory. First in his own person and second by transforming those who belong to him.

Humanity On The Throne

Reigning as a human
 
Jesus will also reign forever as a human being with a physical body. Jesus’ on-going humanity is not simply for our sakes – it is for his glory. Romans 8:29 describes how believers will be conformed to the image of his Son. The biblical picture of eternity is Jesus reigning supreme with us as brothers and sisters conformed to His image. We will be surrounded by men and women who are like Him - reflecting all the glory back to Him.

We live in a fallen world and as we look around there often seems as if there is nothing very good about humanity. But Jesus shows us that humanity will not always be like this. Jesus shows us what humanity is meant to be and what humanity one day will be – when we are conformed to His image. Human beings are special in God’s eyes, and we know that because the Son of God became a human being and remains a human being forever.

Valuing What God Values

The risen exalted Jesus also proves God’s forever commitment to humanity. This means that we must treat all human beings with respect and dignity – the unborn, the weak, the poor. Every human person is valuable in the eyes of God and of greater value than any other species.

It also means that we must value human bodies. Jesus retains his human body for eternity and so will we. We aren’t looking forward to a future when our bodies will be dissolved, but to a day when they will be renewed, transformed, and glorified in accordance with the glory of Christ.

Our eternal hope is that we will be conformed to the image of Jesus, the true image of God. A divine human being will be at the center of the universe for eternity. Jesus is like us in every respect — human body, heart, mind, and will — except for sin (Hebrews 2:17; 4:15). 

How amazing that the divine Son of God would not just take on part of our humanity at that first Christmas, but all of it — and then take that true humanity all the way to the cross for us, raise it from the dead, and now into heaven and the new creation.

Jesus took a human body to save our bodies. And he took a human mind to save our minds. Without becoming man in his emotions, he could not have rescued our hearts. And without taking a human will, he could not save our broken and wandering wills. Jesus became man in full, so that He might save us in full! His resurrection is a window into the restoration of our lives through His Spirit. We can experience this now and someday it will be fully realized. 

“We were buried therefore with him by baptism into death, in order that, just as Christ was raised from the dead by the glory of the Father,
we too might walk in newness of life.”   Romans 6:4

 

“Experience the power of our resurrected Lord!”


IN COMMUNITY

This week, as you reflect on the message, utilize this section to help you apply what has been taught to your life. Think of friends, co-workers, neighbors, family etc., that you could meet with to have a time of mutual sharing to discuss the implications of the message.

BLESS RHYTHMS

This simple acronym (BLESS, B - Bless, L - Listen, E - Eat, S - Speak, S - Sabbath) should help you to frame your life according to the great commandment “love God” (Matthew 22:37) and the expression of that commandment in loving your neighbor (John 13:34). Each time you meet, start by discussing the rhythms of your life according to B.L.E.S.S.

Bless
Intentionally bless: Christ-followers, non-believers and those different than you.

Listen
Listen to what God is saying to you, through His Word and others.

Eat
Share a meal with a Christ-follower and also a non-believer.

Speak
Talk to God through prayer and to others about Jesus through witness.

Sabbath
Be intentional about taking time to both rest and recreate.

 
 

An Examined Life

As we continue to reflect on the sermon, allow these questions to guide your discussion with others concerning the conviction points and what you sensed God’s Spirit was doing in you through the preached Word. Jot notes to help you remember.

What was God doing in you through the message on Sunday?

Describe how you’ve grown in your understanding of the Gospel (good news of Jesus)?

How are you going to respond to God’s Word in your life?