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Skip Heitzig - John 20

Skip Heitzig - John 20
Skip Heitzig - John 20
TOPICS: Expound, Gospel of John, Bible Study, Easter, Resurrection

Father we thank you for the privilege that we have in this country to freely assemble. We don't worry about what the government, or the police, or rival groups, or religious persecutors might do to us. We can gather. We can come. We can celebrate and sing. We can preach freely, truth, and receive it, and believe it, and act on it without fear of reprisal. That is a great gift.

Lord, and just seeing this little clip about the Ebola virus. And all of us remember how that went down on every news channel worldwide. Lord, we are living in a country, we are very blessed. And you said, whom much is given much shall be required. So Lord, show us what that means, and how we can give back. And how we can share hope. And how we can love people who are sick and dying, infirmed, troubled, bankrupt. And do so Lord in the name of Jesus. To bring glory to his name so that his message might spread and hope might spread along with it.

Lord, you know what we're going through. You know what we're dealing with. You know the issues of our lives. And you said in Psalms that you would perfect or bring to completion those things that concern us. We're humbled that what concerns us concerns you. But Father, we come boldly before your throne and we leave those there. We bring ourselves to you as living sacrifices. And we pray, Lord, that you'd speak to us, minister to us, and change the way we think, and the way we live, as we are exposed to truth. I pray you would never get old. Like we just sang, may we never lose our wonder. And especially the wonder of your word. In Jesus' name, Amen.

Every Sunday for the last 2000 years, Christians have gathered together. And they've gathered together on Sunday the first day of the week principally because of chapter 20 verse one. It was on the first day of the week that Jesus Christ rose from the dead. And because of the Resurrection, because it happened on a Sunday, on the first day of the week, it had been the practice of the early church to meet on the first day of the week. Every week celebrating, commemorating that death has been vanquished by life. Later on we'll get to Acts chapter 20 in verse seven. And it says, on the first day of the week when the disciples gathered together. So already in the book of Acts they made it a priority to meet on Sunday because of the Resurrection. And that's what we're studying. Chapter 20 of John is all about the Resurrection.

The Resurrection is something I'm guessing we have all heard about since we were kids. It is just something we've heard. It's just something we believe in. Oh, yeah, Jesus rose from the dead. Like that happens every day. And we're so familiar with it that we fail to recognize what a shock, and that's a mild term, a cataclysmic shock to hear, let alone to see somebody who had once been dead to now be alive in front of you.

And you can, or can you imagine, can we imagine the shock as Paul the apostle went around to different parts of the known world. And the central message was, Christ crucified and resurrected. They would listen to that and go, huh? What are you talking about? Dead people don't get up again as a general rule. So when Paul the apostle will get to the city of Athens, and he will stand on the aeropagus, Mars Hill, and all of the erudite elite scholars of Athens will gather around to listen to Paul it says, Paul preached to them the Resurrection from the dead.

And they said, what's this babbler talking about? He's a babbler. He's proclaiming some foreign God. And so they heard him again. And he mentioned the Resurrection again. And it says some of them mocked him. I mean, it was just laughable that somebody is standing there in the center of Greek culture telling them that a dead person got up again and is still alive. It says some mocked. But they asked him to come back. They said we'll hear more on this later.

Well, we're reading the Resurrection of Jesus from the dead in John chapter 20. But I just want you to try to refresh your heart, your mind, yourself with the concept that it was a shocking idea. And I hope that familiarity will not breed contempt. I hope that hearing so much of it so long we just won't go, oh yeah, let's sing about the Resurrection. May we never lose that wonder.

He conquered death. And I love it when we sing about the Resurrection we all start clapping. Keep doing that. It's worthy to do that. "On the first day of the week," there it is. "Mary Magdalene came to the tomb early while it was still dark and saw that the stone had been taken away from the tomb. Then she ran and came to Simon, Peter, and to the other disciple whom Jesus loved, and said to them, they have taken away the Lord out of the tomb and we do not know where they have laid him. Peter therefore went out, and the other disciple, and were going to the tomb."

Of all the religions in the world you need to know that most religions, most religious philosophies are based upon the actual philosophical teachings of the founders of those religion. In most of those religions it's all about the belief system, the principles of faith that are passed down. It's considered that of all the world religions only four of them are really based upon personalities.

And that would be Judaism, the personality of Moses, the law giver. Christianity on Christ. Buddhism, Buddha. And Islam on Muhammad. Four religions that are based really upon the personalities of the founders. Of all of those four religions and all of the other religions, only one makes the claim of a Resurrection. So Christianity is very unique. What you're about to read is not only shocking, it's singular. It's unique. Nobody else will boast that. Nobody else will claim that.

Now, on Resurrection day, there are, in this story as John tells it, he will tell you about three people who saw something. And what they saw and what they thought about it was all different. They saw the same thing, essentially. But how they interpret it and what they say about it are all different. It's really amazing. The first is Mary Magdalene. She sees something. Doesn't quite know what to make of it. Reports something that isn't true. She's wrong in what she supposes, was going on. Something that happened that didn't happen.

Then Peter the apostle will look inside the tomb and he'll see something. And he'll think one thing. Really he'll just be perplexed at what he sees. No real answer to what he sees. Then John, the other apostle mentioned, is also going to see the exact same thing. But he will see it differently. And it will change him forever. So we keep that in mind.

Now, just go back to verse one. Indulge me. Let's go through this a little slower, if you don't mind. I do aim to get through Chapter 20. I know that's a big chunk. Some of you think it's not possible. But with God all things are. "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."

Now, we know from the other gospel accounts she was not the only one there. There were other women, probably those four, that were at the cross. They all showed up at the tomb. But John chooses to write about one in particular. And that is Mary Magdalene. And probably for a couple of reasons. Reason number one, perhaps she got there earlier than a couple of the others. Maybe she was first on the scene.

How early did she come? It says she came to the tomb early while it was still dark. That's a technical term. A technical phrase in the Greek language for the last of four night watches. The Roman knight was divided into watches. And the first watch was from six to nine in the evening. The second watch from nine at night till midnight. The third watch from midnight till three. And the fourth watch, this watch, was between 3 AM And 6 AM. So how early? Really early.

Why did she get there early? I'm guessing she couldn't sleep very well. I'm just guessing that she was tossing and turning all night, waking up, going back to sleep, and she just said oh man, I'm just going to get up. I'm going to go to the tomb. I don't know really what she thought she was going to do once she got to the tomb. But love doesn't ask those questions. You just go. It's very common for people who love someone who died to go visit the grave, because that was the last point of contact they had with that person. It's just a way for them emotionally to get closer.

And so she goes very early in the morning. One of the things we love about Mary Magdalene is her love for her Lord. She had a very unique love, because Jesus did something for her that no one could ever do or had ever done. He forgave her. She knew she was a wicked woman. And Jesus extended love and forgiveness, gave her a whole new chance, a whole new life.

So her love was very unique, and Jesus said, to whom much has been forgiven the same loves much. This is her love for her Lord. I'm go into the tomb. I don't care how early it is. I don't care what dangers. I don't care if there's a stone there. I'm hanging out at the tomb. It's where Jesus was put. And it's where I'm going.

Now we don't know what kind of a sinner Mary was originally, before Jesus got a hold of her. We don't know what it was she was forgiven of. The Bible does tell us that seven demons were cast out of her. So my guess is she was a pretty bad gal. You've got seven demons hanging out inside of you, you're not going to be a good person. The Jewish Talmud records that the town of Magdala, where she is from, was a town of prostitution. So it could be, some suggest, because a couple of those historic documents have surfaced, it's thought that maybe she was a prostitute.

So it could be that, and that is the tradition that she lived a life of prostitution. But don't you love it? That Jesus has a big eraser. Doesn't matter your background. Doesn't matter how sordid the past. He'll take you as you are. And she didn't clean herself up first. She came and Jesus always cleans the fish that he catches. He caught her and he cleaned her up. And there she is.

It says, "When she came she saw that the stone had been taken away from the tomb. Then she ran." I just noticed this, because she isn't the only one running that day. Other ones are going to be running too. "She ran, and came to Simon, Peter." And that's normal. I mean, she's shocked by what she sees. "And to the other disciple whom Jesus loved, and said to them, they have taken away the Lord out of the tomb. And we do not know where they have laid him."

When she gets to the tomb she's shocked. She didn't expect to see an open tomb. She expected to see a sealed tomb. Tombs were sealed with stones. Stones that were placed before tombs like this weighed about two to three tons. So they were rolled into place in a downhill groove, and sealed. Those things don't budge. It takes several people to roll it into place. Imagine how many people it would take to roll uphill in that groove. But the stone is just gone.

Now, she immediately thinks, robbers. Somebody has stolen the tomb. It was quite common. It was so common, did you know, that the Emperor Claudius outlawed it, and it was already outlawed, but outlawed it with a capital sentence. That is, anybody who raids a tomb, a tomb raider, whether it's Lara Croft or not, anybody who reads tombs, in those days, and messes with the contents, or the body, or takes away the stone would be killed. So it was a capital offense. All she knows is the stone has been rolled away. So she says, listen to what she says and you tell me if she's right or wrong, they have taken away the Lord out of the tomb. Is that true or false? It's false. There is no they.

Who are the they you're talking about? Who's they? Well you know, how we do that? Well you know, they say, and then we say something. Well, who are they? They've taken her out of the tomb. Well who are they? I don't know. But somebody did. And they didn't. There is no they. It's just he. He just got up. He rose from the dead. Well, she she's not expecting that. So her natural mind works for a natural explanation. Somebody messed with the body and stole the body out of the tomb. She's wrong.

It says, "Peter, therefore, went out. And the other disciple", and we know from what we have seen so far in the Gospel of John, this is John's self effacing diminutive humble way of referring to himself in his own writing. When he says the other disciple it's himself he's speaking about. "Peter therefore went out, and the other disciple who were going to the tomb." It says they both ran together. So the race is on.

We won't turn to it, but let me just tell you that when Luke writes his account, Luke chapter 24, of the same event it says that she came to where the disciples were, Mary Magdalene, and said this. "They've taken my Lord out of the tomb." And it says this when they said that the body is gone. It says, "The disciples heard these things and they seemed like idle tales to them." And they did not believe. They just went, yeah right. But two of them, it got their attention. And the two were Peter and John.

So Peter and John, verse four. "They both ran together." Gentlemen, that they were, just left her in the dust. "And the other disciple", notice this. "And the other disciple out ran Peter." Why does John think that is so important to write? But he does, right? And it's inspired scripture, so I just love that that's here. It's like, uh, I, the author of this book, the disciple whom Jesus loved, I'm also faster than Pete. I beat him. The Resurrection Marathon? I won it.

"He came to the tomb first." He's stooping down, this is John, looking in. "Saw the linen cloths lying there. Yet he did not go in. Then Simon, Peter came following him, and went into the tomb." I don't know. This is just Peter's personality. OK. Go ahead and you can stare from afar. I'm going in. I'm checking this out up close. So I don't know what Peter's deal is. Maybe he's a little sore that he lost the race. He's there second. John sort of checking it out. Peter, goes, look out. Let me get in there and check it out.

"And he went into the tomb and saw the linen cloths lying there, and the handkerchief that had been around his head, not lying with the linen cloths, but folded together in a place by itself. Then the other disciple," that's John, "who came to the tomb first went in also, and he saw and believed. For as yet they did not know the scripture that he must rise again from the dead."

Now, there are three words, three separate words, all translated exactly into the same English word. See this is the unfortunate thing about the receptor language like ours that is so limited. I told you before that Greek is a very exact language. And it conveys the exact situation, the thoughts of God, the historical events, so perfectly. And we don't translate it really the way it ought to be, unless you have an expanded translation, or a Greek help that helps you out here.

But there are three words in Greek all for the word saw. And I want to show you. The first word, in verse five is the word blepo, which simply means to notice. I'm looking at something. And I can see it with my eyes. I can make out the general facts. I can ascertain what I am seeing. It simply means to notice. So in verse 5, He, John, stooping down, looking in, saw. So John is just noticing what he sees. "He saw the linen cloths lying there. Yet he did not go in."

The second word is found in verse six, and it's the word theoreo. Oh Sorry. That's how it's pronounced. Theoreo. We get the term theater from it. Theater. Like when you sit-in a theater and you observe very carefully what's going on on stage. You look in the same direction for a long time. And you are putting things together in your head. You are studying it closely. That's the word that is used in verse six. "Simon, Peter came following him, and went into the tomb, and he theoreo," he studied closely and intently, "the linen cloths lying there." Now, he doesn't come to a conclusion.

Peter is studying it going, huh, wow. He's like that kid in school when the teacher used to say stuff, and he would not his head and go, yeah, huh, wow. Had no clue what the teacher was talking about. Peter's studying it carefully. But does not come to a suitable conclusion. He's more bedazzled than anything. It's like, huh, go figure. And then in verse 8 is the third word, eidon, in the Greek word. But also translated saw. "The other disciple," this is John, "who came to the tomb first, went in also and saw." And that word, eidon, means to see with comprehension, or understanding. That's why it says, he saw, eidon and believed.

What he saw this time he saw with understanding. He saw with comprehension. He got it. And he thought, oh, he rose from the dead. He saw and believed. "For as yet they did not know the scripture that he must rise again from the dead." And we'll have to get to that on a Sunday morning when we look at Against All Odds. "Then the disciples went away again to their own homes."

Now, what is it that Peter's saw that made him believe in the Resurrection? Well, first of all, can I describe to you how Jews buried their dead? It would help. When a person died they buried them with strips of cloth and a gooey substance made of aloes and spices. They brought 100 pounds of spices, we read last time, to bury the Lord Jesus in.

So what they would do is they would wrap each limb individually in these strips encased in this gooey spicy substance. So it would form and harden like a jelly. And then it would harden into like a cocoon. And so they would wrap each arm, each leg, and then the entire body. Then they would cover the face separately with its own cloth. So when Lazarus rose from the dead it says he came out bound hand and foot in grave clothes, and also he had a cloth that covered his face.

So that one verse of the Resurrection of Lazarus tells us how Jews buried their dead. So they're looking at this and they're noticing that, they're in the tomb. It says, "They saw the linen cloths lying there." You know how we just read that a couple of times? Literally, it means they saw the linen cloths lying in their folds undisturbed. Not ripped apart. Not in a pile. Not scattered all over the tomb. But lying in their folds undisturbed like a cocoon but collapsed.

If we would have been in the tomb at the very moment of Resurrection, what would we have seen? We wouldn't have seen a struggle. We wouldn't have seen the corpse going... Got to get out of here. And just starting unwrapping himself. That wouldn't be a Resurrection. That be a resuscitation. That's when the guy isn't really dead. But he wakes up. And they're trying to bury him. And he figures it out. And he gets out of it.

And I bring this up, because one of the theories of the Resurrection, people who try to contravene the Resurrection is that it wasn't a Resurrection. Jesus didn't really die. It's called the Swoon Theory. He passed out on the cross. He lost a lot of blood. He was unconscious. They thought he was dead. But the dampness of the tomb revived him and he unbound himself, like he'd have strength to do that, and got out.

If that were the case you'd see bandages everywhere. If the Swoon Theory happened you'd see stuff all over the tomb. Also it's pretty evident that nobody stole the body, because if they would have stolen the body they wouldn't have unwrapped it there. They would have taken the whole encasement with them. But if we would have been in the tomb it would have looked like a flat tire.

The body was in there and then Jesus just came out of it. Without a struggle, without unwrapping it, because they were still lying undisturbed in their folds. And it would have just given away and collapse. That's what John saw. And when he saw that, after seeing it with comprehension it says he believed, because there's no other explanation for seeing that, them lying in their folds, and that collapsed cocoon.

"Then the disciples went away again to their own homes." Now, there is a note. I just find this so good, so fascinating. And I tell you, it helps when you read the Bible to just look at it and go, why is that there? It's like, why did John have to tell us twice he beat Peter? You know, that's just a fun thing to look at. And I want you to look at verse seven. It says, "And the handkerchief that had been around his head, not lying with the linen cloths, but folded together in a place by itself."

So Jesus came out of that encased, spiced, aloe laden cocoon. But he took the time to fold that head napkin and put it down. You know, that is just amazing. Now, I know that there are going to be parents that are going to hear this, and they're going to use this on their kids. They're going to go, even Jesus folded his own clothes after the Resurrection. You can fold your clothes. I'm sure it will be used against children in the future.

But let me just go deeper than just folding your clothes. There was a Jewish custom that when you would come over to a person's house, if they were nice to you, and hospitable to you, and you enjoyed the meal and the company, you were treated favorably, you as the guest would take the piece of cloth that was your napkin, and you would crumple it up and put it on the plate or the platter that was on the table.

If you were not treated with hospitality or kindness you would politely fold it. And that was a polite way of saying, I'm never coming back here again. You'll never see me again. Jesus, when he rose from the dead folded up the napkin, placed it here like, I'm out of here. And you're not seeing me here again. Take it or leave it.

"But Mary," verse 11, "stood outside by the tomb weeping. And as she wept she stooped down and looked into the tomb and saw two angels in white sitting. One at the head and the other at the feet where the body of Jesus had lain." Now that was the bloody body of Jesus that had laid there on a stone slab and an angel on either side.

My mind goes back to the mercy seat in the Old Testament. That slab where the blood was sprinkled and angels on either side of it. That place where atonement took place. Propitiation took place. It's interesting that the angels are here. Now, angels appear in 34 books of your Bible. 17 Old Testament books, 17 New Testament books speak about angels. In Mark's gospel, and Luke's gospel, in going through this account, those authors call them men. Men.

So they looked like humans. They had human form. John informs us, probably because this is after the fact, these were angels. They looked like men. They looked like regular men. But they were heavenly messengers. They were angels. And they said to her, "Woman, why are you weeping?" do you find that an odd question to ask a woman at a cemetery? Would you ask a woman that at a cemetery? If you went to a cemetery and saw a woman crying there, would you go, what are you crying about? What's up? I don't know. Somebody died. I love somebody who died and is buried here. I don't know.

"Woman, why are you weeping? She said to them, "Because," see, she's wrong again. "They," there's they. "Have taken away my Lord. And I do not know where they have laid him." I love that angels show up. You know, they show up at his birth. They show up at his temptation. And they show up at his Resurrection. The only time we see angels seated are at his Resurrection.

I don't want to read anything into that. I couldn't tell you why. I don't know what they were doing while they were waiting for people to come in and notice them. Maybe, I guess, eating angel's food cake. I would. But they were there. And they had a message for some of the people that came, especially Mary Magdalene. "Now, when she had said this she turned around and saw Jesus standing there and did not know that it was Jesus. Jesus said to her, woman, why are you weeping?"

He asked the same question. Now, he knows the answer. But he asked the question to get her to think about why she is so upset. With a follow up question, "Whom are you seeking? She, supposing him to be the gardener," I don't know if he had like a little gardening hat on, or, "said to him, sir, if you have carried him away tell me where you have laid him. And I will take him away."

So she's putting this together. She said, they've taken him away. And then she thinks, well, maybe you took him away. You must be the gardener. Maybe, I don't know, you had to clean the tomb or whatever. But wherever you've taken him tell me where he is and I'll take him. I'm just waiting to see if any of you are shocked by Mary's statement. Tell me where you have laid him and I'll take him away. Yeah, right. Mary's going to pick up the dead weight of a human corpse and carry it away?

Now, I don't know how much Jesus weighed. I do know they brought 100 pounds of spices and aloes to bury him with. So take Jesus' body weight, add 100 pounds to that. Let's just say, 250 pounds. So Mary says, you tell me where you've taken him and I'll take him away. Yeah, sure you will.

And even if she was Broom Hilda, if she had that strength to be able to pick up 250 pounds, where are you going to take a corpse? Yeah, I'm just going to take it home with me. Put it in the living room. I mean, she's not thinking through this, right? Obviously. But again, love doesn't ask the details. Love just shows up. Love just wants to do something about it. This is just raw love mixed with emotion.

Now, let's answer the question. What was Mary looking for? A corpse. A dead corpse. Not a living Lord. He's standing right there. She missed him. She's looking for a corpse. She doesn't recognize Jesus. Why is that? Well, there's a lot of reasons. It's early. It's dark. Tears in her eyes. She's not making out details, number one.

Number two, Jesus is resurrected. And a resurrected body, though it has certain similarities to your body before will have enhanced features after the Resurrection. So the Bible says in first Corinthians 15, Jesus, the first fruits of those who rise from the dead. He was sewn in corruption but raised in incorruption. He was sewn dishonor, raised in honor. He was sewn weakness. He was raised in power.

So the resurrected body is going to be at your peak development. And you'll remain that way forever. So it could be because of the Resurrection changes. It could also be that she was kept from recognizing him, supernaturally restrained from being able to see. Like the two on the road to Emmaus. It says their eyes were restrained. They didn't recognize him. Until finally, they did. Jesus, when he wanted to reveal, revealed him.

Now, look how Jesus reveals. "Jesus," verse 16, "said to her, Mary. She turned and said to him, rabboni." that's an Aramaic term for my rabbi, my teacher, which is to say teacher. "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, to my God, and to your God."

Now, go back to that word, her name, Mary. One word changed her life. One word changed her from sorrow to joy. One single word. She went from despair to the heights. And it was her name spoken by Jesus. I'm sure Jesus had a special tone for her. Mary. And she reeled her head around. And she goes,

Rabboni, my teacher. How does Jesus reveal himself to her? Not visually, but vocally. By speaking his word, which was her name, personalize it, but it was by what he spoke, not by what she saw. And again, this to me, underlies the principle in Romans ten that faith comes by hearing, and hearing by the word about Christ, or the word of God. Not by seeing but by hearing. It was the word.

He revealed himself to her by one word. Speaking her name. Now, can I just ask you, can you relate to this, in this sense? How often have you wondered, where is God? Where is Jesus? Life is so hard. This is so bad. I can't believe I'm enduring this. Where is he? And he's right there. Right in front of you. Jesus said, I'll never leave you. I'll never forsake you. Lo, I am with you always till the end of the world. He's right there.

But by our sorrow. By our trial. We just miss him when he's right there. But let me encourage you to loo for him. Look for him in the darkest, bleakest, earliest part of the morning, latest part of the evening, hardest part of the trial. Look for him. Paul spoke about the fellowship of his sufferings. As if there's a special place you can enter into as a believer where you have fellowship with God and one of the deepest possible levels is when use suffer like Jesus suffered.

He said, "That I might know him and the power of his Resurrection and the fellowship of his sufferings being made conformable even to his death." There's an intimacy you can have with Jesus Christ only when you suffer. "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, to my God, and your God. Mary Magdalene came and told the disciples that she had seen the Lord, and that he had spoken these things to her."

When our Lord says, do not cling to me, it's literally, stop fastening yourself to me. I can only guess that when she turned around, heard her name, and recognized that it was Jesus, she lunged at him, and gave him one of those death grips. Like trying to tackle somebody in the end zone. It's like, I gotcha. I'm not letting you go. It was probably just so tight a hug that he said, stop fastening yourself to me. I am not yet ascended to the Father.

In other words, if I can elaborate a little bit, knowing what's coming in the future, I've got 40 days that I'll be around. Don't keep yourself to me. Don't selfishly hoard, or cling, or hold on to me. I have not yet ascended to my father. He's going to be around for 40 days. You've got a job to do. And my disciples have a job to do. So go tell them. I have a commission for you. Stop clinging. Go on a commission. And that is, tell my brethren.

And it's the first time Jesus calls his disciples his brethren. He called them his servants, up to this point. He's called them his friends in an intimate way days before in the upper room. No longer will I call you servants, but I call you my friends. He called them sheep. But now he calls them brethren.

"And I am ascending to my father, and your father." Why would he say that? Because now he can. Now he has paid the penalty for their sin. Now a relationship with the Father can be had through what Jesus did for them on the cross. And Hebrews 2 tells us he is not ashamed to call us brethren. So what he did enabled him to say go tell my brethren. There is now this intimacy of relationship that I share with them.

Verse 19. "Then the same day at evening, being the first day of the week," so it's Sunday evening, "when the doors were shut where the disciples were assembled," because they were so bold, I mean, "for fear of the Jews. Jesus came and stood in the midst and said to them," you miserable failures. Oh, excuse me. Must be a different translation I was reading from.

Now notices his gracious kind words. Peace Shalom." In Hebrew when you see somebody it's always shalom. And the first question is, mushrumka? How is your peace? Literally. How are you? Or how is your peace? He says, "Peace be with you." Now, when he said this he showed them his hands and his side. And his disciples were glad when they saw the Lord.

Question. If the doors were shut for fear of the Jews, the word in Greek is they were locked tight. How did he get in? Don't say he went through the window. I don't picture Jesus trying to get up there through a window and crawl. Hey, dudes, what's up? He just showed, I mean, if he just passed those grave clothes, what's a wall? And here's what I want to just plant in your head, this is a preview of coming attractions for your body. Philippians says, "Our resurrected body will be made like undo his glorious body."

So Jesus just traveled from place to place going through walls. He'll just suddenly be up in Galilee, back in Jerusalem, appear before 500, people back with his disciples. It seems that in the resurrected body time and space are done differently. And so that's a preview of coming attractions for your body. When you get raised from the dead we're going to have some fun. I like this.

"Then Jesus said to them again, "Peace to you." as the Father sent me so I also send you." Now this is a commission. And the commission will start in Acts chapter 1. In other words, they will take the place of Jesus to the world.

Did you know that? They take his place before the world. We're called the body of Christ. The body of Christ. Jesus will ascend to heaven. We are the body of Christ. We take his place in this world. He will commission them to be witnesses. Acts chapter one, verse eight, "Jerusalem, Judea, Samaria, and the uttermost parts of the earth." So we take his place. And we bring his peace.

We bring his peace wherever we go. We bring the peace of the Lord. We tell people you can have peace with God, because he's forgiven you of your sins. if you'd let him. If you receive him you'll have peace with God. And once you receive Christ you'll enjoy the peace of God. So we take his place and we bring his peace.

And that's why Acts chapter one, verse one opens up by saying, "The former treatise that I wrote to you, O Theophilus," listen to this, "of all that Jesus began to do and to teach until the day he was taken up." That's what Jesus started. That's what he began to do. Now, this is what he continues to do through those that he left behind. So as the Father sent me now I'm sending you. You have a commission.

And I want you to make note of something. This is going to shock some of you, and some of you may not like hearing this, and if pastors are listening they won't like it especially, Jesus never tells the world to go to church. What he does tell the church to do is to go to the world. Go into all the world, and preach the gospel to every creature.

He never tells worldly people to go to church. I'm glad they do. I'm glad unbelievers come. We always want to give them an opportunity to meet and know Christ. Please keep inviting your friends, because it's sort of a natural cultural thing to be able to invite people to a church. Let them see it. Let them hear it. And then they'll want to do that. That's always good.

But he never tells the world to go to church. He tells the church to go to the world. And so our commission goes beyond just telling people, hey, come to church with me. That's good. And I always want you to do that, and encourage you to do that. We always want you to invite people.

But let me just say, just take it a step further, and inject Christ into the conversation, and even invite people to know Christ wherever you are. It's fun. Your life takes on a whole new level when you start bringing Christ to the marketplace. Bring him out in the world. You know, don't leave him at home. Close your Bible. That's where Jesus lives, and I'm just going to go do my thing. Take him with you.

"When he said this he breathed on them and said, "Receive the Holy Spirit." if you forgive the sins of any they are forgiven then. If you retain the sins of any they are retained. This is a pledge I believe of the day of Pentecost." Acts chapter two, "And the Holy Spirit will come upon them and empower them to be his witness." But he breathed on them.

Genesis chapter two, "God breathed into man the breath of life." When God breathed at creation he gave them physical life. When Jesus breathed now he is pledging a level of spiritual life. Did you know that the word spirit in both Hebrew and Greek is the same word for breath? In Hebrew, ruach hakodesh is the Holy Spirit. And ruach, spirit, is also, ha, breath. Numa, in Greek, is spirit. And it's also ha, breath. Same word.

So Jesus breathed on them emblematically. And said, receive the Holy Spirit. And that will be fleshed out in Acts chapter one, and Act chapter two. But Thomas, but Thomas, here's eeyore. Eeyore just showed up. Jesus is in the room. And here's Thomas. It says, "But Thomas called Didymus." You know what Dydamus means? It means twin. Who is his twin? It might be you.

I was a doubter. I was his twin once. "One of the 12 was not with them when Jesus came. The other disciples therefore said to him, 'We have seen the Lord, but 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.'"

Now, we're not surprised. We're not surprised because Thomas always was, of all the apostles, in my opinion, the most raw, honest, pessimistic, yeah, but honest. When Jesus said, we're going to Judea and the disciples said, don't go there. They're trying to kill you. He pipes up and goes, let's go with him and die with him. Well it's not a very positive thing to say. Let's go and die with him. It's like, jihad or what? What's that all about?

No it wasn't positive. But it was honest and courageous. It's courageous to say, OK, if he dies, we die. We're all in this together. But Thomas is also the guy a few nights before in the upper room when Jesus said, don't let your heart be troubled. If you believe in God, believe also me and my Father's house are many mansions. If it were not so I would have told you. I'm going to go prepare a place for you. And if go I'll come back and receive you to myself. And where I'm going you know, and the way, you know

Thomas goes, excuse me. Don't know where you're going. How can we know the way? He said, I don't get what you just said. I have no idea what you're talking about. Again, not a positive thing. But a very honest thing. And I am so glad for Thomas being in that room, saying that, because that's what spurred Jesus to say, I am the way, the truth, and the life. No man comes to the Father but by me.

But that was Thomas. So he goes, you know, unless I can do this. Unless I can see it and touch, I won't believe. And by the way it means, I positively, absolutely refuse to believe. Verse 26 "And after eight days," really? You mean the disciples had to listen to him for eight days? Have you ever thought about that? They're in the upper room and Thomas is going I won't believe. I won't believe. They're saying, he rose. I'm not going to believe.

Eight days they had to listen to Mr. Empirical say, I've got to see it and touch it or I won't believe. Now, after a few days, his unbelief, he's feeling pretty good about it. After eight days he's feeling absolutely confident in his unbelief. Until after eight days his disciples were again inside. Thomas is with them, kind of looking around gloating. "Jesus came," the doors being shut, "and stood in the midst, and said, 'Peace to you.' Then he said to Thomas,"

Can you just imagine, Thomas, as Jesus shows up and turns to Thomas? Hi, Tom. For Thomas all of the color just goes out of your face. Hi. Reach your finger here. Look at my hands. Reach your hand here. Put it into my side. Do not be unbelieving. But believing. And Thomas answered and said to him, look how far he was. And look how far he goes in an instant. He goes, not just I believe. He says my Lord and what? My God. That is, I am looking at my Lord. And I'm looking at my God. That's a belief in Jesus as God and deity. That is a statement of pinnacle of faith. My Lord and my God.

Now, 8 days before, Thomas wasn't in the room. So he missed the joy. He missed the comfort. He missed the peace, the fellowship that flooded their souls, that kept them for 8 days. In spite of Mr. Empirical saying I won't believe. And don't you think the other disciples were thinking, "Oh, I wish Thomas was here." You ever sit-in church, and go, oh man, this is perfect for somebody. I wish they were here. I wish they would have come.

That's how the disciples felt with Thomas. I wish Thomas were here. But here's the thing, out of fellowship believers miss out so much. That's why we're told to commit to fellowshipping with one another as we see the day approaching. Sometimes our schedules don't mesh. And sometimes we're busy. But we just make the decision that this is important. We're going to get together like you did here tonight so we don't miss out

I fear there are many believers who, like Thomas, are believers yet not belongers. They believe in Jesus. I grant them that. They don't belong to the community of faith. That haven't connected well with others. They're not part of the family, the body. They're not really acting the part by being part of the body. So they're believers. But they're not belongers. Now Thomas finally is both.

"Thomas said, 'My Lord and my God.' Jesus said to him, 'Thomas, because you have seen me you have believed. Blessed.'" Or, oh how happy, "'Are those who have not seen and yet have believed.' And truly Jesus did many other signs in the presence of his disciples, which are not written in this book. But these are written that you may believe," he's writing to his audience who would read this record, like you and I, "but these are written that you may believe that Jesus is the Messiah, the Christ, the Son of God, and that believing you may have life in his name."

Listen, Thomas began the evening as Eeyore. He ends the evening as Tigger. Full of joy. On the up and up. Positive, joyous, it's a good day. All because Jesus showed up. And again, Jesus didn't say, Thomas, you absolute's failure. I can't believe you doubted me. He said, peace to you. Thomas, please, Mr. Empirical, touch, see. Put your hand here. See that it's me. And stop your doubting. Stop your unbelief. Be believing.

As we near the time where we take the elements, this is what I want you to consider. Jesus is in what kind of a body? A resurrected body. A resurrected body. Isn't it interesting that in this renewed resurrected body he retains wounds? I don't believe that you're going to retain maladies from your life in your resurrected body.

In other words, if you die at 108 years of age all wrinkled like a prune and bent over that you're going to like live that way forever, and that's your resurrected body. Or that if you die as a baby you're going to have to have your diapers changed for eternity. I think you're going to be at your genetic pinnacle. And you will be in that capacity forever in your developed state. I don't believe if you had your leg chopped off that you will have to live that way in eternity. I think you'll have a new resurrected body and you'll be completely whole. But Jesus, uniquely, I believe, retained the marks on his body. And I believe that isn't just for the disciples. I believe that's forever, because Jesus ascended into heaven in that body, in that form.

And later on John sees a vision of heaven and he says, in John chapter 5, they said, "Behold the lion of the tribe of Judah has prevailed to take the scroll and loose the seals. And he says, I turned and looked and I saw a lamb as though it had been slain." When he sees Jesus in heaven, expecting to see the lion of the tribe of Judah, that's who's announced, he sees the Lamb of God. Still bearing the marks of crucifixion. That's why we used to sing that song. We had to pull it out again. The nails in your hands. The scars in your, Yeah, OK. They tell me how much you love me. If we sang it, and I won't do that, but if we sang it I'd pick it up.

Anyway, forever they will say how much you love me. So I believe when you see Jesus in heaven you'll see him in his glorified perfected resurrected body. But you and I are going to see the wounds like Thomas saw. And you go, oh that's horrible. I'll cry when I see that. It's horrible. No, no, no, no. It's his trophy. He will bear them joyfully, proudly, in the best sense of that word, because that's how you got there. That's how I got there. The way of your salvation, the means you became brethren and sistren, is by those wounds. He will bear them gladly so you can look and will always be reminded of what he did for us.

Father, we do thank you for your love for us. We thank you for your sacrifice for us. And I just simply pray for anyone here gathered in this meeting who doesn't have a personal relationship with Jesus Christ yet. They may be here. They may have just visited for the first time. Or they've come many times before. Some have come several times but there hasn't been a turning of their life over to your administration, over to your supervision, over to your control. There hasn't been a conscious time, though they were even raised in a church, where they said, Lord, Jesus, I want you to be my master. I'm not in charge any longer. You are. I'm giving you my life. My breath, my hands, my body, it's yours. You paid for me. I'm giving myself to you. And I'm receiving your everlasting salvation.

If you've never done that, now's the time for you to do that before we take these elements. If you've wandered away from Jesus, or if you have never personally committed your life to Christ, if you are willing to do so now, would you just raise your hand as our heads are bowed and our eyes are closed so I can acknowledge you? Just raise your hand up. And say, yep, right over here. I'm going to give my life to Christ, right here in this room, right now. I'm going to pray to receive Jesus. God bless you to my left.

Anyone else? And you. Yes ma'am. To my left. Anyone else? Toward the back. Thank you for that hand. Anybody else? Raise that hand up. Just raise it up high. God bless you to my right, toward the back, and again to my left toward the back. Right where you're seated would you just say this? Right where you are. Just say:

Lord Jesus, I know that I'm a sinner. Forgive me. I believe you came from heaven to earth and died on a cross, shed your blood, and rose again from the grave. I turn from my sin. I turn my life over to you to follow you every day. And in your name I pray. Amen.

Now, as you take the elements I'm going to ask Carlos Garcia and his beautiful daughter to come up. They're going to lead us in prayer for these elements. Carlos, he is the head of Operation Christmas Child in the country of Mexico, number one. He, yes, please welcome he and his daughter. You still live down there, right? Do you live down there? She lives in Juarez. Her and her husband help run the church down there, Amigo Fiel, and the mission down there.

And so Carlos and his family have always been in ministries, a member of our board of directors. And I saw him here. He lives in Santa Fe. Works in Mexico. I don't know how he does it. But he's here tonight. And he and his beautiful daughter are going to lead us in prayer for these elements. First the bread and then the juice.

Father, thank you for your body that you broke for us that we could be restored, and healed, and forgiven. And I thank you for every single life here that is committed to you. And I pray that as we symbolically take this piece of your body that we would just continue to live in that amazement, and in that humility of knowing what you did for us. Thank you so much for your life. That was probably the most valuable life ever. But you gave it so that we could have life. Thank you, Lord. Oh, our Lord, our God. We come to you tonight and we thank you that you gave it all for us. When we were unworthy sinners you came. You became men amongst us and you obediently, Jesus, went to the cross and shed your blood, that we may have eternal life with you in heaven. And tonight we simply, but with all of our hearts, say thank you. Thank you, Jesus, for shedding your blood for us. We love you. And we praise you. And we take this juice in remembrance of the precious blood was shed for us. Amen.

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