John notes the ministry of Christ in light of its impact on the hearts of those who saw these signs. What were the signs Christ performed to bring those who saw His ministry to belief?
You know them —
- 1. Sign #1 Start in John 2:1-11. WATER TO WINE; HE IS LORD OF CREATION
- 2. Sign #2 Go to John 4:46-54 HEALING NOBLEMAN’S SON FROM AFAR; HE IS ALL POWERFUL (LORD OF TIME & SPACE) Note v. 54 supernaturally empowered
- 3. Sign #3 Now 5:1-15 THE WITHERED MAN AT BETHESDA HE IS LORD OVER SICKNESS
- 4. Sign #4 6:1-14 FEEDS 5000; Note v. 14 The Prophet HE IS BREAD FROM HEAVEN
- 5. Sign #5 6:15-25. HE IS LORD OF NATURE
- 6. Sign #6 Ch. 9:1-4 HEALS MAN BORN BLIND; HE IS LORD OF SIGHT v. 16 Note v. 32
- 7. Sign #7 Finally the last sign of His ministry, 11:1-44 RAISES LAZARUS; HE IS LORD OF LIFE
Thus in rapid succession, John builds the case of this man, Jesus:
ð LORD OF CREATION,
ð supernaturally empowered
ð WHO COMMANDS DISEASE,
ð OPENS EYES,
ð CONTROLS NATURE,
ð MULTIPLIES FOOD AND DISPELS DEATH…
But the ultimate sign is Chapter 20!
Back to Chapter 20 — it’s Sunday, early, in the mist come the faithful to say farewell to dead.
They, as we, are faced with seven indisputable PROOFS — EVIDENCE.
Let’s note them and concentrate on perhaps the greatest of them all – the seventh.
What were those 7 evidences of Christ’s resurrection? They are all in verses 1-15.
- 1. THE STONE IS GONE, v. 1
- 2. THE TOMB IS EMPTY , v. 2 that was sealed and guarded
- 3. Jesus is absent, v. 3
- 4. the GRAVE CLOTHES are undisturbed, v. 5
- 5. the face cloth is BY ITSELF, v. 7
- 6. THE TESTIMONY OF ANGELS, v. 12
- 7. PERSONAL, FACE-TO-FACE MEETINGS with Jesus v. 15
Let’s just pause over each of them briefly —
- 1. THE STONE IS GONE, v. 1 Mark relates in chapter 16 – concerned – who roll away? It was very large…Matthew 18 – an angel rolled it away and sat on it to show the world He is risen! God confirmed it was done. Christ was alive and gone!
- 2. THE TOMB IS EMPTY , v. 2 Notice they were SHOCKED. Note that they didn’t expect it. Also — in all history no one claimed He was there. People said He was – stolen, – moved, – rescucitated, but not in the tomb! In fact there is an amazing absence of ANY reference to the tomb:
- 3. The third indisputable proof was: Jesus is absent, v. 3 His body was gone and they didn’t have it and the Jews didn’t either!
- 4. the GRAVE CLOTHES are undisturbed, v. 5 They are lying = in orderly arrangement, undisturbed. He had left them. No robber, no hoax. Note v. 5 BLEPI = GLANCED; v. 6 Theorao = LOOKED; v. 9 EDON = PERCEIVED AND BELIEVED
- 5. the face cloth is BY ITSELF, v. 7 He took it off and folded it.
- 6. the TESTIMONY OF ANGELS, v. 12. They confirmed. But those aren’t the ultimate signs:
ð THE STONE IS GONE, v. 1
ð THE TOMB IS EMPTY , v. 2 that was sealed and guarded
ð Jesus is absent, v. 3
ð the GRAVE CLOTHES are undisturbed, v. 5
ð the face cloth is BY ITSELF, v. 7
ð THE TESTIMONY OF ANGELS, v. 12
- 7. That’s nothing compared to the LAST PROOF — We see Christ personally and face-to-face meeting His own! John only records 3 of the 10 meetings Christ had, each so purposeful! Resurrection Appearances of Christ – At the empty tomb outside Jerusalem, early Sunday morning (Mt. 28:1-10; Mk. 16:1-8; Lk. 24:1-12; John 20:1-9).
- A. EARLY SUNDAY MORNING: To Mary Magdalene out of whom He cast 7 demons, who had no role in leadership, to show His personal, loving faithfulness first! And to show the other women His gratitude for their faithfulness at the cross. (Mk. 16:9-11; Jn. 20:11-18).
- SUNDAY MID-DAY: To the two travelers on the road to Emmaus (Lk. 24: 13-32) to stimulate personal study in the Scriptures.
- DURING THE DAY ON SUNDAY: To Peter in Jerusalem (Lk. 24:34; I Cor. 15:5) to strengthen his faith.
- SUNDAY EVENING: to the 10 disciples in the Upper Room (Mk. 16:14; Lk. 24:36-43; Jn. 20 19-25) to commission their post-resurrection ministry .
- ONE WEEK LATER: to the 11 disciples in the Upper Room (Jn. 20:26-31; I Cor. 15:5) to confirm the doubting Thomas.
- ONE DAY AT DAYBREAK: to the seven disciples fishing on the Sea of Galilee (Jn. 21:1-23) to restore them to ministry.
- G. SOME TIME LATER: to the eleven disciples on a mountain in Galilee (Mt. 28:16-20; Mk. 16:15-18) to send them out as disciple makers.
- SOME TIME LATER: to more than 500 believers (I Cor. 15:6) to verify His resurrection to them and us!
- SOME TIME LATER: to James (I Cor. 15:7) to confirm His brother a future great leader in the church!
- Forty Days after the Resurrection: At His Ascension from the Mt. of Olives (Lk. 24:44-49; Acts 1:3-8) to conclude His earthly ministry and give the marching orders for His church as they waited for Pentecost.
Some have said Christ only swooned and the cool mist revived Him. At best the idea is absurd — Note Strauss:
“It is impossible that a being who had stolen half-dead out of the sepulcher, who crept about weak and ill, wanting medical treatment, who required bandaging, strengthening, and indulgence, and who still at last yielded to his sufferings, could have given to the disciples the impression that he was a conqueror over death and the grave, the Prince of Life: an impression which lay at the bottom of their future ministry. Such a resuscitation could only have weakened the impression which he had made upon them in life and in death, at the most could only have given it a loud voice, but could by no possibility have changed their sorrow into enthusiasm, have elevated their reverence into worship.”
Others say they imagined the resurrection:
“But difficulties not less insuperable present themselves when we try to think of them uniformly and without exception coming under the influence of a complete delusion. Somehow the rugged fisherman Peter and his brother Andrew, the characteristically doubting Thomas, the seasoned and not too sensitive tax gatherer, Matthew, the rather dull Philip, intensely loyal but a little slow of apprehension, do not fit easily into the conditions required for an absolutely unshakable collective hallucination. The terrors and the persecutions these men ultimately had to face and did face unflinchingly, do not admit of a halfhearted adhesion secretly honeycombed with doubt… (p. 114)
Now the peculiar thing about this phenomenon is that, not only did it spread to every single member of the party of Jesus of whom we have any trace, but they brought it to Jerusalem and carried it with inconceivable audacity into the most keenly intellectual center of Judea, against the ablest dialecticians of the day, and in the face of every impediment a brilliant and highly organized camarilla could devise. And they won. Within twenty years the claim of these Galilean peasants had disrupted the Jewish church and impressed itself upon every town on the Eastern coast of the Mediterranean from Caesarea to Troas. In less than fifty years it had begun to threaten the peace of the Roman Empire.”
If it wasn’t a dream, and it wasn’t…
If it wasn’t a hoax, and it wasn’t…
What changed that whole party of 16 “whom are known to have belonged to the inner circle or Christ’s personal supporters:
The eleven surviving apostles.
Mary the mother of Jesus.
Mary, the wife of Cleophas.
Salome, the wife of Zebedee.
Joanna, the wife of Chuza, Herod’s steward.”
What took the fleeing, fearful band like
ð a habitual doubter like Thomas,
ð a rather weak fisherman like Peter,
ð a gentle dreamer like John,
ð a practical tax gatherer like Matthew,
ð a few seafaring men like Andrew and Nathanael,
ð the inevitable women, and at most two or three others.”
And made them such a dynamic force? ONE THING:
THEY SAW HIM!
- 18, I HAVE SEEN THE LORD
- 25, WE HAVE SEEN THE LORD
- 28, MY LORD AND MY GOD!!
So greatest proof of all was in the FACE-TO-FACE CONFRONTATION WITH THE UNEXPECTED.
It changed the course of history —
Soon Christ’s own brother, James, believed. Then monumentally the greatest foe, Saul, …and on to us….
Do you see the tomb? IT’S EMPTY
Do you see the linen clothes? THEY WERE ORDERLY
Do you see the face cloth? IT WAS FOLDED
Do you see the stone? IT WAS THROWN ASIDE
Do you see the crucified one? HE IS ABSENT!
Do you see the weak and fearful? Believing and bold? The doubting? Confessing.
He met the seekers on their own ground.
But not one skeptic, hard heart!
TODAY, DO YOU HEAR HIM??