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The First Five Christ Met After He Rose

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WTB-30

041003PM

The first five recorded meetings that Jesus had when He stepped out of that Tomb read like a ministry that we would sometimes also need from Him. So follow me as we see who Jesus sought out and why. Learn how He handles those sins and weaknesses – and then take heart, be encouraged. He is doing the very same type of visitation today as he did then.

 

 

John 20:11-18 — He came to save the DEFILED. Remember that He appeared first to Mary, and to everyone who is defiled He gives purity when they come to Him.

 

John 20:11-18 But Mary stood outside by the tomb weeping, and as she wept she stooped down and looked into the tomb. 12 And she saw two angels in white sitting, one at the head and the other at the feet, where the body of Jesus had lain. 13 Then they said to her,  “Woman, why are you weeping?” She said to them, “Because they have taken away my Lord, and I do not know where they have laid Him.” 14 Now when she had said this, she turned around and saw Jesus standing there, and did not know that it was Jesus. 15 Jesus said to her, “Woman, why are you weeping? Whom are you seeking?” She, supposing Him to be the gardener, said to Him, “Sir, if You have carried Him away, tell me where You have laid Him, and I will take Him away.” 16 Jesus said to her, “Mary!” She turned and said to Him, “Rabboni!” (which is to say, Teacher). 17 Jesus said to her,  “Do not cling to Me, for I have not yet ascended to My Father; but go to My brethren and say to them, ‘I am ascending to My Father and your Father, and to My God and your God.’ ” 18 Mary Magdalene came and told the disciples that she had seen the Lord, and that He had spoken these things to her. NKJV

One of the greatest moments any descendant of Adam could have had was to be the 1st one Jesus appeared to after His rising. And to whom did He share this unusual blessing? To a single woman with a dark and troubled past – Mary Magdalene. What is amazing about that incredible honor is the list of who else was available to have been first.

 

Mary the beloved and honored mother of our Lord was still alive and in town, He didn’t pick her. John the disciple whom Jesus loved was also nearby – He didn’t pick him. No, Jesus intentionally picked Mary for several reasons I am sure.

 

Who was Mary Magdalene? Here is what the Scriptures tell us:

 

MARY HAD A DARK AND TROUBLED PAST. Mark 16:9 Now when He rose early on the first day of the week, He appeared first to Mary Magdalene, out of whom He had cast seven demons. NKJV “Apparently Mary Magdalene had lived a very sorry existence because demons were usually associated with mental or physical disorders. The number of demons indicates the severity of the possession from which Jesus freed her. Although some have suggested that Mary Magdalene was a prostitute, there is no biblical evidence to support this. Mary stayed at the cross, went to the tomb, and was the first person to see the resurrected Christ (24:10; Mark 15:40, 47; 16:1, 9; John 19:25; 20:1, 18). Because she is always first in any list of women indicates that she probably had a special leadership role”.[1]

 

A woman who at one time had probably been chief of sinners, a woman who at one time had been possessed by seven demons, was the first to whom Jesus showed himself alive when he rose victorious from the tomb. The fact is remarkable, and full of instruction.

 

Our Lord’s appearing “first to Mary Magdalene” was intended to comfort all who have become penitent believers after having run into great excesses of sin. It was meant to show us that, however far we may have fallen, we are raised to complete peace with God if we repent and believe the Gospel. Though before far off, we are brought near. Though before enemies, we are made dear children. The old has gone, the new has come (2 Corinthians 5:17). The blood of Christ makes us completely clean in God’s sight. We may have begun like Augustine, and John Newton, and been ringleaders in every kind of iniquity. But once brought to Christ, we need not doubt that all is forgiven. We may come near boldly, and have access with confidence. Our sins and iniquities, like those of Mary Magdalene, are remembered no more[2].

 

Secondly, Mary Magdalene had a DEEP AND ABIDING LOVE FOR CHRIST. “We need not doubt, for one thing, that by appearing “first to Mary Magdalene” our Lord meant to show us how much he values love and faithfulness. Last at the cross and first at the grave, last to confess her Master while living, and first to honor him when dead, this warm-hearted disciple was allowed to be the first to see him when the victory was won. It was intended to be a perpetual memorial to the church that those who do honor Christ, he will honor, and that those who do much for him on earth will find him even on earth doing much for them”. [3]

 

Mary Magdalene should make us stand back and glorify the God who makes such masterpieces of His grace from such formerly defiled and sinful souls as some of us. “Centuries ago a number of workmen were seen dragging a great marble block into the city of Florence, Italy. It had come from the famous marble quarries of Carrara, and was intended to be made into a statue of a great Old Testament prophet. But it contained imperfections, and when the great sculptor Donatello saw it, he refused it at once. So there it lay in the cathedral yard, a useless block.

 

One day another sculptor caught sight of the flawed block. But as he examined it, there rose in his mind something of immense beauty, and he resolved to sculpt it. For two years the artist worked feverishly on the work of art. Finally, on January 25, 1504, the greatest artists of the day assembled to see what he had made of the despised and rejected block. Among them were Botticelli, Leonardo da Vinci, and Pietro Perugino, the teacher of Raphael. As the veil dropped to the floor, the statue was met with a chorus of praise. It was a masterpiece! The succeeding centuries have confirmed that judgment. Michelangelo’s David is one of the greatest works of art the world has ever known.[4]

 

So Jesus appeared first to one who was defiled and honored her as a trophy of His grace.

 

John 20:19-23 — He came to rescue the DEPRESSED. Remember how He went to find His hopeless disciples who were in hiding?  And to all of us who are so discouraged we are ready to run away He comes and says to them, “Fear not I am here and everything will be all right!”

 

John 20:19-23 Then, the same day at evening, being the first day of the week, when the doors were shut where the disciples were assembled, for fear of the Jews, Jesus came and stood in the midst, and said to them, “Peace be with you.” 20 When He had said this, He showed them His hands and His side. Then the disciples were glad when they saw the Lord. 21 So Jesus said to them again,  “Peace to you! As the Father has sent Me, I also send you.” 22 And when He had said this, He breathed on them, and said to them,  “Receive the Holy Spirit. 23 If you forgive the sins of any, they are forgiven them; if you retain the sins of any, they are retained.” NKJV

 

What is God’s remedy from cover to cover in His Book the Bible for those who are weighed down with troubles, sad at heart and cleaving to the dust? Psalm 119.25 summarizes His Divine solution.

 

Psalm 119:25 My soul clings to the dust; Revive me according to Your word. NKJV

 

So Jesus first met with the defiled and honored her as a trophy of His grace. Then He met with the depressed and quickened them with His Word.

 

John 20:24-31 — He came to save the DOUBTERS.  Remember doubting Thomas? Who sought whom? Jesus patiently gives him faith when he doubted, just like He offers to each of us who struggle. He says I am here, it is I – be not afraid!

 

John 20:24-31 Now Thomas, called the Twin, one of the twelve, was not with them when Jesus came. 25 The other disciples therefore said to him, “We have seen the Lord.” So he said to them, “Unless I see in His hands the print of the nails, and put my finger into the print of the nails, and put my hand into His side, I will not believe.” 26 And after eight days His disciples were again inside, and Thomas with them. Jesus came, the doors being shut, and stood in the midst, and said,  “Peace to you!” 27 Then He said to Thomas,  “Reach your finger here, and look at My hands; and reach your hand here, and put it into My side. Do not be unbelieving, but believing.” 28 And Thomas answered and said to Him, “My Lord and my God!” 29 Jesus said to him, “Thomas, because you have seen Me, you have believed. Blessed are those who have not seen and yet have believed.” 30 And truly Jesus did many other signs in the presence of His disciples, which are not written in this book; 31 but these are written that you may believe that Jesus is the Christ, the Son of God, and that believing you may have life in His name. NKJV

 

Thomas was not with the other disciples when they met on the evening of Resurrection Day. Why? Was he so disappointed that he did not want to be with his friends? But when we are discouraged and defeated, we need our friends all the more! Solitude only feeds discouragement and helps it grow into self-pity, which is even worse. “Thomas is a good warning to all of us not to miss meeting with God’s people on the Lord’s Day (Heb. 10:22–25). Because Thomas was not there, he missed seeing Jesus Christ, hearing His words of peace, and receiving His commission and gift of spiritual life. He had to endure a week of fear and unbelief when he could have been experiencing joy and peace! Remember Thomas when you are tempted to stay home from church. You never know what special blessing you might miss!” [5]

 

Just think what He can do now that He is available anywhere, anytime, and by anyone. Wherever you are Jesus is passing by right now. He is offering you salvation. Pause on Thomas.

 

“Thomas is our pattern. Thomas had not been present on that first occasion when Jesus appeared to his disciples. The others told Thomas about it afterward, but Thomas replied, “Unless I see the nail marks in his hands and put my finger where the nails were, and put my hand into his side, I will not believe it” (John 20:25).

 

A week later Jesus appeared again, Thomas being present, and offered to fulfill the conditions of Thomas’s test. But the mere sight was enough for Thomas. Thomas fell at Christ’s feet and worshiped, saying, “My Lord and my God” (v. 28).  Is that sight not clear enough for you also? Are Jesus’ wounded hands not evidence enough for you of his love? God says that his action in Christ is perfectly clear, so much so that there is no excuse for a failure to believe it. In fact, he says that the way of salvation in Christ has been “made known ” (Rom. 3:21). The way of salvation has been made as clear as a striking hand or a blow to the face.

 

Today it is the hand of a gracious God who holds out the way of salvation to you. If you reply that you cannot see it, he asks you to look at the hand itself; for it is a wounded hand, one bearing the print of the nail received by Jesus in dying for your salvation. By faith you may put out your hand and touch that wound. You may know that it is evidence, irrefutable evidence, of God’s great love for you. That hand was struck for you. The one extending that hand died for you. Allow him to enclose your hand, to enclose you, and to bring you into that great company of those who possess eternal life and who shall never perish.” [6]

 

Tradition holds that Thomas preached as far away as India, and the Mar Thoma Church, which still exists in southwest India and bears his name, traces its origin to him. He is said to have had died from a spear being thrust through him, a fitting death for the one who insisted on placing his hand in the spear wound of his Lord.)[7]

 

So Jesus first met with the defiled and honored her as a trophy of His grace. Then He met with the depressed and quickened them with His Word. He met with the doubter and affirmed His power to save them from even their doubts and fears.

 

John 21:1-14 — He came to restore the DESERTERS.  Remember James and John who wanted His right and left spots? He gives them Humility when they ask Him and restores their desertion from their post.

 

John 21:1-14 After these things Jesus showed Himself again to the disciples at the Sea of Tiberias, and in this way He showed Himself: 2 Simon Peter, Thomas called the Twin, Nathanael of Cana in Galilee, the sons of Zebedee, and two others of His disciples were together. 3 Simon Peter said to them, “I am going fishing.” They said to him, “We are going with you also.” They went out and immediately got into the boat, and that night they caught nothing. 4 But when the morning had now come, Jesus stood on the shore; yet the disciples did not know that it was Jesus. 5 Then Jesus said to them,  “Children, have you any food?” They answered Him, “No.” 6 And He said to them, “Cast the net on the right side of the boat, and you will find some.” So they cast, and now they were not able to draw it in because of the multitude of fish. 7 Therefore that disciple whom Jesus loved said to Peter, “It is the Lord!” Now when Simon Peter heard that it was the Lord, he put on his outer garment (for he had removed it), and plunged into the sea. 8 But the other disciples came in the little boat (for they were not far from land, but about two hundred cubits), dragging the net with fish. 9 Then, as soon as they had come to land, they saw a fire of coals there, and fish laid on it, and bread. 10 Jesus said to them,  “Bring some of the fish which you have just caught.” 11 Simon Peter went up and dragged the net to land, full of large fish, one hundred and fifty-three; and although there were so many, the net was not broken. 12 Jesus said to them, “Come and eat breakfast.” Yet none of the disciples dared ask Him, “Who are You?”—knowing that it was the Lord. 13 Jesus then came and took the bread and gave it to them, and likewise the fish. 14 This is now the third time Jesus showed Himself to His disciples after He was raised from the dead. NKJV

 

  • FIRST, WE SEE MEN SERVING IN THE ENERGY OF THE FLESH (vv. 2,3). Peter says, “I go a fishing.” He had received no call from God to do so. His action illustrates self-will, and the response of the other six men acting under human leadership.
  • SECOND, WE ARE SHOWN THE BARRENNESS OF SUCH EFFORTS (vv. 3-5). They toiled all night, but caught nothing, and when the Lord asked if they had any meat, they had to answer, No. P321-322 – “Then Jesus saith unto them, Children, have ye any meat? They answered him, No” (v.5). Our Lord’s form of address here is also searchingly suggestive. He did not use the term of endearment employed in 13:33, “Little children,” but employed the more general form of salutation, which the margin renders “Sirs.” He spoke not according to the intimacies of love, but as from a distance – a further hint from the Spirit as to how we are to interpret vv. 2,3. But why did He ask; “Have ye any meat?” He knew, of course, that they had none; what, then, was the purpose of His enquiry? Was it not designed to draw from them a confession of their failure, ere He met their need? And is not this ever His way with His own? Before He furnishes the abundant supply, we must first be made conscious of our emptiness. Before He gives strength, we must be made to feel our weakness. Slow, painfully slow, are we to learn this lesson; and slower still to own our nothingness and take the place of helplessness before the Mighty One. The disciples on the sea picture us, here in this world; the Saviour on the shore (whither we are bound) Christ in Heaven. How blessed, then, to behold Him occupied with us below, and speaking to us from “the shore!”  It was not the disciples who addressed the Lord, but He who spoke to them!
  • THIRD, THE LORD NOW DIRECTS THEIR ENERGIES, TELLING THEM WHERE TO WORK (v.6): the result was that the net was filled with fishes. “And He said unto them, Cast the net on the right side of the ship, and ye shall find” (v.6). How this evidences the Deity of the One here speaking to these disciples! He knew on which side of the ship the net should be cast. But more, did it now show them, and us, that He is sovereign of the sea? These men had fished all their lives, yet had they toiled throughout that night and taken nothing. But here was the Lord telling them to cast their net but once, and assuring them they should find. Was it not He, by His invisible power, that drew the fishes into their net! And what a striking line is this picture of Christian service. How He tells the servants that success in their ministry is due not to their eloquence, their power of persuasion, or their any thing, but due alone to this sovereign drawing-power. A most blessed foreshadowment did the Saviour here give the apostles of the Divine blessing which should rest upon their labours for Him. In full and striking accord with this was the fact that the Lord bade them “Cast the net on the right side of the ship” -cf. Matthew 25:34: “Then shall the Kind say unto them on his right hand, Come, ye blessed of my Father, inherit the kingdom prepared for you from the foundation of the world!”
  • FOURTH, WE LEARN OF THE LORD’S GRACIOUS PROVISION FOR HIS SERVANTS (vv. 12, 13): He had provided for them, and invites them to eat.

 

John 21:15-25 — He came to save the DENIERS.  Remember fearful Peter who got caught in water over his head and cusses and swears that he didn’t know Jesus, and then Jesus turned and looked at him? Devastated Peter slips out into the dark to weep the bitter tears of failure, but Jesus comes looking for Him and gives him forgiveness. That is just what He does for each of us when we fail Him!

 

John 21:15-25 So when they had eaten breakfast, Jesus said to Simon Peter,  “Simon, son of Jonah, do you love Me more than these?” He said to Him, “Yes, Lord; You know that I love You.” He said to him, “Feed My lambs.” 16 He said to him again a second time,  “Simon, son of Jonah, do you love Me?” He said to Him, “Yes, Lord; You know that I love You.” He said to him,  “Tend My sheep.” 17 He said to him the third time,  “Simon, son of Jonah, do you love Me?” Peter was grieved because He said to him the third time,  “Do you love Me?” And he said to Him, “Lord, You know all things; You know that I love You.” Jesus said to him,  “Feed My sheep. 18 Most assuredly, I say to you, when you were younger, you girded yourself and walked where you wished; but when you are old, you will stretch out your hands, and another will gird you and carry you where you do not wish.” 19 This He spoke, signifying by what death he would glorify God. And when He had spoken this, He said to him, “Follow Me.” 20 Then Peter, turning around, saw the disciple whom Jesus loved following, who also had leaned on His breast at the supper, and said, “Lord, who is the one who betrays You?” 21 Peter, seeing him, said to Jesus, “But Lord, what about this man?” 22 Jesus said to him,  “If I will that he remain till I come, what is that to you? You follow Me.” 23 Then this saying went out among the brethren that this disciple would not die. Yet Jesus did not say to him that he would not die, but,  “If I will that he remain till I come, what is that to you?” 24 This is the disciple who testifies of these things, and wrote these things; and we know that his testimony is true. 25 And there are also many other things that Jesus did, which if they were written one by one, I suppose that even the world itself could not contain the books that would be written. Amen. NKJV

 

  • WE ARE TAUGHT WHAT IS THE ONLY ACCEPTABLE MOTIVE FOR SERVICE – LOVE TO CHRIST (vv. 15, 17).
  • THE LORD MAKES KNOWN HOW THAT HE APPOINTS THE TIME AND MANNER OF THE DEATH OF THOSE OF HIS SERVANTS WHO DIE (vv. 18-19).
  • THE LORD CONCLUDES BY LEAVING WITH THEM THE PROSPECT OF HIS RETURN; NOT FOR DEATH, BUT FOR HIMSELF THEY SHOULD LOOK (vv. 20:24).

 

He came to save.

The DEFILED…

The DEPRESSED…

The DOUBTERS…

The DESERTERS…

The DENIERS…

 

To all like us today He gives forgiveness and true life when we ask Him! The Savior is waiting to enter your heart, why don’t you let Him come in? #329

 

 

Pink, Arthur, W., Exposition of the Gospel of John Volume 4. Grand Rapids, Michigan: Zondervan Publishing House, 1945.

 

P316 -The chapter as a whole falls into seven parts as we analyze it from the viewpoint of its teaching on service. First, we see men serving in the energy of the flesh (vv. 2,3). Peter says, “I go a fishing.” He had received no call from God to do so. His action illustrates self-will, and the response of the other six men acting under human leadership. Second, we are shown the barrenness of such efforts (vv. 3-5). They toiled all night, but caught nothing, and when the Lord asked if they had any meat, they had to answer, No. Third, the Lord now directs their energies, telling them where to work (v.6): the result was that the net was filled with fishes. Fourth, we learn of the Lord’s gracious provision for His servants (vv. 12, 13): He had provided for them, and invites them to eat. Fifth, we are taught what is the only acceptable motive for service – love to Christ (vv. 15, 17). Sixth, the Lord makes known how that He appoints the time and manner of the death of those of His servants who die (vv. 18-19). Seventh, the Lord concludes by leaving with them the prospect of His return; not for death, but for Himself they should look (vv. 20:24).

 

P321-322 – “Then Jesus saith unto them, Children, have ye any meat? They answered him, No” (v.5). Our Lord’s form of address here is also searchingly suggestive. He did not use the term of endearment employed in 13:33, “Little children,” but employed the more general form of salutation, which the margin renders “Sirs.” He spoke not according to the intimacies of love, but as from a distance – a further hint from the Spirit as to how we are to interpret vv. 2,3. But why did He ask; “Have ye any meat?” He knew, of course, that they had none; what, then, was the purpose of His enquiry? Was it not designed to draw from them a confession of their failure, ere He met their need? And is not this ever His way with His own? Before He furnishes the abundant supply, we must first be made conscious of our emptiness. Before He gives strength, we must be made to feel our weakness. Slow, painfully slow, are we to learn this lesson; and slower still to own our nothingness and take the place of helplessness before the Mighty One. The disciples on the sea picture us, here in this world; the Saviour on the shore (whither we are bound) Christ in Heaven. How blessed, then, to behold Him occupied with us below, and speaking to us from “the shore!”  It was not the disciples who addressed the Lord, but He who spoke to them!

 

“And He said unto them, Cast the net on the right side of the ship, and ye shall find” (v.6). How this evidences the Deity of the One here speaking to these disciples! He knew on which side of the ship the net should be cast. But more, did it now show them, and us, that He is sovereign of the sea? These men had fished all their lives, yet had they toiled throughout that night and taken nothing. But here was the Lord telling them to cast their net but once, and assuring them they should find. Was it not He, by His invisible power, that drew the fishes into their net! And what a striking line is this picture of Christian service. How He tells the servants that success in their ministry is due not to their eloquence, their power of persuasion, or their any thing, but due alone to this sovereign drawing-power. A most blessed foreshadowment did the Saviour here give the apostles of the Divine blessing which should rest upon their labours for Him. In full and striking accord with this was the fact that the Lord bade them “Cast the net on the right side of the ship” -cf. Matthew 25:34: “Then shall the Kind say unto them on his right hand, Come, ye blessed of my Father, inherit the kingdom prepared for you from the foundation of the world!”

TAGS: 041003PM

The first five recorded meetings that Jesus had when He stepped out of that Tomb read like a ministry that we would sometimes also need from Him. So follow me as we see who Jesus sought out and why. Learn how He handles those sins and weaknesses – and then take heart, be encouraged. He is doing the very same type of visitation today as he did then.

 

 

John 20:11-18 — He came to save the DEFILED. Remember that He appeared first to Mary, and to everyone who is defiled He gives purity when they come to Him.

 

John 20:11-18 But Mary stood outside by the tomb weeping, and as she wept she stooped down and looked into the tomb. 12 And she saw two angels in white sitting, one at the head and the other at the feet, where the body of Jesus had lain. 13 Then they said to her,  “Woman, why are you weeping?” She said to them, “Because they have taken away my Lord, and I do not know where they have laid Him.” 14 Now when she had said this, she turned around and saw Jesus standing there, and did not know that it was Jesus. 15 Jesus said to her, “Woman, why are you weeping? Whom are you seeking?” She, supposing Him to be the gardener, said to Him, “Sir, if You have carried Him away, tell me where You have laid Him, and I will take Him away.” 16 Jesus said to her, “Mary!” She turned and said to Him, “Rabboni!” (which is to say, Teacher). 17 Jesus said to her,  “Do not cling to Me, for I have not yet ascended to My Father; but go to My brethren and say to them, ‘I am ascending to My Father and your Father, and to My God and your God.’ ” 18 Mary Magdalene came and told the disciples that she had seen the Lord, and that He had spoken these things to her. NKJV

One of the greatest moments any descendant of Adam could have had was to be the 1st one Jesus appeared to after His rising. And to whom did He share this unusual blessing? To a single woman with a dark and troubled past – Mary Magdalene. What is amazing about that incredible honor is the list of who else was available to have been first.

 

Mary the beloved and honored mother of our Lord was still alive and in town, He didn’t pick her. John the disciple whom Jesus loved was also nearby – He didn’t pick him. No, Jesus intentionally picked Mary for several reasons I am sure.

 

Who was Mary Magdalene? Here is what the Scriptures tell us:

 

MARY HAD A DARK AND TROUBLED PAST. Mark 16:9 Now when He rose early on the first day of the week, He appeared first to Mary Magdalene, out of whom He had cast seven demons. NKJV “Apparently Mary Magdalene had lived a very sorry existence because demons were usually associated with mental or physical disorders. The number of demons indicates the severity of the possession from which Jesus freed her. Although some have suggested that Mary Magdalene was a prostitute, there is no biblical evidence to support this. Mary stayed at the cross, went to the tomb, and was the first person to see the resurrected Christ (24:10; Mark 15:40, 47; 16:1, 9; John 19:25; 20:1, 18). Because she is always first in any list of women indicates that she probably had a special leadership role”.[1]

 

A woman who at one time had probably been chief of sinners, a woman who at one time had been possessed by seven demons, was the first to whom Jesus showed himself alive when he rose victorious from the tomb. The fact is remarkable, and full of instruction.

 

Our Lord’s appearing “first to Mary Magdalene” was intended to comfort all who have become penitent believers after having run into great excesses of sin. It was meant to show us that, however far we may have fallen, we are raised to complete peace with God if we repent and believe the Gospel. Though before far off, we are brought near. Though before enemies, we are made dear children. The old has gone, the new has come (2 Corinthians 5:17). The blood of Christ makes us completely clean in God’s sight. We may have begun like Augustine, and John Newton, and been ringleaders in every kind of iniquity. But once brought to Christ, we need not doubt that all is forgiven. We may come near boldly, and have access with confidence. Our sins and iniquities, like those of Mary Magdalene, are remembered no more[2].

 

Secondly, Mary Magdalene had a DEEP AND ABIDING LOVE FOR CHRIST. “We need not doubt, for one thing, that by appearing “first to Mary Magdalene” our Lord meant to show us how much he values love and faithfulness. Last at the cross and first at the grave, last to confess her Master while living, and first to honor him when dead, this warm-hearted disciple was allowed to be the first to see him when the victory was won. It was intended to be a perpetual memorial to the church that those who do honor Christ, he will honor, and that those who do much for him on earth will find him even on earth doing much for them”. [3]

 

Mary Magdalene should make us stand back and glorify the God who makes such masterpieces of His grace from such formerly defiled and sinful souls as some of us. “Centuries ago a number of workmen were seen dragging a great marble block into the city of Florence, Italy. It had come from the famous marble quarries of Carrara, and was intended to be made into a statue of a great Old Testament prophet. But it contained imperfections, and when the great sculptor Donatello saw it, he refused it at once. So there it lay in the cathedral yard, a useless block.

 

One day another sculptor caught sight of the flawed block. But as he examined it, there rose in his mind something of immense beauty, and he resolved to sculpt it. For two years the artist worked feverishly on the work of art. Finally, on January 25, 1504, the greatest artists of the day assembled to see what he had made of the despised and rejected block. Among them were Botticelli, Leonardo da Vinci, and Pietro Perugino, the teacher of Raphael. As the veil dropped to the floor, the statue was met with a chorus of praise. It was a masterpiece! The succeeding centuries have confirmed that judgment. Michelangelo’s David is one of the greatest works of art the world has ever known.[4]

 

So Jesus appeared first to one who was defiled and honored her as a trophy of His grace.

 

John 20:19-23 — He came to rescue the DEPRESSED. Remember how He went to find His hopeless disciples who were in hiding?  And to all of us who are so discouraged we are ready to run away He comes and says to them, “Fear not I am here and everything will be all right!”

 

John 20:19-23 Then, the same day at evening, being the first day of the week, when the doors were shut where the disciples were assembled, for fear of the Jews, Jesus came and stood in the midst, and said to them, “Peace be with you.” 20 When He had said this, He showed them His hands and His side. Then the disciples were glad when they saw the Lord. 21 So Jesus said to them again,  “Peace to you! As the Father has sent Me, I also send you.” 22 And when He had said this, He breathed on them, and said to them,  “Receive the Holy Spirit. 23 If you forgive the sins of any, they are forgiven them; if you retain the sins of any, they are retained.” NKJV

 

What is God’s remedy from cover to cover in His Book the Bible for those who are weighed down with troubles, sad at heart and cleaving to the dust? Psalm 119.25 summarizes His Divine solution.

 

Psalm 119:25 My soul clings to the dust; Revive me according to Your word. NKJV

 

So Jesus first met with the defiled and honored her as a trophy of His grace. Then He met with the depressed and quickened them with His Word.

 

John 20:24-31 — He came to save the DOUBTERS.  Remember doubting Thomas? Who sought whom? Jesus patiently gives him faith when he doubted, just like He offers to each of us who struggle. He says I am here, it is I – be not afraid!

 

John 20:24-31 Now Thomas, called the Twin, one of the twelve, was not with them when Jesus came. 25 The other disciples therefore said to him, “We have seen the Lord.” So he said to them, “Unless I see in His hands the print of the nails, and put my finger into the print of the nails, and put my hand into His side, I will not believe.” 26 And after eight days His disciples were again inside, and Thomas with them. Jesus came, the doors being shut, and stood in the midst, and said,  “Peace to you!” 27 Then He said to Thomas,  “Reach your finger here, and look at My hands; and reach your hand here, and put it into My side. Do not be unbelieving, but believing.” 28 And Thomas answered and said to Him, “My Lord and my God!” 29 Jesus said to him, “Thomas, because you have seen Me, you have believed. Blessed are those who have not seen and yet have believed.” 30 And truly Jesus did many other signs in the presence of His disciples, which are not written in this book; 31 but these are written that you may believe that Jesus is the Christ, the Son of God, and that believing you may have life in His name. NKJV

 

Thomas was not with the other disciples when they met on the evening of Resurrection Day. Why? Was he so disappointed that he did not want to be with his friends? But when we are discouraged and defeated, we need our friends all the more! Solitude only feeds discouragement and helps it grow into self-pity, which is even worse. “Thomas is a good warning to all of us not to miss meeting with God’s people on the Lord’s Day (Heb. 10:22–25). Because Thomas was not there, he missed seeing Jesus Christ, hearing His words of peace, and receiving His commission and gift of spiritual life. He had to endure a week of fear and unbelief when he could have been experiencing joy and peace! Remember Thomas when you are tempted to stay home from church. You never know what special blessing you might miss!” [5]

 

Just think what He can do now that He is available anywhere, anytime, and by anyone. Wherever you are Jesus is passing by right now. He is offering you salvation. Pause on Thomas.

 

“Thomas is our pattern. Thomas had not been present on that first occasion when Jesus appeared to his disciples. The others told Thomas about it afterward, but Thomas replied, “Unless I see the nail marks in his hands and put my finger where the nails were, and put my hand into his side, I will not believe it” (John 20:25).

 

A week later Jesus appeared again, Thomas being present, and offered to fulfill the conditions of Thomas’s test. But the mere sight was enough for Thomas. Thomas fell at Christ’s feet and worshiped, saying, “My Lord and my God” (v. 28).  Is that sight not clear enough for you also? Are Jesus’ wounded hands not evidence enough for you of his love? God says that his action in Christ is perfectly clear, so much so that there is no excuse for a failure to believe it. In fact, he says that the way of salvation in Christ has been “made known ” (Rom. 3:21). The way of salvation has been made as clear as a striking hand or a blow to the face.

 

Today it is the hand of a gracious God who holds out the way of salvation to you. If you reply that you cannot see it, he asks you to look at the hand itself; for it is a wounded hand, one bearing the print of the nail received by Jesus in dying for your salvation. By faith you may put out your hand and touch that wound. You may know that it is evidence, irrefutable evidence, of God’s great love for you. That hand was struck for you. The one extending that hand died for you. Allow him to enclose your hand, to enclose you, and to bring you into that great company of those who possess eternal life and who shall never perish.” [6]

 

Tradition holds that Thomas preached as far away as India, and the Mar Thoma Church, which still exists in southwest India and bears his name, traces its origin to him. He is said to have had died from a spear being thrust through him, a fitting death for the one who insisted on placing his hand in the spear wound of his Lord.)[7]

 

So Jesus first met with the defiled and honored her as a trophy of His grace. Then He met with the depressed and quickened them with His Word. He met with the doubter and affirmed His power to save them from even their doubts and fears.

 

John 21:1-14 — He came to restore the DESERTERS.  Remember James and John who wanted His right and left spots? He gives them Humility when they ask Him and restores their desertion from their post.

 

John 21:1-14 After these things Jesus showed Himself again to the disciples at the Sea of Tiberias, and in this way He showed Himself: 2 Simon Peter, Thomas called the Twin, Nathanael of Cana in Galilee, the sons of Zebedee, and two others of His disciples were together. 3 Simon Peter said to them, “I am going fishing.” They said to him, “We are going with you also.” They went out and immediately got into the boat, and that night they caught nothing. 4 But when the morning had now come, Jesus stood on the shore; yet the disciples did not know that it was Jesus. 5 Then Jesus said to them,  “Children, have you any food?” They answered Him, “No.” 6 And He said to them, “Cast the net on the right side of the boat, and you will find some.” So they cast, and now they were not able to draw it in because of the multitude of fish. 7 Therefore that disciple whom Jesus loved said to Peter, “It is the Lord!” Now when Simon Peter heard that it was the Lord, he put on his outer garment (for he had removed it), and plunged into the sea. 8 But the other disciples came in the little boat (for they were not far from land, but about two hundred cubits), dragging the net with fish. 9 Then, as soon as they had come to land, they saw a fire of coals there, and fish laid on it, and bread. 10 Jesus said to them,  “Bring some of the fish which you have just caught.” 11 Simon Peter went up and dragged the net to land, full of large fish, one hundred and fifty-three; and although there were so many, the net was not broken. 12 Jesus said to them, “Come and eat breakfast.” Yet none of the disciples dared ask Him, “Who are You?”—knowing that it was the Lord. 13 Jesus then came and took the bread and gave it to them, and likewise the fish. 14 This is now the third time Jesus showed Himself to His disciples after He was raised from the dead. NKJV

 

  • FIRST, WE SEE MEN SERVING IN THE ENERGY OF THE FLESH (vv. 2,3). Peter says, “I go a fishing.” He had received no call from God to do so. His action illustrates self-will, and the response of the other six men acting under human leadership.
  • SECOND, WE ARE SHOWN THE BARRENNESS OF SUCH EFFORTS (vv. 3-5). They toiled all night, but caught nothing, and when the Lord asked if they had any meat, they had to answer, No. P321-322 – “Then Jesus saith unto them, Children, have ye any meat? They answered him, No” (v.5). Our Lord’s form of address here is also searchingly suggestive. He did not use the term of endearment employed in 13:33, “Little children,” but employed the more general form of salutation, which the margin renders “Sirs.” He spoke not according to the intimacies of love, but as from a distance – a further hint from the Spirit as to how we are to interpret vv. 2,3. But why did He ask; “Have ye any meat?” He knew, of course, that they had none; what, then, was the purpose of His enquiry? Was it not designed to draw from them a confession of their failure, ere He met their need? And is not this ever His way with His own? Before He furnishes the abundant supply, we must first be made conscious of our emptiness. Before He gives strength, we must be made to feel our weakness. Slow, painfully slow, are we to learn this lesson; and slower still to own our nothingness and take the place of helplessness before the Mighty One. The disciples on the sea picture us, here in this world; the Saviour on the shore (whither we are bound) Christ in Heaven. How blessed, then, to behold Him occupied with us below, and speaking to us from “the shore!”  It was not the disciples who addressed the Lord, but He who spoke to them!
  • THIRD, THE LORD NOW DIRECTS THEIR ENERGIES, TELLING THEM WHERE TO WORK (v.6): the result was that the net was filled with fishes. “And He said unto them, Cast the net on the right side of the ship, and ye shall find” (v.6). How this evidences the Deity of the One here speaking to these disciples! He knew on which side of the ship the net should be cast. But more, did it now show them, and us, that He is sovereign of the sea? These men had fished all their lives, yet had they toiled throughout that night and taken nothing. But here was the Lord telling them to cast their net but once, and assuring them they should find. Was it not He, by His invisible power, that drew the fishes into their net! And what a striking line is this picture of Christian service. How He tells the servants that success in their ministry is due not to their eloquence, their power of persuasion, or their any thing, but due alone to this sovereign drawing-power. A most blessed foreshadowment did the Saviour here give the apostles of the Divine blessing which should rest upon their labours for Him. In full and striking accord with this was the fact that the Lord bade them “Cast the net on the right side of the ship” -cf. Matthew 25:34: “Then shall the Kind say unto them on his right hand, Come, ye blessed of my Father, inherit the kingdom prepared for you from the foundation of the world!”
  • FOURTH, WE LEARN OF THE LORD’S GRACIOUS PROVISION FOR HIS SERVANTS (vv. 12, 13): He had provided for them, and invites them to eat.

 

John 21:15-25 — He came to save the DENIERS.  Remember fearful Peter who got caught in water over his head and cusses and swears that he didn’t know Jesus, and then Jesus turned and looked at him? Devastated Peter slips out into the dark to weep the bitter tears of failure, but Jesus comes looking for Him and gives him forgiveness. That is just what He does for each of us when we fail Him!

 

John 21:15-25 So when they had eaten breakfast, Jesus said to Simon Peter,  “Simon, son of Jonah, do you love Me more than these?” He said to Him, “Yes, Lord; You know that I love You.” He said to him, “Feed My lambs.” 16 He said to him again a second time,  “Simon, son of Jonah, do you love Me?” He said to Him, “Yes, Lord; You know that I love You.” He said to him,  “Tend My sheep.” 17 He said to him the third time,  “Simon, son of Jonah, do you love Me?” Peter was grieved because He said to him the third time,  “Do you love Me?” And he said to Him, “Lord, You know all things; You know that I love You.” Jesus said to him,  “Feed My sheep. 18 Most assuredly, I say to you, when you were younger, you girded yourself and walked where you wished; but when you are old, you will stretch out your hands, and another will gird you and carry you where you do not wish.” 19 This He spoke, signifying by what death he would glorify God. And when He had spoken this, He said to him, “Follow Me.” 20 Then Peter, turning around, saw the disciple whom Jesus loved following, who also had leaned on His breast at the supper, and said, “Lord, who is the one who betrays You?” 21 Peter, seeing him, said to Jesus, “But Lord, what about this man?” 22 Jesus said to him,  “If I will that he remain till I come, what is that to you? You follow Me.” 23 Then this saying went out among the brethren that this disciple would not die. Yet Jesus did not say to him that he would not die, but,  “If I will that he remain till I come, what is that to you?” 24 This is the disciple who testifies of these things, and wrote these things; and we know that his testimony is true. 25 And there are also many other things that Jesus did, which if they were written one by one, I suppose that even the world itself could not contain the books that would be written. Amen. NKJV

 

  • WE ARE TAUGHT WHAT IS THE ONLY ACCEPTABLE MOTIVE FOR SERVICE – LOVE TO CHRIST (vv. 15, 17).
  • THE LORD MAKES KNOWN HOW THAT HE APPOINTS THE TIME AND MANNER OF THE DEATH OF THOSE OF HIS SERVANTS WHO DIE (vv. 18-19).
  • THE LORD CONCLUDES BY LEAVING WITH THEM THE PROSPECT OF HIS RETURN; NOT FOR DEATH, BUT FOR HIMSELF THEY SHOULD LOOK (vv. 20:24).

 

He came to save.

The DEFILED…

The DEPRESSED…

The DOUBTERS…

The DESERTERS…

The DENIERS…

 

To all like us today He gives forgiveness and true life when we ask Him! The Savior is waiting to enter your heart, why don’t you let Him come in? #329

 

 

Pink, Arthur, W., Exposition of the Gospel of John Volume 4. Grand Rapids, Michigan: Zondervan Publishing House, 1945.

 

P316 -The chapter as a whole falls into seven parts as we analyze it from the viewpoint of its teaching on service. First, we see men serving in the energy of the flesh (vv. 2,3). Peter says, “I go a fishing.” He had received no call from God to do so. His action illustrates self-will, and the response of the other six men acting under human leadership. Second, we are shown the barrenness of such efforts (vv. 3-5). They toiled all night, but caught nothing, and when the Lord asked if they had any meat, they had to answer, No. Third, the Lord now directs their energies, telling them where to work (v.6): the result was that the net was filled with fishes. Fourth, we learn of the Lord’s gracious provision for His servants (vv. 12, 13): He had provided for them, and invites them to eat. Fifth, we are taught what is the only acceptable motive for service – love to Christ (vv. 15, 17). Sixth, the Lord makes known how that He appoints the time and manner of the death of those of His servants who die (vv. 18-19). Seventh, the Lord concludes by leaving with them the prospect of His return; not for death, but for Himself they should look (vv. 20:24).

 

P321-322 – “Then Jesus saith unto them, Children, have ye any meat? They answered him, No” (v.5). Our Lord’s form of address here is also searchingly suggestive. He did not use the term of endearment employed in 13:33, “Little children,” but employed the more general form of salutation, which the margin renders “Sirs.” He spoke not according to the intimacies of love, but as from a distance – a further hint from the Spirit as to how we are to interpret vv. 2,3. But why did He ask; “Have ye any meat?” He knew, of course, that they had none; what, then, was the purpose of His enquiry? Was it not designed to draw from them a confession of their failure, ere He met their need? And is not this ever His way with His own? Before He furnishes the abundant supply, we must first be made conscious of our emptiness. Before He gives strength, we must be made to feel our weakness. Slow, painfully slow, are we to learn this lesson; and slower still to own our nothingness and take the place of helplessness before the Mighty One. The disciples on the sea picture us, here in this world; the Saviour on the shore (whither we are bound) Christ in Heaven. How blessed, then, to behold Him occupied with us below, and speaking to us from “the shore!”  It was not the disciples who addressed the Lord, but He who spoke to them!

 

“And He said unto them, Cast the net on the right side of the ship, and ye shall find” (v.6). How this evidences the Deity of the One here speaking to these disciples! He knew on which side of the ship the net should be cast. But more, did it now show them, and us, that He is sovereign of the sea? These men had fished all their lives, yet had they toiled throughout that night and taken nothing. But here was the Lord telling them to cast their net but once, and assuring them they should find. Was it not He, by His invisible power, that drew the fishes into their net! And what a striking line is this picture of Christian service. How He tells the servants that success in their ministry is due not to their eloquence, their power of persuasion, or their any thing, but due alone to this sovereign drawing-power. A most blessed foreshadowment did the Saviour here give the apostles of the Divine blessing which should rest upon their labours for Him. In full and striking accord with this was the fact that the Lord bade them “Cast the net on the right side of the ship” -cf. Matthew 25:34: “Then shall the Kind say unto them on his right hand, Come, ye blessed of my Father, inherit the kingdom prepared for you from the foundation of the world!”

 
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