Sunday service, Dr Albu van Eeden, 05 Nov 2017
John 20:1-10; 19
1 Early on the first day of the week, Mary from Magdala went to the tomb. It was still dark. She saw that someone had removed the big stone from the way into the tomb.
2 So she ran to where Simon Peter was. He was with the other disciple, the one that Jesus loved. She said to them, ‘They have taken the Lord out of the tomb. And we do not know where they have put him!’
3 So Peter and the other disciple started to go to the tomb.
4 Both of them were running. But the other disciple ran faster than Peter ran. So he reached the tomb first.
5 He bent himself down and he looked inside the tomb. He saw the long pieces of cloth that were lying there. But he did not go in.
6 Simon Peter had run behind the other disciple. When Peter arrived, he went into the tomb. He saw the long pieces of cloth that were lying there.
7 Also, he saw the piece of cloth that had been round Jesus’ head. This was not in the same place as the other pieces of cloth. Someone had put it carefully in a separate place.
8 Then the other disciple, who had reached the tomb first, went inside also. He saw and he believed.
9 They still did not understand what the Old Testament says. It says that Jesus had to become alive again. After he had died, he had to become alive again
10 Then the disciples returned to their homes.
19 On the evening of that same day, the first day of the week, the disciples were all together. They had locked the doors of the room because they were afraid of the Jews’ leaders. Then Jesus came and he stood among them. He said to them, ‘Be without trouble in your minds and in your hearts.
The disciples’ lives had been turned upside down. Everything they had hoped for was turned upside down. They were living in terror. And now they also got the message that His body had been taken.
Many people are like this. When they come under enough pressure from their family or in life they go back on the promises they’ve made to the Lord.
But this also gives hope since we see from this that we serve a God who keeps His promises.
They thought everything had gone out of control, yet they were about to witness the biggest victory, Jesus rising from the dead.
It’s interesting to note that even in their despondency they were nevertheless together as one and supported each other.
When Christ enters into a situation He brings joy for tears. He entered the room where they were and simply said, “peace be to you” , and brought joy into that situation. Christ brings hope into a hopeless situation.
When you suffer with Christ there is meaning in your suffering. And that is the problem with hell, a place where the suffering has no meaning. Is it not worthwhile to put every effort into saving people from eternal suffering without purpose?
The Lord said he who had been forgiven much will love much. The worst thing you can do with your sin is to do as Adam did and hide it or excuse it as if it’s not as bad as it really is. If we hide our sins He cannot forgive us.
It makes one think of the song by Jennie Hussey. She died aged 84. She was an invalid because of rheumatoid arthritis for much of her life. But even in that state, at the age of 13 she started writing hymns. One of her songs while still a young girl was,
“King of my life, I crown Thee now,
Thine shall the glory be;
Lest I forget Thy thorn-crowned brow,
Lead me to Calvary.
Lest I forget Gethsemane,
Lest I forget Thine agony;
Lest I forget Thy love for me,
Lead me to Calvary.
Show me the tomb where Thou wast laid,
Tenderly mourned and wept;
Angels in robes of light arrayed
Guarded Thee whilst Thou slept.
Let me like Mary, through the gloom,
Come with a gift to Thee;
Show to me now the empty tomb,
Lead me to Calvary.
May I be willing, Lord, to bear
Daily my cross for Thee;
Even Thy cup of grief to share,
Thou hast borne all for me.”
It was when everything was dark, and Christ had been crucified, that Mary came with a gift to the Lord. She wanted to anoint His body. Seven demons had been driven out of her. She was a prostitute but Jesus forgave her and she never forgot and loved Him much.
This was Jennie Hussey’s desire too as we saw in the song above.
The disciples were with the Lord constantly for 3 years. They left everything they had for the Lord. They gave up their own will and all the comforts of life to follow Jesus. They couldn’t do what they like. Their eyes couldn’t wander wherever they wanted. It’s not about what you may and may not do but being with the Lord. Once they were with 5,000 men besides women and children who hadn’t eaten for days. Imagine if the disciples walked away when Jesus asked them to feed the people, because of the embarrassment. They sacrificed living out their own lives to its full potential to be with Jesus.
Peter denied the Lord. But he got up after he had denied the Lord, repented and gathered with the others.
Never deny the Lord. He is faithful to His word.