Lesson 100: John 20:1-2 – Did the Lord Rise on the Sabbath?

by Pastor Ricky Kurth

You're listening to Lesson 100 from the sermon series "The Gospel of John" by Pastor Ricky Kurth. When you're done, explore more sermons from this series.



Christ rose “the first day of the week” (20:1), and the Body of Christ began meeting that day (Acts20:7; ICor.16:2), knowing we’re not under the law of the Sabbath (Ex.20:8 cf.Rom.6:15; Col.2:16). But that doesn’t mean the Sabbath was switched to Sunday, it is always the 7th day (Ex.16:26).

That’s important because the reason we’re not under the Sabbath law is because it was a “shadow” (Col.2:16,17) of the rest we have in Christ (Mt.11:28). Now that we rest in Christ we don’t need the symbol of that rest. But while the Sabbath didn’t change, the day God’s people worshipped did change to reflect the new dispensation. The Jews were saved by faith plus works; they had to work before they could rest, so their day of worship reflected that. We are saved by resting first in Christ then we work for Him out of gratitude (Eph.2:8-10), so our day of worship reflects that.

It’s not possible to make too much of the cross of Christ, but Christians often make too little of the resurrection of Christ. Remember, He was “raised again for our justifica-tion” (Romans 4:25), so if He was not raised from the dead, we couldn’t be saved (ICor.15:17).

If you can’t imagine how much power it took to raise Him from the dead, remember that “the wages of sin is death” (Rom.6:23). Because men sin they are spiritually dead and will have to die physically. Now remember that every sin ever committed or ever will be committed was placed on the physical body of Christ and He died as a result of all those sins. This might be why it took all three members of the Trinity to raise Him (John 10:17,18; Rom.6:4; 8:11), or these verses could be just saying that the three are one.

Paul prayed we’d know the power of His resurrection “to us-ward” (Eph.1:18-20). What power can His resurrection have on us now that we are justified? It can enable us to live like Christ (Rom.6:4) and not sin. Before you were saved you had to sin because everything you did was sin (Pr.21:4; Isa.64:6; Rom.3:12). Now when you do good works they count as good works, not sin. That’s power!

In addition, the resurrection can help you with sorrow, as it did Mary (John 20:11); it can help your sorrow if you’ll believe you are risen with Him (Col.2:12). The resurrection can help with your fear (as it did the apostles who preached fearlessly at Pentecost after they knew even death couldn’t hurt them) if you’ll believe II Corinthians 6:14. It can help with your doubt—just ask Thomas—if you’ll believe Christ liveth in you (Gal.2:20). It can help with your despair, as it did with Peter’s when he went back to fishing when he thought the Lord was dead (John 21:3). We “despair not” or “faint not” (IICor.4:14-16) when we cease looking at temporal things that are seen and begin looking at eternal unseen things (v.16-18) with the eyes of faith (Heb.11:1).

Mary was there that morning because the Lord cast seven devils out of her (Lu.8:2) so she was seven times more grateful than others. How grateful are you that He saved you from all the demons in the lake of fire for eternity? You can’t minister to the Lord’s physical body to show your gratitude as she did, but you can minister to His spiritual Body. And remember, she came as soon as she could. She couldn’t come Thursday/Friday, the “high day” Sabbath (Jo.19:31), or Friday/Saturday, the weekly Sabbath, but she came as soon as she was released from the restraints of the Law. How about you? You’re not under the Law, are you as eager to serve Him?

The angel didn’t roll the stone away to let Him out, but to show He was gone (Mt.28:2 cf. Jo.11:39). He rose through the rock tomb, and we’ll have a body like that too (Phil.3:20,21), so we can race across the universe at light speed to fulfill His will without worrying about plotting a course as Han Solo had to do. And we won’t have to fear a demon’s attack, for a club would pass through our head!

The rolled away stone caused an earthquake (Mt.28:2), not vice versa. This is important, for Bible skeptics are always looking for natural explanations for Bible miracles.

Angels never sit (Heb.1:4), but this one did (Mt.28:2) to symbolize how we can rest in His death and resurrection for our sins.

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