Beth Moore - Jesus Revealed
I wonder if you would go with me to John chapter 20, John's Gospel, the 20th chapter, verse 1, "Now on the first day of the week, Mary Magdalene came to the tomb early, while it was still dark, and saw that the stone had been taken away from the tomb. So she ran and went to Simon Peter and the other disciple, the one whom Jesus loved, and said to them, 'They have taken the Lord out of the tomb, and we do not know where they have laid him.'" Verse 3, "So Peter went out with the other disciple, and they were going toward the tomb. Both of them were running together, but the other disciple outran Peter and reach the tomb first. And stooping to look in, he saw the linen cloths lying there, but he did not go in".
Verse 6, "Then Simon Peter came following him and went into the tomb. And he saw the linen cloths lying there, and the face cloth, which had been on Jesus's head, not lying with the linen cloths, but folded up in a place by itself. Then the other disciple, whom had reached the tomb first, also went in and he saw and believed; for as yet they did not understand the Scripture, that he must rise from the dead. And then the disciples went back to their homes". Our primary emphasis this morning picks up in verse 11, but there's so much going on in verse 10 that we could take every minute we have right on these Scriptures. We're not gonna rest here long, but I do want you to see some of the dynamics that are happening over these first ten verses in the chapter.
First of all, I want you to notice what's going on between Peter and John. Would you notice with me in verse 2, it says that, when she gets to the tomb, and the body of Jesus is not there, she runs to Simon Peter and the other disciple, the one whom Jesus loved. Now, that may be a familiar caption to many of you, and many of you may know that this is the only Gospel in which that particular term is used. What's important to me for us to see today is that John himself is the only one that ever called himself the disciple whom Jesus loved. No one ever called him that, only John called himself that. I wonder how life, I mean look at the humility. He does not name himself. He simply calls himself, "The one Jesus loved".
How different would our lives be if everything that involved us, involved a disciple whom Jesus loves? But I want you to know, you can see that a man has been inspired to write on this sacred page because would you notice with me what's happening between the two of them? She goes to get Simon Peter and the other disciple. In verse 3 it says, "So Peter went out with the other disciple, and they were going toward the tomb". And John, who is writing this Gospel says, "Both of them were running". Now, he is part of the them. He's the disciple that Jesus loved, and then there's Peter. "Both of them were running together, but the opposite disciple outran Peter and reached the tomb first". He just needed us to know that he actually beat Peter to the tomb, that the two were running together, but the one that Jesus loved was the one that actually beat him to the tomb. It even says it in 8, "When the other disciple, who had reached the tomb first".
He not only tells us once, John wants us to know twice that he beat Peter to the tomb, that no matter how Peter had been exalted among the disciples, that actually, he was a poor runner, and John had outrun him. It's important to him. And Peter had had a rough couple of days. And no wonder in John chapter 20, perhaps he was a tad out of breath. And it says in the Scripture in verse 5, that in stooping, it says both of them were running together, but the other disciple outran Peter and reached the tomb first. Verse 5, "Stooping to look in, he saw the linen cloths lying there, but he did not go in". Then Simon Peter came following him, and this is where we see the impetuous nature of Peter because he may be the last one to get there, but he goes on in.
This is one reason why scholars believe that John may have been the youngest of the disciples because we know that he sat next, well, he sat near Jesus and asked the questions at the Passover meal, which would have been the role of the youngest, a male at the table, who could talk and who could ask the questions. And here, it just gives us a little bit of a hint that maybe he was frightened to go in. But Peter, a little older, finally gets there out of breath, but he does not stand at the mouth of the tomb. He goes in and it says he sees the linen cloths lying there. Now, it says that he saw them lying there, and verse 7, "The face cloth, which had been on Jesus's head, not long with the linen cloths, but folded up in a place by itself," right, so the face cloth. We're told that same word for face cloth is used for Lazarus in John chapter 11, when he has raised from the dead. And what is so crazy about that is that we're told that he came out of the tomb, walking out of the tomb with all of that still on him. Jesus tells them to remove his face cloth and the linen around him.
So, I want you to picture how frightening that scene would have been with him coming out of the tomb with all that wrapped around his face, unforgettable in about 1.000 ways. Not Jesus, he sat straight up out of it. And Peter is the very one who said to us in his first letter, "We have not been ransomed by perishable things like silver or gold, but by the precious blood of the Lamb". And he would have remembered 'cause face cloth would have been around his head where the crown of thorns would have been embedded, and that part of the head bleeds profusely when cut. So, it would have stuck with him so dramatically, that particular face cloth, lying there splattered, in it's white gauze, splattered with the blood of Christ. He never, ever forgot it. I love verse 9 it says, "For as yet they did not understand from the Scripture that he must rise from the dead".
He must rise from the dead, he must rise from the dead, and as sure as he must have risen from the dead, he will return in all of his glory because God has to keep his own word. He will not just decide that the world is so dark and so depraved that he will just give up on them. After all, if his Word says it, he must do it. Now, I want you to notice something here very, very important in this scene. There's a good two-letter word that we don't want to miss in verse 2, about halfway down the verse. It says that she runs to them, this is Mary Magdalene. And she says to them, "They have taken". She doesn't even know who they would be yet. "They have taken the Lord out of the tomb, and we do not know where they have laid him".
That little "we" is of extreme importance, and if you mark in your Bible, you want to circle that word because in the other Gospels that tell the story about the first glimpse of the resurrected Lord, it all, the others all described several women. But here in the Gospel of John, we're not to conclude that there were no other women because she says "we". But the lens does something extremely significant in this chapter, and it is something that I am praying for all 10.000, 11.000 ones in this room, and in our hearing, that the lens this weekend, and even in this hour, would narrow straight to you. Here we are in this we group of women, in this corporate gathering. But let me tell you, what happens to you when you leave this place after we conclude, will all be about the encounter that you had in the most intensely personal way between you and the risen, not just the crucified Lord, but the risen Lord Jesus Christ.
So, you are the she and the we. You look at one another and say, "You are the she and the we". We are not gonna have a mighty work of God, unless you're little she has it. You are the she in the we, and I am asking God, let this lens now narrow until it's just you and Jesus right here in this scene. You've known him, you've experienced him, but for the life of you, you don't know where he has been lately. Does that resonate with anybody in this room? You have been to an intense place with him, but somehow you have mislaid him. Someone has taken him from you, and you don't know where to find him. And he wants you to know, he knows where to find you. He does know where to find you.
Verse 11 says, "But Mary stood weeping outside the tomb, and as she wept, she stooped to look into the tomb". And verse 12 said, that she saw two angels in white sitting where the body of Jesus had lain, one at the head, one at the feet. The insides of these tombs would have been limestone carved out flat. So, she looks inside of it, and she sees an angel at one end of it. And the reason she would have known what was at the head would have been where the face cloth was lain. How it was separated from the rest of the bandage around the body.
So, she would have known that was the head and that was the foot, and here are these angels inside sitting at each end of this ledge carved out in this limestone. Now, leave something here in John chapter 20, but go with me now to Exodus chapter 25. I just want you to hold tight there for just a moment because I want to just pitch around with you why she was crying as hard as she was. We know, she'd been witness of the crucifixion. She had been, from a distance, looking on. The women would have stood at a distance from the very frightful and even shameful, in a human sense, sign.
They would have stood back, but she'd been witness to all of it, and so she was absolutely traumatized. But in her trauma, there was something more personal that I believe has to do with Jesus seeking her out, a she within the we, because he knew exactly what she had been through because I want you, do you have a familiarity with where she is from in her biblical background? We would learn in Mark chapter 16, and I believe it's verse 9, that she is the one from whom seven demons had been delivered by Jesus Christ.
So, I just want to ask you, what kind of attachment would you have to someone who had delivered you from unspeakable torment? And see, with Christ next to her, Luke 8 tells us that these women followed Jesus and his disciples. She was among them in Luke 8, verses 1 through 3, we're told she's right there. As long as Jesus was right there, she was known by a whole new identity. She was not just known by what she was delivered from, but what she was delivered to. But with him gone, it was back to this is the woman who'd been delivered from all the demons. I need you to know something this weekend, Jesus is not just about delivering you from something, he's about delivering you to something, to something, to something.
Look here in Exodus chapter 25, these are the instructions that God is giving to Moses for the building of the tabernacle, that would be the movable presence of God through the wilderness on their way to the Promised Land. And he's already been told in the Scriptures that this pattern that God is giving Moses is of a heavenly reality. It will be the shadow of something that exists in heaven that he is to build on this earth. Watch this in Exodus 25, verse 17. It says, "You shall make a mercy seat of pure gold. Two cubits and a half shall be it's length, and a cubit and a half its breadth. And you shall make two," what is that next word? Oh, everybody say it again.
"Two cherubim of gold, of hammered work you shall make them, on the two ends of the mercy seat. Make one cherub on one end, make the other cherub on the other end. Of one piece with the mercy seat shall you make the cherubim on its to ends. The cherubim shall spread out their wings above, overshadowing the mercy seat with their wings, their faces to one another toward the mercy seat shall the faces of the cherubim be. And you shall put the mercy seat on top of the ark, and in the ark you shall put the testimony that I shall give you. And there I will meet with you. There from above the mercy seat, from between the two cherubim that are on the ark of the testimony".
Would you turn back to John chapter 20 and would somebody go with me into the tomb where there are two cherubim. I promise you that if I know anything about the way God fulfills what he has depicted in the Old Testament and the new. There is every likelihood that these guardian angels were given watch over the body of Christ. Now, 1 Peter chapter 3 tells us that in his spirit, Jesus went during this time and preached to the spirits in prison, but his physical body lay in that tomb, and it was totally without decay. We know that for sure from Psalm 16 for one place, and Acts backs it up in another place. It was fulfilled in him that his body knew know decay.
So, he would not have gotten Rigor mortis, he would not have had any kind of decay in the body. It would have still been supple, but laying right there dead in the tomb, and two angels, one cherub at his head, the other cherubim at his feet, wings outstretched right over the top. And don't you know that that was the longest three-day period a pair of angels have ever kept watch in all of humanity, the Darling of heaven? And they watched and they watched. And it came Friday night. Saturday morning, a Sabbath when no work could take place. Saturday night, but early, early because God could not wait, early. The moment it could be considered the third day, early the next morning.
I always wonder, did his eyes just, like, blink wide open, or did they flutter just a little bit? Can you imagine the first, like, they're staring at that body and suddenly those eyes begin to twinkle and open straight up, and he sits straight up out of those grave clothes? Don't you know that they catapulted into the heavenlies like bottle rockets and said, "He is risen, he is risen indeed"? Can you imagine the hallelujah chorus that took place in the heavenlies as those cherubim given guard to watch over that body said, "He is alive. This grave could not hold him in the tomb". Praise you, Lord. So, she looks and she does not see the body there. And it says that she saw that two angels, one at his feet, one at his head. Verse 13, "And they said to her, 'Woman, why are you weeping?' And she said to them, 'They have taken away my Lord, and I don't know where they have laid him.' And having said this, she turned around and saw Jesus standing".
Now, she's not gonna recognize him, but there could be all sorts of reasons for that. For one thing, she is completely out of control. I know that because she is just about to say, "Listen, if you've seen him and you can tell me where they've carried him, I will go get him". So, here's this woman, she, you know, you know what I'm saying? Cause she can't even think clearly. And also, we're told in Luke chapter 24, that there were those that he showed himself to that he kept from recognizing him. And it says that, "Having said that, she turned around and saw Jesus standing". Verse 15, "Jesus said to her, 'Woman, why are you weeping? Whom are you seeking?'"
He knows why we're crying. I love that he asks anyway. He already knows. Sometimes we don't know. I can say to our gentlemen friends here that have wives, that they probably know what it's like to go to a woman, their woman, and say, "What are you crying about"? And she says, "I have no idea". Anybody besides me? I just, I don't know, I just feel like men never just go, "I just need a good cry". They just, they don't do it. But if you're like me, listen, I've told my husband before, "If you keep asking me, I'm gonna decide you're the reason. And the thing of it is you're not, but if you just keep after me". "Who is it you're seeking"? he says. Because he knows that at the heart of all tears is something you are seeking that you feel like you cannot get.
What is it? What is it? Because Jesus is saying, "No matter what form it's taken in your life, the thing is, you're seeking me. You think you're just looking for another lover, but you're seeking me. You think you just want a big following on Twitter, you just want to follow me. This is it, you're all about me. I created you to be all about me and you are all about me". And it says then, "Sir, if you've carried him away, tell me where you've laid him, and I will take him away". And Jesus just puts her out of her misery. "Mary".
One of the commentators said this and it just pierced right through my heart. It said, "It is possible for Jesus to be present and yet for a man," or for us, a woman, "not to recognize him until his word goes home to him". You're gonna get your Word this weekend and you're gonna know it's Jesus. That's how he's gonna say your name, Mary. And she replied to him, "Rabboni, my dear teacher"! She must have jumped on him. I would have too. Because it says in verse 17, Jesus said, "Do not cling to me for I have not yet ascended to the Father".
Now listen, because it's a little bit disturbing, especially if you're looking at the King James version that says, "Do not touch me". I mean, like, what is that? We know he let people touch him. "Touch my side, see my hands". We know that they could touch him. It's a word that says, if you got an N.I.V., do not hold on to me. What I'm just suggesting maybe is happening is he's going like this... "Do not hold on to me, for I have not yet ascended to my Father". Anybody know what I'm talking about? If you're like me, like you might, I might have wanted to just like wrap, you know how you braid your leg around someone like that, I think I would have done some, 'cause it's kind of like, once I have found you, I am never letting you go. But I want you to know he says that about you. "I'm not gonna let you go. I'm not gonna let you go". "Mary, you go".
I want you to watch what happens here. "'But go to my brothers and say to them, I'm ascending to my Father and your Father, to my God and your God'". "And Mary Magdalene, she went and she announced to the disciples. 'I have seen the Lord.'" We are here for one reason, to see Jesus revealed. And he's got a goal for you. We will leave this place, when this conference is over, and we will G-O, go, and the biggest witness we will have is from a woman who can authentically, personally, and intensely say, "I have seen the Lord. He's alive. He's alive. He's alive. He's alive. He's alive. He's alive. He's alive. He's alive". And that, beloved, is what brings a life to life. That, beloved, is what raises you from the place where you've been in deadness to sin or suffering. There is a risen Savior and he is alive. And girlfriend, I hope you meant to run into him this weekend because you are the she of the we he is looking for. You, girlfriend, are the she.