Lesson 102: John 20:9-13 – Seeing Is Believing

by Pastor Ricky Kurth

You're listening to Lesson 102 from the sermon series "The Gospel of John" by Pastor Ricky Kurth. When you're done, explore more sermons from this series.



What Scripture didn’t they know yet (20:9)? Psalm 16:10 speaks of Christ’s resurrection (cf.Acts 2:25-31) as does Is-aiah 26:19, which indicates God planned to become a man and die and rise. If an expectant dad dies before his baby is born, he can’t see his seed, but Isaiah 53:10 predicts God would prolong Christ’s days so He could see His spiritual seed, believers! To the victor go the “spoil,” but only if the victor is alive, and God divided the spoil with Christ (v.10).

The Lord often told them He’d rise from the dead (Mt.16: 21). Of course, every time He told them, they didn’t under-stand (Mark 9:10,31), but His enemies understood (Mt.27: 62-64). They didn’t understand He’d rise because they didn’t understand He had to die (Lu.9:44,45). Mostly be-cause they’d seen him raise the dead, etc., but also because they’d heard it taught that Christ wouldn’t die (John 12:34). Don’t believe everything the preacher says!

The empty graveclothes proved to John that the Lord rose, but the Scriptures are what he should have considered “more sure” than what he saw (IIPe.1:16-18).

If you believed the Lord rose, wouldn’t you go looking for Him? Peter and John went home (John 20:10). Of course, since the Lord’s mother now lived in John’s home (Jo.19:27), maybe he figured the Lord might go see His mother. Maybe Peter went home to search the Scriptures to see if John was right, that the Lord had risen.

But how come they both had homes to go to if the Lord said they had to sell houses to gave eternal life (Mt.19:29) and Peter claimed they’d “forsaken all” (v.27). Well, Naboth knew the Law wouldn’t let him sell his inheritance (IKings 21:1-3 cf. Num.36:7). So selling “houses” didn’t mean selling their primary homes, just investment property.

Mary arrived “early” at the tomb (John 20:1), and God said that “those that seek Me early shall find Me” (Pr.8:17), and Mary was about to prove that true! Of course, Proverbs 8:17 on the surface just means you should seek the Lord early in life (Eccl.12:1). But seeking the Lord early will help the Tribulation Jews (Lu.13:23-25). The Lord plans to help Jews seek the Lord early by giving them the Tribulation (Ps.78:34). Tribulations make people seek God (Hos.5:15). Does that make you feel differently about your tribulations?

When you see an angel on either end of the Lord’s funeral bier (John 20:12) it should make you think of the mercy seat (Ex.25:18-20). The angels looking at the mercy seat were symbolically desiring to look into the salvation of men (I Peter 1:10-12), wondering how the blood of animals could pay for the sins of men. Now I don’t mean to say that the angels on the Lord’s funeral bier now understood that Christ’s blood paid for our sins; that wasn’t made clear until Paul. But the fact that they were sitting symbolizes how we can rest in Christ’ death and resurrection. They just didn’t know what they were symbolizing!

Angels were used to guard access to God from sinners like Adam (Gen.3:24) but now they welcome a sinner like Mary Magdalene because God’s holiness had now been satisfied by Christ’s death and resurrection. They didn’t yet know why they could welcome sinners, but did as they were told.

If “why weepest thou?” sounds like a rebuke (20:13), it should. There is a time to weep and a time to laugh (Eccl.3:4), and the time to weep was when the Lord died, but now He’d risen! Did you notice she didn’t seem dis-tracted by the fact that she was talking to angels! She was seeking the Lord, and wasn’t satisfied with angels! That’s good advice today, when the Christian world seems fascin-ated by angels. Be like Mary, and seek the Lord instead! And be like her in that when they took her Lord, it upset her. Preachers today try to take your Lord and replace Him with “another Jesus” (IICor.11:4), one that will heal you, but you’ll have to go back for more healing next month. One that will make you rich, if you give the church more than you can afford. One that will leave you feeling guilty and defeated when you fall into sin, instead of thanking God for His grace and moving on, as God would have you do. Be like Mary and don’t let anyone take your Lord!

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