4.17.2022 Easter Sunday

Good morning. Our scripture is John 21 through 18. Early on the first day of the week, while it was still dark. Mary Magdalene went to the tomb and saw that the stone had been removed from the entrance. So she came running to Simon, Peter, and the other disciple, the one who Jesus loved and said, “they have taken the Lord out of the tomb. We don’t know where they have put him.” So Peter and the other disciple started for the tomb, both were running, but the other disciple, outran Peter and reached the tomb. First, he bent over and looked in the strips of linen cloth lying there, but did not go in. Then Simon Peter came along behind him and went straight into the tomb. He saw the strips of linen cloth lying there as well as a cloth that had been wrapped around Jesus’ head.
The cloth was still lying in its place, separate from the linen. Finally, the other disciple who had reached the tomb first also went inside. He saw and believed. They did not yet understand from the scripture that Jesus had to rise from the dead. Then the disciples went back to where they were staying. Now Mary stood outside the tomb crying. As she wept, She bent over to look at the tomb and saw two angels in white seated where Jesus body had been. One at the head, one at the foot. They asked her “woman, why are you crying?” “They’ve taken away my Lord.” She said,” I don’t know where they have put him. At this she turned around and saw Jesus standing there, but she did not realize it was Jesus. He asked her “woman, why are you crying? Who is it? You’re looking for?” Thinking he was the gardener. She said, “sir, if you have carried him away, tell me where you have put him and I will get him.” And Jesus said to her, “Mary.” She turned toward him and cried out in arabaic “Raboni!” Which means teacher. Jesus said, “do not hold onto me for, I have not yet ascended to the father. Go instead to my brothers and tell them I am ascending to my father and your father. To my God and your God. Mary Magdalene went to the disciples with the news. “I have seen the Lord!” And she told them that he had said these things to her, the word of the Lord.

Thank you, John. You all pray with me for a moment. Lord, you are indeed the giver of life. And as the giver of life, we trust you with our lives. As we take even just a moment to explore what scripture says about your resurrection. I pray that you would give us wisdom, give us discerning hearts, help us to see you with truth. Uh, help the words that I say to, uh, be accurate and to invite life in Jesus name. Amen.

All right. Now I promise several people this morning. It would be a short service and I’m looking at the time going, oh no. So bear with me. There are four gospel accounts. And in those four gospel accounts, each of them communicate the resurrection. They each have their own way of doing it. Each of these four eyewitnesses, uh, they’ve gathered information, they’ve said, well, you know, Jesus rose. And it was like this. Well, yeah, but I kinda remember it like this. Well, I remember it. There was this detail too, that you guys are missing. And then there’s John, who also talks about the resurrection, but I’m gonna be honest with you. And if you’ve been with us in the last four months, while we’ve been going through the gospel of John, I think John’s resurrection account kind of stinks. It’s like, not that good. The other resurrection accounts are like, oh, there was a bright light and the rock was thrown away and the guards fell asleep and it’s all this amazing stuff. And John’s gospel is just like, so anyway, they got to the team, it was empty. They didn’t know what was going on. Jesus showed up and then Jesus left and that’s kind of it.

And I just, right. Like you read that and you go, dude, this is like, this is an amazing thing that has happened. And I’m sorry, but you should be more excited about it, right? Like you should be so much more excited about this than you are, but no, you’re just gonna tell us it happened. Okay, fine. Fine. I think John’s gospel account is severely understated. And I, as with pretty much every message I’ve preached in the last four months as we’ve gone through John’s gospel, I had to start with, why does this stink so much? What is John actually trying to say? And that’s where this message began.

I think John’s resurrection account out is understated on purpose. I don’t think John wants us distracted by all the details of the mechanics of it. I don’t think he wants us to pay attention to how the rock rolled away or meta physically, how Jesus rose up from the grave or what the real interaction of angels and all that stuff is. I don’t think John cares as much about that as he cares about telling us a, a little bit more even now about who Jesus is, who it was, that was risen from the grave. Cuz that’s John’s whole gospel. If you’ve been with us in the last four months, as we’ve gone through John’s gospel, then you know that nearly nowhere does John actually make arguments for anything. He doesn’t actually argue saying like, so Jesus is the son of God. Here’s how I know he’s the of God, let me walk you through it.

And like lineage or mechanics or, or whatever, like the other gospels do. John just says, yeah, Jesus is the son of God and then moves on. He just assumes these things. He assumes that Jesus is the word of God who was with God in the beginning. And in fact was God who also took on flesh and made dwelling among us. He just says it and says, if you can just assume this is true with me for one moment, I’m gonna tell you who God is and it’s gonna be really cool. So just come along for the ride. That’s how John tells his gospel.

So John doesn’t argue with us about who Jesus is. He just tells us, Jesus is the son of God. Jesus is in fact, God. Believe this for a moment. And let’s find out who we’re talking about. He says later in the gospel, rather he quotes Jesus later in the gospel saying, if you’ve seen me, then you’ve seen the father by that, Jesus means if you’re looking at me, I’m the same person as the God that you worship. So if you see me in the way I am, you’re looking at God. So what is God like? Here’s what John is told us. And his whole gospel account. We open up learning that Jesus is the word of God who was with God at the beginning, who was God who took on flesh and made dwelling among us became like us lived a life like the lives that we live.

And that’s just in the first four chapters that we learned this. And then right about in the middle of his gospel, John tells us about some of the things Jesus did. Jesus performed signs and miracles. He healed all kinds of people. He had these miraculous mighty works. And then a little bit later on, John tells us about some things Jesus taught. As he went around healing people and performing miracles. He also taught them and the ways he taught them, humanized them and gave them dignity. The ways he taught them, brought them into new life, told ’em they had some worth and some value in the world when people who were in authority wanted to push them down.
And as we see Jesus doing these things, which to go, oh God is, God’s kind of like that, huh? God will heal me. Yeah. But God will also tell me I’m worthwhile. Huh. And then we witness in the last chapters of this account, we witnessed Jesus having really intimate relationships with people, people whom he loves, he experiences emotions with them. He experiences life with them. He goes through all of the moments of life with them. When Lazarus was dead, his friend Lazarus was dead. Jesus went and he could have raised Lazarus just like that. But he went and he wept with Mary, who we read about in this chapter with Martha, with his whole family and friends. Jesus took that moment to weep with them before calling Lazarus out of the grave. Jesus, before he went to the cross, knelt down and washed his disciples feet. He Said, Hey, I’m gonna serve you. Even the I’m your teacher. I’m gonna serve you. And I’m gonna love you. And in fact, this is what love looks like, love one another, the way I’ve loved you.
And even as he’s dying on the cross, as we learned on Friday, even as he’s dying on the cross, he sees his mother and he loves her and he cares for her. And he provides for her, even in his last moments, this Jesus who is the almighty one who act created everything also cares for those He loves. in fact, he cares for you. And he cares for me. And this is the one that we witness at this tomb. We hear about three people who come to the tomb to see him. You got Peter. If you know anything about Peter, you know, Peter doesn’t think a lot, right. Just does a bunch of stuff. So Peter runs and then the unnamed disciple who people think is the one who wrote this gospel is like, yeah, but I ran faster than him though. It’s an amazing verse.
Right? It’s like, Peter ran the other disciple (me) ran too and outran him by the way. Um, they get there. Right. And what happens when they get there is this unnamed disciple gets to the mouth of the tomb and just waits there and looks in and sees what happens. And then Peter catches up and just bulldozes straight in, right. Very on brand for Peter. He just plows straight into the tomb, looks around and goes, wow. Yeah, Jesus, isn’t here and leaves. The other disciple makes his way in. And we’re told that he believes, but there’s no fanfare about it. We’re just told, he believes it’s really a quiet kind of thing. This intimate knowledge that something amazing has happened here. And then Mary, once they’ve gone and Mary gets her moment, she enters the tomb and she grieves and mourns over someone she loves and cares for.
And in fact it makes me think of Jesus at the tomb of Lazarus, right? Standing at the mouth of the cave weeping before calling him out to new life. Mary does that too. She’s in the tomb weeping. And she’s so caught up in her desire to love this person who had been her friend that when Jesus himself shows up, she thinks he’s the gardener. She says, where did you take? Where did you take him, please? I would like to bring him back here. She wants to care for him. She wants to provide for him still so that he can rest in peace. These reactions by these three people, very on brand for who they are very on brand because of the way Jesus interacted with them, right on brand for them. Cause it’s on brand for Jesus.

Is it any wonder if these three closest friends of Jesus, when they all saw the same thing, walked away with three entirely different responses to what they saw? Is it any wonder that you and I do not walk away with the same sense of who Jesus is in any given moment? He lets us work through it ourselves, but then there’s this moment. There’s this moment when Jesus allows Mary to see who he is. And the thing she says to him is Raboni, which means teacher Raboni teach her, which it’s kind of a weird thing to say when you just met someone who rose from the dead. Right? Little weird. Um, earlier in this service, I said, rising from the dead is impossible. Right? Can’t do it. People don’t do it. We don’t rise from the dead. That’s not a thing with God. It is, but, but not naturally. So if it were me, if I were in the tomb and Jesus had died and then Jesus has there and he is like, Hey pastor James probably wouldn’t call me pastor. But uh, Hey James, it’s me. I’d be like ,my Lord And my God! Almighty creator Like whoa! Right?

Cause it’s, it’s unimaginable. What’s happened here. But Mary’s response to him is familiar and earthly. It’s not majestic and huge. It doesn’t capture the magnitude of who God is. It captures the intimacy with which she was known by him and with which she was known by her teacher, teacher. That’s who I knew you as teacher, friend. She doesn’t reference how mighty and divine and great he is. She references him the way a devoted student would as a companion, a trusted friend, a comforter and caregiver. John just assumes Jesus has risen. He is. He just is. He doesn’t make an argument for it. Cuz he wants us to catch who it is. That’s risen. Not just that it happened, but who it is, who was risen. And he has risen the Godman, the mighty one, the creator of the whole world who took on flesh and came to die.

He saved us in his dying and he raises us in his raising. And all of this is true. But if we are to be an Easter people, people who believe in the resurrection, then maybe all of that fancy language needs to fade away. Maybe all those things that we conceptualize about, oh Jesus is like God. And all these things, maybe that needs to fade away, so that we can look a little bit more like Mary. So when you ask Mary, who is this mighty one who rose from the dead? She says, ah, he’s my friend.

He’s my friend. So beloved. When you tell people of the hope that you have, you don’t fear death, you’ve got resurrection in your blood. You got a little dance in your bones. When you tell people of the hope you have that Christ has risen from the dead. Don’t stop there. Tell them who he is. Tell them God is my friend who knows me and who lets me know him because beloved, God has called you friend.

We pray with me, Lord, we thank you for the gift of perspective that we don’t all see things in all the same ways. Even as we see the things that when we encounter you, the risen Lord, we don’t just encounter an event, but we encounter a person. One who has called us friend one. Who’s given us life.
Lord, we want to be more and more like you in every moment. And so if we are an Easter people and if we have, any portion with you, Lord, if we have any friendship and kinship with you, help us to look to our neighbor and say, God is my friend and I am your friend. And in fact, God is your friend. It’s so good to be known by you, Lord. Help us to experience you and see you and know you more day by day. We thank you for life for new life. In Jesus name, Amen.
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